Beads, beads, beads...

Beads, beads, beads...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Beads

I have made some big beads with polymer...  This bracelet reminds me of the Flintstones. I can see Wilma Flintstone wearing this with her one shoulder dinosaur skin dress!  These beads were made using cornstarch packing peanuts.  The packing peanuts I found were green not white. You need to read the label and make sure they are cornstarch peanuts if you want to try this technique.

The cornstarch peanuts will dissolve in water.  To make a big bead base you add a drop of water to a few of them and mush them together into a ball... well at least as close to a ball as you can.  Mine didn't seem to get really round.  You let the peanut mush dry.  You can then wrap clay around the peanut.  You need to poke holes through the clay for bead stringing as well as to get water in the bead to dissolve the peanut mush after baking. The hole needs to be fairly big but not too big.

I found that the beads were light weight but also that they could break if not careful.  You can of course make the clay thicker around the peanut mush. 

I also found it tedious to get the peanut mush out of the bead after baking.  It turned into a green slimy sludge that I had to blow out of the beads after soaking them in water.  It took several times of soaking and blowing through the beads... my jaws were hurting like when you blow up too many balloons... not so fun.

I am always interested in trying new techniques. So when I saw the big beads in this book I had to give it a try!  I purchased Ancient Modern Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman.  I love her polymer work.  It is very organic looking. 

I made a necklace and some earrings using the technique in her book with aluminum foil as a base for the big beads. It worked well. The beads are light in weight and I could get a more round bead.

Something else I learned from the book... I used brown shoe polish to antique the beads.  I am thinking that Renaissance Wax and shoe polish are made from the same chemicals because they sure smell the same! It was interesting to learn some new techniques!  


  1. Cool beads Marian!!!! I personally will try the foil method instead of the packing peanut mush :-)

  2. I've used the foil method before as a core for polymer clay beads, but never packing peanuts. Love your beads, especially the middle red, grey, black and white ones.

    After reading your description of the process, I think I'm going to stay with foil, even though the peanuts sound intriguing. I once thought I'd love to do the Ukranian eggs, until I had finished blowing out three eggs and still had nearly a dozen to go! :)

  3. I love the beads! Great job.
    I couldn't find the packing peanuts so used some crunchy corn things I found in the bagged snacks aisle. It took forever to get the stuff out!
    I tried the brown shoe polish as well after reading this book. I didn't use a finish on top and it faded. Ah...experimentation.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!