Sunday, October 5, 2014

Twirls & Swirls

About a week ago, I mentioned that I was going to work on swirl beads and learn how to use some bead shapers I'd gotten.  Instead, I ended up making ropey cuff bracelets.  Those clay side paths....;)
I still wanted to work on swirly-twirly beads, and practice with the bead shapers, so I headed back to the worktable.  Today you get to see the results.

Swirl or twirl beads are usually made from sheets of colored stripes, then rolled by hand. There are various examples on the Internet, including a very nice tutorial from Cindy Leitz, who calls these "torpedo" beads.  I started with a striped stack I had, cut and rolled a slice, and used the bead shaper to make a bead.  The photo to the right shows the striped stack and the bead. This look is fairly typical of this type of bead design.

 I wondered what would happen with other types of striped stacks, so I decided to use some of the wedge canes and Ikat stacks I have to make more beads.  The picture below shows an Ikat cane and two swirled beads.  These beads were made by rolling the clay on a flat surface using the palm of my hand.  As you can see, this method makes pointed beads.  I think this shape may be the origin of the name "torpedo" bead.

Here are more swirled torpedo-shaped beads.  Some were made from Ikat canes and others were made from some of my wedge canes.

Finally, I have some earring sets made from various canes and stacks, and rolled in the bead shaper.  These bead shapers are a great way to ensure your beads are the same size and shape.


  1. Great job on the torpedo beads Kristie! I especially love the ones done with the Ikat cane. They look very painterly. Thank you for mentioning the tutorial. Here is the link for those who are interested: ~Cindy

    1. Thanks so much, Cindy. I'm glad you added the link. Your site is an excellent source of many great ideas and polymer-related information!