Saturday, August 29, 2015

Semi-precious Gemstone Beads - Jade and Amethyst!

   Make these beautiful faux amethyst and jade beads with clear and colored hot glue stick. I chose purple in Mod Podge Mini Mod Melts to make amethyst, and green to make the jade. Mod Podge Milk Glass Mini Melts and VERY CLEAR mini hot glue sticks are also recommended. I used purple and clear in this tutorial. You can pick any color you wish to make your beads because I'm not the boss of you.

Using old scissors, or a knife, cut the clear and colored glue sticks into short 1 inch segments.

With the hot tip of your glue gun, "weld" the ends of clear and colored glue sticks together. In other words, melt one end and stick it to the other. Only join two segment at a time. Try to keep them as straight as possible for easier an feed into your glue gun.

In your mini glue gun, push your newly made stacked sticks through the hole where you normally push the hot glue. This may be a bit tricky. Continue to push  them in a clear/color/clear/color pattern. This way the glue flow will produce an inconsistent semi translucent bead - just like real gem stones. It's possible your segments may break off, just insert them individually, segment by segment. 

Coat mandrel with vegetable oil and cornstarch mixture as described here.
Simply squeeze out a bead around your mandrel or knitting needle. Twirl around until the bead is even and firm. The bracket tool I use is not needed, it is just my handy "left hand". After one minute, slide the bead off the mandrel.

String it as is, or for a more realistic look, coat it with water based gloss, when dry wipe on a wet stain of black or burnt umber then wipe off. The stain remains in crevices. This is the technique used in the finished photo above.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Simple Floral Lampwork Bead

       I love lampwork beads but I have no money. So it's time to real cheap and make them myself the easy cheatin' way! Here's how:

 First you need these items:

 1. vegetable oil

 2. cornstarch

 3. a bead mandrel ir knitting needle

 4. a protective mat

 5. a paintbrush

 6. a mini glue gun

 7. Mod Podge colored hot melt sticks, I chose milk glass and  pink from the Neon color collection

 9. plastic or glass bowl

Step 1.

   Mix  about a tablespoon of vegetable oil with 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch in your mixing container. Stir with the end of a paintbrush. It should look like this:


Step 2.
     With a paintbrush, apply the mixture to your bead mandrel, or knitting needle. This act as a release agent for easy removal. Don't panic, I didn't leave out this item- the white bracket tool is not needed for most people, I have limited use of my left hand so this serves as a handy helper.

Step 3.

Plug in and load up your mini glue gun with the colored glue stick of your choice, this will be the color of your base bead. When hot and free flowing, squeeze out a bead of hot glue around the mandrel until it is a loop connected as one piece. 

Keep twirling the mandrel so that glue settles evenly all around, once cooled stop twirling. 

If you want the bead thicker, you may add an additional loop of hot glue alongside the fist loop making sure that the hot glue is adhered to the first loop. Repeat until your bead is the length you would like.
Do not throw those pesky hot glue strings away! We will use these in another tutorial. 

Now for the fun part. It's time to put on the flowers. But first you have to change hot glue colors in the glue gun. Pull the previous color glue stick out of the glue gun, it is easy while still hot. Place the color glue stick you would like the flowers to be inside the glue gun. Foe a few squeezes there will be a mixture of the two colors- do not waste this! Until the color comes out clean, you can make marbled cabochons by squeezing out drops on a silicon, or non stick pad. You can use these in later projects. I removed white hot glue and added pink for my flowers.

Now that the hot glue flow is a clean color gently squeeze out small dots of hot glue in the desired area where you would like flowers. Make sure your flowers are placed on all sides of the bead so they show up if the bead turns on the string.

Flowers are finished. Now we have to make leaves. To minimize the hassle of changing colors after each bead, make several marbled beads on the mandrel. These complement your focal beads...

.... or just make more cabochons. I changed from pink to green.

Place leaves around your flowers by squeezing out a dot similar to the way you made the flowers, but pull the glue gun out slowly. This will make the dot elongated like a leaf. Place them here and there in a sporadic manner.

Trim off the glue strings.
Rub with your finger for a matte finish.
Use water based varnish for a glossy finish.
Stain with black, or umber colored paint for an antiqued finish.

Make several for your own jewelry designs.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bead Release Recipe

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix together.

Coat your mandrel, knitting needle, or bead form with this mixture so the bead will slip off easily.