Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Paint Papers to Make Glitzy Beads

This is one of my favorite ways to make beads with an abundance of bling. It's adapted from a technique developed by Mary Todd Beam, whose artwork I've always admired. To give you an idea of the possibilities it holds for bead making, here's a photo of a choker I made recently, using her technique as the basis and then taking her process a step further:

The three large beads were painted using Mary Todd Beam's scraping technique. For these large beads I used blue, purple and green paint. Iridescent seed beads, gold plated spacers, metallic gold paint and four AB crystals provide the bling

A closeup of the center bead:

So, are you ready to try your hand at making beads like this? It's easy. Here's what you'll need:

Blue painter's tape (optional, but it helps keep the paper from sliding around)

Plain white paper such as photocopy paper or card stock. Here I used deli paper from Sam's Club.

Fluid acrylic paints. I used three transparent staining colors: Golden Paint's Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, Quinacridone Magenta and Pthalo Turquoise. Opaque colors can also be used but the effect is quite different. Just make sure your three colors result in pleasing hues when blended. You don't want mud!

For the "bling," you'll need a metallic acrylic paint. I used Iridescent Gold but Iridescent Silver or other metallic color will work too.

A scrap piece of bubble wrap

A wide flat brush or 1 inch wide foam brush to apply paint to the bubble wrap

A scraping tool such as an old credit card

A large piece of scrap paper for wiping off excess paint

Plastic sheeting, kraft paper, or white plastic garbage bag to protect your work surface. This process can be messy!

Important: Have everything assembled and ready before you start painting. Be prepared to work FAST.

Ready? Here's what you do:

1.Tape down your paper.

2. Apply your first color in a series of drips and dots about an inch down from the top edge. Here I'm using Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold.

I apply Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold first.
 3. Now do the same with the second color.

Next I apply Pthalo Turquoise.

4. Add the third color.

My third color is Quinacridone Magenta.
For this group of beads I wanted a striped effect, so I've applied the colors in a single line. If you'd like to mix them up a little, place additional drops of color randomly on the rest of the paper. Or drizzle on thin lines of paint, Jackson Pollock-style. Each method yields a uniquely interesting look.

5. Starting at one end of the line of paint, and holding your plastic credit card at approximately a 20 degree angle, drag the card once from the top of the paper to the bottom. Do not make multiple passes over the same are. Wipe off the excess paint on the scrap paper.

Use a smooth, steady motion to drag the paint.
6. Repeat on the rest of the paper. You should end up with something that looks like this:

7. Allow to dry thoroughly. Meanwhile, add more tape to the edges of the paper to secure it for the next step.

8. Put some metallic paint on your palette. With the brush, apply the metallic paint to one side of the bubble wrap. Immediately press the wet bubble wrap gently but firmly onto a section of the painted paper.

9. Repeat until the surface is covered with the bubble wrap design. Don't worry if areas of the metallic paint merge and blend or if the coverage is incomplete in spots; it just adds to the charm.

10. Allow to dry thoroughly. Your paper is now ready to become a gorgeous set of beads!

If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them. Just submit them under Comments.

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

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