Monday, December 22, 2014

Extruded Square Spiral Beads and Memory Wire Bracelets -I-

When I first saw this free tutorial published by Marie Segal a while ago, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  It was even one of the first things I pinned to my Polymer clay pinterest board but it kept getting pushed down to the bottom of our "things to play with" list.  Then one day while working on our memory wire bracelets, I remembered those beads and immediately pulled out our extruder and dies and had to give it a whirl.  You need to make the extruded tubes first with the special clay core adapter to create a hole in the tubes for the beads.

Extruded strands with mica powders applied before twisting
I love how they turned out but for a memory wire type bracelet, we decided they should have a curve for a better fit and easier threading.  We had a bunch of these cool tins for covering with clay which are the same size as the wire so decided to use some as a baking form.  After applying the mica powders and twisting the long ropes, we gently arranged them inside the tins.  We placed the lids on each tin so they could be stacked on the baking tray in the oven.

Here are the long bead tubes after baking.  To seal the mica powders we like to spray them first with the PYM11 (Preserve Your Memories 11).  It was much easier to spray them first before cutting into bead lengths.  This way the mica powders wouldn't rub off during the cutting process.  To make cutting easier, we warmed the tubes first in the oven and then used a sharp, rigid tissue blade for cutting.

We then applied several coats of Pledge (Future) and then baked again at 200 F to harden the finish.

Here they are a few strung on the memory wire as bracelets.  We like adding our own clay rondelle spacer beads in with the twisted tubes.

To see our tutorial on how to make your own memory wire bracelets you can click here.  Making the beads and the bracelets are a lot of fun and so we have been making them in a wide assortment of colors.

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