Tutorial by Debbie Warren

MICROBEAD BEADS using OPALS © embossing enamels

Instructions are for approx. 10 beads in one color at a time.
I think this is the easiest way to make them.

¼” Red Liner tape
Microbeads in any color or combination of colors
Jewelry headpins (not eyepins)
Clear Opals (Franklin) embossing enamel

The Melt Pot
Alligator clip
Craft sheet
Roundnose pliers
Chainnose pliers

Turn on your Melting Pot to prewarm it. Make sure you do not have a project pan in it!

Take approx 10” of ¼” redliner tape and dip the exposed side in microbeads.
I find that the hardest part of this whole process is to start peeling the red liner off the tape, so once you do manage it, wrap the tape around headpin, bead side out, as close as possible to the head of the pin. After you have wrapped it about 4 or 5 times (approx. an inch of tape), cut off the tape but leave the red liner intact, so you can start the next bead without having to fuss with trying to get the redliner started again. This is hard to describe, but hopefully you will see what I mean when you do it.

Look how clean my fingernails were when I took this picture. Must have been just *before* making polished stone backgrounds. LOL Make about 10 beads to this point before the next step.

Add Opals to your melting pot, cover and wait until it is all melted. Do NOT do as shown in the pictures, which is to leave your project pan in place!!!!!!

Clip your headpin sideways into your alligator clip, so that is all one parallel line, not vertical to your alligator clip.

This is because the next step is to drag your bead through the Opals at the deep end of the Melting Pot, and you want to make sure you get the top of the bead covered. You want to “drag” it more than “dip” it. This is also why eyepins don’t work well, you can’t get your bead covered without also covering the eye. Tap the bottom of the bead lightly on the Melting Pot pan a few times to sortof drip off the excess Opals.

Rotate the bead slowly in the alligator clip for about a count of ten to cool it. You are rotating it to keep the Opals from all falling off to one side while you hold it till it sets. DO NOT TOUCH HOT OPALS!

When the bead is cooled, but still slightly warm, use your thumbnail as a cutting tool on the top of the bead and slide the excess Opals off the open end of the head pin.

When you have all the beads covered, find some jewelry making directions you can follow for making the eye out of the head of the pin, and hang the bead on a chain to make a bracelet, or add to a bookmark, or whatever else you want to do with it.

I tried this using FruFru (similar to Frozen Opals) on the tape. It was not a great success, at least not if you want a nice even bead.
A friend, Beki Ward, suggested adding gold leaf. We covered one side of the redliner tape with gold leaf and no microbeads, which means you need a longer piece of redliner tape to make the same size finished bead, but it was gorgeous when done. The thinner gold beads shown in the above picture are gold leaf only, the fattest one on the left is red and copper beads mixed, with some gold leafing.
I tried using PearlEX to fill in the gaps around the microbeads. Not a great success either, but that might have been my choice of color combinations (teal beads, copper PearlEX, shown in the next picture next to the blue and silver striped bead).

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