Layering Transparent Color

Posted on August 17, 2010


One of the things that really threw me when I was first lampworking was how colors changed when they were encased in clear.    Some of them stayed the same- bright and vibrant, while others seemed just a little bit...…well, washed out. Think of it as painting with watercolors and adding more and more water to your pigment, it creates the same result.
After some time (way too much time actually), I figured out which ones could be encased and still retained that vibrancy of color, and which ones did not. Now, if you do a lot of encasing, like me, this is something you can use to your advantage, you just have to know what the tricks are.
I’m going to address increasing the vibrancy of your encased beads in this post, and focus on the greens, blues and turquoise shades.   For purposes of this discussion, and to keep it simple (simple is my middle name), I have shown beads that are made with Effetre and Vetrofond glass, in the green-turquoise-blue range.
One of the biggest culprits is "pea", or lime green- it turns a lighter milky color:
Here I paired it with flowers in CIM Elpheba, which is paler than the Moretti or Vetrofond limes.  The encased center is still lighter than the surface decoration.
To brighten lime up, I usually apply a dot of the opaque pea green, melt it in slightly, and then top it off with a dot of dark grass green transparent, this keeps the intensity equal to your beads that have a lime green core and have been encased in light grass green transparent.  These pulled leaves really pop when applied on a dark background:
If you use Moretti Light Grass Green in stringer form, it is a bit more yellow, but still nice and bright. as in the ends with the bubble dots:
Now, onto encased beads- If you are using it as a core, a layer of dark grass green and then some clear creates a nice darker lime:
I used this combo in both the encased round on the bottom and in the stripes in the discs on top.
Encasing with Transparent Olive Green matches the Parrot Green shade:
This Parrot Green is a wonderful oddlot Vetrofond made about 3 years ago, it is an opaque, slightly streaky acidy lime- lovely!  Unfortunately it is not easily found these days.
Encasing with Vetrofond Light Grass Green will give you a nice spring lime that is more towards the cool side:
Or change them up completely (all have a lime green base) and encase your cores in a range if transparent greens:
Turquoise is another color that lightens a shade when you encase it, but you can use either Moretti Aqua Light  or Aqua Dark to encase, varying your shades of turquoise:
My favorite combination is a dark turquoise core that has been encased with Moretti Aqua Light transparent:
Blue tends to hold its color well when encased, and can be used on its own, or encased in varying shades of transparents.  Here is a good example of encased blues: 
This side by side example shows the difference- Moretti blue encased in clear is on the left, the same blue encased in transparent intense blue is on the right- both very pretty, but you can really vary the shades of color in your set by encasing the same colored core in different transparents. The spacer in between is periwinkle blue encased with Lauscha purple transparent.   Another variation on the intense blue combination:
You can see ithis bead is slightly darker and has more color saturation than the blue opaque discs on either side of it.
Use this as a reference for your encased "blue" palette, and look for the next blog entry to address the red, or "hot" colors!  As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions! Happy torching, Laura

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1 Comment

Atdesigns   August 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

  Beautiful colors! Thank you for all the info. Anne  

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