Monday, August 10, 2015

Tyvek Beads

One of the techniques I love to teach in a collage or mixed media class is making Tyvek beads. These are simple little gems that can be made by the dozen in one sitting and can then be stored for the perfect moment to use in a collage or an encaustic piece. These are so simple to make and seem to add just the right focal point and texture to any work of art.

You start with a Tyvek envelope. You can purchase them at Staples or Office Max. Cut off all the gummed areas: self adhesive flap, gummed seam and bottom.

You are left with just the envelope material. Open it up flat and lay it down on a table. Now paint one side with a thin coat of acrylic paint. This is a great idea for left over paints at the end of the day or you can use a fresh color of your choice.

Set that aside to dry. Once it is dry, cut long strips of triangular shapes ranging from about 2 inches wide to a point.

These are the length of either the width of your opened envelope or the length. Your choice. Now, roll the triangle over a bamboo skewer or a chop stick starting at the wide end, rolling down to the point.

When you get to the point, place a small amount of gel medium underneath the point and adhere it to the rest of the “bead”. Now take the bead and while it is still on the skewer, wrap it with metal thread. You can find this at the fabric store.

Once your bead is wrapped with as much thread as you’d like, dab another bit of gel medium to hold the end in place. Once the bead is dry, set the bamboo skewer with the bead still on it, on a piece of tile or wood. You’ll just need something to protect your working surface from heat. Now using your heat gun, add heat to the bead. It will start to shrivel a little bit. Remember, the envelope is plastic, so it will melt as heat is applied, so don’t overdo it.

Once your bead is how you’d like it, let it cool a bit and take your fingers and scoot the bead off the bamboo skewer or chop stick. You can experiment with lots of different color combinations for the paints and thread. You can also mix and match with readymade beads for a playful necklace or colorful addition to any mixed media piece.
Please leave a message below if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!
Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Yet another fabulous technique! Maybe a good one for the Round Robin next month?

  2. my bead stuck to the wood and did not slice off. How can this be prevented??