Making Your Own Mardi Gras Beads

You can make fun and easy Mardi Gras beads for your kids Mardi Gras Celebration with Salt dough. You can make these beads for just about any kid's celebration too.

You'll Need:

o 2 cups of plain flour

o 1 cup of salt

o 1 cup of water

o oven

o acrylic paint

o knife

o board

o rolling pin

o paintbrushes

o baking tray

o aluminum foil or wax paper

To start with you'll need to mix up your salt dough. Pour the two cups of flour into a bowl with one cup of salt and one cup of water. Mix with your hands until the dough is entirely moistened and sticks together. It should be like pizza dough easy to mold without it sticking to your hands. You'll see the little grains of salt in the dough.

Once the dough is made you can begin making the beads. Take the aluminum foil or wax paper and roll a sheet into a small tube shape so that it looks like a straw. Next roll out a sheet of the dough with the rolling pin until it's fairly thin. Gently roll a piece of this sheet around the foil tube. Cut with the knife to separate the dough wrapped around the tube from the rest of the dough sheet. Press the cut edge so that it's sticking to the tube. Next use your knife to cut the dough wrapped around the aluminum tube into small sections about the size of the width of Mardi Gras beads.

When the dough is cooked it should harden enough that you'll be able to pull each of the sections off the aluminum tube and end up with your Mardi Gras beads with a nice hole through them for stringing. Place the dough wrapped tube into the oven at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour. When it's done and cooled gently pull off the bead sections.



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Making Beads With Polymer Clay - An Introduction

Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for making beads. Although it has many other uses it's a fun, easy material to work with and making beads with polymer clay is only limited to your creative input! Polymer clay is not actually a natural clay, but a synthetic polyvinyl chloride composition that is malleable, can be colored and mixed, and once cured can be sanded, varnished, painted, and even cured again and again. It doesn't dry out so you can work with it as long as you want (although there are now various air curing polymers available that will harden over time once exposed to oxygen and can be oven cured in an oven to make them permanent).

Polymer clay is extremely versatile, and can be used to hand roll beads by simply mixing colors, adding a variety of materials such as glitter, or creating various shapes where the only limit is your imagination. You can make beads with polymer clay using molds, or even use it over frameworks to create charms with unique shapes that would normally be very difficult to form completely by hand. Mixing various polymer clay colors will yield an infinite variety of color patterns and marble looking textures. You can mix layers of it, then roll them into a cylinder, and cut slices off sushi-roll style to easily create the same variety beads for a single necklace. How about creating two or three of these rolls of various sizes and colors, making several type of unique beads, and then alternating them on your necklaces and bracelets? Brilliant!

Although it's a fairly lightweight material when cured, you want to avoid making beads with polymer clay that are large because in excess they will begin to get heavy. Now you don't have to make an entire necklace this way. After making beads with polymer clay you can string these into a piece of jewelery along with acrylic beads, glass beads, wood beads, or anything else you feel adds to or complements your custom jewelery. When it comes down to it the coolest thing about polymer clay is that you can make beads that nobody has ever seen before, and they are truly your own unique creation.

So for now I'm just going over the benefits of using this great crafting medium, in another article I will get into the more technical aspects of actually working with polymer clay, preparation, tools necessary, and some more advanced techniques you can use to really make your pieces shine! If you're just itching to get started go to your local crafts store or look online for polymer clay and you'll see that it's very easy to find and is relatively inexpensive. For a few bucks you can get started. You don't have to buy a mass bulk of it to wet your whistle. Get a couple of colors and start mixing. For making beads with polymer clay in it's most basic form you only need polymer clay, your hands, and an oven. The basic instructions will come with any polymer clay you get. Once you've rolled your beads (or you can do each one at a time), you simply need a skewer, toothpick, paperclip, or anything similar to poke the holes in your beads. You can use various types of threads and string to string them on. You can either purchase clasps inexpensively or simply tie the necklace if it's large enough to slip around your neck.

If you have kids or grandchildren it's a super fun project to do with them (and a great way to keep them busy for hours, trust me!). Besides getting their creative juices flowing, it teaches them how to mix colors, and come up with new shapes and ideas. Not to mention, making various shapes or even just rolling beads involves their finer motor skills and improves their dexterity. Have them pierce the holes in the beads and once you've cured them show them how to thread their new creations to finalize their own projects in to a full blown piece of jewelery. They will love it, I guarantee! So to make a long story short, making beads with polymer clay is fun, easy, inexpensive, and can yield some very professional results with a minimal amount of effort.



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What Are The Benefits of Acrylic Cabochons?

Acrylic cabochons are a really popular choice for those who are making jewelry, but some people are not completely sure what the major benefits of using acrylic cabochon over any other type of cabochon. A cabochon is the name for any bead or item which has been given a smooth bottom and a raised, polished surface. The surface can be a variety of different shapes or styles (although they are commonly domes), and can sometimes be faceted, but a cabochon always has a flat, polished base.

Although cabochons are usually made using opaque or semi-transparent items, they are not always made from gem stones or glass. The popularity of acrylic cabochons has increased in recent years as it has become easier to make beads out of this material. Using opaque materials or semi-transparent materials to make cabochons is better than using transparent ones, because this technique helps to enhance the natural luster of the material, and, in the case of synthetic materials, it helps to promote any design which is imprinted or emblazoned on it.

One of the major benefits of using acrylic cabochons is that they are less susceptible to scratches or cracks than those which are made out of glass or natural gemstones. The ways in which natural gemstones are formed mean that they are likely to have natural imperfections, which can look unsightly. Even if a crack or imperfection on a gemstone cabochon is not visible, it can create big problems, as they can make the gemstone cabochon really susceptible to damage. Because acrylic cabochons are man-made, they are unlikely to have fatal flaws. Acrylic is a very strong, versatile material which can be made in a whole range of different colors. The beads won't crack or break if they are dropped or knocked.

Acrylic cabochons are also a more economical choice than gemstone or glass cabochons. It is very easy to make any sort of acrylic beads, and cabochons are no exception. Unlike precious gem stones, acrylic cabochons are not rare, and therefore this means that they are a much more affordable choice. Despite being cheaper than gem stones beads, these acrylic beads can be just as beautiful as natural materials, and even more varied. This is one of the main reasons that acrylic cabochons are exceptionally popular amongst jewelry makers and hobbyists.

Because acrylic products are synthetic, rather than natural, it is possible to find a much wider range of products available. There are many different colors or patterns of acrylic bead which are available, which it would not be possible to find if you limited your choices to cabochons made of natural materials. It is much easier to imprint or emboss a design onto an acrylic product, without worrying about damaging the bead itself. This means that acrylic cabochons are a fantastic way to show off unusual designs. It is even possible to get these types of beads with letters printed onto them; so many people choose them when they are seeking to create personalized bracelets or promotional products. Different letters can be bought to spell out special words and phrases.

When you consider all of the reasons given above, it is no surprise that acrylic cabochons are becoming more and more popular as the days go by. To find cheap beads like these, or any other type of acrylic bead, visit your local beading supplies store, or log on to an online jewelry supplies website to check out what is on offer. Once you have seen the range available, you will be filled with inspiration. Use these cabochons for jewelry, crafts, clothing and much, much more.


For more information on sequin acrylic beads
or to purchase them online visit neon acrylic beads today!

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