Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Pat's Paper Bead Swap- A Bit of a Funny Story

This is the last of the Feb swaps, and I meant to post this picture last week! I think my blogging is destined to be like my washing- sometimes I do a load a day, then I don't do any for a few days which means I am back to frantic load-a-day again! Pat hosted this swap, and I happily put my name down for it as I have enjoyed making these paper and UTEE beads in the past. Little did I know how frustrating it would be to make 20 all at once! Now, you have to understand, I was the only one who had problems, so I think it is just me! And the resulting beads are pretty, so it was worth it really :)

Here is a quick tutorial if you want to have a go yourself:

1. This is the easy bit. Prepare an A4 piece of paper by colouring, stamping, whatever you like. Decide how long you want your beads to be and cut into long triangles, making the widest side the length you have decided on. Mine are 1.5cm, and I used my trimmer and just cut them quickly into the triangles. NOTE: Make 5 more than you want to end up with, just in case.
2. Find a bamboo skewer and, starting with the wide end of your triangle, wrap your paper tightly around until it looks like a bead shape, using a dab of glue every so often to keep the tension. Pull tight every so often, then start again as the whole thing unwinds. Undo every time it goes out of shape. Make as many beads as your nerves allow, then leave the project alone while you have a cup of tea. Go back to it when your patience has returned and finish all 25.
3. Put your melt pot on, and fill it with clear UTEE- admire the clarity then add flex to stop the beads from shattering when knocked. Note that the beautiful clear mixture has now gone yellow. Apply Versamark/glycerine to the end of your skewer and add your first bead near the end. Dip in the hot UTEE and then quickly rotate like a glas blower to make sure the UTEE sets in an even shape. Re-dip when you realise that you have a huge lump on one side. Repeat the twirling and set aside to cool (you can have two skewers on the go at once to save hanging around).
4. Using scissors, cut of the excess UTEE at each end of the bead so that you can slide the finished bead off. Admire how pretty it is. Go to your second skewer to do the same and realise that this skewer is wood, not bamboo, and therefore rough enough that your bead is completely stuck. Go and hunt for another bamboo skewer in the kitchen drawers. Oh well, you still have 4 spare beads and this won't happen again!
5. Do a few more perfect beads. You must be getting the hang of this! Then do exactly as you have been doing, pull the bead off the skewer, and watch it unwind from the inside, leaving you with a UTEE shell. Oh well, you still have 3 spare beads. Carry on, repeating this cycle until you have one short of your required total, and no more paper beads to dip. Desperately try to cut one more bead from the paper you coloured- phew, just! Dip your final bead, take it off the skewer, and go and have a big gin and tonic to calm your nerves.
6. Put the beads in a glass dish, and admire them. Knock them on the floor (must be the g and t!) and scrabble around to pick them all up. Then go and put them somewhere really, really safe so that you can photograph them and send them off.

When I look back on my bead-making experience, I have to laugh as it just shows how kack-handed I can be! I think I will stick to making just one or two at a time next time... and there will be a next time as it is the perfect way to get a bead to match your project. Good luck if you give this a try!

9 comments:

Morti said...

ROFL - oh, Hazel!

You are SO not alone - I had skewer sticking problems too! I have a good three or four beads that need their middles drilled out because they stuck to the cocktail sticks I used....

craftytrog said...

Hee hee! Me too! Never thought to drill the holes out!! Lol! I used a glue stick and glued the whole length of my paper flag, then rolled it round a cocktail stick, that way it didn't unroll. Got very sticky fingers though! Minxy gave me a great tip - to use a heat gun on the bead after dipping, to even out the air bubbles! Sorry bout the essay!! Lol!
Alison xx

sam21ski said...

Fab set and a great story!!!!

Jo said...

Haha! Great story. I had a go at these and they looked nice but not as round and cute as yours.

Moira said...

Hazel I roared reading this, a far more accurate representation of what really happens than most tutorials would have us believe. And gorgeous beads at the end, By the way does it need to be paper or could you use card or scrapbook paper?

Angelnorth said...

Nicely written Hazel, certainly raised a smile! But the finished beads do look lovely so I hope you didn't feel driven to any more than the one G&T!

AnnM said...

Hazel, I've still got 2 or 3 beads stuck on my wooden skewers! I know just what you mean, but it was worth it wasn't it for the beautiful results!

Lorraine said...

what a pain in the a** think I will admire your beads and thanks for the funny story

bockel24 said...

Wow, I love the colours of your beads!