Tubeads

Well I didn’t fib; in my post of the 26th November I showed some of the effects I had achieved using Linda Peterson’s Glisten and Shine technique, and a quick (and fuzzy) example of a tubular bead that I had made. I mentioned that I hoped to be able to show you more of these beads and now I can.  I call them “Tubeads”, and I can also tell you that I have little packs for sale of the equipment I use to make the beads, but I am getting ahead of myself; here are some of the pendants and things I have made so far (and there are loads still in the pipeline – no pun intended).

A small selection of the beads I have been making.  Some of these are simple unadulterated Friendly Plastic in the colours it comes in, but  most of them have been recoloured in some way.  I have used transfer foils, metal flake, Pigment Powders, Glisten And Shine (Linda’s technique), embossing powders, and glitter as well as pens and alcohol inks.  You can see two different sizes of bead with correspondingly different hole sizes, and there are some beads that gently curve (or could be straight if you wanted to make them so), some that curve sharply, some that make circles and some that form curlicues.  All possible because of the cord that you make the beads around (more later).

 

For those that know me, I am  useless at straight lines, give me curves any day!

I was a little slow bending this one, and it wrinkled a little, but I liked it anyway.

I like a little bit of glitter now and then

The top Tubead was scrap FP recoloured using cream transfer foil from the Earthtones Pack which I added extra colour to using a variety of methods including scratching, refoiling, and metal flakes.

A simple piece of Royal Blue FP with wire wrapping and some rubber donut beads.

This one is a mixture of plain Teal FP and some of my Glisten and Shine coloured FP.  If you look closely I had not perfected my seams, but now I have the equipment I can do them sooo much better than that.

Tubeads combined with fabric beads gives a lovely contrast in mat and gently shinty finishes.  Fancy headpins finish the look

A closer look at the earrings.

And the secret to these fun Tubeads is silicone cords which stretch.  FP is wrapped around the cord, shaped and cooled, then the cord is stretched and this action releases it from the bead which can be pulled off with ease.  Clever eh?   Now I can’t claim this basic technique as my own because Jana Ewy showed it to us all at The Starving Artists Playground in Colorado at Jen Lowe’s place.  Jana was using tubing, and I had never seen such stuff before in the UK.  On returning home I searched and searched, tried out a number of different materials and eventually settled on silicone cord which is stronger (lasts longer) and I could get different diameters more easily.  It is non stick, good and stretchy, robust, and tolerant of heat.

The second part of the process is in getting the rolling right, and my solution to this was to use some fine silicone sheet  (not the thick stuff you occasionally find in cook shops, nor the teflon sheet either).  It is beautifully silky smooth and rolls a perfect tubular bead. 

The other great thing about the silicone is that it will withstand heat from either the heat gun or hot water so if the FP is not soft enough then it is really simple to reheat it by whichever method you choose.

For the kit and full instructions including how to achieve a really good seam, visit my web site http://www.rarebird.ltd.uk/Kits_Packs.html  at only £3.50 it is a bargain!  (you can tell I am excited can’t you!)

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