Monday, October 8, 2012

Step by Step - Copper Yosemite Acorn Bead

I picked up a bunch of these Acorns while visiting Yosemite recently.
I actually picked the Acorns up at a rest stop along the road on our way home from Yosemite.

Originally I only considered making a mold of the top portion and making it in Copper,
then I decided why not make the whole bead!
So that's what I did.
I took some pictures along the say to show the process, I'm happy with the result but I'm definitely going to try again and see if I can make it even better!

This shows the original acorn the 2 sided mold and the 2 copper pieces I created with them.
Take each piece and sand it in a circular motion,
test the fit.

Continue to sand and test, sand and test,
 until they fit together snuggly and smoothly.
Slight variations can be taken care of once they are put together.

Moisten both sides and add slip
(slip is clay with water added, very moist and goey working as glue)
Fit 2 moisted sides together and hold.
Even at this early stage you can start smoothing the seem out with your finger.

Continue gently sanding and using your wet finger or a clay shaper to fill in spaces or take away extra clay until you get a smooth finish all around.
(my acorn is a little flat, not chubby and round as the original, practice practice)
Once it was completely dry I chose to make holes on either side for stringing,
I carefully made the holes with an exacto knife.
You do have to be very careful since you're working on a seem,
you dont' want to pop the seem open.

Here is the unfired piece next to the acorn it was molded from.

Here is the fired Copper Acorn next to the original.
They do shrink quite a bit.
My Acorn didn't turn out nice and round but I'm quite pleased with it.
I think I'll start at the beginning again (probably several times)
and perfect the process.



  1. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your process!

  2. That's beautiful Kristi! It's a long while since I tried building beads and this is inspiring me to have another go,Acorns seem to be in short supply here - I have woodland to the back of my house but I've only managed to find 2!

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  3. That's amazing, and your acorn turned out lovely! The acorns I've been finding are very tiny due to two years of severe drought.

  4. Amazing! I hope you make lots!! Bead caps from the top part would be very cool as well.

  5. thanks Kristi for the tut. I think it came out great. I made a mold of one and it is solid which makes it quite heavy. So this is a great way to get it lighter and easier to put a hole through. My DIL loved the heavy one anyway. But I still think it is heavy.

  6. Really beautiful and labor intensive! Thank you for sharing your behind the scenes with us.

    I have trees outside my window dropping what seems like hundreds of acorns daily. My patio is covered in them! When it is windy, you have to cover your head or you will get pelted by them! I love acorns and am so thrilled to have such an abundance right outside my door (except when it is windy)!

  7. Very cool, Kristi, I continue to be a big fan!

  8. Wow, you make that seem so easy...I have yet to try molds like that! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Beautiful Kristi!
    We have a different kind of acorn here. Are they different where you live too?

  10. Love the acorns and a cap would be excellent! What material did you use to make the mold?

  11. Awesome!! I've done this with polymer clay, but yours is gorgeous!

  12. What a great idea. I have a poppy pod sitting on my bench that I wasn't sure what to do with it. A mold would be really cool. I love poppies and this would be a great way to put it to use. Thanks for sharing your process.

  13. Be sure to do a mold or just the acorn cap and make some copper bead caps out of them!

  14. I love reading about the processes behind various media and techniques. It helps me to appreciate more all the work that goes into each finished product. Thank you for sharing, Kristi!

  15. Oh my goodness! I am seriously crushing on this. I have an acorn that I picked up that goes everywhere with me. It is a reminder to me that big dreams start small. Acorns don't want to grow up to be bigger acorns, they want to become oak trees! I will be watching for when you start selling them as I would like a pocket acorn to carry with me! Enjoy the day. Erin

  16. kristi,
    this is a wonderful post! thank you so very much for sharing your inspiration and process... my daughter just went to yosemite in june - she loved it...
    your work is always beautiful -

  17. That is intense - but often things worth doing take a bit of time. They are fab! (Are you taking orders yet? )

  18. Amazing!! I think it's a nice size,...and making them into pendants as well as beads would be super cool (hint-hint)!! ;-)

  19. Wow Kristi, that is such a cool process! Thanks so much for showing it. I really, really love the result!

  20. Very interesting! You made a lovely job of that!

  21. LOVE the acorn and thanks for showing the process!

  22. Kristi! Thanks for sharing your technique. I LOVE when artist share! Gonna try it, definitely. ~ Shelley

  23. Okay, are 2nd comments allowed? LOL...I went back and looked at it again. They say you 'can not improve on nature' but I think you DID! I like your acorn much more than Mother Nature's!

  24. What a great little bead! Thanks for sharing.

  25. Great technique - and I love the patina on the finished bead! Really beautiful!

  26. Very nice. I love the acorn, I think it looks really great.

  27. Gorgeous! I would totally want some of these. It looks like it took forever to make....

  28. This is fantastic! I can't wait to see you do more 3 dimensional pieces!

  29. I am totally crushing on that acorn! Your process is awesome!


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