Heather Powers - Contemporary Beaded Jewelry has moved to Humblebeads.com - Handmade Beaded Jewerly
Ordering Information
Shopping Cart
Upcoming Shows
About the Artist
Shell Series
Crochet Series
Booth Displays
Holiday Boutique
Polymer Clay Tip of the Week
Practice Makes Perfect - Almost!
October 31, 2003

My first beads! While I'm no where near perfect in my beadmaking, I wanted to encourage you in the beginning of your beadmaking journey. Here is a picture of some of the first beads I made, how embarrassing! Most of those first beads have been passed along to my young daughters, who strung this necklace. Ugly beads are just part of the process, the worst thing when you are creating is to worry about each bead being perfect. Learning to work with the clay and understanding how to manipulate it are the fruits of these homely little beads! And yes, even now I have a little bowl on my table that is filled with learning curve beads. Keep practicing, try to set up a space in your home where you can have your clay ready for whenever the mood strikes. Hopefully you can find a little time each week or two to sit down and move ahead in your beadmaking techniques. I've been making beads for 7 years now and there are days when I feel like I'm fighting with my clay and other days where I can whip out 100 beads. Enjoy the process and have fun with your clay!

Untitled Normal Page

Staying in Shape!
October 24, 2003

I love making these tiny beads for bracelet designs. But I'm not crazy about rolling 25 perfect beads in a row. My trick, I use a bead roller offered by Polymer Clay Express. It's called PolyTools Tiny Bead Maker and can be found here. They offer a variety of shape makers. I like to hand shape my other beads, but for the tiny ones, I love it! You can use it to make 3-8mm size beads. I still hand roll each bead to smooth out the canes after I've applied my slices, but having them preshaped saves a lot of time and keeps the beads all the same size.

Making canes, but finding your tubes are getting bent out of shape when you slice them? Take a break, set it a side and work on something else. I place it on a piece of paper and after a half hour the tube has firmed up enough to work with. It was soft from the warmth of your hands.

Have little canes you'd like to store, I use the top of shoe boxes to store my canes. I just line them up in there and place another lid on top to keep the dust out. I never wrap my canes, I don't have time. I also use a shoe box top to keep my colors that I've mixed. I just shape them into flattened squares when I'm ready to put them away.

Tips to Make Life Easier

October 17, 2003

Untitled Normal Page

Holes: For larger holes I use a galvanized 14-gauge wire that I bought for a few dollars at Wal-Mart, you can find it in the hardware section. I cut it with wire cutters and straighten the ends out. I cook my beads in a toaster oven, so the ends rest on the edges of my pans. This wire makes a nice 1mm sized hole. For smaller holes I use standard headpins. And to make your holes without squishing your beads, instead of just poking the wire through, use a twisting motion as your gently work the bead unto the wire.

Paper: If you cook your beads directly onto your pan you’ll get a shiny spot, so I cut a piece of paper the size of my pan and place it in the bottom, no spots! It won’t burn because polymer clay cooks at such a low temperature. Another use for paper, if I’m making beads that I’ll be rolling flat, like my snowmen or flattened pendants I have a small square of plain paper that I work on. I just peel it from the paper when I need to flip it over or I’m ready to put a hole in it.

Finishing: You can find all sorts of information of finishing at www.glassattic.com. I personally like polymer clay for it’s matte quality. To finish your beads simply use a Dremel tool with a felt-polishing wheel on the lowest speed. You can buff away fingerprints without making your beads shiny. Make sure you have safety goggles or glasses on, have something to cover your mouth, I use a bandana, and work in a WELL ventilated area.

Untitled Normal Page

Click Here to

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter with the polymer clay tip of the week and my current auction news!