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bead making (long)

updated sun 29 sep 02


LOGAN OPLINGER on sat 28 sep 02

Dear Tammy,

For making beads of consistent size, I have seen a simple device used for making herbal pills that divides a coil of thick paste into equal length segments. It is two boards with rounded parallel grooves cut in them. A coil is laid across the grooves on the bottom board, and the top board is placed on the coil and slid back and forth until the coil is cut. The boards must be perfectly aligned to do this.

End View of Top View of
Both Boards Bottom Board.
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/ // / | / /|
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|( )| | ))))))))))))))))) |
|( )| | ))))))))))))))))) |
|( )| / ))))))))))))))))) |
|( )| / ))))))))))))))))) |
|( )|/ )))))))))))))))))/
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Another way to make equal sized beads is to extrude a clay coil and cut segments of equal length, either individually or using a device like an egg slicer.

Beads of evenly increasing size can be made by rolling out a tapered coil and cutting segments of equal length.

The type of clay can be any smooth fine clay without any sand or grog in it. A white clay allows the addition of coloring stains and oxides. Use porcelain for high fire, or a talc body for low fire.

For texture/designs, you may want to try leather stamping tools. There are many styles and sizes. At $3-$6 each, a large set is not cheap. There are many web sites for supplies for making leather products. A few are:

Some natural materials also have interesting textures that can be used for patterns. Sea shells, corals, seed pods, pine cones, etc. can be impressed into clay.

Good luck with your bead making.

Logan Oplinger

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