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Hot like lava-rock beads necklace

Lava-rock beads embellished with metal-clay overlay slip produce richly-textured and inexpensive beads that are surprisingly lightweight.
Full necklace


necklace 19 1⁄2 in. (49.5 cm)

  • 15 g Art Clay Silver Overlay Paste (Art Clay World,
  • 11 1 3⁄4 x 1 1⁄4-in. (4.4 x 3.2 cm)   lava-rock beads (Lima Beads,
  • 10–18 8–25 mm accent beads
  • 2 4 mm accent beads
  • toggle clasp
  • 2 sterling silver crimp beads
  • flexible beading wire, .014
  • agate burnisher
  • artist paintbrush, medium size, pointed tip
  • bamboo skewers
  • ceramic fiber blanket
  • crimping pliers
  • distilled water (optional)
  • 2 8 x 4 x 3-in. (20 x 10 x 7.6 cm) floral foam blocks
  • kiln
  • soft brass wire brush
  • soft polishing cloth
  • wire cutters


Lava rocks_photo a

1. Lava-rock beads have a shiny finish applied during manufacturing which must be removed prior to applying the Art Clay Silver Overlay Paste. The best way to remove it is to pre-fire the beads in a kiln as follows: Place the beads in the kiln between two layers of ceramic fiber blanket (PHOTO A) to protect the kiln if a bead shatters. Following the kiln manufacturer’s instructions, fire the beads using a ramp speed no greater than 1500°F (815°C) per hour. Hold the kiln temperature at 1435°F (780°C) for five minutes. Allow the beads to cool before removing them from the kiln.

2. To hold the beads while applying the overlay paste, slide each one onto a bamboo skewer. The overlay paste should have the consistency of cream — thick but easy to pour. If the paste is too thick, add a few drops of distilled water to thin it, or if it is too thin, leave the jar open until the excess water evaporates.

Lava rocks_photo b

3. Use a clean medium-size pointed-tip paintbrush to apply a coat of overlay paste to a bead. Do not fill the surface holes with paste; just paint the flat surfaces (PHOTO B). If the paste gets into the holes, remove it before it dries.

Lava rocks_photo c

When you’re finished painting a bead, slide the skewer into a block of floral foam (PHOTO C). When the paste is completely dry, apply another coat. Drying time will depend on the humidity level of the drying area. Repeat with the remaining 10 beads.

4. When the second coat of paste is completely dry, place the beads in the kiln between two layers of fiber blanket. Repeat the firing process from step 1. Allow the beads to cool completely before removing them from the kiln.

Lava rocks_photo d
5. Use a soft brass wire brush dipped in soapy water to brush the beads; this will bring out a silver luster. Gently burnish the beads with an agate burnisher (PHOTO D). Buff them with a soft polishing cloth to bring out a high shine. Do not use metal polish or jeweler’s rouge on the beads.
Lava rocks_photo e

1. On 29 in. (74 cm) of .014 flexible beading wire, leaving a 2-in. (5 cm) tail, string a crimp bead, a 4 mm accent bead, and half of the clasp. Slide the wire end back through the 4 mm bead and the crimp bead (PHOTO E). Crimp the crimp bead.

2. With the other end of the wire, string one to three 8 mm accent beads, sliding them over the short wire tail.

3. String a repeating pattern of lava-rock beads and 8–25 mm accent beads for the desired length.

4. String one to three 8 mms to mirror the other end, a crimp bead, a 4 mm, and the other half of the clasp. Go back through the 4 mm, the crimp bead, and the 8 mm(s). Gently pull the tail to snug the beads, leaving a small amount of slack. Crimp the crimp bead, and trim the tail.

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