This is how handcrafted marbles are made

This is how handcrafted marbles are made

Marbles have been an entertainment object since they were made of stone and clay in ancient times. Today's marbles are made of glass and some are even pieces of art made of more than six layers of colored and clear glass.

Marbles have numerous industrial uses as well, they are the noise inside a can of spray paint and are also melted down to make fiberglass. Most commonly, they are about 1/2 inch to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.54 cm) in diameter, while some art glass marbles for display purposes are over 12 inches (30 cm) wide.

An episode of the Science Channel's "How It's Made" shows step by step how a marble company creates the beautiful balls of glass, the ones that are handmade are a wonder of crafting and it takes too many hours so they surely are collectible marbles. 

To make regular marbles, this company melts recycled glass with marbles made earlier but rejected for being the wrong size. All this glass is heated to 2200°F (1204°C) for 16 hours to melt the glass.

The more intricated marbles are handmade:

This is the process to make them, you can also watch the video in the player below.

1. Clear glass is melted in the furnace overnight, then the craftsman gathers some on a steel rod then picks up a chunk of preheated colored glass with it.

2. He forms a knob and works the mass into a long string that's up to 16-and-a-half feet long and thin as a noodle. The glass noodles are used to decorate the clear glass cores of the marbles.

3. The craftsman gathers a clump of melted clear glass on the rod and shapes it with material that won't stick to hot glass, like wet newspaper.

4. After shaping the end, he rolls the clump on several preheated colored glass strings.

5. Then it's back in the furnace and repeats these steps up to three times and rolls the clump on a metal table to even out the surface between each trip to the furnace. Then he adds a layer of clear glass on top.

6. Then he uses a tool to stretch the clump to about one-and-a-half feet long to make several cores.

7. For the second layer of the core, he rolls a two-inch-long segment onto colored glass slivers called ribbons.

8. After rolling them in the furnace to melt them, he flattens the ribbons with pliers and snips the excess at the ends.

9. The core and the ribbons are wrapped into a layer of clear glass and then it's hand-shaped.

10. Then he rolls the core on more glass strings and it's back in the furnace to melt them. He adds one more clear glass layer and the inside is finished. This marbel took a total of six layers, other models have fewer or more.

11. The craftsman shapes the glass with several metal and wooden tools. Then measures the diameter with metal calipers and gradually sculpts the sphere. This segment will be enough for up to five marbles of about the size of a golf ball.

12. After scoring the glass with a knife, he places it in the open end of a pipe to hold it. The he gently taps the rod, which breaks the glass and releases the sphere.

13. Finally, he melts away the bump left at the spot where the glass broke, heats the marbel to 986°F (530°C) in an oven where it slowly cools over night to strengthen the glass. The art glass marble is now finished.

You can watch in the player below the edited marble episode with captions, published by Insider. 

Published on: April 2016
More related: