Make Your Own Wooden Beads

Wood_Beads_1905-1You can easily purchase wooden beads. They are available at the majority of locations that sell jewelry making supplies. They are mass produced using machines that punch them out in uniform sizes and shapes. Most people purchase their wooden beads, but have you ever considered the fact that before these machines were created people made wooden beads at home using simple tools?

Wooden beads that are made at home will not be perfectly uniform in size and shape like the mass produced ones are. The beads will however be just as beautiful, durable, and they may even be more precious to you because you made them yourself.

To start making your beads you will need to gather some twigs from a tree. You do not want twigs that have already fallen off of the tree because the wood in those twigs will have already dried out and be more brittle than the green wood of a freshly cut twig. Your twigs will need to be about a half an inch in diameter. You can make beads from larger twigs, but for the purpose of learning you will have the most success with twigs that have a half an inch diameter.

You will need to use a pair of pruning shears to cut the twigs into pieces. You want each piece to be a little bigger than you want your finished bead to be. The wood will shrink a little as it dries so you want the fresh cut pieces to be larger than your finished item needs to be.

You will need to drill a hole through your cut pieces of twig. This hole will be the center hole in your bead. You will need to use a small drill bit to drill out the pulpy core that makes up the center of your piece. This needs to be done with a hand drill in order to not damage the small pieces when you are removing the pulp.

You will now need to dry the twigs. This is easily done by spreading the pieces out on a cookie sheet and leaving the pan where direct sunlight can hit it all day for at least one week. You want to make sure that the beads are not touching so that there is good air circulation around them. This will help them to dry more completely.

Once they are completely dried you can use a fingernail file and sandpaper to smooth away any rough edges on the pieces. You want your pieces to be as smooth as possible. As you become better at making the beads you can use the sandpaper to shape the beads.

You can string your beads on a piece of monofilament and then dip them into acrylic paint. This method will allow you to dip multiple beads at one time, but for the best looking finish you will want to dip each piece individually.

Once the paint dries on your beads you will need to apply a sealer over the paint to help the beads be more water resistant.