Firing Ceramic Beads

 With the Bead and Button Show (Milwaukee, WI) right around the corner I have been nonstop glazing and firing beads!  

This is what I unloaded last night! 


Oh the colors!


I just love the way the glazes puddle on this chocolate stoneware…


It feels like Christmas opening the kiln!


And then there is my quality control expert Peeves our cat. I think that late at night her attitude is a bit more “Woman they look fine, now put them down and give me some scratching & petting. Dang!” 

So today I will be glazing even more!

I am pretty delighted so far and hope nothing interrupts this flow.

Beaded Silk Wrap Bracelet Directions Long Pinterest Image

I thought it might be a good idea to have a Pinterest Friendly photo of my Beaded Silk Bracelet Design.

I have updated my Etsy Shop with both the Bracelet Kit and the Beaded Cord Kit (for those of you that already have your own buttons or beads).

For full directions and supply kits, check out my previous blog post HERE.

YouTube Video HERE.

Marsha Neal Studio Braided Silk Wrap Bracelet Directions

Marsha Neal Studio Braided Silk Wrap Bracelet Directions

Beaded Silk Cord Bracelet Instructions

Do you want to make an adult version of simple braided jewelry that you can use as wrap bracelets?

Beaded Silk Cord Color Palettes Marsha Neal Studio

Beaded Silk Cord Color Palettes Marsha Neal Studio

You can purchase Marsha Neal Studio Beaded Silk Cord Wrap Bracelet Kit supplies in over 20 color palettes through my Etsy shop.

Printable pdf directions: Beaded Silk Bracelet Instructions Marsha Neal Studio

Here is where you start:

Beaded Silk Cord Bracelet Supplies: 2mm silk, 1mm cotton cord, (51) custom TR5 glass bead mix, closure bead/button.

Tie a gentle knot at one end of the cotton cord. String 50 beads from other end of cotton cord. You will remove that gentle knot later – either by untying or cutting it off.

Measuring for button closure loop.

This simple loop should fit closure button/bead through with a little room. Leave at least 1 inch tail. Pull tight.

At the mid-point of the 2mm silk, tie the 2mm silk cord onto the cotton cord with the 1 inch tail.

One knot pulled tight will work fine.

Tie a knot with one of the silks around the other silk, and two cotton cords. Pull tight.

Repeat previous step with the other silk. Pull knots tight.

Straighten the silks, pull it all tight, then cut off any of that tiny tail of cotton cord that is sticking out.

Secure the loop so you can begin braiding. I prefer a mini macrame foam board or clip board. Tape or binder clips onto a surface you will not damage will work too.

Begin braiding, moving the strands from right to middle, left to middle, repeating, always moving over top of the other cords. When you move the cotton cord, you push a bead up.

As you braid, your fingers will find a comfortable way to position the beads so they stay to the outside of the braid.

This image shows you my working position for braiding. I try to keep the beads up close to the working braid area, and move it as I need more space.

This image shows you my working position for braiding. I try to keep the beads up close to the working braid area, and move it as I need more space. Notice my relaxed and even braid tension? If yours is too tight or short and squatty, simply unbraid it and start again. It may take a couple of times for your brain and body to relax.

As you near the end, measure the bracelet around your wrist (intended to go 2x). Remove the extra beads from that point on. Having some braid only in the area where you end allows you to tie a knot right below where you want your button to sit. Remove the gentle knot and the excess beads.

Put your disc bead onto the cotton cord, then a TR5 glass bead. Then put the cotton cord back through the disc bead. Move it down and find its final stopping point and tie it on.

Tie the cotton cord around the other cords a couple of times to secure the disc bead (Pull tight!). Then if you have silk left, tie a couple of knots, pulling very tight. I tie two very tight knots with just the two silks to end mine. If you are unsure, you can use fabric glue to extra secure your knots.

Cut off the excess length of cords.

Your bracelet is now ready to wear! You can get these wet, but please avoid salt water or pool water as these are silk, and harsh environmental conditions may cause these to not last as long as they would otherwise. Hand wash with mild detergent and pat with a towel to dry.

Overall bracelet image: Loop end, braid, closure bead.


The 2mm silk is 40 to 42″ long.

The 1mm cotton Cord is about a yard (ends cut to a point to put beads on).

With a consistent braid, I use between 45 and 50 of the TR5 Miyuki glass beads.

My wrist is a solid 7″ wrist (to measure my wrist, I wrapped a string around my wrist – comfortably – not tight or loose). The finished bracelet length for a double wrap around my wrist is from the button to the end of the loop: 15.5″. By this calculation, I’ve added an inch and half to the doubled size of my wrist (7″ + 7″ + 1.5″ = 15.5″).

If I want to wear layers of these, I may make some that are slightly larger so that they can go further up my arm.

If yours is too long after you are done, you can always try tying a “decorative knot” somewhere in the braid to shorten the length. Or you may just have to find a friend to give it to, and make yourself another, learning from the previous one.

Fabric glue or epoxy (such as E6000 – a flexible epoxy) should be used in a well ventilated area. Please read and follow instructions for the product you choose.

For those of you that want instructions printed, click below and you can download the pdf (you may need to print at 95% if the edges get cut off). And you will need adobe acrobat reader to view the pdf.

Beaded Silk Bracelet Instructions Marsha Neal Studio

Thanks to Sara and Kyla of Sarafina Art House for helping me with this video! CLICK HERE.

The Beginning of the Beaded Silk Cords

For a few years now I have had the inkling to use the 2mm hand painted silks I carry (from Ute of Silk Painting Is Fun) for some sort of wrap bracelet, but have lacked in the pulling of any solid idea together.

When it was time to submit product for Beads 2015 (Stringing Magazine Fall) I decided to commit. I came up with the idea of using these TR5 Miyuki triangle glass beads, threaded onto a piece of waxed cotton (not the sticky waxed cotton, but the smooth kind). I added a 2mm silk ribbon folded in half, and simply braided the three cords together, leaving a bead on the waxed cotton as I worked.

Marsha Neal Studio Beaded Silk Bracelet Cords

Happily they did select these to be in their “cord” section, and you’ll be seeing my Evening Forest Color palette in that issue later this summer!

I have a difficult time when it comes to limiting myself with colors. I really have an addiction to color and texture, and add some slight OCD to it (or rather hyper focus) and you’ve got a lot of product. Here is one of my first mixes that I created: Originally titled “Marsha’s Happy Mix” it is now know as Jewel Tones since it really has some rich muted hues.

Marsha's Happy Mix Jewel Tones TR5 Beads Marsha Neal Studio

And instead of just making pretty mixes to be used on any color of silk, I decided to use what I’ve got. My Silk Color Palettes – which for the most part consist of 5 color strands!

This one below is my Halloween Orange Black Silk palette. I went one by one and picked out beads that I felt were in a good color family.

Orange Black Halloween Bracelet Mix Preparation

All braided up and ready for their closure button…

Orange Black Halloween Beaded Bracelet Cords Marsha Neal Studio

I started out by picking a few of my favorite Silk Color Palettes:

Woodland Realm, Stormy Waters, Vintage Rose, Caribbean Blue Green…

Marsha Neal Studio Beaded Silk Braid Bracelets

But then that addictive personality came out and was determined to complete the line. If I have all of these beautiful silk color palettes, and all of these beads that I can create with, why not offer all kinds of colors so that everyone can find something (because you know there is always going to be that person that asks for the one I didn’t make into a bracelet kit).

Marsha Neal Studio Color Arrangements

Besides – I LOVE color! And Texture.

And these little glass beads look like gems on this very soft and smooth silk!

Oh. What is not to love about these…

Marsha Neal Studio Preparing for Bead Kits

So 20 color palettes are picked, the design is created Рand well tested and worn (they pair quite lovely with other fiber bracelets). Instructions are done and a couple of quick make and take classes at Sarafina Art House, and I am just about ready to launch these!

I am right now working on four listing for these in my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop (so much easier to use Etsy than overhaul my website at the moment):

One complete kit to make 5 wrap bracelets (with my ceramic disc bead/button).

One kit to make 5 wrap bracelets (without my ceramic buttons as you may have your own).

The other two are going to be these braided and available as a cord only, ready for you to finish (with or without my ceramic disc bead).

Beaded Silk Cord Color Palettes by Marsha Neal Studio

Beaded Silk Cord Color Palettes by Marsha Neal Studio

And hopefully I will be working with Sara and Kyla from Sarafina Art House to create a quick video tutorial on how to make these! I am trying to get my brain around that and really limit what I need to say. Not such an easy task when I get super excited about these and all of the possibilities you have once they are in your hands!

Starting Last October

It all started to come together one October afternoon last year (2014), when I went to hang at the Sarafina Art House for their Grand Opening. I had taken a couple of needle felting classes with Sara, artist and owner of Sarafina Fiber Art, and was completely hooked.

If you have ever wanted to do needle felting, watch some of her needle felting videos and get some of her supplies, and you’ll be hooked too!Sarafina Art House Grand Opening

Not too long after the grand opening, I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Sarafina Art House staff to help fill orders, and help with keeping everything stocked around the shop.

I look back now and realize how badly I needed to be working around people outside of my home studio.

Sarafina Art House Inside

I had NO idea what I was getting into, but I had a gut feeling if these people were just as fun as they were at the grand opening, and had that kind of energy and humor that you see in Sara’s videos, I was going to really like working there.

And in fact. I love working there…

Sarafina Sara and Jennifer

In the Art House, creative ideas and projects flourish as much as these Sarafina Basket Bunnies

Sarafina Basket Bunnies

And every day Milo (below) and his buddy Finley come to work every day and hang out with us.

I love working in a place that has dogs.

Milo of Sarafina Fiber Art

So if you have been wondering where I’ve disappeared to, it’s just to work.

In a really fabulous, cool, fun, inspiring – not in my house kind of work…

If you are ever in the area, you should check out the Sarafina Art House at 1752B Appleton Road, Elkton, MD 21921.

Current Sarafina Art House 2015 hours Wed-Sat 10am-5pm EDT.

There are lots of great artists with work in the gallery of the Art House, so if you need a gift or just want something special for yourself – stop by!

Now this girl is off to go make some more beads, as I have the Bead and Button show in two weeks in Milwaukee, WI!