I'm late to the Pinterest party, but holy cow is it addictive not that I've arrived. Here are my pins. So many awesome ideas it gets overwhelming. Today I saw this and had to repin it. The link within the pinned blog post was broken so I didn't have details of beads, but thought I could wing it. Suddenly that was exactly what I needed to do RIGHT AWAY.
I have all the needed materials and tools: empty plastic bottles, Sharpie markers, pliers and heat guns. Excellent. No problem. Except after I looked in the two most obvious bins for my heat gun I realized I had no idea where it could be. I kept looking, but was thinking I was going to end up buying a new gun. I probably would have been at Joann's tonight if I hadn't spotted the Stampin' Up glitter-funnel tray just after giving up the search. Luckily the larger tray of the pair is too big to fit in the bin.*
This is how I made some beads. I included some notes about what I will do a differently next time.
I cut up a 2L Diet coke bottle to make these two beads. Probably any brand that doesn't shape their 2L would be a better choice for this project. I ended up using strips cut from under the label goes, since that was the only smooth part. Then I colored with some blue sharpies I had out already. The horizontal stripe made the best bead. Also, I could probably use half that length and get a good bead, especially on the smaller pliers.
Here is the bead I used with regular needle-nosed pliers before I heated it. I wrapped the strip first with my fingers and then held it together with the pliers. I tried gripping one end and wrapping around both sides, but then there is nothing to hold it together while heating. Next time I will wrap with color inside. I got blue all over my fingers and suspect color will still come off after shrinking.
I didn't take any pictures of actually heating it. The original post said it only took a few seconds to shrink. Maybe the thinner water bottles go faster or maybe her heat gun is hotter than mine. You can see it change as soon as it starts melting. I moved the bead and gun around to try to get even heating. I waited for a bit before taking out of the pliers.
Here is picture of the first one done. You can see how the edges are a bit curly. I think the plastic would have shrunk more if I didn't have the whole width of the plastic strip in the plier grips.
I used a smaller pair of jewelry pliers for the second bead. I thought my kitchen rug would make a better background (and it is right by the sliding-glass-door, natural light is best) but it just made it harder for the camera to focus on the right thing. I think the tighter the wrap, the shorter the strip should be. This is too long.
And here are both beads done. I like the larger bead best, but I think the smaller one has more potential for beads I'd actually use for a project. A narrower, shorter strip could be interesting. I'd also experiment with just holding one edge of the bead together to see how curly the whole thing would get.
This has potential for a Mother's Day craft with my nephews, but I think I'd have to man the heat gun and I don't think that would go down well. I know I let the oldest use one at around aged 5, but that was embossing on flat paper, not on a hand held small piece. I we used a vise instead of pliers it could work.
* I forgot how much stamping stuff I own. Those supplies are so fun to shop for and those little jars of embossing powder and glitter sure pile up in a hurry. Plus, I have 2 bins of stamps, and most of them have never even been cut and put together. What a pain those Stampin' Up sets are.