Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to make your own bead display.

Thursday Tutorial spot is from our very own BeadsbyKat on how to make your own bead display.

I came on to the lampworking scene too late, it seems, to have been able to acquire one of the lovely bead display steps that some of my lampie friends have. There were some on offer recently but I missed out on those too as they were collection from flameoff only and I couldn't make it this year :(

Plus, as my friend pointed out - wouldn't it just be marvellous to just be able to purchase beads we like without 'having' to have a project in mind and be able to just display them and look at them!? They are little art forms, afterall!

So I did a little bit of research on the forums and saw that there was a way to make one with those wooden kitchen towel holders and realised I'd seen one like this somewhere - and then the imagination was off!!!

Amazon and ebay weren't too fruitful, but I found a couple in my local Tescos for a fiver each. I expect second hand shops would also be good places to look but I was never one for waiting, so took advantage of the Tescos ones.

I'm going to show you how I made mine. Truthfully I couldn't tell you how much of it came from what I've read or from my own head but credit definitely goes to someone else out there in the interweb for the original idea!

So - two wooden holder thingies. Get one of the 'poles' out. With these it was easy, just a swift yank whilst securing the base with a foot. Underneath revealed a slight circular dip in the wood.
And the pole that came out of the hole provided intel as to how to proceed with getting it to sit on top of the other!

So with my trusty hacksaw I shortened the remaining pole to the length of the mandrels that I was going to insert, and then with hacksaw and a cheap kitchen knife for carving I recreated the 'lip' that would sit inside the base.

The next conundrum was how to fix the top to the pole in such a way that it can be removed to add more beads. As I've been making my own knobs for a while now I decided to try and fix it so I could pop a knob on the top. I drilled a hole down through the top and through the pole. I had a threaded mandrel that had a knob that just wouldn't come off, and with my metal saw I sliced off about 2.5 inches from the other end. Got through about 3 saw blades but I got there in the end!! Its possible you can get shorter threaded rods but again, with the lack of patience thing I'm not one for waiting.

The next step was to make the little holes to put the mandrels into. I decided to use the small 1.6mm mandrels as they should be ok to pop any size of bead onto. So first I had to make a template. I drew around the circumference of the top with a sharpie on a piece of paper. Then I realised that I had got sharpie pen on the wood. Sharpie pen comes off, right?! 


Hmmm - use a pencil...

Cut out the circle and fold it in half, half again and half again. Using a pair of scissors, cut out a little notch on both straight edges, about one finger width from the rounded edge.

When you open it out you should have a bunch of little evenly spaced holes around the inside of the circle. Now cut the whole point off the folded piece so that it will fit over the pole.

Line the circle up with the edge of the base. Using your pen or pencil - ok to use pen here, we're going to drill it out! - mark dots through the little holes. Do this with the top piece also.

Drill all the little holes but not all the way through the wood. Then put all the mandrels into the holes and put the lid on, to test that you have measures everything correctly and that it all fits. It was at this point I realised I hadn't and ended up cutting the top of the pole back down a bit and re-doing the carved end but that serves me right for being slap-dash dunnit!!

Its a bit fiddly piecing it all together, take care not to bend your mandrels. Check that the threaded rod fits ok too. When you are happy with it all, take it back apart and get the glue out. I used a 2 part epoxy for this - because that's my favourite go-to glue. I wouldn't be able to advise for or against any other type of glue but I can tell you the epoxy has worked just fine!

So, glue the mandrels into the base only, and the threaded mandrel into the pole only.
Let it all set.

And then add some of your bead collection and put it all back together and admire!

I am not a diy expert, nor a health and safety expert. I'm more of a 'bodge it and leggit and use whatever tools come to hand maverik' when it comes to this sort of thing, so if you are having a go yourself, please be safe!

The beads shown on my display in the first photograph, from left to right are from the following artists:
The goddesses are made by me, they are my first attempts hence I'm keeping them!
Chicken beads are by Lesley Nixon at Mad Cat Glass
Beautiful shiney purple bead by Sue Reynolds of Flamin'eck beads.
Gorgeous blue heart by Ness of Beadupastorm
And just behind at a bad angle are two beads by Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork, and a scenery bead by an unknown artist that I got at a flame-off beadswap.