Making clay beads

I said the rain would be with us soon and it was. We had long sunny spells, interrupted by deluges of rain. Didn’t stop the children going out. Especially when we needed something to help us craft.

We went out looking for leaves that were heavily veined to make an impression in clay. The laurel was not bad, but the dogwood was even better.

We rolled out a lump of air drying clay into a long sausage shape. About the size of their little fingers. Then we wrapped the leaves around the clay and rolled it. We found that we needed to push quite hard to get a clear impression of the leaf’s veins.

The girls cut the rolls into 1″ pieces. The ends needed gentle shaping as the cutting tended to squash the beads.

We used a safety pin to make a hole through the middle of each bead. The girls found it not as easy as they thought. It was difficult to aim the pin accurately towards the other end of the bead. Then we left the beads to dry on a plate. Ideally we would have left these to dry overnight, but this project was part of AJ’s homework to be handed in tomorrow. So we only left it for a few hours. This part of her ancient egyptian project.

By this stage, the girls could handle them without ruining the leaf patterns. They inserted cocktail sticks in one end of the bead and used acrylic paint to decorate the beads. Their hands still got messy, but it allowed them to paint all the bead. To dry the beads, they stuck the sticks into a grapefruit.

The line down the middle of the grapefruit looks like mould, but it is the line AJ painted so that they didn’t muddle up their beads. I had to take a second look.

They both made an ankh, or key of life, out of fimo. AJ strung her beads up using elastic and a needle to push through the holes. The beads are very heavy, so I wish we had used wire. Too much sag.

We made more, but I’ll post that tomorrow. The girls are so pleased with their beads. Its the first time they have made beads. I can tell it was a good activity because of all the animated chat around the table. They also cooperated with each other so nicely. Giving each other lots of praise and encouragement. They went to bed very happy. Hurrah!

4 thoughts on “Making clay beads

  • Monday 26 April, 2010 at 12:43 am
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    How excellent , that looks like a fun activity…the skirts look good too ..they look like favourites already :0)

    • Monday 26 April, 2010 at 10:03 am
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      Val, The girls had so much fun making yesterday. Apparently we are a week early handing in the homework! First time for everything.

      Yes the skirts are a total hit. They know what they want to wear when they wake up at the weekends. They have selected more fabric from my stash, so hopefully I might get them to wear something else in the near future!

  • Monday 26 April, 2010 at 6:17 pm
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    Love the grapefruit idea, it look like a work of art in itself.

    • Monday 26 April, 2010 at 8:42 pm
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      Jodi- it is very colourful. Like a rainbow hedgehog!

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