How to Create a Quick Cab

I seem to spend a lot of time in waiting rooms. Pediatricians, orthodontists, veterinarians, tutors . . . music studios, hockey rinks, gymnasiums. Hanging out in those dull places makes me think I’d like to make a few changes. Replacing the in-ceiling fluorescent lights with adjustable true-color lights would be a nice start. Next would be comfortable arm chairs with adjustable ottomans. Portable lap desks would be a must. And a basket filled with magnifying glasses, scissors, and thread burners would be helpful, too. Dream on, Jean, dream on . . .

Anyway, since I’m a multitasking maniac, I usually BIP (bead in public) in waiting rooms, but last week I knew I’d be at an office with dismal lighting, so I brought along a book instead. This one is called Custom Cool Jewelry. The very talented author, Melinda Barta, gives over 200 ideas on how to customize pendants, charms, and clasps. It’s a great book—absolutely brimming with fresh inspiration pieces for personalizing your jewelry-making stash with found objects, stamps, and ephemera. Preview Custom Cool Jewelry and buy your own copy.

I’ve since tried several projects directly from Melinda’s book. All that creative play has been a great springboard for me to come up with totally new ideas, too. One in particular stems from a project my daughter brought home from school a few years ago: Fairy paperweights. Her version involved small glass floral blobs, tissue paper, and white glue. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen scrapbookers do similar items. But I decided to create something a little more sophisticated and edgy that could easily translate into a beading stash. The result is a unique cab that you might have luck with, too. These little gems are cheap and fast to make, and I think quite versatile.

Clear glass blobs used for floral arrangements
Dark Stazon stamping ink
White or other light-colored priming paint
Mod Podge or Diamond Glaze acrylic sealer
Tiny stamps to fit the diameter of the blob’s back (note: words will come out backwards)

1: Working in a well-ventilated area, stamp the back of a blob with ink. Let dry.

2: Paint the back of the blob with the primer. Let dry.

3: Paint over the primer with a light coat of sealer. Let dry.

Instant custom cabochon! I’m excited to make something with my “frontiersman” images—Pocahontas, Daniel Boone, Davey Crocket, and Jim Bowie are all ready to line up for a bracelet. I figure I could epoxy them into bezels and call it done; glue them to pieces of Ultrasuede and bead-embroider around them; or work up fancy wire-wrapping around their edges to make my own bezels. Who knows what I’ll do, but at least I have something fun to work on during my next waiting-room BIP event.

Got some ideas of your own for customized cabs or other components? Thoughts about BIPing while you wait? Share them right here

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!

Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog
Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

19 thoughts on “How to Create a Quick Cab

  1. I love the idea for making the cabs. I’ve never tried this type of project before. Once I make the cab where can I find directions for making the cab into a pendant?

  2. I have been using these little clear glass stones for several years to make cabs for pins, necklaces, etc. I’ve always just glued a picture to the back then sealed them. I’ve used photos, stickers, etc. I usually glue them to some “stiff stuff” and then bead around them. They are great! You can also paint on the back of them, but remember that you must think in terms of layers. Check the front often. They are cheap enough, though, that if you mess up you just toss them and start over!

  3. Hi Jean you wrote
    How to Create a Quick Cab
    Tiny stamps to fit the diameter of the blob’s back (note: words will come out backwards)
    Just thought I’d let everyone know that if youneed the writing to be forward then you can print it on your computer printer and go into properties of the printer and tell it to print the page reversed. This way when you do this project the words will come out forward.
    Great articles, I love recieving them daily.
    Cynthia Gowin
    photos of my work:

  4. Another way to turn you words around would be to stamp onto another stamp (smooth flat surface). This would result in backwards words on the second stamp. Then you’d stamp the glass with the “new” stamp. (And there’d be another reversal so the words would be right way round.) It’s called kissing.

  5. i have used them often in different ways and different sizes .
    alcohol inks on the back before your picture looks good and my friend then glues them to copper with copper tape around them then solder. they look awesome.

  6. To make the words “not” come out backwards, stamp words onto a piece of rubber, or other non-porous material (will read backward) and then transfer to cab..voilå, reads correctly.

  7. Idea sounds great, but you are assuming everyone knows about these little stamps. I’m primarily a beader, and I didn’t, and therefore found the instructions confusing.
    Am I to assume that the picture/stamp must be done in one color?

  8. You ROCK, Jean! I just love to read your column. Thanks for the great idea.

    As for those who find your instructions confusing…that’s what craft stores and the Internet are for. Go forth and Google or ask at your local craft store for the necessary supplies.

    Several sites for free instructions on how to bead around a cab on the Internet, too. Again…Google is your friend.

  9. I have a half an hour long bus ride to work every morning so i usually pre-cut heavy gauge wires for bangles or rings and do all the wrapping on the bus. Something that doesn’t need tools because I dont want to scare anyone!

  10. To PaulaT, You may want to try to glue a figure 8 connector to the back of your cab. Then use a bail on the connector. I have used these on some projects and it works great.

  11. Carol I agree, I also was confused by the directions– I was thinking “stamp the back of cab w/ black ink” I didn’t realize the picture was a stamp, I kept wondering when you put the picture on??? Thank goodness for this blog 🙂

  12. Great idea Jean, I’ve got loads of those little glass blobs sitting around the place and had wondered about using them as cabs, but had never thought of putting images on the back of them – cool!

  13. Sounds like a great idea but don’t know where to buy these little glass blobs. Do flowere shops sell them or is it only specialist/internet shops? ( I live in UK) Thanks:)

  14. Carol-You don’t need to use just one color for this project. You can decorate the back of the cab in any way you wish. I just spoke to someone who glues batik fabric to the backs of her glass blobs…beautiful!
    Scotty- You can find these little glass thingies in the US in arts and crafts shops. People often place them inside a vase of flowers to weigh it down. Others use them for making mosaics.
    Paula- There are glue-on bails available at most bead shops. Just use E-6000 or epoxy to glue the cab to the finding’s flat face, and it’s read to hang.
    Happy beading!

  15. Other sources for these glass cabochons are stores selling supplies for making leaded and copper foiled glass (some call these stores “stained glass supply stores).

    For those who would like to know how to put the cabochons into bezels or to create beaded bezels, look at “how to” web pages on the sites of many of the beading magazines (including Beading Daily). Fire Mountain Gems and Beads also has some good instructions for using bezels, among other things. Bezel info is here:

    Be aware that each of the glass cabochons used in Jean’s article is probably a bit different in size and shape. These sorts of cabochons were not designed for jewellery making, and are not made to precise sizes. You can get round or oval ones. You may need to search through a lot of them to find the right size and shape to fit into a bezel of a given size.

    Have fun playing! That’s what it should all be about.

  16. Wow! October. And here it is two days prior to 1/1/09 Okay, so I’m painfully slow!! Actually not so much, I just some how missed this issue! I really love this idea! I recently heard someone talking about something very similar, and my brain went ouwwwhhatttch. That was an ouch and a what combined into one thought/feeling, or something….

    I had a similar reaction when I read Jean’s description. My specific tripping point was on the “blobs”. ??????? BLOBS!!??!?!?!? What the HECK is a blob. Then I read on and looked at the picture and thought, “Well DUHHH!!” Fish tank rocks!!!! Water garden rocks!!! Flower pot decor rocks!!! It might sound silly, but I felt an immediate sense of brain pressure release! : )

    But, seriously, I wanted to make a couple of comments.

    1. For those that don’t know, these little glass rocks/blobs, can come in several sizes…..some as small as a dime, on up to a boulder, though admittedly the boulders are a little harder to find (a garden shop maybe…) You can always find them at most any of the craft shops, floral shops, jewelry supplies stores, but most cool to me, is that this is a medium that’s so painfully cheap it’s really available to literally EVERYONE! The less obvious places that you can find these in, and sometimes in various sizes are in Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: TAAA DAAA……Your local Dollar Store. Any of the, what we consider dollar stores, carry these stones. Family Dollar, Dollar General, etc… (For territorial assistance, I live in Greensboro, NC)

    2. For Carol, and all really, the beauty of what we do with our jewelry making, designing, etc., what I have realized lately, has truly been a wonderful epiphany for me. I tend to be,…. oh heck,..fine….I admit it!!… : ) Hi, my name is Shelly. I am a perfectionist! OKAY!!! THERE I SAID IT!!! (do they have 12 step programs for that?) Though, that was not my epiphany, it was what made the epiphany so wonderful. The actual epiphany was that there’s only one way that you can really do any of this wrong. Even if you’re beading and trying to make a specific pattern. You might make a few mistakes, but that’s not wrong. What makes it “done wrong”, is when it’s not done out of love (of self, of craft, and of project) and if your final product is not the result of the best quality that you as an artist/crafter have to offer, regardless of whether your planning to sell what you’ve made, give it as a gift, or keep for your own enjoyment. EVEN YOU deserve the best quality of product that you can provide for yourself. Beyond that, there simply is no wrong way to create anything in this venue. It truly doesn’t matter if you use one color or two, or more. It doesn’t matter if your colors “match”, or GO together. I mean, we all have our own personal tastes or what we like, or think looks best. But if you presented five different people with that very question about what each liked or disliked about ANY given craft creation, or just in the jewelry arena, you would get five different answers. One of the things that has been the hardest for me as an “artist”, “designer”, or what ever you want to call me, is to remember to design and create things that appeal to OTHER people than just ME. OUCH!! It’s really hard. Whether you’re talking about the design itself or the colors you used, or the materials you used, OR….God forbid, all the above! The very hardest thing that I’ve had to learn to deal with is to learn how to design something that I would never wear, (okay face it: I wouldn’t be caught dead in!), in a color that I hate, using materials, that not only do I not like the look of, the feel of, but all told, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I made. To balance those thoughts and emotions in my brain with the knowledge that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, is not only going to see it, like it, buy it, wear it, and be ridiculously happy about having found it! Would I make them another one? WHY?? The first one was just toooo ugly!! ……because, the answer is… was made truly in love of the craft, for the person that was going to be it’s proud new owner and because it was done in quality in such a way that just because I wouldn’t want to wear it, it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t, or shouldn’t be proud to attach my name to it.

    I truly hope that no one misunderstands this as some sort of chastisement, and I certainly don’t mean to sound overly heavy or philosophical, because all it’s meant to be is food for thought. My personal belief about the creation of artistic things is that we far to often limit ourselves to create things that appeal to US, that speak to US, that WE like, or that gives US a warm fuzzy, or whatever. I think you get the point. Please understand that I don’t think that there is inherently anything wrong with that, but I do think for that to be our ONLY creative outlet can in some way be a bit selfish and self-limiting. My personal finding is that when I loosen up and look around me to see what other people have created, and have placed on the market, and are in fact selling, if I look at that and go “OOOOooo YUCK!” because I don’t like it, (come on…everyone of us has done it!! : ), I’ve realized lately that when I do that…..I’ve lost something. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t me I have to buy it, or wear it, but just stop for a minute, even if it’s the most hideous thing you think you’ve ever seen, and try to put yourself in the place of whom ever created it, or whom ever might buy it and you’ve created an opportunity to somehow, even if just momentarily, to connect with and maybe understand someone else to some small degree. Then take that experience, that single moment, and yes if you tried hard enough, you may have even had an a-haaa moment, back to your studio and use it to create something in whatever medium you choose, but use the opportunity to branch out and try something new, but create something that you would otherwise NEVER have created, simply because you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t have worn it, used it, displayed it, or whatever…..just do it. If it’s done with love and in the best quality that you put forth in ALL your other work that you’re so proud of…….I promise you, it will certainly be one of the hardest, if not THE hardest thing you’ve ever designed and/or created… will turn out to be one of the things that in some strange way will be one of your most proud creations. And that will be for a couple of reasons. One, you stepped out side your comfort zone to created something, that’s hard for ANYBODY to do….I don’t care who you are!, but really most importantly for me, when that piece is given away as a gift or sold as a product, you will have opened yourself up to be vulnerable, in a way that you may have never experienced before, but even better you will have reached out and connected with someone in a way that would have otherwise could have never happened. You may still not “like” what you’ve created in the project itself….but I really think that you will love the connection that you made and appreciate what will hopefully be a new understanding for other people that you might not have ever thought to or had a reason to reach out to. How could that EVER be a bad thing?
    And who ever new that being crafty and artistic could be so complicated!!? (that was a rhetorical question : )

    3. My other point is, I’ve learned how to just loosen up as a person some. And in my creating things, I’ve learned to just loosen up and not be so worried about if its right or wrong to use say, one color or multiple colors, One of the points is to just loosen up and lets this be fun! Don’t take yourself to seriously!

    4.Lastly, for my BIPing, (beading in public), while waiting in any of the numerous places that find myself waiting? (and I swear, sometimes I really feel like I spend half my life waiting for other people!). A couple of years ago, my daughter got a set of color pencils. A Christmas present maybe. Well, recently, she decided that the pencils had sufficiently died and without talking to me about it (how dare she!! she’s almost 24! God I feel old) she started to throw away the “container” that the pencils came in. I dove in and rescued it just in time! It was like a little miniature brief case, cute as it could be….it had to be useful for something. One day as I was in a huge rush and was particularly unorganized, at the last moment I grabbed this particularly unlikely to be useful little case. It’s made of cheap pine wood and has an exterior measurement of 12.5″L x 8.5″W x 2″ D. It’s hinged on the 12.5″ L side, with a little flip lock on each end, and a handle in the middle, just like a real briefcase. When opened you have both a top and bottom space with a depth of about one inch with each side measuring internally 12L x 8 W. You can place, or glue in some of the beading mats (the ones made out of the same stuff as the Vellux brand blankets). So what you end up with is this; You’re waiting in some doctors office that’s running over an hour behind, You’re bored stiff, and would love to work on your latest beading project but alas, there is no table in the office to utilize, but wait! You brought your newly found best tool! You whip out your new little briefcase and open it up. You neatly place all your tools and supplies in the upper tray while working in the lower tray all the while smiling to yourself about having a hard surface to work on, but are particularly pleased with the fact that some kid whose mom isn’t properly watching, just bumped into your lap as he/she ran by and tripped on their untied shoestring, but because you have your new handy dandy little briefcase, you not only have a hard and unbending surface to work on you have a relatively self contained work area…..your beads, tools, and supplies might have gotten knocked around a bit, but THEY”RE STILL IN THE BRIEFCASE!!!…assuming of course that the little brat didn’t just knock the whole briefcase out of your lap and half way across the room, in which case…….you were probably just doomed before you ever got started, regardless of how you choose to BIP!!!!!!!

    Seriously though, all the wood that this is made from is about 1/4″ thick. It’s very light weight and the handle makes it easy to carry. The latches (little flip locks) are strong enough to keep the case securely closed with out having to worry about an accidental opening, and the hinges are/should be strong enough to pick up the whole case by only one side with out bending and breaking into two pieces
    It really works great! Have FUN guys!!