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Caterpillar - Lantern Tutorial

While this tool may look like it doesn't matter which way it goes in the base, make sure your X marks are on the left side.  There may be slight variations in the machining but this will ensure the top and bottom align properly.

Lay down your initial footprint and check the size by either bringing the mandrel down to the base of the tool for reference, or the handle portion of the tool up under your mandrel. For the Lantern shape in this tutorial, you will want your footprint to span the whole width of one of the indentations and about 3mm over each edge, into the next indentations, as shown. It is better to estimate smaller at first because you can always add more to the footprint. Once it's on, you cannot take it off.


If you want to help ensure consistency of size for a set, you might want to note the size of this first footprint by bringing it over a ruler.  If you measure each subsequent footprint you have a better chance of making uniform beads sized beads.


Wind on your glass until you get a barrel shape almost as thick as where the points of the indentations cut into the brass (where the arrows indicate).


At this point you can use the tool as a 'Forming Tray' and roll your barrel within the bottom tray to achieve round segments.  You can also do this by holding the handle of the top piece like a marver, however, the base seems more stable and leaves less room for wobble and error.  You can also wind on a much longer barrel and get many round segments.


Or, you can press to get the lantern shape with crisp, lentil edges around it.  While your glass is still hot but not soupy, center your barrel over one of the indentations and try to make sure that the equal amount is extending on each side, into the other indentations.  As shown above in the picture with the pink arrows. 

Steady the top of the tool against the back wall and the side pin and press straight down.

If you have too much glass, your pressed bead may look like this.  Some people prefer the rims that result but if you don't, you can fire polish it back in, gently. 
If you feel that the fire polishing took away some of the definition, lightly reheat the area(s) and use your marver or razor tool to gently separate the segments again.
check out other shapes and beads
on the info page


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