Say What You Want: Add Words to Your Beads

Say What You Want

As anyone who has ever seen me at a bead show knows, I find beads with words irresistible.  So when I saw that the new free project from Cloth Paper Scissors involved adding words to beads, I knew this was a project I'd have to try for myself. 

What You'll Need to Start

The free Text Beads project had two items that I hadn't used before; the Tim Holtz Distress Ink and gel medium.  The water-based dye ink comes in a range of colors with cool names like "Faded Jeans" and "Mustard Seed."  It gives the paper a vintage effect and is acid-free, non-toxic, and fade resistant, according to the package description. 

Gel medium is found in the art/paint section of the craft store.  You can also find a couple of types of gel medium in the Interweave store in the acrylic paint and gel section.  Gel medium is normally used with acrylic paints, but for this project, it's used as an adhesive and to provide a finishing coat for the bead. 

For my version, I used the Antique Linen color ink and flat 35.5mm coconut beads. I printed out quotations on a computer instead of tearing pages out of books. Using the printer gave me a lot of control over font and spacing. I did some experimenting with different types of paper from regular white computer paper to heavier colored cardstock.  I also tried various kinds of scissors and tearing the paper for a rougher look.

My Version of the Free Project

Originally, I planned to make a pendant, but when my traveling bead box (a pencil case in its former life) popped open yet again and I lost another beading needle (arghhh!), I decided it would be fun to make a decorative strap with my bead to keep the case closed.  I used an elastic band from a chocolate box (does this count as "green beading"?) and added a couple of large wooden beads over the knots of the elastic. I placed a quote on each side of the large bead so I could flip the bead around depending upon my mood.  For the quotations, I asked forum members for suggestions  and did some searching on my own.  Because I wanted fairly large text (10-12 point), I found mysef looking for short quotes or ones that could be abbreviated.  Some of the quotes I liked include:  "Memory feeds imagination." (Amy Tan) and "Ideas are like rabbits." (John Steinbeck). For my box, I used:  "Warning! Opening this box may lead to bead addiction" on one side and "So many beads, so little time" on the other. 

If you like to add text to your beads (or buy beads with words on them), I'd love to know which words or sayings are your favorites.  Share your ideas on the website.

New Free Project
Text Beads
Belinda Spiwak

Learn how to add text to your beads with this free mixed-media project from Cloth Paper Scissors.  The project instructions include a list of helpful tips for transforming your beads into charm bracelets, so even if you aren't interested in mixed media, you might want to take a look.

Michelle Recommends

Cloth Paper Scissors is my go-to magazine when I need a creative shake-up. Since it caters to mixed-media collage artists, not jewelry designers, you'll find beads used in unusual ways such as sprinkled on the top of tissue paper/clay cupcakes or as a beaded seat cushion, as shown in Lynne Sward's piece, Sitting on Pins and Needles.  The occasional jewelry project features unusual materials like rubber tubing.  I'm especially looking forward to the September/October 2009 issue which will feature some of the 2,000 charms submitted for their recent mixed-media charm swap.  While the business-related features like "10 Tips to Sell Your Art" (May/June 2009) are helpful, I personally am always drawn to the artist profiles.  I'm especially inspired by multitasking artists like Abby Glassenberg who named her business "While She Naps" because she only creates art while her daughter sleeps.  I know a lot of new moms who can relate to that!  Subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors today and get inspired.

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