FREE Wire Bead project

Apr 2, 2010
Leslie Rogalski

New materials, diverse style
Inspiration comes from many places, and sometimes the same sources inspire you in a surprising new way. Recently, I was once again admiring the work in Ancient Modern, Ronna Sarvas Weltman’s polymer clay and wire book, and I found myself bathed in a glorious flood of ideas. I’d come upon a new material called “Follymer,” so I thought I’d give beadmaking another go. Plus, necklaces with a variety of beads are so "in" right now, I wanted to  make a necklace with lots of different beads.

Tubular shapes and wire beads
Two processes in Ronna’s book that intrigue me are the wire jumble beads and hollow tube shapes in varied diameters and lengths. I like Ronna’s earthy palette, too, so I stuck to light natural shades with some black and hints of red, embellishing and wire wrapping with matte steel wire and black waxed linen, adding black accent beads and thin wooden discs as end caps, such as in these barrel beads.

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Beadmaking experiments
Here are more of the beaded beads I made. What do you think? I had fun trying different shapes and color accents and used the steel wire to make wire-wrapped loops through each tube so I can eventually hook them together in a necklace. Haven’t I come a long way from burning beads?

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Cuff bracelet
Of course I had to finish a whole piece of jewelry, so I used waxed linen to string together this cuff of slim straws, creating a simple button-and-loop closure. The tubes are held together by weaving the cord in a figure eight around each one, using small black discs between each tube.

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What are these new beads?
Want to know more about Follymer? Well, April Fool! All these beads are made with pasta, colored with permanent markers. The cuff uses whole wheat catanisella lunga noodles, the short barrels with striped disc ends are piccolini mini wheels, the long patterned tubes are simple ziti, and wire-ended beads are mezzi rigatoni slid onto plain ziti, with the wired beads carefully snugged around the ends. Sharpie markers did all the color, no cane work. Uncooked pasta is a cheap way to explore design ideas, and my research turned up testimony that it lasts quite a long time. Not a single noodle chipped or broke while I worked with wire, pliers, and tightly tied cord. And since archeologists are discovering viable remains of wheat and rice thousands of years old, seeds that can still sprout, I'd call it durable!

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FREE PROJECT from Ancient Modern!
Pasta beads may be child’s play, but truly extraordinary polymer and wire projects and valuable insight in techniques are found in Ancient Modern. To make up for my prank post, here’s a project right from Ronna’s book: how to make a wire ball bead, as shown in the Nightfall in Mozambique necklace featured on the cover of her book. Truth be told, this book is an absolute must-have for any beadmaker, no matter what your medium. Buy Ancient Modern here to have in your library soon!    

Go on, rethink those macaroni art projects from grade school at your more evolved level of creativity. Toss in some wire ball beads, and share what you cook up on Beading Daily!

Featured Product

Ancient Modern Polymer Clay + Wire Jewelry

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Learn to create organic, sophisticated, and distinctly contemporary jewelry by artistically combining polymer clay and wire.


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mevs wrote
on Apr 2, 2010 8:28 AM

How fun!  I love the pasta projects, and of course they could all be recreated using poly clay.  

on Apr 2, 2010 8:44 AM

I can't wait to make more in the real deal. Thanks, mevs!

on Apr 2, 2010 9:58 AM

Love that Follymer! I must confess I haven't made any jewelry from Follymer since my kids were in preschool and we did them together. I wasn't clever enough to use Sharpies, though, and we colored them in dye baths. I love how the technology has moved forward so creatively! So ... guess what? You can use Sharpies on real polymer clay too. After you've finished your Sharpie embellishment, pop it back in the oven for about ten minutes and it will be permanent on the polymer.

on Apr 2, 2010 10:03 AM

DOn't get caught in the rain with these on!

Sally322 wrote
on Apr 2, 2010 12:01 PM

If you live in the South, don't store these with the rest of your jewelry or you will eventually have company arrive to see your creations-----the six-legged kind!!!

What a funny post, Leslie!  Thanks for the laugh.

Sally in Texas

RobertaL@14 wrote
on Apr 2, 2010 2:06 PM

Making things with Pasta is very creative, however, there were a couple of years that I made Pasta Angels ( my TM is HolyRonies).  The following year, I noticed that the ones I had completed for sale had holes in them.  What to my surprise, there were also little tiny black bugs (macaroni bugs) like the ones you find in flour if it has gotten old in my craft supply chest.  Boy wasn't I embarrased by the ones I had given for gifts and sold as well.  So I say that with Pasta, be very careful.  The angels I made were also painted, so sealed, with acrylics but this didn't stop these little buggers!  Hope this is a helpful hint.


on Apr 2, 2010 4:18 PM

For sure these will attract bugs if not store in sealed containers, but they're not meant to last.  Make'em, take a picture, and toss them in the garden to be eaten (sans wire of course.) Consider them practice for real polymer.

Glad everyone is getting a kick out of this post.