Peruvian Beads

What you will need:

  • Crayola Air-Dry White Clay
  • Sharpie Fine Point Black Marker
  • Paint of various colors
  • Paint Brush
  • Pencil and/or toothpick(s)
  • String

With your Crayola Air-Dry Clay, form small balls or cylinders or various shapes. 

Next use your pencil or toothpick (use a pencil if you want a larger hole and a toothpick if you would prefer a smaller hole) to push a hole straight through your ball or cylinder.  You may have to wiggle the toothpick around to make an even hole.  Do not leave your pencil (or toothpick) in the clay bead. 

After your clay has completely dried (it will only take a day or at the most two), you can paint your beads and use the Sharpie Fine Point Marker to draw unique designs. 

When the paint dries, string your beads onto a study piece of string.  Be very careful with your beads.  If they are put under pressure or dropped they will crumble.

I made my beads for my Spanish 1 class.  They were a lot of fun to make and I think overall they turned out very well.  Well, all of the above was the tutorial.  If you would like to read my story below and promise to still be brave enough to make them…then scroll down!

As my Spanish teacher eagerly assigned South American Countries to each of us students, my stomach churned.  It was the last class before Christmas break and my family and I would be heading out-of-town for a while.  I was determined to be optimistic so i smiled as the teacher handed me the hand-out.  The country that now belonged to me (at least it did for a few weeks) was Peru.   It thoroughly explained how I would do extensive research on Peru and then search for a typical Peruvian craft.  When I found the perfect craft for me, I would then attempt to make it. 

Two days before my South American Craft Project was due, was the first day I had time to do the research.  Website after website and nothing inspired me.  Finally, I found a site that listed three or four Peruvian crafts that interested me.  The first one didn’t look like it would take too much time and I would even be able to use one of the Autumn gourds that  were now sitting in a grocery bag left over from Thanksgiving decor.  I eagerly went to pick out which gourd would become the lucky winner of a painted face.  To my horror, the gourds had been molding in the bag for who knows how long. (lol)  So tying up the bag I tossed in into the trash giving the once expectant gourds a different fate than they had thought just a minute before.  Going back to the computer, I scanned the other options.  Peruvian weaving seemed just a little too tedious for a two-day project.  And that is when Peruvian beads caught my eye.  I quickly dialed my daddy’s phone number and kindly asked him to bring home some clay. 

Later that night, right after a delicious Moes Burrito,  I got right to work.  Making sixteen beads wasn’t the easiest things, but I worked until the colorless shapes of clay were complete.  My little sister even got to make some clay “pancakes”  on the table beside me.  My brother was completely his “perfect” drawing of the bird of Ecuador with his artistic and quick hand.  The drawing turned out great!  For a young artist, the face and feathers were almost real. 

The next night, I was happy to find my clay balls and cylinders hard and dry and amazingly not cracked!  I had been soon nervous that the project wouldn’t work as it was supposed to.  But I am so grateful to God for making sure the little balls of clay dried just right.  I picked up my brush and mixed some paints and before long and I off to painting.  I found some designs online and discovered that using a Sharpie Fine Point Marker would make them look more authentic.  The paint I used was washable.  If I made these again I would probably not use washable paint.  It requires several coats and makes the clay wet. 

Bending over a card-table in a metal chair for three hours was not the most comfortable thing to do, but i wanted to make my product a “well-done”.  Stringing a sturdy string through the small toothpick holes was a very tiresome job.  I ended up putting Scotch tap on the end of the string to fit it through the holes.  I was finally able to knot the end of the string and complete the project.  I slipped the string of beads into a sandwich bag and tossed it into my Spanish binder.

The next morning, sitting in Spanish class, I pulled out the bag of beads and gasped.  One of the beads had crumbled.  Oh well.  The rest of the beads were still in one piece.  I smiled as the students passed them around and as they all made comments of admiration toward my craft.  The teacher gladly gave me a 100% for the project.  And that was the end of my story. :)

2 responses to “Peruvian Beads

  1. Pingback: Español ñews | An Author's Orchard

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