Sunday, September 9, 2012

Camping Craft: Upcycled Handmade Beads

Thanks to my awesome Mother's Day Gift, I have had a blast making jewelry. I've been a little to prolific at it though... I have bracelets, necklaces, and earrings coming out my ears! I've used up most of my really cool beads and need to buy some more. I've tried selling my creations... Etsy was a big ole flop, and I've sold about $34 worth to friends and colleagues... so still not a huge hit. Oh well... that's just one of my many schemes  on how to make money on the road.
I came across this idea on the internet for making beads, and decided we just had to try it. See those lovely beads there? Yes, I know, they are astonishing. Amazing. Just perfect, you say? You'd like to order a thousand? Great! 

You'd never imagine that they are handmade... from trash....
Yes. You know that saying about one woman's trash being another woman's treasure?

Yes ma'am... these awesome, one of a kind creations are made from ordinary plastic water bottles!
And they are easy peasy! Definitely a parent-and-child kind of creation, unless your kids are middle school or above... but easy!

You take a clean, dry, water bottle and cut off the top and bottom. Cut the cylinder open, then cut thin strips from the plastic, about 1/2 inch wide and as long as the bottle. Cut going around the bottle, not up and down. You are going to curl them, so take advantage of the natural curve of the bottle.

You will also need permanent markers in whatever colors you love. Color the inside of the strip (make sure it's dry!) with 1-3 colors. Don't worry about a picture or pattern of any kind, just scribble!

Now coil the strip around something small, like a paintbrush. You're wanting something smaller than a pencil, if possible. Once it's coiled, hold it closed with tweezers.  You will need to have a small cup or dish of water handy for the next step. 

Use a lighter to melt the bead, turning as you melt it. The tweezers will keep a hole in the bead. It will bubble up, and seal closed. Watch it until you are satisfied with the way it looks. Mine usually take about 15-45 seconds per bead, depending on colors. 

Drop the bead into the water for a few seconds to allow it to cool.

And there you have it! One of a kind, beautiful, eco-friendly beads!

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