View Full Version : How To Make a Gingham Bead

05-21-2004, 07:01 PM
Sometime around last Christmas I got it in my head that I wanted to make a bead with a gingham design. Once or twice a week I'd try to get my dots to turn into squares; no luck. Finally one day I just sat at my torch and experimented with many different ways to place dots; after at least 30 tries I hit upon the technique I now use. That's what I'd like to share with you today.


Gingham is a fabric made of dyed yarns woven into a plaid/check pattern. In order to duplicate the look in a glass bead, it's important to take care in choosing your colors. My first gingham beads were blue, made with light lapis and periwinkle, and that's still my favorite to date.

Another good combination is light and dark turquoise; that's what the demo bead is made with.

Materials needed:

Light Blue Transparent
White Stringer **
Dark Turquoise Stringer **
Light Turquoise Stringer **

**These stringers are fatter than what I normally use for decorating beads; about 1-2mm in diameter.

Step One:

Wind a small bead onto your mandrel using Lt Blue transparent.

Step Two:

Using the Dark Turquoise stringer, place 6 dots around the equator. See pic 1


Step Three:

With the Light Turquoise stringer, place 6 dots around the equator, snuggling" them up

between the Dark Turq dots. See Pic 2


NOTE: This is where you have to disregard that tiny voice that says 'be careful not to let the dots touch' because it's important that they DO TOUCH each other.

Step Four:

Still using Light Turquoise, place 6 dots on either side of the center row, NEXT TO THE DARK TURQ DOTS. Again, be sure they are touching. See pic 3


Step Five:

Now with the White stringer, fill in the spaces in the two outer rows. Don't forget to snuggle! See pic 4


Finally you are ready to start melting in the dots. I start by melting the outer edges until glowing, then the center. The idea is to get the dots melted in and be done. It takes some practice because if you have to continue heating the bead to center it, the dots will start moving around and you'll lose the pattern.


Ta-daahhh! You've made a gingham bead! Now post your pics here so we can all see!

NOTE: when you're choosing your colors, keep in mind any reactive properties. Green gingham beads are a little tricky, because if it takes too long to melt the dots in the green starts spreading.

Variation: Instead of two colors plus white, use just two colors in a checkerboard pattern.

OF course, the most important thing is to have fun with this. I welcome any questions/comments - this is the first tutorial I've written for glass, so I may have left something out.


Melinda Melanson
05-21-2004, 07:03 PM
May I link to this tutorial from my tutorial pages??? Great job!!

05-21-2004, 07:06 PM
Sure Melinda - that'd be great!


05-21-2004, 07:06 PM

Thanks for sharing that tutorial, very cool effect :D :clap: :clap:



SLY Creations
05-21-2004, 07:13 PM
Teri, the generosity of the people on this forum never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for the tutorial.

Now this is something that I think even I can make she says with confidence until she gets to the torch.

AMR GlassWorks
05-21-2004, 07:23 PM
Yay Teri!! I'm so glad you finally did this!! It looks great!!! :clap: I'm off to vote!! :D

05-21-2004, 07:32 PM
Wow! Great technique, thanks so much for your generosity and sharing knowledge. It looks like tons of fun, we can't wait to try it!!! :D :clap: :D

05-21-2004, 07:42 PM
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've always admired your gingham beads. Thanks SO MUCH for the tutorial!

05-21-2004, 07:43 PM
I'm SOOOO glad you posted this. I was very sad to miss it at the cabin. And talk about thinking outside the box. My brain had it all done with overlapping stringers.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

EXCELLENT technique!

05-21-2004, 07:49 PM
I have always oogled at your tiny head bead picture! Thanks so much for sharing!

05-21-2004, 07:49 PM

If I had a brownie, in two pieces, I'd give you the bigger piece. And THAT is saying alot!

Thanks! Vanessa :D

05-21-2004, 07:50 PM
What a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to have to try this out.


05-21-2004, 08:17 PM
How do you do this voting??? :confused:

Yay Teri!! I'm so glad you finally did this!! It looks great!!! :clap: I'm off to vote!! :D

05-21-2004, 08:56 PM
Yep, that's me...running to the torch right now. Beautiful beads!

AMR GlassWorks
05-21-2004, 08:57 PM
Candle-spa (sorry don't know your name!) You go up to the top of the thread where it says "Rating Thread" and then the pop down menu will show where to vote!

05-21-2004, 08:59 PM
Awwwwwww, you guys are making me blush! Thanks for all the kind words.

I forgot to mention: Make these beads, trade'em, sell 'em..... have at it!


05-21-2004, 09:25 PM
I'm baaaaackk, that was fun. Of course I was too lazy to pull the periwinkle stringer, but how cool was that to watch all the colors come together! The picture is of the good side, the other side is really bad! Thanks SO MUCH for sharing!


05-21-2004, 09:32 PM
Karen - that's wonderful! <sniff,sniff> I kinda feel like a grandma...

You know the other side that's a little goofy? Slap a raised flower over the messed up parts!!


05-21-2004, 09:39 PM
Teri!! Awsome!! Thanks so much!

05-21-2004, 09:48 PM
Aw Teri, this is so fabulous! I was wondering how you got the intermediate colors. All I could think up was blended colors and tricky stuff - as I gaze at the 3 looms, 1 spinning wheel and 2 knitting machines in my studio. :-) I was totally incumbered by understanding how they weave gingham! This is great! Thanks so very very much! ~Juliet (...who is down to the last of the bulk propane and hopes she has enough to play tonight before getting the bugger refilled tomorrow!)

double S
05-21-2004, 10:44 PM
Thanks Teri I had to run right out and try it. I have admired your ginham beads and asked Anne of AMR if she had any ideas or if you might post a tutorial. So you made my day.
Of course I don't have any thick stringer of a single color in light and dark so I used full rods :eek: I have 2 greens that are similiar in color. I did have a thick white stringer. So here is my first of hopefully many attempts.
Lisa S

05-21-2004, 10:45 PM
Good idea! I'll remember that next time. Thanks again for your wonderful tutorial, I'm pretty new to the art and trying to soak up as much information as possible.


05-21-2004, 10:48 PM
Teri, I just looked at your Ebay auctions, any chance we might get the tutorial on those cathedral beads????

05-21-2004, 11:47 PM
Good job Lisa, wasn't it fun to watch them all melt together?


05-22-2004, 12:28 AM
I'm definitely going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing it. It looks like, so far, everyone is having great results with it! :clap:


05-22-2004, 12:31 AM
Lisa! I'm so impressed - you did a terrific job - especially since you used full-sized rods. I pull my own stringers, except for white, so that's how I get matching colors in stringer form.


05-22-2004, 01:04 AM
Teri.... THANKS!

Wow, do I love those beads or WHAT???

My only problem... I just read this tutorial at 12:04 am... right before I WAS going to go to bed! I'll be up all night now......

Thanks again!

05-22-2004, 02:33 AM
Whoo Hoo! I just made a bunch (practicing ya know) :D I'll post pictures in the AM - oh, later AM - after I sleep some that is. :) They're in the kiln now annealing. Thanks so much for the fabulous directions Teri! It really does work! Now all I need to do is get my dot placement and sizing more uniform! Yours are so amazingly uniform! THanks! ~Juliet

05-22-2004, 02:54 AM
What a GREAT tutorial. Thank you sooo much for sharing this with all of us!!!


05-22-2004, 04:08 AM
So here is my first of hopefully many attempts.

Lisa S., what in the heck happened to your mandrel? I get dizzy just looking at it, let alone thinking about making a bead on it. :)

Great job by the way. I really like them - and that's saying a lot because I usually don't care for the color green, but you make it work.


05-22-2004, 05:16 AM
Awwwwwww, you guys are making me blush! Thanks for all the kind words.

I forgot to mention: Make these beads, trade'em, sell 'em..... have at it!


Thank you Teri! :clap:

05-22-2004, 08:31 AM

An excellent tutorial, well planned and executed, and amazingly generous! You're my mentor of the day.


double S
05-22-2004, 10:25 AM
Lisa S., what in the heck happened to your mandrel? I get dizzy just looking at it, let alone thinking about making a bead on it. :)

Great job by the way. I really like them - and that's saying a lot because I usually don't care for the color green, but you make it work.

LOL that's not my mandrel! it's some soft metal that I use to put the beads on before I photograph them. So it gets bent repeatedly(sp?) Not to say that I don't have some slightly bent mandels I still use the other end of beacuse I only have 12 mandrels :eek: I've got to buy some more.
Lisa S

AMR GlassWorks
05-22-2004, 10:40 AM
Lisa great job on the beads! Bring them tonight to the meeting! Hey you can buy welding rods and cut your own pretty cheap! I got a bunch at Tx Welders or you can prolly get them at any welding supplier! See ya tonight!

05-22-2004, 03:04 PM
I'm so glad you posted this...something new to try today! Thank you! :clap:

05-22-2004, 05:22 PM

You are such a sweetie pie for sharing this tutorial of your great gingham beads with us all. :clap: :clap: LOVE THEM!!!

Thanks Again!

05-22-2004, 11:56 PM
That is totally awesome! Thanks for showing how you do it. I just love the way it looks, I am going to go try it and will post a picture when it looks decent...hopefully it wont take to long! lol.

Thanks again! :clap:

New York Glitter Designs

05-23-2004, 12:27 AM
I've been foaming at the mouth over gingham beads for soooo long, I can't wait to try this out!!!

Unfortunately, Monday I have to ship my Lynx to GTT... apparently something is keeping the oxy valve open, and I'm having trouble lighting the torch... They'll fix it pronto, which is great, but I'll be without my baby for several days. Oh, boo hoo HOOOOOOOO!!!!!

(I might limp along on it tomorrow, though, can't ship it til Monday anyhow).

05-23-2004, 12:27 PM
Teri - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! These are great. Here's my first attempts at gingham beads. I've still got some practicing to do, but they sure are fun to make. :) I love your suggestion about hiding those *areas* ;) with flowers. I'll have to try that next time. :D ~Juliet

05-23-2004, 12:49 PM
Way to go, Teri! Great tutorial and photos! Very generous of you! I'm going to go give it another try today. All of you who posted photos.. excellent job! I'm really encouraged!!

05-23-2004, 11:37 PM
Well, Chelsea and I both tried making ginghams today, and neither one of us had much success. Looking at the beads now I think I see the problem. We both used transparent colors for the lighter shades. I wanted to make yellow gingham and all the opaque yellows are pretty much the same color, so I thought using a transparent yellow for the lighter shade would work. But, the color just "sank" into the bead and the overlapping effect isn't there. They're too horrid to even post here, but if you want I can prove it.

Oh well! We'll try again, and use only opaques next time! LOL!

05-24-2004, 12:48 AM
here's my first try at one...Used a 1/16th mandrel so bead is pretty small, had to use thin stringer to get between the dots. lol, oh yeah, on a blue base....what was I thinking! :rolleyes:

05-24-2004, 04:59 AM
Everyone's Beads look so pretty!! :D I am so glad to have found this, I tried it earlier and my beads turned out ok, a little big but not to bad. I will post them when my boyfriend gets home from work. He will have to help with that.

Thanks again for posting this! I also voted for this :clap:

New York Glitter Designs

06-05-2008, 02:20 PM
:cat: What a fun idea for summer.