Thursday, April 24, 2014

All in the Details: Wood Bead Finishing Part 4

Bead decorating from Pepperell Braiding Company

Tell me these aren't fun! Decorating your beads is only limited by your imagination. It can be done as simply as making a few dots or squiggly lines, but even this tiny detail draws a lot of attention. Note: All the beads above were painted and sealed before they were decorated.

Bead decorating utensils - Pepperell Braiding Company
Decorating utensils.

Now put the paint away. We're going to focus on PENS. I occasionally used a small brush to make some of the metallic details you see above (just because I didn't have a metallic pen, but the paint was handy). Pens are a bit easier to control and the ink usually dries so quickly there's limited worry for smudging, blotching, or stain transfer. So if you're in a production frame of mind, you can move as quickly as your genius and hands can scribble.

The one pen which surprised me most is the jelly-roll: it works on sealed wooden beads! Turning the pen every now and then to keep it rolling may help, but they work. So for fine detail jelly and felt pens with tips .5mm or smaller are ideal.

"Painting" the bead with markers - Pepperell Braiding Company

Highlighters can be used... on completely unfinished beads. I attempted to "paint" the beads with the highlighters as well as other markers. Just note that the ink is transparent so coating over and over will intensify and darken in some areas. The end results are something else though - like water colored beads.

Beads coated with pen and ink. Pepperell Braiding Company.
The green bead on the lower right was made with
vertical overlapping strokes of the pen tip.

Decorating the beads using pen and ink is relatively simple. It can be time consuming since all of your focus is on ONE bead at a time. I recommend this when working large beads in smaller batches. Small beads (say less than 1") may not catch the eye so easily so you could just be wasting your time on fine detail. 

Again it may go without saying: spray the finished beads with a clear sealer so that you don't see your hard work bleed or fade if it finds itself meddling with moisture.

If you are painting your own wood beads, we want to see them. Feel free to leave a link to your work in our comments.


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