Making torch-fired enamel beads
Making enamel beads is not that difficult. It can be done using a torch, some copper tubing and enamel. In order to fire the enamel you need to pick it up with a metal 'rod'.
I like to start with an opaque white enamel base and then add one or two other colours. These may be either transparent or opaque enamels.
Make sure that the new layer is sufficiently heated, so that it adheres to the previous layer.
In the end see to it that the enamel can sag by holding it still in the flame, so as to give it a rounded shape, then give it a quarter turn; repeat this a number of times and then add a new layer if you wish.
If a bead has cooled down and you decide that you want to add one or more layers, be careful to heat slowly, otherwise the enamel will chip off.
I use 5 mm copper tubing, which I usually buy from stores that sell car parts.
When you are finished it is not a good idea to let the bead cool off quickly, as the glass will crack. That is why I submerge it in vermiculite, which is moderately heated on some sort of heating pad. Vermiculite is extensively used in large quantities in horticulture, so look for it in stores that supply horticulturalists.