Polymer Clay Warring State Beads Before baking

Polymer Clay Warring State Beads Before baking

I’m not sure I am doing myself any favours putting photos in here at this scale!

Anyway, I have never done lampworking, but have always thought that warring state beads were pretty cool.  What the? you say? Well I didn’t realise what they were called either! but if you want to know why here is a WikiPedia Article on them .  I thought it would talk about something metaphorical relating the colours on the ‘horns’ to states or something, but they are just basically named that because of the name of the era they started being produced in… Cool name though.  They are also referred to as eye beads, so maybe the term ‘horn’ used to refer to the concentric circle thingamabobs is a misnomer? Should we be calling them eye stems?

Any hoo, so I found a tutorial at Kalmbach Publishers for purchase written by Lura Hatcher for purchase for $3.95 and well I wanted to know how to make warring state beads in polymer clay instead of using lampwork, so I got it. It’s a well written easy to follow tutorial, but from looking at the bead and figuring out how you would go about it, that is pretty much it, so if you want to guess at it, go ahead. Otherwise get the tutorial, or email me and I can give you a breakdown on how they are done…

They are quite pleasing when they start coming together and for someone with hints of OCD (especially in relation to symmetry) they are quite therapeutic even, if you don’t like production style work that takes a while and requires patience before you can see the final product then it’s not for you.

Things to watch for:

  • Polymer Clay Warring State Beads Before Baking

    Polymer Clay Warring State Beads Before Baking

    A few of my circles cracked even though I considered the clay quite conditioned, so not sure how I would have remedied that.

  • while I may be a little OCD (literally to anyone taking offense to me using the term, I am sure I have signed paper from a psych somewhere with it written on!) some of my circles were not always the same sizes, I didn’t mind it, I like that they are like that and I don’t really think you can be very accurate with lampwork anyway, so no need to with clay right?
  • I am not quite adept at making perfect spheres ( no bead rollers here baby! – well yet ) and also not quite adept at making perfectly aligned straight through holes through said beads, so if you are like me in that aspect, you will have to use artistic license for the placement of your circles in their quadrants because while they may be symmetrical in amount and placement they will probably not be in relation to your slightly mishappen spheres and slightly mishappen holes 🙂
  • When glazing, it’s tough to do the dip thing to glaze them if your beads don’t fit through the neck of your glaze bottle… LOL – I ended up pouring the glaze into a shot glass and using it that way.
  • I lost patience whilst glazing so not all are done yet, will update with additional photos when I have them.

Materials I used:

  • 1 pack of Sculpey III Black (56g)
  • about 1/2 a stick of 3 colours of Mont Marte Make and Bake Clay (they look like the size of crayons) ~ about 6g per colour
  • 3/4 of a pack of translucent Sculpey III
  • for each colour I mixed 2 parts Sculpey III Translucent with 1 part Colour (about a quarter of the 56g block for each colour – I used 3 and had left over colours)

What I ended up with:

  • 14 Large circle beads with 4 Large Horns (4 circles each), 8 Smaller Horns (3 circles each) and 16 spots (yellow in photos above)
  • 11 Medium disc beads with 4 horns (3 circles each)
  • 9 Small circle Beads with 8 spots and 16 horns (2 circles)

I continued with this post here if you are interested 🙂