The making of these organic beads

Organic beads in various colour combinations.
Organic beads in various colour combinations.

Up until now I haven’t really made any polymer clay beads, but next month I am attending the Polymania 2016 workshop in Bristol, where I am taking part in a bead swap. And for this I had to make 55 beads. More than a year ago I bought the “Organic Beads” tutorial by Ginger Davis Allman from The Blue Bottle Tree – and finally I had an occasion to make my own version of organic beads.

My work table.
My work table.

I won’t go too much into detail in how I made these, because if you want to make your own beads you really should buy her tutorial.  It’s very well written and very detailed. You don’t always get as much information and as many photos in a tutorial as in this one – so you really get your money’s worth. What’s more, Ginger is also very quick in responding to questions. I actually had a question regarding the varnish I am using.

Various bead shapes.
Various bead shapes.
Colouring the beads.
Colouring the beads.

In a nutshell making these beads requires creating your own texture sheets – which she gives plenty of examples for what items you can use to make them – and different types of media – chalk pastels, alcohol inks, Mica powders, Inka Gold or Gilder’s Paste.

Organic beads - some finished and some ready for baking.
Organic beads – some finished and some ready for baking.

I have to say I had a lot of fun making these beads – though it’s a very messy business working with chalk pastels! I wanted to use a variety of colours which required me to scrape a lot of pastels into powder. For most of these beads I used the chalk pastels – and they work really well. Especially nice are the beads where I used the pearl clay – it gives them a nice pearly shimmer. I haven’t tried Mica powders, which would also work well and should give beads also a shimmer.

Organic beads drying.
Organic beads drying.

I also tried alcohol inks but found they don’t work so well, maybe it’s because I didn’t dilute them. My final two batches are black beads with Inka Gold. I really like these because of their pretty metallic shimmer.

Black beads on bead rack
Black beads on bead rack
Black beads drying
Black beads drying

I am thinking of making more beads and sell them in small batches in the shop.

And I am also still on the hunt for things I can use for new texturing sheets. Next time I will try my hand at making faux sea glass – for which I have another one of Ginger’s tutorials. But until then I am now in the middle of sculpting sheep!

Black beads with metallic paints
Black beads with metallic paints

Anyway – I hope you like these beads. Let me know what you think below – and as always thanks for reading.

Packaged beads for Polymania 2016
Packaged beads for Polymania 2016

 

3 Responses

  1. Lesley Symons
    | Reply

    These are lovely – great colours! I’ve got a couple of Ginger’s tutorials and her attention to detail is brilliant …. (my favourite is the faux glass one)

    • Helen White
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comment. I look forward to playing with the faux glass tutorial.

  2. Cara Jane Hayman
    | Reply

    I look forward to swapping beads with you soon 🙂

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