Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Glass" beads

I made these beads!!!
While surfing Craft Gossip this morning I found this post about making beads from soda bottles and thought they looked very interesting so I checked the recycle bin for supplies - NONE!!!!!!!! All the plastic went out last week!! So, on my way home from my walk this I was on the look out and found three empty bottles which I promptly washed and disinfected so I could play!!
These are so cool!! They look so much like they are made of glass. I made all these beads from one center section of a medium plastic bottle. The ones I found had #1 in the triangle on the bottom. I cut the flat mid section into strips about 3/4" x 4", coloured them
with permanent Sharpie markers, rolled the strips around a pair of long needle nose pliers, tied them off with wire and used my heat gun on medium to heat the plastic to form a bead. The plastic shrinks and becomes thicker and in the process forms a bead. After this little bit of experimenting, I prefer to roll the bead so the inside of the bottle is on the outside of the bead. I applied colour to one side, the other side and both sides - they all look good. If you use a lot heat, the plastic will bubble and create a completely different looking bead - check out the top left light green bead in the first photo.
I expect that some of these cool beads are going to end up on a mixed media charm bracelet!! Starting to collect a few interesting charms that will look wonderful together!!
Thrifty Tip: Make cool beads using what is in your recycle bin!! If you don`t have Sharpies - any alcohol based markers will do like Copics. You could also use alcohol inks, liquid acrylic inks or acrylic paints though I would apply them to the side that will be inside the bead to leave the outside shiny and clear.
These would be great on book bindings, make great charms for a bracelet, or be very cool beads for making jewelry. You can customize the colours to your project or outfit!!
Have fun!! Leave me a comment and a link if you make some beads!!



  1. Wonderful beads - they look a lot like fused glass.I might be tempted to heat the plastic outside due to fumes, but would make for a nice sunny day project. Interesting about the inside working best on the outside, too.

  2. beautiful and green :) nice recycle tip :)

  3. What a cool idea. I must try that.

  4. Anonymous8:33 am

    How exciting! My daughter makes jewellery and I'm going to pass this great idea on to her. Diane Arthurs

  5. These look so cool. Thanks for sharing the "how-tos".
    Theresa in Kitimat

  6. Wow!!! This is WAY cool!!!!


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