Glazing paper beads is one of the most important steps in making sure your paper beads are strong and water resistant.
Notice I say water resistant and not waterproof.Why would you want your beads to be waterproof?
Are you going to wear them in the shower or swimming pool? Hopefully not.
However, you may be wearing paper bead bracelets when you wash dishes or get caught in a rain shower and so having a water resistant glaze would be very helpful.
But making paper beads water resistant isn't the only reason to glaze them.
A good glaze also makes them super shiny and much stronger than if they are left unglazed.
So there are many good reasons to find out about glazing paper beads.
How do I go about glazing paper beads?
One of the questions I get asked the most is about glazing paper beads.
And I always tell people that I use various products, depending on what I have in my studio.
(You can see for yourself how I made some paper beads and then glazed them with Mod Podge Super Gloss Brilliant by going over to my YouTube channel.)
I was very pleased when Plaid, the company that makes Mod Podge sent me some of their products to try out because that means I can tell you about them as I use each one.
And by the way, if you have already made traditional paper beads and you want to have a go at making something slightly different to glaze, check out this blog post.
Whatever shape they are or whatever method you choose to make them, glazing paper beads is something that is worth spending time over if you want your paper 'jewels' to last.
The 'soaking a glazed paper bead in water test'!
The picture to the right shows two paper beads that I glazed with Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant.
The bead on the right is as it was after the glaze was dry.
The one on the left had been soaked in water overnight for 14 hours after the glaze was dry.
It totally kept its shape, it did not come unravelled and when I air dried it for a couple of hours, it still had its glazed shine.
The only thing it appeared to lose was some of its rigidity. It also seemed to expand a little. Will update you if it shrinks after a few hours.
So I think it is safe to say, two coats of Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant on your paper beads will keep them more than adequately water resistant.
Even one coat (which is what it is designed for) will be fine.
Recently, on my YouTube channel, someone asked me what I use when glazing paper beads for wearing ‘in all situations’.
My first thought was, would I wear paper bead jewellery in ‘all situations’? Do I wear any of my jewellery in all situations?
Apart from my wedding ring and the silver stud ear rings I wear in the winter months (because I have lost way too many dangling earrings caught on winter scarves!), I never keep any other jewellery on all the time.
I would guess most people take off their jewellery to shower, bath or swim, whatever it’s made of.
So I don’t think paper beads need to be waterproof - water resistant will be good enough for most people’s needs. That means you don’t have to expose your lungs to the horrible fumes that you get from oil based products when glazing paper beads.
And if you get the Glaze on your fingers, it will wash off without the harsh solvents that oil based varnishes need.
Why bother glazing paper beads at all?
Well, of course, you don't have to, BUT, they are paper and as such, they would eventually get damaged without some kind of protection.
My reasons for glazing paper beads is because it makes them more durable, more attractive, it makes colours pop more and as I said earlier, it makes them water resistant.
If you listen carefully, on my video, when I have glazed all the beads and let them dry, you can hear how much harder they are after glazing when I tip them from hand to hand. They sound like plastic beads and they become nice and shiny.
Although I don’t show it on the video, I did make my beads into a bracelet to give to someone who has been really kind to me since my dad died.
If you want to see the technique I used to string the beads, let me know in the comments section underneath the YouTube video that goes with this post.
And one last thing - maybe you can teach me something...
if you look at the picture below, you will see a close up of the knot I made in the stretchy thread I used to string the beads, you will see a blob of glue that I put on the knot to secure it.
(No, it's not some glistening snail like creature crawling out of a bead!)
What I want to know is, how do other people make more dainty, but secure knots in stretchy thread?
I find that the slippery rubber stretchy thread kind of resists staying knotted unless I glue it.
I would be really pleased if you could let me know by leaving a comment underneath the video over on YouTube.
And if anyone is wondering how I managed to get a close up of the teeny knot just using an iPhone...
I use this brilliant little macro lense that clips over the camera on my phone..
I’m so impressed with it that I have found a similar set to the clip-on lens set that I’ve got and put in my Amazon shops.
And if you are glazing paper beads of your own - you will also find the Mod Podge Super Gloss - Brilliant In My amazon shops along with other glazes that I recommend.
What are you waiting for? Get glazing paper beads today!