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Seed Bead Projects: Beading Q And A (1/9/2012)

2012 January 9

Ruth asks…

Polymer clay pendant Mucha

Image by LillianPoly via Flickr

Anyone know any good beading websites?

I need a lot of projects for the intermediate beader but I don’t want seed bead or stitching or anything. I want like stringing but detailed with headpins, wire, chain, beads, links, crimps that sort of thing not stitching, metalwork or bead making.

BeadGal answers:

I get a lot of great ideas here.

Here’s the link for Fire Mountain Gems. That are a ton of instructions, patterns, etc.:

Betty asks…

English: Glue gun and glue sticks

Image via Wikipedia

What kind of glue do I need?

I’m going to start a project for a friend. I’m making her a decorated box.
I’m going to glue seed beads onto the box in a design, What kind of glue should I use? I need something that will hold strong but can be easily worked with (unlike crazy glue lol dangerous stuff)
I have rubber cement but I don’t think that will hold for long

BeadGal answers:

Gem Tac Glue its for crafts and attaching beads to fabric wood etc. I’ve seen it used for all types of projects, including using it for making handmade cards, and the bonding is very good.

You can also use PVA glue:

Lizzie asks…

From left to right, the structures of A-, B- a...

Image via Wikipedia

Can you help with my Biology project?

I have to make a DNA and an RNA model for Biology. I was planning on making this bracelet DNA, but I can’t because some of my seed beads can’t be threaded with two beading wires. I can’t go back to the store anymore. How do I make do with what I have?
I have beading wires, and like 7 different colored seed beads. Please help.

BeadGal answers:

You don’t say what your seed beads are made from, or the size they are, but here are some ideas.

You could simply buy larger seed beads (which usually have larger holes), or you could try “reaming” out the holes to make them bigger.
There’s a tool called a “bead reamer” you could use:
…or try finding something similar at a hardware store (or craft/hobby store).
Or you could perhaps even use a tiny drill bit (in a drill or wrapped with tape or clay to create a handle so you can screw it into the hole more easily).
None of those are probably suggested for *glass* beads though I don’t know for sure (you probably just purchased plastic seed beads).
You might have to hold each bead in a pair of pliers or a vise while you did the reaming/drilling if they’re really small.

Or perhaps you could find some thinner wire, or even use thread/etc? (If you use thread, you can make the end stiffer if necessary for threading by applying some kinds of glue, then let dry.)

If you want to make seed beads with larger holes, we do that with polymer clay (and you can make them any color, size, hole-size, and even shape you want) though I wouldn’t suggest trying to make 500 or so. (You could use an air dry clay instead, but those shrink while drying where polymer clay doesn’t, and polymer can can also be shaped really well even when items are quite small, etc….polymer clay does require heat to harden though so you’d have to use an oven or toaster oven, or even other ways like boiling, to cure the beads).

If you want to make your own air-dry clay, that could work well too but you’d need to experiment with hole size since the beads will shrink while drying out (which will take some hours, or put into a very low heat oven or in front of a fan). Here are some recipes that would work well enough:

What I’d do (besides buying polymer clay if you want to use polymer clay –Premo, Kato Polyclay, Cernit, FimoSoft are some possibilties) is to make sure all the beads will end up as the same size “balls.”
You can do that in various ways but one way would be to roll a long and even snake of the clay, then cut it into short segments using the marks on a ruler as guidelines, or impress a comb into the rope then use those lines.
Then roll each tiny segment into a ball (in your palms, on the work surface, or inside the bowl of a spoon, etc).
If using polymer clay, let the balls cool awhile to stiffen up if you want (even in the frig) so they won’t deform easily when you make the holes (depending on the brand of polymer clay you bought).
Use the tip of a toothpick or something else to press a hole into and through each ball to make a bead… If you want a hole that’s nice on *both* sides, pick up the bead and twist the toothpick through again from the other side too. Or you can use a tiny coffee straw or other tube to cut out clean holes instead of twisting in a tapered-tip tool.

If you’re using an air-dry clay, either assume the beads and holes will shrink up to 30% and make them bigger than you would with polymer clay, or actually dry the clay balls on a wire or other skewer or something that’s large enough for the hole you want. If you have problems getting them off because of the shrinkage, just twist them off instead of trying to pull them off.
Also, air-dry clays will need to be sealed if they’ll be near moisture… So paint or coat them with acrylic paint, clear permanent sealer, fingernail polish, or even thinned down permanent white glue (like Elmers GlueAll, tacky glue, etc.). Don’t fill up the holes inadvertently though, and make sure the beads are thoroughly dry before sealing them.

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