Thursday 26 January 2017

Which Way Round?

Image 1

The thing about round image trans beads, the way I do them anyway, is that what seems to be the logical way to align the image doesn't show the image to its best advantage. See Image 1, above. 
I cut out two round, symmetrical pattern, image transfer circles and wrapped them round my bead core with the centre of each circle being over the stringing hole. Which looked fine until I actually stuck them on a string, at which point I found that the main focus of the pattern was hidden in the shadowy space between beads. The most visible part was the seam and the edge of the pattern, which was not ideal. It looked nice, but felt unsatisfactory. (Note- with an abstract, non symmetrical image, this issue doesn't arise, but I want to use my groovy patterns.)

Image 2

So I tried another way. Image 2. Aligning the images facing horizontally, so that the edges/seam cross the stringing hole, and the full pattern is visible on both 'sides' of the bead, facing the viewer as it were. It still gives you the seam on the other two 'sides' though. This works nicely, but depends on the direction the bead is facing. If the seam is facing the viewer things are less satisfactory.
You also can have difficulty locating the stringing hole in the core bead, unlike the previous method, where it is easy to find, at the centre of the pattern.

Image 3
Another way I tried, - Image 3 - hoping to sidestep the previous issue of having the seam presenting when I didn't want it to, was to wrap a larger pattern round one 'side' of the bead, (as far as that is possible, what with the overlaps and crinkles you might get once you get past the 'waist ' of the bead), and fill in the remainder with spare bits of pattern etc.

Image 4

OK, that worked up to a point, but the non pattern part still looked messy. Image 4. Probably, with a more planned approach it could look good, but I'm not convinced by it at present.

The other issue I had with these particular beads was my own fault. I wrapped some blank clay round a smaller bead core to make the core bigger, so I could use a bigger image. What I should have done was to bake the wrapped core before adding the image trans, but I didn't, so as the unbaked clay I had wrapped round the core was a bit squishy, things got a bit misshapen in the image wrapping and hole piercing process. . .

Well, live and learn. . And stop being so impatient!

I'm still not sure what my best option is. I might try wrapping a wide strip of pattern round the 'waist' of the bead. . . My best bet is probably to design some patterns with the interest being round the edges rather than the middle, then option 1 would work better. . . I dunno. But I will definitely bake the core next time. . ;-)
Jon x


  1. Go hollow! No pesky squish core...

    1. Good idea. I wish I could make hollow pods like you do. I will try again with some softer clay, like soufflé.

  2. How about a rectangle? It leaves only one seam along the side. You have to patiently pinch the ends together around the holes without pleating the clay. I haven't done this with a transfer, only with canes and it works well. Some people cover the ends with a little round cap of colored clay or a metal bead cap.

    1. Interesting ideas, thanks Phyllis. I shall try making some rectangular images and see how they work.

  3. Well Jon - your post has me quite interested in a solution to the problem and in hearing what others had to say.

    I was quite 'hmmm- don't think affronted is the word I want here but will use that' by the looks of some of your beads. However...I am always interested in a process and the following solution.

    Let us know what you discover!

  4. Affronted is a good word ;-) They do a look a bit rubbish I have to say ;-) I shall keep experimenting. . .