My little pot of beads needs topping up!
A little later in the day than I had intended, I am posting my little tutorial on how I make beads from painted Tyvek. I haven't done a tutorial on-line before so please bear with me and I'll do my best!
I am sure there are lots of variations on this technique. I'm not attempting to be an expert on the subject, I'm just showing you how I do it because I've been asked how I make them
Tyvek looks like paper, but has a fibrous grain to it that feels like plastic and is also like soft material. It can be painted, stitched, heated and distorted but it has fire-proof properties so it does not burn. That is why it is ideal for this project - the heat gun will distort the material but it will not catch fire. The thing to be careful of here, though, are the fumes when heating the acrylic paint so that is why I need to give a Health and Safety warning before we proceed - please read!
HEALTH AND SAFETY
A lot of this is common sense but I need to say it: It is recommended that this technique should be done either outside or in a very well ventilated room and a mask should be worn to protect against any fumes or smoke, especially if you are asthmatic or have other breathing difficulties. The Tyvek itself will not burn or catch fire but you must be aware of the risk of fire when using any heat gun/tool (it can easily get knocked over). Also, the wooden stick may catch fire if you heat it in the same spot for too long!!
I have specified a wooden stick because if you use a metal one it will conduct heat, get very hot and you won't be able to hold it. And, lastly, be careful with the scissors!! Please take care and have fun
OK - here we go!!
Craft heat gun
Sheets of A4 size Tyvek
Household paintbrush - 1 inch
Acrylic paints - you choose the colours
Reels of metallic thread - you choose the colours
Barbeque sticks (wooden - not metal)
Scissors, pin, glue stick
Preparation - Painting the Tyvek
Lay out some newspaper and paint your sheets of Tyvek with the acrylic paints. Leave to dry (around 30 mins should be ok as acryllics dry quickly). Then turn over, and paint the second side. Use a variety of bright colours on your sheets - paint in largish strips or paint the whole side in one colour. While the second side is drying, you can be washing up your pallettes, brushes, water pot and work surface etc.
To start with, I will show you a bead without threads
Cut the Tyvek into strips lengthwise about 12 inches long. Vary the width size a little (no need to measure, just do it by eye) - approx. (1 to 1.5 inches) and (2 - 2.5 inches)
Lay the narrower strip on top of the wider strip
Cut it in half - so you get two beads from this strip
Roll the two layers around the end of the wooden stick
and secure with a pin
The next bit is difficult to show you because I don't have three hands (one to hold the stick, one to hold the heat gun and one to hold the camera!) so I will have to explain it. Hold the stick away from you and hold heat gun about 2 or 3 inches from the Tyvek. Turn heat gun on and heat the Tyvek until it starts to bubble or fuse together, very slowly rotating and turning the stick until the bead is how YOU want it!
The other side of the bead
When the bead is distorted enough to your personal taste, turn the heat gun off. The bead will be warm and soft. Leave the bead on the stick until it has cooled. This only takes about a minute. As it cools the bead will harden and then you will be able to slide it off the stick
The bead will be rock hard when it's cooled. The size of the hole will depend on the diameter of the wooden stick you use
This is the finished bead with lots of texture and interesting layers. It can now be sewn to material using the conventional method of passing a needle through the hole or it can be couched on by sewing over and around the bead
In part two - I will show you the same method but using metallic threads to add some sheen and lustre to the beads