I have been experimenting with and using copper in various forms in my glass beads for years. I had been looking for some substantial copper sheet to cut out images to encase and embed into my beads and I found it when I used the Dichroic on Copper sheet that is produced by CBS (Coatings by Sandberg). I did a blog on using the dichroic on copper sheet a while back and now I am featuring the copper sheet that is a byproduct which came from that process, as a design element in glass beads. It is a great way to recycle the copper sheet that the dichroic comes on!
The hobby industry has a wide range of images that are set up as punch tools that can punch out a crisp image for paper or thin metal sheeting that makes the process a lot easier if you are doing series of beads or fusing with metal inclusions. I cut out the images I used with a sharp pair of small scissors and I also used some of the metal stamping tools that I use to emboss bead caps, to emboss a secondary image onto the copper inclusions I used in my beads.
Copper and glass get along really well together as long as the copper inclusion isn’t too thick. I discovered through my experimenting with copper that if you use too much or too thick of a copper inclusion, you might crack your bead.
There is a wonderful ruddy pink color that develops on copper pieces that are encased in a glass bead or fused project that I find delightful. When you place the copper on the surface of a bead, the copper turns black/brown because the flame oxidizes the metal surface. I removed this oxidation by tumbling my finished beads in a small tumbler with metal shot that removes the oxidation slowly over a couple of hours. If you don’t have a tumbler, you can use a dremel tool to polish the surface copper inclusion back to their original copper color.
I had a great time experimenting with copper encasing and inclusions and I think you will too.
Click on photos to see larger image.