© 2015

Nine months early, but nothing like being prepared!

Some might consider this three months late rather than nine months early. I’m focusing on the positive and consider myself ahead in my planning for next Halloween!

My original bead-making goal was to make a bead for my Halloween bracelet. Instead, I ended up with my hawk skull pendant. Which I love. And, it’s been getting fairly regular wear since Halloween. But, a pendant doesn’t help solve the problem of much-needed silvers for my Halloween bracelet. So although I haven’t made it a resolution for the year, I certainly have been thinking of what “Halloween-ish” beads to add to my bead box before October.

After I finished my hawk skull, I had a small chunk of metal clay left over. Not enough to make a bead, but enough that it was worth keeping. I also had a few more bead ideas, so I ordered a second package of metal clay. When the package arrived, the consistency wasn’t the same as the consistency of the leftover metal clay, even though they were the same brand. I worried that it would affect the final beads, so the original leftovers remained separate. After I finished my bird feeder and GPS beads, I had another small chunk of metal clay left over. Again, not enough to make a bead, but still a sizeable chunk. I still had a few ideas kicking around, but none quite ready to try out with clay, so I didn’t want to order more metal clay right away. Instead, I packaged up the two small chunks of leftover clay with an equally small chunk of damp sponge to keep the metal clay moist. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with them, but hoped I would be able to use them somehow!

Of course, I never stopped thinking of bead ideas. I knew that I wanted to try something on a slightly smaller scale. And that meant something with a simpler shape. Then, shortly before Christmas, I got the idea to make an eyeball bead for my Halloween bracelet! After I tried out a few ideas with my regular clay, I realized that I wouldn’t need much metal clay to make it. And, I realized that the two small chunks of clay that I had might be just enough to do it. My only concern was that a spherical bead would be thicker than the other beads that I’ve tried. I wasn’t sure how well it would fire with a torch. But, I figured that since I was using “leftovers” anyway, I had very little to lose!

Making the bead was surprisingly easy. I used a simple bead cap to make the imprint for the iris, and used a pencil to make the hole for the pupil. And this time I remembered to make the hole for the bracelet before the clay dried! Even that turned out to be easy: the small straws that come with juice boxes are the perfect diameter. The hardest part was knowing how long to let the metal clay dry since it was thicker than my previous attempts. If the clay isn’t completely dry when you torch it, then the moisture escapes by making cracks in your bead. Although I was going for a slightly spooky look with smaller cracks to represent a blood-shot eye, full-on cracks were not in my plans. So, I let it dry for almost a week before putting it under the flame. Probably overkill, but I was in no rush. I have nine months until I need it ;)

Although the pupil isn’t as dark as I had hoped it would be, the small cracks picked up the oxidization well. It was difficult to polish the pupil hole before the oxidization, so the liver of sulphur probably just didn’t work as well. But I still love the final bead!

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  • 6 Comments

    1. Enaktra
      January 27, 2015 | #

      Oooh your bead is gorgeous! I’ll have to say that’s my favourite of the ones you’ve made so far. Incidentally, you’ll get a laugh, I initially somehow read prepared as being “pregnant” and was rushing over to congratulate you. Anyways, now I’ll congratulate you on your lovely new piece. :)

      • Tracy
        January 27, 2015 | #

        Thanks! I have to admit … it might be my favourite as well :) It pretty much turned out exactly how I had envisioned it!

        I love how my bird feeder bead turned out, but it was such a mess making it. And my GPS bead ended up cracking quite a bit as it was drying and it wouldn’t patch up nicely. I think that batch of metal clay wasn’t the best. Both of those are larger than I thought they’d be as well. So it was nice that this one turned out to be the right size and looks sufficiently like an eyeball!

        I had a small moment of doubt when I thought of the title, wondering if people would think that I was announcing something else. But then I thought the picture would quickly clear it up :D

        I’m not sure if I will use it much outside my Halloween bracelet – although I’ve considered putting it on my zombie bracelet too. But it was fun to make!

    2. Beverly
      January 28, 2015 | #

      Wow. I would so buy this bead if it were available on the market. You clearly captured the moist spooky vibe of the subject. Nice job.

      • Tracy
        January 28, 2015 | #

        Thank you Beverly! I sometimes see the things that I didn’t do perfectly rather than the things that went right, so that is very nice of you to say that :)

    3. January 28, 2015 | #

      Ha, absolutley cracking and playful title and I LOVE the bead, it’s definitely my favourite one so far!

      Brilliant idea and beautifully executed… Bravo! Really really cool!

      Mars xx

      • Tracy
        January 28, 2015 | #

        Thanks Mars :) I am so thrilled with how this one came out, now I want to get more clay! But I don’t have any ideas ready to put to clay just yet.

        I can’t believe it took me so long to start this resolution last year, but I’m having so much fun with it, even when the beads don’t turn out exactly how I imagined them. I wonder if I would have even done it if I hadn’t made it a resolution? And I owe that to you!

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