Sunday 10 January 2016

2016 #1 The Leandra Bead {by Leandra Franich}

 2016 Topic 1: Transparent Art 

Hi everyone Leandra here.

Tonight I'd like to share with you a post about the Leandra Bead. This is the ultimate in revisiting old school techniques, but the transparent art topic gives me the perfect excuse to properly showcase this technique that caused a bit of a buzz back in the day! 

The Leandra bead is a way to create a 'bead' or dangle, perhaps for a mixed media project, assemblage etc The idea I had was to trap stuff inside the bead like mica, small beads, wire, gold leaf etc and encase those things in a UTEE (Ultra thick embossing enamel) glaze.

I did a quick Periscope stream this afternoon on the Leandra Bead, you can watch this replay of the live version via #katch. 

At the foot of the post you can see the high defginition, more profesh, You Tube Version.

By the way, Periscope is a live broadcast app with a chat feature, so it's interactive, and linked to twitter as you will see evolve while watching the replay.

You need to use the app via any apple hand-held device, or it's also available for android devices too. Please check it out and get on board as we will be doing lots of periscopes when we release our newest products....coming very soon!

STEP 1: Heat/ melt your UTEE
Turn on the meltpot to ‘HOT’ and fill with clear UTEE to the fill line. Add 1 teaspoon of flex (this makes the UTEE more durable so the beads won’t shatter). Once, melted turn down to 120-130 degrees for a thicker viscosity which makes dipping and layering easier.

TIP: Wait for the UTEE to melt before stirring, if you stir while the crystals are melting you will create air bubbles. Once melted, stir gently to ensure the flex is well mixed.

STEP 2: OPTION A: Making clear beads with paper
  1. Tear a small strip of brayered tissue paper, roll around a toothpick and secure with a small dot of glue. It needs to be loose on the toothpick.
  2. Holding the toothpick, dip into the UTEE, allow excess to drip away, then place the paper bead onto a craft sheet, it will create a bell shaped bottom.
  3. Once cool, pick up, and put a headpin through the base, it should stay secure.
  4. Dip again to secure the headpin in place, and then you are ready to think about inclusions to add. (as below)
STEP 2: Option B: Making beads with sequins or beads
  1. Place a sequin or seed bead onto the headpin. The colour of the sequin or small glass bead will shine through the clear UTEE, and is almost magnified by the UTEE.
  2. Dip into clear UTEE. Allow the UTEE to stop dripping, then twist the bead or turn it up and down until the UTEE sets. This is like a 'starter' bead.
  3. If you want your bead larger, then dip again.
  4. Wrap the bead with wire, and dip again allow the excess to drip before you twist or move the bead.

TIP: Once you lift the bead from the UTEE, and let the excess drip off, it’s a good idea to keep the bead moving because if you hold it still, the UTEE will droop, if you keep the bead moving, you will be able to help the UTEE set into a round shape. Unusual shapes can be really interesting, so don’t expect to get a set of identical evenly shaped beads!

STEP 3: Making coloured beads
For this you can either use 2 melt pots (one with clear and one with coloured UTEE), or you can set up the melt pot with coloured UTEE, and half-make make the beads with colour, then fill the meltpot with clear to finish the bead.

  1. Place a sequin or small bead onto the headpin as before and dip into the coloured UTEE. Twist until the bead has set.
  2. Repeat these dips until you have a ball the size you prefer.
  3. Now dip the bead into clear UTEE. Twist, set and repeat so you have 2 or 3 layers. 
  4. Next, wrap with wire and dip into clear 1-2 times to glaze.
  5. Wrap green beads with blue wire, or blue beads with green wire and dip to glaze. Be careful as wire-wrapped beads grow really fast into huge beads!

STEP 4: Other Dipping Ideas
Variation 1: Inclusions
Once you have created your starter bead using an option above, while the UTEE is set in shape, and still warm, try dipping directly into the following:

- no hole beads

- gold leaf or flakes
- wrapping it with coloured or plain wire (finer is easier, and UTEE magnifies it anyway to look bigger)

- fine embossing powders, zap then re-dip.
- mica powders
- brush on Treasure Gold
- clear sparkly EP
- there are lots of things to try here!

Now dip again 1 or 2 times in the clear, allowing to set up between dippings...until your bead is the size you want.

Variation 2: Coloured UTEE and Inclusions
The beads also looks superb when you half dip or create a coloured UTEE core.
Then proceed as above with inclusions/ mica powders
- green into blue (or blue into green - create a starter bead/ core), and then glaze with 2 coats of clear.

Note: To dip into heavier items, or to achieve good adhesion for beads, mica powders or gold leaf the UTEE blob needs to be hot so the items stick to it. Allow the excess drips to cease, and then dip the bead straight into the embellishing substance (beads, mica powder etc). Tap off the excess and re-dip into CLEAR UTEE to glaze. Repeat another layer of glaze if you wish.

STEP 5: Adding beads to other items

To finish your bead, first you need to trim the 'UTEE collar' of the bead, sometimes you get too much UTEE creeping up the head pin. While warm, use cutters to trim the UTEE away at the top of the bead and up to the head pin. Repeat from a different angle - you should be able to remove the collar and apply a capping bead.

Make a loop for the bead with round-nosed pliers. Then you are ready to attach it to anything.

So I hope you can find some kind of receptacle to melt UTEE in (if you can't get a Melt Pot), and have a go at this, it really is rather fast, and lots of fun to play about. There are endless variations on this concept! With metallic UTEE, sparkly stuff etc.

Here is the YouTube video we shot of the Leandra Bead. 

So that's it from me, have a great week, and don't forget to show us what you make!


We would love to see how you interpret this Topic: Transparent Art, by linking to our 2016 Challenge #1: Transparent Art, on this page HERE.

Our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas, particularly if you were inspired directly by their post. 

Links go in the draw to win a £50 voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Transparent Art link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, January 17th. The winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.


    Helen said...

    fantastic closeups of the beads, Leandra. May even get my melt pot out again!

    Craftyfield said...

    OMG! How beautiful can they get these beads! Didn't think of the dipping ingredients you used to finish them off, I just have to try this ASAP.

    Lucy Edmondson said...

    These are so beautiful, Leandra! I made your beads back in the day but they never turned out as good as these,

    Lucy x

    Julie Lee said...

    Thank you so much for showing this, Leandra. I got into crafting after your 'bead sensation' and now I can see for myself! They look amazing! I don't have a melt pot, as I believe they stopped making them. These certainly make a gorgeous addition to a project. xx

    Unknown said...

    These look gorgeous Leandra especially once they are on a project! Thoroughly enjoyed watching you on Periscope and look forward to many more broadcasts.

    Lesley Xx

    Words and Pictures said...

    These are glorious, Leandra - colours right up my street, plus translucence, plus dancing light... they look magical dangling on the edge of the project. Oh dear, there are just too many things I want to try and simply not enough time.
    Alison xx

    Kirsten said...

    The beads are so gorgeous! I would love to have a go at making some, shall have to get some of those pin things....

    SueC said...

    Beautiful beads Leandra ! Will need to brush the dust off my melt pot me thinks ! Sue C x

    Hazel Agnew said...

    Great to see such treasures and refreshed my ideas about adding mica, treasure gold etc! Xx

    Artmadnana said...

    Absolutely brilliant. Brings it all back! I loved making these with you the first time. Katy's Corner weekend? Something like that. Must have another play. Thanks for making the video Leandra!

    Lauren Hatwell said...

    That just looks like SO MUCH FUN and the beads are gorgeous. Wow! Lx

    Etsuko said...

    Oh! This is lovely project and fab video!! Wow I also wanted to say hello to everyone!!! I love the self embellishments and I wanted meltpot. But we need transformer... I'll get a transformer, meltpot and Ranger type heat-gun. Hahaha Etsuko xx

    Suzanne C said...

    Brilliant and beautiful!

    Julie S said...

    This is a first for me. LOVE these! Imagining all of the possibilties...

    Mac Mable said...

    How clever and fabulous inspiration. The beads are just fabulous and fun, thank you x

    craftytrog said...

    Wow! This takes me back! These beads were so much fun to make back in the day, and you've given us some fab new ideas Leandra! Great video too.
    Alison xx

    Miriam said...

    Love the Leandra bead :) Fabulous demo Leandra - love the close ups and the use of TG!!

    Maremi's Small Art said...

    How cool is that ! I wish I have all those awesome products :) so much fun, those are just perfect ! I am really impressed ! Marta x

    Ellie Knol said...

    WOW, I need to get out my meltpot more! Thanks for sharing Leandra!

    Marjie Kemper said...

    Super post! Watched your katch from the plane... thanks for sharing your great bead tute. Off to pin!

    orloff said...

    Can you think of a way to maybe while the UTEE is warm to put them into a mold that would make them spherical.

    Also is there a way to make these two hole for stringing or at least two ringed.