Dwyn presented me with a bit of a challenge the other day, when she handed me a string of metal, brushed silver beads, and asked me to work my “magic” on them. Not being one to shy away from such a challenge I decided that it was time to play!
As I didn’t want to wreck my gifted beads, I rooted around in my stash, until I found a couple of older ones, to mess about with. I decided that I liked the direction I was taking, so jumped right in, and started altering the challenge beads. Hmmm, should I use Baroque Arts Gilders Paste, Vintag Patinas, or my trusty, Adirondack Alcohol Inks? Well, the AI’s won, mainly because they gave the beads such a cool, distressed, look!
I need to warn you, that the process of working with Alcohol Inks is downright messy! I highly recommend protecting your work surface (parchment paper is good), and also wearing gloves, unless you like scrubbing your hands raw. Ask me how I know? I dabbed a few drops of the Pitch Black and Eggplant AI’s on my blending tool (another Adirondack product), pounced it on all bead surfaces, and then waited for the beads to dry. The bead holes were way too small, for me to safely suspend the beads on a toothpick, so I had to resort to my Amaco, Bead Piercing Pins (originally intended for polymer clay). You could also try wire, or long embroidery needles (beading ones are too fine).
I decided to break out one of Susan Lenart Kazmer’s, Iced Enamels, in my favourite colour of German Silver, brushed on the Iced Enamels Medium, sprinkled the powder, and then tapped off any excess. Now, what the heck was I going to do? I knew from my earlier experiments, that I needed to suspend and cage the beads, to prevent them from moving around too much, so I piled up some ceramic tiles (in a U formation), arranged them on my heatproof surface, and then suspended the beads (supported by the bead piercing pins) between the tiles. Now the fun begins! Hold your heat tool (embossing gun), an inch or so above the surface of the bead, and wait for the Iced Enamels powder to melt and bubble. Use a toothpick, or wood handled tweezers, to carefully rotate the bead, until all surfaces are heated. Warning, the beads will spin around in the heat, and they are very hot, so you must wait for them to cool!!! But wait!! There’s still more to be done, but not today…..in the next few days, I’ll need to give the beads a quick UV spray (Protect Your Memories II, or Krylon UV spray are good ones), let it dry thoroughly, and then carefully brush on a thin, protective coat of Ice Resin (again, carefully suspending the beads on the pins). I may give the pins, a quick dip in Vaseline, to make sure the resin doesn’t stick. In reality, I probably won’t coat the ends with resin, because I certainly don’t want the beads to get permanently stuck on the pins! Eeeek!!!
BeadFX carries a good supply of the metal, brushed silver beads, in many shapes and sizes. A little birdie told me that even more are coming in the near future! They also stock Ice Resin, Iced Enamels, Iced Enamels Medium, gloves and wood handled tweezers. For safety sake, you should always work in a well ventilated area, and for those with chemical sensitivity issues, a respirator, gloves and eye protection are a must!!
I absolutely love the results, and plan to alter many more beads (and other stuff, of course), in the future! How about you? By the way, I have necklace plans for these beads, so keep tuned! You’ll need to be patient though, because I doubt that I’ll be able to pull it all together, before the holidays…..