Thursday, June 21, 2012

Geisha Bamboo Bead Tutorial

Here's how I whipped up this dreamy focal bead from a two-holed bamboo tile bead and a miniaturized collage image, from my collection of old geisha postcards. The finished piece reminds me of an antique porcelain shard, but the postcard image dates only from the 1920s and the bead is brand new!

Tools and Materials You'll Need
1. Cut out the image.  I like to round the corners a bit.

2. Glue it to the bamboo bead.  I like to glue the image to the not-so-pretty side of the bead.
Apply glue (I used The Ultimate by Crafter's Pick) to the bead and burnish from the center of the image out. Press firmly to adhere the edges to the curved surface.

3. Sand the edges and rough up the image.  I like to use a multi-grit foam nail sanding block from the beauty supply store. Sand away any unadhered paper around the edges, and very gently sand away "unimportant" parts of the image.

4. Color the sides with gold leafing pen.  Carefully apply 18K gold leafing pen all the way up to the image. Let dry completely.

5. Apply and wipe off interference gold acrylic paint.  This adds a transparent shimmer when the bead is turned in the light. Wipe the paint away from important parts of the image. You can use your fingers or a damp paper towel. Let dry.

6. Apply 2 coats of yellow tinted satin decoupage medium. This seals the leaf and helps protect the image, and it also adds depth and dreaminess to the antique-looking piece.


  1. What a charming tutorial, very easy, and yet it appears to be very sophisticated and antique. Thanks for this!

  2. Thanks Mary, for the feedback -- it's a very quick project too, because none of the materials take long to dry.

  3. wow! this is a beautiful focal. I use The Ultimate in all my work too - love that stuff. thanks for sharing the How-To!!

  4. Hi Lynn, you're only the second person I know besides me who uses The Ultimate. But surely lots of people are using it if they stock it in Hobby Lobby etc.

  5. Great Tutorial! I will have to try it...


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