Thursday, January 31, 2013

Component of the Month - The Making of "Pie" Beads

Remember these?

Tomorrow is the Component of the Month Reveal of designs using my "Pie" beads ... meanwhile, I thought you might like a little peak into how I made these little hollow beads...

First I roll out a thin slab of porcelain. Then after cutting out
ruffle-edged disc shapes, I form each into a dome shape using a copper form.
Each of these domed discs will be one half (side) of a Pie bead.

I tap down and flatten the edges to form a rim for joining the halves later.

Once they have dried a little bit on the dome form, I use my own 
handmade porcelain stamps to create the pattern on each side.

Then, when the porcelain has reached "leather hard" state,
I remove the halves from the copper form.

I use scraps of porcelain to create a creamy white slip (watery mud). 

Looks kinda yummy but I'm certain it isn't edible!

I carefully roughen (scratch) the surface areas 
of the rims to prepare them for joining. 

Then I paint on some slip and stick the two halves together. 

I use an old knitting needle to help smooth the joints and restore the indented areas.  

I use the same tool to create a hole straight through the center,
one side to the other (like a lentil bead).
I then use a rubber-tipped "brush" to smooth the holes.

Next step, is a ball-end embossing tool to create the dimples (my favorite part!).

Voila! Pie Beads!


  1. What a brilliant idea, nice of you to share.

  2. I am amazed at the painstaking process you bead makers go through to make these beautiful components! What impresses me the most are your hand carved porcelain stamps - originals through and through! Your glazing choices are also quite delish (pie pun intended)! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Always cool to see the process, these are so cute Karen!!

  4. Wow - that is really an intense process but the results are definitely worth it. The pies are beautiful.

  5. Love seeing all the steps leading to the lushious pies! And your stamps are artworks on their own!

  6. So now I have a question. I thought that one it was leather hard, you couldn't do anything else to it. But you made the hole, and did the dimples. I've had so much fun playing with my bead, and I hope you like what I've come up with for it.

  7. Perfection, You are the Martha Stewart of bead pie making!
    Thanks for sharing your painstaking process. I'm afraid it would be a big mess if I attempted to work that small.

  8. Good Lord that's a lot of work! Thanks for sharing your process with us and your beads! Can't wait to see what everyone makes!

  9. How fascinating to see this process - and I agree with Sue, this looks like a huge amount of work! Those texture stamps are so interesting to me - I just love how you've thought through all the details about how they have to function (looking at those inner curves) and the meticulous way you put everything together. It shows in the final result - these beads are stunning. (So stunning, in fact, that I'm keeping the piece I made with the COM you sent me!!)

  10. I loved these "at first site!" But now that I see how much work and detail go into each bead, I appreciate them all the more now! Thanks for taking time to show us!

  11. What an interesting process and what a beautiful product. Great job Karen. :)

  12. Thank you so much for a peek into your production and design process. My appreciation for your beautiful beadwork increased even more.

  13. How cool...that's my kinda pie...and they are actually made like little popovers...really sweet....haha ....thanks for sharing...ttfn Lana :)

  14. Oh my gosh, I love your little pie beads! As a maker of tiny pies -- the edible kind -- they make me all kinds of happy.

    Thanks for showing us your process! <3

  15. I absolutely love posts like this! I always find it fascinating seeing how beads are made, and I'm always amazed at the amount of work and care that goes into each one. Thank you for showing us!

  16. Lovely to see the making process - they are delicious!

  17. I love these beads! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I love your pie beads they're wonderful :-)

  19. I love your pie beads and would like a little more information. Where did you get the copper mold and cutter? Wondered if they can be fired in an Eclipse 360 kiln. Do you use regular ceramic glaze or something else? Great job!


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