Say What You Want: Add Words to Your Beads

Say What You Want

As anyone who has ever seen me at a bead show knows, I find beads with words irresistible.  So when I saw that the new free project from Cloth Paper Scissors involved adding words to beads, I knew this was a project I'd have to try for myself. 

What You'll Need to Start

The free Text Beads project had two items that I hadn't used before; the Tim Holtz Distress Ink and gel medium.  The water-based dye ink comes in a range of colors with cool names like "Faded Jeans" and "Mustard Seed."  It gives the paper a vintage effect and is acid-free, non-toxic, and fade resistant, according to the package description. 

Gel medium is found in the art/paint section of the craft store.  You can also find a couple of types of gel medium in the Interweave store in the acrylic paint and gel section.  Gel medium is normally used with acrylic paints, but for this project, it's used as an adhesive and to provide a finishing coat for the bead. 

For my version, I used the Antique Linen color ink and flat 35.5mm coconut beads. I printed out quotations on a computer instead of tearing pages out of books. Using the printer gave me a lot of control over font and spacing. I did some experimenting with different types of paper from regular white computer paper to heavier colored cardstock.  I also tried various kinds of scissors and tearing the paper for a rougher look.

My Version of the Free Project

Originally, I planned to make a pendant, but when my traveling bead box (a pencil case in its former life) popped open yet again and I lost another beading needle (arghhh!), I decided it would be fun to make a decorative strap with my bead to keep the case closed.  I used an elastic band from a chocolate box (does this count as "green beading"?) and added a couple of large wooden beads over the knots of the elastic. I placed a quote on each side of the large bead so I could flip the bead around depending upon my mood.  For the quotations, I asked forum members for suggestions  and did some searching on my own.  Because I wanted fairly large text (10-12 point), I found mysef looking for short quotes or ones that could be abbreviated.  Some of the quotes I liked include:  "Memory feeds imagination." (Amy Tan) and "Ideas are like rabbits." (John Steinbeck). For my box, I used:  "Warning! Opening this box may lead to bead addiction" on one side and "So many beads, so little time" on the other. 

If you like to add text to your beads (or buy beads with words on them), I'd love to know which words or sayings are your favorites.  Share your ideas on the website.

New Free Project
Text Beads
Belinda Spiwak

Learn how to add text to your beads with this free mixed-media project from Cloth Paper Scissors.  The project instructions include a list of helpful tips for transforming your beads into charm bracelets, so even if you aren't interested in mixed media, you might want to take a look.

Michelle Recommends

Cloth Paper Scissors is my go-to magazine when I need a creative shake-up. Since it caters to mixed-media collage artists, not jewelry designers, you'll find beads used in unusual ways such as sprinkled on the top of tissue paper/clay cupcakes or as a beaded seat cushion, as shown in Lynne Sward's piece, Sitting on Pins and Needles.  The occasional jewelry project features unusual materials like rubber tubing.  I'm especially looking forward to the September/October 2009 issue which will feature some of the 2,000 charms submitted for their recent mixed-media charm swap.  While the business-related features like "10 Tips to Sell Your Art" (May/June 2009) are helpful, I personally am always drawn to the artist profiles.  I'm especially inspired by multitasking artists like Abby Glassenberg who named her business "While She Naps" because she only creates art while her daughter sleeps.  I know a lot of new moms who can relate to that!  Subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors today and get inspired.

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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!

13 thoughts on “Say What You Want: Add Words to Your Beads

  1. I took a class at one time that I found incredibly challenging – too challenging since I have never been able to make another of those things! After a short time of working on it, one of my classmates said – “Chris, you’ve got to breathe!”. Now, any time I find a bead with the word “breathe”, I buy it. My favorites turned in to a pair of earrings I wear when I take a class. Chris Philips

  2. “Don’t postpone joy” is my favorite quote for every day.

    For a longer one, I favor: “Some days I just don’t feel like slaying dragons!” That one works really well at the end of a long teaching day.

  3. Here are a couple for consideration:

    “Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.”

    “To teach is to learn again.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

    “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.” – Scott Adams

    “Another word for creativity is courage.”

  4. A good friend at work placed this saying on my desk. “We will be friends until we are old and senile… Then we will be NEW friends” It’s now hanging on the back board of my desk.

  5. Howdy – I just joined your fabulous group and while in Oregon I walked into a bead shop and a colorful sign was hanging over the cash register …..”And the bead goes ……” If anyone out there knows where I can find this sign, please please let me know. And I’m excited to be a part of this
    bead-i-ful group! SenoritaCA Rita from California

  6. While visiting a friend, I noticed a bench with the words, “Cookies make me giggle” stenciled on it. These words of wisdom came from her son who is 5. Loved it…

  7. I love finding a good quote! Here are a couple favorites…
    “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”

    “Time is a constant overdropping of moments which fall down, one upon the other and evaporate”

    and one more (from Oscar Wilde)
    “I don’t want to earn a living. I want to live!” (oh so true-LOL)

  8. I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

    See everything. Overlook a great deal. Improve a little. – Pope John XXIII