How to Carve Wood Beads


If you are an avid beader, you may enjoy working with unusual beads and found items. Making art and jewelry from your own carved wood beads is the ultimate expression of creativity.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • 1/2 inch diameter fruit tree branch (apple, pear)
  • Knife
  • Drill
  • Wood file
  • Fishing line
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sealant
  • Find a branch that you like on a fruit tree. The branch should be about 1/2 inch in diameter. Carefully cut a length from the branch with pruning shears. If you find a branch in the appropriate dimensions on the ground, use that instead.

  • Peel the bark from the branch as you carve your wood beads. If it's difficult to remove the bark, use a pen knife. Be careful not to cut too deeply.

  • Decide on the size of your bead and cut the branch to the appropriate length with pruning shears. For example, if you want an oval bead that's 1 inch long and 1/2 inch in diameter, cut the twig into 1 inch lengths. If you want a 1/2-inch round bead, cut the twig into 1/2-inch lengths.

  • Drill a hole in your bead. Use a hand drill with a bit that's 1/4 inch, or less. Work slowly and take care not to damage the twig as you drill; be patient, as it may take a long time to drill each hole.

  • Place the twigs you have drilled on a plate and set the plate in a cool, dry place. Allow the twig pieces to dry completely--for as many as seven days.

  • Use a wood file to carve the twig into the shape you desire. Smooth any rough edges and gradually remove more and more wood away from the twig as you carve the wood bead. Thread the beads on lengths of fishing line when you are finished.

  • Pour some acrylic point into a small bowl and thin it a little bit with water. The consistency of the paint should be thin enough to easily coat the beads--similar to the consistency of watercolor paint.

  • Dip the beads, one at a time, into the container with the paint. Let the paint cover the bead completely. Take the bead out of the paint and wipe it gently with a paper towel or cloth. Hang the beads up to dry.

  • Spray the beads with an acrylic sealant. Remove the fishing line and use the beads in your next project.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you become comfortable making round or oval beads, try to carve beads with more intricate shapes.

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