Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Implosions: Some Tips

A reader asked - Do you have any tips for implosions? As a matter of fact, I do. I don't pretend to be deeply awesome at them. But - these little implosions are now fairly easy to do and I can whip one off with one hand and then stick it on the bead I'm keeping warm with the other hand.

The key, I believe, is volume. Volume of glass. More glass = better effect.

Most of the implosion instructions I have seen tell you to put a pattern of dots on the disk, and to implode that. I found I got much better results after I started jamming the disk into the frit. Many more "dots" and lots of glass to move.

Some of these photos are utterly ghastly - I apologize - but to illustrate my point.

Start with a rod of clear, and create a disk on the end. You can let the end get hot and push down, or build up like making a disk. Or a bit of both. It helps if it is centered - it's easier if it is, but don't worry too much if it's a little off.

See - not completely centered. Definitely out of focus. Try shooting pics with one hand while keeping a bead warm.

Key to remember - you are working on the back of the implosion most of the time, the top will be on the side of the clear rod in your hand.

With the surface hot - glop on some frit. Do a couple of layers. It can be two different colours even.

And melt it it. You can marver it to melt it in faster and smoother.

That's my "assistant" in the background, by the way - the rod warmer - doing it's rod-warming thang.

So - now the frit is melted in.
Rotate and heat on one side. The idea is to direct the heat where the arrows are pointing, from the center out to the side.

Rotate the disk constantly, and hold at a bit of an angle, so that the glass will start to flow down. First it will form a cup shape. You have to rotate it to keep it on center.

Note the angle of the rod in relation to the flame. The flame is hitting the far side of the disk, and only about 1/3 of it.

See how the center is still dished in?

Then it will dome over as it continues to flow.

And you keep going, and it will turn into a gather, with the implosion inside. It's hot ...
And now it has cooled. You can flatten the back side a little, and add a big dot of colour and flatten out to form a base.
And cooler.
And the finished implosion - as a bead. I stuck it on a mandrel, and looped the clear around to make the rest of the bead.

More dots make a more dramatic effect - and bigger volume dots of strong colours will show better. Don't be stingy with the disk either. And if you need a bigger dome - melt more onto the top from the rod end.

Be gently flattening the bottom - you don't want to loose your definition in your implosion.

Hope that helps!


  1. Many many thanks for sharing this technique with us. I never try to do implosions as i found them too hard for a newbie, but with your tute, things become easier.
    I gonna try it this afternoon.

  2. Gail B.12:50 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this technique,D-jools. Your generousity is really appreciated! Like Narrative Jewelry, gonna give this a try... looks like a lot of fun.