Slices of twig make great beads. Add interest by making circular indentations in the face of each slice and filling with epoxy resin. You can colour the resin, using a single colour per piece or combining different shades. Larger slices of twig can be resin-filled in the same way to make a striking pendant for a necklace or the centrepiece for a brooch.
Quick size guide
For reasonably chunky threading beads, find a twig with an approximate diameter of 2cm. A length of 10cm will make ten 1-cm beads. Make sure you find a length of twig for the number of beads you wish to make. A branch slice with a diameter of 5–8cm would make a good-sized pendant or, perhaps, a centrepiece for a brooch.
Statement jewellery has become a staple in the modern wardrobe - nothing can lift an outfit more than a fabulous necklace or a stunning dress ring. But if you are unwilling to pay designer prices, and would prefer to have a truly unique item that is personal to you, crafted from an array of natural materials, why not make your own? Sarah Drew guides you through the discovery and selection process of sourcing decorative ingredients - whether beachcombing for sea string and driftwood, harvesting seed heads, cones and feathers from the woods, or foraging for brightly coloured discarded plastic in the city. She then gives detailed instructions on how to create beautiful pieces from your finds, such as a sea plastic cocktail ring, a driftwood deco tiara, a leaf bracelet or found-metal bead n...© 2013 Sarah Drew / Aurum Press · Reproduced with permission.
Using the saw, cut a number of slices from the twig – as many as you need depending on the design you might have in mind. This example is for a necklace that uses seven to eight twig beads strung with tigertail.
Using the round burr on the multi-tool, make random indentations in one cut face of each twig slice. You can use a Phillips screwdriver if you don’t have a multi-tool. Two different sizes have been used here for greater variety.
Mix your resin (see above) and use the cocktail stick to blob a small amount of resin into each cavity in the beads. You needn't be too neat, as you’ll sand the surface later on. Leave to set really hard in a warm, dry place for 48 hours.
Use the multi-tool with sanding attachment to sand the resin down. You could do this by hand with sandpaper. If you use the electric tool, don’t work on it too long as the resin can heat up and start to go soft again.
Sand the other side of each twig slice so that the backs of the beads are nice and smooth (this is quite important as this surface will rest against your skin).
Drill a hole through each twig slice from top to bottom (see page 69). This will allow them to sit flat against the skin when threaded together.
When you’ve drilled all the slices, it’s a good idea to oil the wood to protect it and bring out the colours a bit. Use olive oil on a soft cloth and rub it gently over the surface of each bead.
Use any threading technique to incorporate the beads into a striking piece. One of the most secure methods is by using tigertail and crimp beads following the steps on pages 24–25.
You can use resin beads in various ways. In the steps shown, the beads are threaded randomly alongside dark, stone beads for a solid-looking necklace. Singly, the beads can become a unique focal point for a brooch or ring. For example, make a brooch by placing a twig bead onto a beautifully textured piece of found bark. You can do this by drilling two holes through the bark and pushing the wires of a threaded bead through from front to back. Twisted together to secure the bead in place, the wires can then be wrapped around a small brooch back to finish. Another pretty use for a single twig bead, is by threading it onto a silver wire ring shank (see pages 30–31), as shown below, with iridescent beads of a complementary colour.
Mixing epoxy resin
Squeeze out equal amounts of resin and hardener beside each other on a non-porous surface. Mix together quickly, using a cocktail stick.
Add a colour of your choosing. Use things you might have lying about the house: old make-up, shoe polish, watercolour paint and so on.
Still using the cocktail stick, mix the colouring into the epoxy resin. Work quickly as the resin will begin to set once it has been mixed.