Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back From the Torch Bead Class

I wish I had some of the beads that I made to show you but they had to stay behind to go in to the kiln for stress relieving. I won't get to pick them up until Tuesday or Wednesday. Here's a website where they sell some of the glass beads that I am talking about. mountain-robbins beads and art Of course mine don't look that good but I hope I will get better with practice. I am bummed that the beads require a kiln. I was hoping this would be something that I could do from home. I could make the beads at home and then rent space in the store's kiln but it isn't close to my house and I don't know how soon those little beads have to go in to the kiln before they crack. Plus the cheapest kiln is $300 which would equal about 20 visits to rent the craft store's kiln. If I am serious about this I should just buy my own little kiln. (Ok, I must admit I have always wanted a kiln. And I can't just buy a little one because I can't put pottery in it, I have to buy a BIG one!

The store sold a starter kit for bead making, $180. I think I can buy the necessary parts for less than that. I will look around. I need a torch head, bracket to hook it to a table, graphite pad and paddle tool, stainless steel rods, the stuff that goes on the rods to make the beads come off, a spun ceramic pad (it looks like cotton), and then the gas and glass rods.

I have figured out that I could make 4 beads an hour. If I sold them for $10 each and my material charge for gas and glass was $1.50 per bead, I would have to sell 57 beads to pay off the cost of the set up material-$180 and the kiln-$300, which equals 14 hours of work. That is not accounting for scrap beads that break or are just too ugly to sell, and for the cost of advertising and packaging. After that I could start making a profit.

So many things to think about. I know I am not ready to start a business venture like that right now. I have enough to do with my job, renting out my house, and the holidays. But when the holidays are over and I get my house rented full time or whatever I decide to do with it (hmmm, one of the bedrooms would make a nice bead studio) I will have time to think about starting up a craft business. That means I have a few months to save some money for the supplies.

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