Advice for Making and Selling Good Dreadlocks Beads from Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is a pleasure to work with. You can make your own fabulous beads and jewelry in your very own kitchen.
Many have found out the hard way however, that what looks alright when you sculpt it, might not come out too well once you bake it. Even then, it's not the most durable material on its own, so it's somewhat easy to break.
Here are some tips for making beads for your dreadlocks that will actually last through a rave/nature/green/whatever party and beyond.
1. Every good dread bead starts with a wire frame. You should be using at least 24 gauge wire for this, and make sure that there is no more than a quarter inch or so of space anywhere in your frame. You can get away with a few exceptions, but not too many.
2. Use the right polymer clay. Premo and the regular texture Fimo are the best.
3. Think outside the box. You can make beads of whatever shape you can dream. Just remember that a loc has to actually get through them. Too long or twisty is a bad idea.
4. Keep weight in mind. A dread bead that's too heavy is not pleasant for tender headed folks. It might also slide off more easily, or hurt someone with a quick head turn. So try to avoid using more than one finger section worth of clay on any one bead.
Click here for free step by step illustrated instructions for making dreadlock beads.
Selling Dreadlock Beads
1. If you want to actually sell them, then either use real stones, shells, or lab gems, or don't. People buy art. They don't like to buy "fakes". Something that looks like real stones but aren't may impress a polymer clay artist, but the average buyer just feels disappointed when you tell them it's not the real thing.
Dreadlock wearers tend to shy away from "Bablon" type items, so if they're looking for gems in their beads, it's likely for crystal therapy or healing purposes. So it needs to be a real or chemically similar lab created gem. The only exception is with "evil eye" protection balls. They can be made of glass or polymer clay.
If you want to make simulated stones from polymer clay, then do it in a way that it is clearly creative and not a mimic. Create textures and color combinations that are interesting. One of my personal favorites is a red, black, gold, and translucent hexagonal warp pattern.
2. Make a variety of unique individual beads and themed sets. Some people might like only one or two special beads, but some people like five to ten matching beads. Some people are even looking for bead, necklace, ear ring, and bracelet sets.
3. Keep in mind that dreadlock beads are a niche item. So you'll want to have in your display, examples of things they can be used for aside of dreadlocks, like securing scarves and belts, or unique pendants.
You should also make a few fatties. Aside of the folks who'll be using them as sash beads, there are many loced folks who have very thick ones. It's a good idea to make some of these in nyabhingi, Baye Fall, Coptic, Celtic, Shaivite, green activist, and Sufist styles.
For more information on dreadlocks and to be able to request information, take our online course.
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© 2006 Nicole Singleton Lasher
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