This week I’ve been playing with dough! The Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/) for May was called Earth Paint Bracelets and the project was to make beads out of salt dough and turn them into bracelets.
Included in the box was:
• White dough mix
• Blue dough mix
• Silver wire
• 3 lobster clasps
• Lolly stick
• Cocktail sticks
• Baking paper
• Wooden shaping tool
This month the link for the instructions included not one but four video tutorials. The first showed what was in the kit, how to make the dough and form it into beads, the second showed how to turn your beads into bracelets and the other two videos showed how to make different kinds of beads. As usual the videos were really clear and easy to follow, although they could have been a little shorter by not showing all the beads being made!
The dough came as two powdered mixes, with the blue one coloured with a powder paint made from naturally occurring minerals. There are some good tips both on the card inside the box and on the website for making your dough the right consistency. I found it was best to add the water slowly and keep mixing it until it felt right and could be formed into balls.
Once the dough was ready you could then make the beads. As I mentioned above there were three different kinds suggested, but of course you can always experiment and make whatever you want, after all these kits are all about being creative!
The first type I made were chunky discs, made by squashing a ball. I think I made mine a little bit big as they were a bit too chunky for my bracelet! The other types were a round bead and then a thin bead which Adam called shell fragments. I like this description because they do feel quite fragile like a shell and they are all irregular. I think they are my favourite because they look really good all threaded onto the bracelet together. When all the beads were finished you had to leave them to dry. I left mine over night but when I went to check on them I found they weren’t quite dry underneath so I turned them all over and left them to dry a second night. They might have dried a bit quicker if the weather was nicer, but there’s not much we can do about that!
The bracelets were made using a technique called wire wrapping. I already know how to do this as it’s one of the first things I learnt to do on my jewellery making journey, however I felt that had I been a novice I would have found Adam’s video very easy to follow. Even though there is no talking on the video and only text he made sure the images of each step were really clear and went through it slowly enough to be able to follow along.
In hindsight I would have made more shell fragment beads as I didn’t have quite enough to go all the way around my bracelet and, as I already said, my chunky beads were too chunky. I would also have made my white dough a bit wetter as a couple of my beads crumbled and I think it was due to the white dough being a little bit too dry. I think this would be a great project to do with older kids, as long as they have the patience to wait for the beads to dry, and you have the patience to help them with the wire wrapping!