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Reader Question - What to Do With Broken Beads?

The Reader Question thread is where I pick an emailed question or comment to share.  I don't claim to know all the answers but I do my best to help.

Shaylynn of Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe posted this comment, "Random question-- do you know of any good uses for broken/cracked/uncut-hole beads? I've amassed a little collection and feel bad throwing it out!"

It's not quite a random question because Shaylynn raised it on my Reader Question - What Glues to Use in Jewelry Making post.  She was obviously deciding whether it's worth trying to rescue some beads with glue.

If you know of a lamp work artist, make friends with them. The scrap glass may be of use to them as they can melt it down. I do know of lamp work artists who use recycled glass. Yes, recycling is really big!

Precious metal beads should be saved just as you would the wire scraps. Some suppliers are now buying small amounts of collected wire and beads from artisans to make bigger batches which they in turn sell to smelters. Smelters typically need at least 1 kg so selling to a middleman works if you are not likely to amass that amount quickly.

Non-precious metal beads as well as rejected glass may be recycled - you'll have to check with your local recycling depot if they are suitable.

Another suggestion is to use them creatively in a mixed media mosaic picture. Shaylynn herself replied with another idea, "I might also try to make some bead cages for the beads with poorly made holes. Other than the fact that no wire can go through them, they are perfectly good."  Yes, wire-wrapping (see link below) is an excellent solution which also works for undrilled sea glass and marbles .

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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8 comments:

  1. You could also use broken beads for resin jewlery.

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  2. Exactly what Willi said! Got some broken beads and pent up aggression? Grab 'em, put them in a folded piece of soft felt/fleece, and take out those frustrations with a hammer! Then you can take those lovely bits and make a beautiful and completely unique mosaic, stained glass, or kaleidoscope piece using resin or just some Modge Podge Dimensional Magic!

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  3. wow thanks for this information.. I have some broken beads here and i dunno what to do, reading your post give me some idea.. thanks

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  4. I've a friend who's a stained glass artist so I save my broken or undrilled glass beads for her. She recently fabricated the most gorgeous stained glass kaleidoscope using the broken beads inside the viewing window. It made for an incredible kaleidoscope ! I've also been tempted to put the bits and pieces of broken beads into a bezel setting and topping it off with a resin but haven't experimented with that yet ... sort of a homemade druzi. lol

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  5. Oooooh, these tips are great. Thanks for all the info, Pearl! I know where to go if I have any beading questions! :)

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  6. I collect glass bottles and jars, all shapes and sizes. I've found that my smaller ones look so pretty filled with random bits of glass, sand or whatever other pretty things will fit into their neck. Wrap the neck and hang up for a cute sun catcher, or as part of a mobile (a great way to use up bits and pieces), or even ornaments for the holidays.

    If you're feeling frisky, you can cut out a door in a bigger bottle, and make sort of little landscapes and stuff. I have one I cut open, glued some sand in and added a tiny wooden chest my husband made me, and tucked in beads and broken shells and shiny findings around like buried treasure. He likes making little fairy houses with some of his random bits and pieces.

    I found some round balls used for making your own Christmas ornaments. I filled them with some glass seed beads I liked, but got tired of fiddling with. Cute, simple, and took about five minutes to make a dozen of them.

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