Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Make Round beads from a Square Cane ... and other stuff

I am behind on my blogging again so please bear with me while I get caught up.

First of all this is the shelf above my work table... filled with things I like and goodies from my friends.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Here is a close up of "Clyde" my wee cow from Scotland and his wee turtle friend from Nevada.  How cute is that?  Do not look at the dust on the shelf..... Dusting is not my thing, I have more fun/important things to do.  

I am still working on the tutorial  "making new canes from old canes".  For some reason I keep messing up the photos.... but I did finish this small tutorial on  "How to Make Round Beads from a Square Cane".

The "new cane" on the left was made from the "old cane" on the right.  First reduce the cane to a 1/2" square.

Then condition a hunk of scrap clay, run it through the pasta machine on the #1 setting and use the next to largest Makin round cutter to cut out circles.  After much trial an error I came up with the correct ratio.  

Roll the circles into balls. 

Slice two pieces from the cane. 

Place the ball in the center of the cane slice and bring opposite corners up and gentle press in place.

Bring the other two corners up and press them in place making sure the corners are evenly placed around the center of the ball.

Place the other cane slice on top of the bead, fit opposite corners into the bottom cane slice and firmly press in place.

Fit the two remaining corners in place, pinch and smooth the seams together being careful not to distort the design.

Roll the beads in the palms of your hands until they are smooth with no seams showing.   The first bead on the bottom left needs a little more work, I see a seam, amazing how the camera picks up every flaw.  When possible I like to let my beads "rest" over night before I make the holes for stringing.

 And there you go... round beads from square canes.

Last time I was at Michaels I bought some of the store brand polymer clay, Craftsmart.  I thought I would give it a try as it is half the price of the other brands and it was on sale for an even bigger savings.  Couldn't hurt... right?

Here are three beads I made.  The white was dry and a little difficult to condition and the pink was quite soft. I made a "lacy" cane with the two colors and used it on the round beads.

 I made the tube bead from a striped cane with pink and light pink stripes.  The effect on the tube bead came about when I cut a strip of the striped cane and began twisting, because of the difference in consistence the darker color  reduced faster than the lighter color.

When cured, the beads are "dryer" and have a chalky look. The round beads are big, about the size of a quarter, often with other brands of clay this size bead will crack, these did not.  I haven't tried sanding yet and I haven't tried mixing with other clays.... so much to do, so little time!!

I have been doing  lots of sanding while waiting for my wire order to arrive. (It came today)  I ran out of amethyst wire while working on this necklace.  I like how it looks so far.

Close up of the wire and beads.  I like the look of the carnelian beads and small copper beads with the amethyst and amber wire.

Close up of the pendant. 

Close up of the wire curls with beads inside.

Now that my wire order is here I hope to get more pieces finished.

That's it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Clyde looks cute with his friend. :) LOVE your wire work... as always.

  2. Thanks for sharing BJ! Love your wirework, and Clyde and his little friend are awesome!

  3. holy moly....that neckpiece looks awesome.
    I see "rasta man" on your shelf

  4. I like your shelf, it's a tiny glimpse into another side of 'you' :) we also have a 'Wee Scottish Cow', he has a lot of hair and really cool horns. My husbands father brought it back from Scotland about 25 years ago... :)

  5. Thanks Moe, Clyde says "Hi" to Bruce

    Thank you Trina, I'm happy you like my work.

    Thanks Kath... "Rasta Man" is one of my favorites, he make me smile!

    Aw Mary I would love to see your Wee Scottish Cow, mine was made by my friend Cat. I was thrilled when he arrived all the way from Scotland.