Are you looking for a cool arts and crafts project that you can do with your children and grandchildren? Try your hand at decorating ceramic bisque beads and pendants, a perfect summertime project to enjoy now that school is out. You can paint them, decoupage them, glue-on rhinestones and glitter, or even use a ceramic paint pen to embellish them. Then it’s time to get out all your bead supplies and turn your finished ceramic beads into a wearable work of art: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc. HAVE FUN!!!!
The Creative Cottage is happy to announce we just added a variety of ceramic bisque beads and pendants to our online store. Ready to paint ceramic bisque beads and pendants for use in your own custom designed necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other jewelry projects. Unglazed ceramic bisque pieces can be finished with glaze, enamels, art clay, precious metal clay, acrylic paint and more.
We have 8 styles of ceramic bisque beads, and 16 styles of ceramic bisque pendants for sale. Here’s the link to our current inventory of ceramic bisque beads and pendants: Ceramic Bisque Pieces.
Decorating Ceramic Bisque Pieces
Bisque is fired ceramic, which is ready to decorate however you want. You can use a variety of techniques to embellish your pieces including:
Paint with acrylic paint
Paint with enamel paint
Glue on glitter and/or rhinestones
Decoupage with decorative papers and Modpodge
Cover with Polymer clay then fire in oven
Decorate with ceramic glazes and fire in your kiln
Cover with Precious Metal Clay, or Art Clay Silver, then fire in your kiln
Glazed Bisque Jewelry Sets
Here are two examples of some of my bisque beads that I embellished with ceramic glaze and popped back in the kiln. Now I have two wonderful bead sets I can use to create a couple of one-of-a-kind beaded necklaces. I’ll probably used waxed linen to make create a macrame necklace using these glazed bead sets.
Fused Glass Pendants by Lynn Smythe
Fused Glass Puzzle Pendants by Lynn Smythe
Creative Cottage Founder and Chief Designer, Lynn Smythe, works in a variety of mediums including fused glass. She created these fused glass puzzle pendants to sell in her online shop and giveaway as gifts to friends and family.
To make the pendants, she starts out by stacking 3-4 layers of glass and fusing them together in one of her kilns. This creates a large glass blank, which she takes to her diamond band saw to cut out various puzzle shaped pieces. The pendants are placed back in the kiln for a second firing, to fire polish the edges, which were roughened by the diamond band saw. Once complete, she attaches a pendant finding so they can be worn on a neck chain or choker with magnetic clasp. The pendants use a lot of dichroic glass, which changes color depending on the the way light is reflected off the surface.
Fused Glass Puzzle Pendant Slide Show
Click on any of the photos shown below to see a larger version of the pendants presented in a slide show format. ENJOY!
Shop Online for Vintage and Collectible Merchandise
Our store listings have included:
Vintage Stangl pottery
Vintage Wawel Rose Garden place settings
Hand painted ceramic tea set
Silver plated platters
Vintage crystal condiment set
Vintage crystal bowls
Cranberry glass boudoir set
Mad scientists laboratory setup
Collectible Dolphin plates from the Danbury Mint
Support Non-Profit Charity Organization
Did you know that 20% of our sales on eBay benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? Lynn Smythe, Founder and Chief Designer for The Creative Cottage, has been involved in the Team in Training (TNT) program since 2006. TNT helps train you for long distance running, cycling, hiking and triathlon events while helping to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Lynn’s completed ten (10) events with the Palm Beach Chapter of Team in Training since 2006. While training for marathons, triathlons and bike rides with Team in Training, she’s managed to raise over $55,000 for LLS.
Fall 2006 – Intracoastal Waterway Century Ride – 100 mile bike ride – Cocoa Beach
Fall 2007 – El Tour de Tucson Century Ride – 100 mile bike ride – Tucson, AZ
Fall 2008 – Intracoastal Waterway Century Ride – 100 mile bike ride – Cocoa Beach
Spring 2009 – America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride – 100 mile bike ride – Tahoe, NV
Fall 2010 – Intracoastal Waterway Century Ride– 100 mile bike ride – Cocoa Beach
A few years ago, I became interested in fused glass. I purchased a small, bee-hive type kiln, by Evenheat, a few books on basic glass fusing, and a bunch of glass and glass cutting tools. I taught myself the basics of glass fusing and started making a variety of fused glass beads, cabochons and pendants.
As my interest in glass fusing grew, I bought a bigger kiln, so I could start making larger glass pieces such as plates, bowls and vases.
Here are a few photos of my fused glass cabochons. Glass cabochons can be used in beading and applique projects, silversmithing, art clay silver and wire wrap pieces.
Heart themed jewelry can be enjoyed anytime of year, not just on Valentine’s Day. This post features some of the beaded jewelry created by Creative Cottage founder Lynn Smythe. You can click on the pause button to stop the slideshow, if your prefer to click through the photos one at a time.
My favorite piece is the multi-colored heart bracelet. I made individual fused glass hearts in my Rapid Fire kiln by Evenheat. Then I attached the hearts to a sterling silver chain and added a sterling silver clasp – beautiful!
I used one of my lightboxes (I have three; small, medium and large) to take photographs of each piece with my digital camera. I should add some of these items to the Creative Cottage store when I get the chance.
Sculptural Peyote Stitch Flowers Created by Lynn Smythe
Peyote stitch is one of my favorite techniques to use along with seed beads. Sculptural peyote stitch, is a kind of free-form technique that uses various bead sizes and bead counts. Sculptural peyote stitch can be used to create an organic, 3-D beaded effect, which is perfect for making beaded flowers. Here are a few pictures of beaded flower projects I’ve created using the technique of sculptural peyote stitch.
Purple Beaded Flower Pin
I attached a pin/necklace finding to the back of the flower, which is covered with a scrap of suede. You can wear the flower as either a pin, or attach a gold or silver chain through the finding to wear the flower as a necklace. I used size 11/0 Japanese seed beads for this project. The leaves are made using the brick stitch technique.
Aqua and Purple Sculptural Peyote Necklace
This next piece is a necklace I created using sculptural peyote stitch for most of the project, with a few brick stitch aqua colored leaves. The neckstrap also uses the sculptural peyote technique. Each row of peyote stitch has slightly more beads than the previous row, causing the beadwork to ruffle and undulate, which creates a very organic looking project.
Sea Anemone Beaded Sampler
I call this necklace the sea anemone. I created this project as a bead sample for a multi week class I used to teach when I had a bead store (Dolphin Crafts in the old Gulfstream Mall in Boynton Beach, Florida). Besides the sculptural peyote stitch technique, this necklace also uses tubular peyote, beaded fringe, spiral rope chain and tubular African helix.
Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
I like to do many different arts and crafts: fused glass, jewelry making, sewing, beading, scrapbooking, macramé and more. I used to have a bead store so I have tons and tons of beads laying all over my craft room. I’m always looking for storage solutions to better organize all the different sizes of beads I have.
Rainbow Bandz was kind enough to send me one of their Rainbow Bandz organization boxes. The box is meant to store the different colors of Rainbow Bandz rubber bands, but I thought it would make a great bead storage box. The box has 20 adjustable dividers so you can customize the size and number of storage compartments.
Rainbow Bandz Box Makes a Great Bead Storage Container
I decided to use the box to store some of my vintage, glass African trade beads. I had them in some old, thin plastic containers that were starting to fall apart so the Rainbow Bandz storage box arrived just in time. I’m including a picture of part of the box so you can see how it looks – it’s a nice way to store some colorful beads!
The Rainbow Bandz Organiziation Box is a clear plastic organizer case for rainbow loom and rubber bands with adjustable compartments. It has plenty of room to fit the rainbow loom kit and other connectors. Each compartment is 2 inches wide x 1.9 inches deep and is 13 1/2 inches long max. You can buy the storage box and rubber bands from Rainbow Bandz on Amazon.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I have an old office chair in my home office that was looking a bit worse for wear. I purchased the chair from Office Depot years ago and really loved it. I picked out the orange color to match the decor of my old office. But divorce and getting rid of the house via short sale and I found myself moving many miles away from that office. I decided the orange color no longer worked in my new location, and it was starting to look a bit worn out.
The chair was still in really good shape, and I didn’t really have the money to purchase a new office chair, so I thought about reupholstering it. I’d been admiring an article in the Spring 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Studio magazine. Liz Kettle wrote the article “Fit For a Creative Queen; Office Chair Makeover”, which detailed the steps on how to recover a chair. It looked pretty simple – wrap the new fabric around the seat bottom and secure in place with a staple gun.
Liz detailed how to make a slip-cover type of covering for the seat top. That wouldn’t work with my chair. You can’t tell from the photos, but the back of the chair is much wider at the bottom and narrow at the top. And it has quite a deep curve – guess it’s ergonomic – great for your back. I started piecing together a slip-cover for the back, but after re-pinning it twice, I still wasn’t happy with the way it looked. I took a closer look at my chair, and saw there was a thin piece of plastic, attached with six screws, around the perimeter of the seat back. I removed this trim, and saw that the old orange mesh fabric was simply attached with a ton of staples.
So I cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the seat back and tacked it in place with tons of staples. Then I reattached the black plastic trim and TA-DAH! My office chair reupholstery project was complete.
Reupholstering Tips and Tricks
1. I used a manual staple gun which I don’t recommend. Beat the heck out of my hands and wrists. If I ever decide to refinish my dining room table, I will invest in an electric staple gun before I start reupholstering the six dining room chairs.
2. You can use an upholstery weight fabric to recover your chairs. I had thinner cotton fabrics on hand, so I turned under the edge before attaching to the frame with the staple gun. This is an home office chair so I think the fabrics I used will be just fine. But if you are recovering a chair for use in a business office, you might want to invest in a heavier fabric. Local fabric stores near me, such as JoAnn’s, have a clearance section with upholstery fabric remnants, much cheaper than buying off the bolt. You don’t need too much fabric for this project, especially if you use more than one pattern like I did.
3. You have to pull the fabric pretty tight before you attach it to the chair with the staple gun. You will have too much fabric in the corners, you can trim some of the excess away. To get neat looking corners, add some pleats like I did, before stapling in place. Once you turn the seat right side up and reattach to the chair frame, you will barely notice the fabric slightly puckers in the corners. In her article, Liz Kettle added a ruffle to the bottom of one of the seats she reupholstered, which adds a bit of interest and covers the corners.
4. You might need a hammer to get the staples to go all the way into your chair frame. I had a bit of trouble with the corners, with the extra fabric, some of my staples fell out. I add more staples, and used a hammer to make sure they went all the way in. If I invest in an electric staple gun for future projects, I’ll make sure to get longer staples.
The other day I blogged about my home office decorating project: Craft Diva Decorates Home Office. I mentioned the fabric covered memo board that I made for the office in that post. Here are the instructions on how to make your own French inspired, fabric covered memo board.
Fabric Covered Memo Board Supply List
Wood frame cork board
Old sheet or towels
Can of spray glue – I used Elmer’s from JoAnn Fabrics
Quilt batting – I used cotton, but polyester would work too
Decorative fabric – I found brocade fabric for 50% off in the clearance section at JoAnn’s. It was the perfect color for my home office decorating project.
Ribbon – satin, silk, grosgrain, etc…
Metal upholstery tacks
Staple gun – with small 1/4 inch long staples
Hanging hardware – to attach the finished memo board to the wall
Instructions for Making French-style Memo Board
Measure the cork board so you will know how much fabric to buy. I bought my fabric on sale, and got what was left on the bolt. I had enough to cover the front and back of the cork board, and enough leftover to make matching pillows for the home office futon.
Spray glue is a bit messy. You need to cover your work surface with a drop cloth, or old sheet, or a couple of old towels. I skipped this step, and the spray glue got all over the carpet. Luckily I have a carpet cleaner and was able to clean the rug as soon as I finished making the memo board.
Cut a piece of the quilt batting to fit the front of the cork board.
Spray the front of the cork board with spray glue, and attach the piece of batting.
Cut a second piece of batting that is large enough to cover the front of the board, wrap around the sides and attach to the back of the cork board. I used spray glue to attach the second layer of batting to the front of the board, and the staple gun to attach the batting to the back of the board. Trim the corners to get rid of excess batting.
Cut a piece of your decorative fabric which is large enough to cover the front of the board, wrap around the sides and attach to the back of the board. Use the staple gun to attach the fabric to the back of the board. Pull the fabric taught, while wrapping it around the sides.
Attach the decorative ribbon to the front of the board in a diagonal pattern. Wrap each piece of ribbon around the sides of the board, and attach to the back of the board using the staple gun.
Attach decorative upholstery tacks to the front of the board, where 2 pieces of ribbon cross over one another. Use a hammer, if necessary.
Cut a piece of fabric that is just slightly larger than the back of the cork board.
Fold the edges of the fabric under, then attach the fabric to the back of the board using the staple gun.
Attach the hanging hardware to the back of the memo board using a screw driver.
Attach 2 screws to the wall, where you want to hang the memo board.
Hang the memo board up, and enjoy!
To Measure or Not to Measure
I had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to equally space the ribbons on the front of the board. I measured it a couple of times, then tried to add ribbons evenly spaced on the board. But I kept redoing it because I couldn’t get the math to work out. I’m an artist, not a rocket scientist – HA! So I ended up going for the free form look, and adding ribbons wherever. So my diagonal placement is not equal, but I think it came out looking okay. You’re going to be adding a lot of items to the memo board, so it doesn’t really bother me that mine isn’t perfect.
I bought a bunch of bisque beads a couple of years ago to use as a base for metal clay beads. Bisque refers to unpainted pottery which has been fired but has not been decorated or glazed. Bisque firing takes a raw clay item, which has been dried leather hard, and fires it in the kiln to turn it into a hard ceramic item. I still have a ton of beads so I thought I’d buy some glazes and paint a few beads. I have no experience with glazing ceramics and had to do a bit of research. But I taught myself how to fuse glass in the kiln years ago, so I was pretty sure I’d be able to figure out how to glaze and fire beads.
I went on-line to research how-to glaze and fire bisque beads. I couldn’t find any information on how to fire bisque beads but I did find lots of information on glazing and firing bisque items, such as bowls and plates, so I used that as a general guideline. Most of the glazes I have don’t come with any sort of directions expect to fire them to cone 06, which is around 1798 degrees Fahrenheit. So I did a search on how-to fire to cone 06 and found some basic information.
Firing Schedule for Bisque Beads
I am posting up this schedule on how I fired my bisque beads after coating them with various glazes. I am assuming you have a basic knowledge on how to operate your kiln. I used a Jen Ken kiln with digital controller. I love that kiln, best piece of equipment I ever purchased for my studio. I can fuse and slump glass in the kiln, fire metal clay projects (i.e. Art Clay Silver or Precious Metal Clay), fire copper enamel or fine silver enamel pieces and even glaze a variety of bisque projects in the kiln.
RA = ramp temperature per hour
F = target temperature in degrees Fahrenheit
H = time to hold at target temperature
RA1 = 150
F1 = 300
H1 – 0
RA2 = 400
F2 = 1500
H2 = 0
RA3 = 120
F3 = 1800
H3 = 10
RA4 = 150
F4 = 400
H4 = 0
Translation of Bead Firing Schedule
Once the kiln is turned on, choose the correct firing program and start the kiln. The firing schedule, listed above, heats the kiln at 150 degrees per hour until it reaches 300 degrees. Then the kiln heats up 400 degrees per hour until it reaches 1500 degrees. Then it heats up 120 degrees per hour until it reaches 1800 degrees and it holds at 1800 degrees for 10 minutes. Then the kiln cools down 150 degrees per hour until it reaches 400 degrees, at which time the kiln shuts itself off.
After firing the ceramic beads, you have to let the kiln cool down to room temperature before opening it up and removing the glazed ceramic beads. The total firing time takes approximately 17 hours. That seems like a long time but it takes quite some time to safely heat the kiln to 1800 degrees and it takes quite awhile for the kiln to cool back down to room temperature.