Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mini Tutorial - Filling Bead Frames

I've been wanting to add a few belts to my wardrobe and this is the first one I made that coordinates with my Bargello style set from our Chianti Collection.

I found these cool Tibetan silver metal bezel frames that combine beautifully with clay and I show how to fill them without any need for glue in my Fabulous Faux Turquoise tutorial.

We import the frames from Hong Kong and I've had a few people ask if I could sell them so I've made these and a few more of our favorite pieces available in our ArtFire studio.

The other cool pieces I like to use and work great as belt links as well as other jewelry pieces, are the little bead frames and connector links.  These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are meant to string as is or with a bead inside them.  But rather than use them plain or with any average bead, I like to fill them with clay, making them more special.

I will show you how to fill some simple round type frames and you can then add your own special touch to it later.

This is a round connector link that I used in the belt design I showed above.

Step 1 - Roll a ball of clay that fits nicely in the center with a little space around it.  I experimented with several clay thicknesses and shaped cutters until I found the right combination for this.

Step 2 - Hold the ball of clay that is still inside the frame, between your thumb and finger and squeeze the clay ball until it fills the frame equally on both top and bottom.  Squeeze a little more until the frame becomes slightly embedded into the clay.

Step 3 - You can leave these nice and smooth or you can texture them.  Here I am using a nylon dish scrubbing pad to texture both sides at the same time.  Spray your bead and the scrubbing pad with water and place your bead on one end or piece of the scrubbing pad and with the other end, apply enough pressure to texture your bead but not flatten it too much.

Here I am doing the same thing but I am using a rubber type texture sheet instead.

Step 4 - You can leave your beads as is or you can accent with paints or mica powders to antique or add more contrast.

Here are some samples of bead frame connectors I filled:

Top row:  texture sheet with mica powders,  texture sheet black acrylic paint
Middle row:  scrubbing pad texture with mica powder
Bottom row:  scrubbing pad texture,  plain black with no texture

Variation:  This is a smaller bead frame that has a large hole in the center for adding a bead and a hole that goes through sideways for threading.

I fill this frame the same way as in steps 1 and 2.  After the clay is embedded into the frame, I insert my needle tool through the frame and clay center leaving it in place while texturing.


I will show you more types of bead frames and variations later.  Hope you enjoyed this mini-tutorial


Anonymous said...

Excellent tutorial. I don't do much clay work at all, lol, I only have one of those tiny little packs from the craft store to play with, yep one. I was wanting to make some embellishments for my wax work and I didn't think of using the pearl powders for sparkle. Thanks! Connie :)

Kate said...

I loved this! Great idea. Thanks so much for sharing your process too. That is so generous of you! Have a great week!

Unknown said...

I can`t wait to try this... :*