I really enjoy working with traditional, hand blown glass beads. The beads possess a combination of aesthetic beauty, handcrafted artistry, history, and creative potential that I find particularly appealing. On this site I plan to share some of my knowledge related to hand blown glass ornaments. I am passionate about teaching you all how to make glass Christmas ornaments. Therefore, as a starting point, I created some ornament patterns that are suitable for both beginners and experienced ornament crafters. Additionally, in this post I will share some of my secrets related to vendors that sell excellent blown glass beads that can be used to maximize the potential of your future creations. These beads will enable you to make glass Christmas ornaments.
My first pattern for review is for a two dimensional star, which you can find here on my site for free (2D Glass Star). I have also posted a detailed, more advanced pattern for the three dimensional stars shown above, which you can find on Craftsy or Etsy. I love working with these beautiful beads and intend to continue posting patterns that will teach you how to make glass christmas ornaments, so check back with me in the future!
My interest and affinity for hand blown glass beads is not new – it started in my childhood. My grandparents immigrated to the US from Germany. As they passed through Ellis Island they brought many traditions with them that would ultimately shape my childhood. The traditions that have become the biggest part of my adult life are those associated with Christmas. Our house was always well decorated with beautiful wax angels, brightly painted nutcrackers and evergreen garlands. But it was our Christmas tree that truly captivated me as a child, and still does as an adult. The tree was filled with a great mix of decorations from both sides of my family. One of my favorite groups of ornaments was a set of glass Christmas ornaments that came over the Atlantic with my grandparents. The ornaments were composed of blown glass beads, wired together to make a variety of designs. The designs spanned a range of forms from insects to stars!
Later on in life I had the good fortune to travel to Christmas Markets in and around Germany (I used to travel for work, and always jumped at the chance to visit clients in Germany during December!). On those trips I collected many wonderful glass Christmas ornaments for my own tree. However, for years I could not find any ornaments quite like my favorite childhood ornaments. That is until one year, while in Vienna, we saw them! An old man in a small, unassuming booth in a back corner of the market had piles of old glass Christmas ornaments, and I do mean piles. We gently picked through the piles of delicate ornaments, searching for and finding our favorite designs. In another market, while on the same trip, we also discovered new ornament designs made with bright and shiny blown glass beads. After stumbling upon these new glass beads we came to an exciting revelation: somewhere, someone was still making the blown glass materials!
After great effort my Mom discovered Rautis in the Czech Republic. I have a book, “Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments”, that claims (as 0f 2010) that Rautis is the only production facility in the world producing blown glass beads. For craft and ornament enthusiasts, they provide direct sales and ornament making sets. For genuine enthusiasts they also provide onsite tours and creative workshops at their factory. I vow to visit this factory sometime in the next year to investigate and learn from this unique, artisanal factory! The english website is http://www.rautis.cz/?lang=en . For those not ready for the steep price of international shipping, many beads can also be purchased from http://www.vintage-ornaments.com/. The later link provides access to a good supply of ornaments and materials, but this company also has unique offerings for you on their Etsy site.
I hope that you enjoy the fruits of my discovery as much as I have! And remember, if you want to get started with this exciting craft then view my free pattern here and a more complicated pattern that I posted on Craftsy.
If you have any more questions regarding the topic of how to make glass Christmas ornaments then please do not hesitate to contact me, preferable by writing a comment below. I will respond!