One thing I've been wanting to try for a long time is making enameled beads. I couldn't torch fire them, because torch firing blackens the enamel where the flame hits it- not a problem on a one sided piece but it doesn't work so well for a round object. Now that I have my new enameling kiln I decided to give it a try. I got some hollow copper beads from Rio Grande, and made myself a little stand to hold the beads during firing. It's just a piece of metal bent up at the sides, with a little notch cut into each side. I put the bead on a piece of steel wire and rest the ends of the wire in the notches. To apply the enamel, I put the bead on a piece of wire, and holding it by the wire to avoid getting finger smudges on the copper, I spray it with a binder, then sift enamel over the entire surface of the bead. I put it on my little bead holder and fire it in my kiln. It takes a couple of layers to get a nice smooth coat on the bead, and then I apply my surface decoration with my special painting enamels.
The beads i have right now are pretty huge, but hopefully I'll be able to make smaller ones too with a little practice!