Friday, May 28, 2010

Marble Molds - More on Shaping Tools and Making Marbles

In the resulting discussion on graphite shaping tools, some of you mentioned the Infinite Rim Marble Molds, designed by Drew Frits.

Ah - now these are gorgeous tools! I have had a pair of these for years - long before I started blogging, which is why it never occurred to me to mention them.

These are an absolute joy to use - if you have the cup shaped marble molds, I suggest you put them down and go order some of these. Oh sure, they are made to last forever, from high quality graphite and with a superior handle. Yes, they are beautifully balanced and elegant to use. But more than that, they actually work. (Go read Drew Frit's description of how they are different and how they work, in a nutshell - you are using the edge of the cup to shape, not the bowl, and because it is tapered - you have an infinite choice of edges to shape on.)

It is easy to shape a marble with them. Or whatever you have that you want a rounded edge on, tidy up an implosion pendant or some such - I use them all the time. I use the extra big one a lot too for transporting off-mandrel stuff to the kiln - I warm it in the flame, knock the item off the punty into it's spacious cup, flame polish the punty mark, carry it to the kiln and gently slide it out of the cup onto the floor of the kiln without the whole slippery tweezer trauma thing going on.

You can see the construction and the quality of the graphite. This is the big one, it is 1.5 inches at the widest part.

This is the other one, with 4 cavities on one side, from 1/2 to one inch, and ...
1.25 inches on the other. This angle shows you the shape of the cavity.

And again, you can see it's not merely a half sphere carved out of the graphite.

Course, if you want to know more about making Marbles - I also suggest and recommend Drew's book, "Torchworked Marbles, Vol. 1 Beginner to Intermediate Techniques." This is not an "eye-candy" book - in fact - the only colour picture is the cover.

What it is however, is packed with good, solid information, lots of steps and diagrams and detailed instructions. When it says "beginner to intermediate" - what it will do is take you from beginner to intermediate marble maker.

The book is primarily geared to soft glass, but covers boro as well. It contains a lot of very interesting information about colours and useful details about using them such as "bleeds - encase to control." or "won't cover black." He also has some very good tips on using punties so that you aren't fighting with thermal shock all the time.

It also has a section on mixing your own colours, including his own recipes, right down to the specifics of how much to use.

If you seriously want to get your head around marble making - buy a couple of his marble molds and his book. You'll be good to go.


  1. The molds are wonderful! Great for marbles and pretty easy to figure out for big round beads. The Drew Fritts book is wonderful for its general all-around information that applies to bead making as well as to marbles. I second the recommendation.

  2. That is very cool. I never have seen these tools at all. I have seen a marble making factory but custom marbles by hand - this is really interesting. Thanks for sharing. W.C.C.

  3. Oh - you ain't seen nothin' yet darling - there's a whole world of art glass marbles, and collectors. Check out ;-) You'll be blown away.