Friday, 13 January 2012

Elephant beginings

I love the animal beads, I think I could just make them and nothing else.  I belong to the Craft Pimp Forum Craft Pimp Forum and have got involved with the Beads of Courage programme.  I first saw this programme a while ago, but it was being done in America, and although I did ummm and ahhh over sending some beads over there, it never happened, but I never forgot about it, so...when I heard that the programme had finally come over here to the UK, I was one of the first to get fact I have it on good authority that I was the first person in the UK to send fabulous is that!!  I now try to make at least one Beads of Courage bead everytime I am in the studio and save them up into a nice pile of beads and send them off.  

So what is Beads of Courage??

Beads of Courage is an organisation that provides care and support to teens and younger children going through the serious illnesses and treatments like cancer.  The donated beads are given to the children at various stages of their treatment and helps them to take control of their own situation and the beads allow them to keep a record of the really important milestones of their treatment.  All beads are donated.  The artist doesn't receive any money or postage expenses, its all done from the heart to the children.  The best part is that it is now in the UK so all  UK lampwork, and other mediums, artists can donate.  Its a wonderful idea and I am very proud to be a supporter.  

To get more information on Beads of Courage please click the link Beads of Courage  or go to the Craft Pimp Forum where there is some information too.  

Most of my glass beads are whimsy, but most have sticky out bits which are not suitable for children, so I decided to design a range of whimsy beads especially for the Beads of Courage programme.  I am willing to share my design and give a simple tutorial on the understanding that you make LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of these beads, but DON'T SELL any of them.  Donate them ALL to Beads of Courage...please x

So here we go, first tutorial I have ever done, and the first Whimsy Creature Bead Tutorial for Beads of Courage.

How to make an Elephant Bead

I am assuming that everyone who wants to make this bead has some knowledge of lampworking and working with the flame and glass.  Its not a difficult bead to make, but do remember to play safe!

Whimsy creature beads can be any colour, but for this one I have used:

1 Rod of Grey
1 Stringer of Grey
1 Stringer of light ivory
1 Stringer of black
1 Stringer of white
1 Stringer of clear

1 Lentil press by Zooii
Lampworking tools, such as pick, sharpe blade etc.,

Start by winding a nice sized blob of grey onto a prepared mandrel. 

After pressing into the lentil press, no need to be fussy about any over spill...

add a stripe of grey glass to both sides of the lentil, 

Using your tweezers pinch the stripe of glass two or three times, this will be the ear of the elephant,

do both sides...and using your sharpe blade, gently press the 'ear' crease up slightly to give more defination to the face shape.

Now add the eyes, I layer black, white, clear and then a black dot for the iris, but you can use another light transparent instead of clear to give different colour eyes, can you see the elephant yet??

Using the grey stringer, draw a J shape from between the eyes down to the bottom of the 'face'

Using your sharpe blade, put some 'dents' into the 'trunk', then using your pick gently push the end of the trunk in to shape the elephant mouth.

Next, using your stringer of light (or dark) ivory, make two little stripes either side of the trunk,

again, using the grey stringer, put two dots on each top of the ivory stringer and gently press down, we now have tusks on our Elly!

Give your elephant a nice warm bath in the flame and pop into the kiln for annealling.  All Beads of Courage beads have to be annealled and properly cleaned before you can send them in.  Using the lentil shape means you don't have to concentrate too much on good ends, again, pointy and sharpe ends are no good to the children.

Finally....after soaking in a nice hot kiln, and cooling!! take out your Elly, give him a good clean and put him to one side whilst you make lots more.  You could add a bow to the ear for a girlie Elly, or a bow tie under the trunk for a boy Elly, have fun, but make lots!

This is the first tutorial I have written so if you spot any terrible mistakes, please let me know, I am planning on doing some more so all input is welcome.

Laney x


  1. I have read about this in the States,how wonderful that it is over here now Laney. It is SUCH a fantastic idea and is known to reduce the stress and pain suffered by these unfortunate dear children. What a worthy cause you have signed up for. I loved the tut..great to see Nelly come to life. Well done you for all your hard work.
    Jane x

    1. Thank you Jane x It is a brilliant idea and I am so pleased to be part of it. I am lucky enough to have very healthy robust kids, both have had hospital treatment of some kind, broken bones for the boy and my daughter had an allergic reaction to a virus, but they both recovered. I can't imagine going through such a long treatment with not knowing what will happen in the end. Tune in for the next bead, I am thinking sheep or rabbit, seeing as its soon Easter!!

  2. Laney that is a lovely tut....I may have a go tomorrow while on camera for my 1st BOC test run..;)x


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