Monday, January 26, 2015

Culled Bead Soup Experiment

As I get ready to start taking inventory for this spring’s tax returns, I’m doing a lot of sorting and reorganizing. While I was cleaning my work space and putting away a lot of stray bead packages, I discovered that I had several baggies and tubes of culled beads built up from the past few years.

I always drop misshapen beads into a designated tea-light cup on my bead tray, and when it gets full I’ve been in the habit if pouring most of the beads into the nearest empty package. I always leave a few behind to act as stop beads, and then forget about the rest. The result is a sprinkling of these little mixes all over the place.

Culled Seed Bead Mixture

During my cleanup, I decided to consolidate all of the culled beads into a single large bag. It occurred to me that I probably have other tubes and baggies stashed somewhere else from ‘the early years’. I thought it would be interesting to catalogue this batch, and then check back later this year to see how the quantity and colors have changed.

Right now the mixture is mostly black 11/o seed beads – partly because I used it so much, but also because after switching to Czech seed beads, I got a lot picker. I’ve tried to reduce the waste a little bit by setting up a second cup for culled beads. In it I’m saving all of the beads that are just really tiny, but not weirdly shaped. They’ll come in handy for fringes some day.

Culled Bead Soup 2014

When it’s time to take a look at the mix again, I’m hoping to use it in a new purge necklace, while also using up some UFOs and unwanted beads.

Do you save your culled beads? Have you come up with a special use for them?

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  1. I use my odds and ends beads to make dream chimes. They don't really chime, even though I toss in some bells. Use a stick from one of the trees in the yard and wire and just put on beads, buttons, bells, etc. Have given them as wedding presents and people ohh and awe over em. They are beautiful, perhaps I should make myself one!

    1. Sounds gorgeous! Freeform mixed media is such a fun way to play with beads.

  2. l love bead soups 'cause I use them for my bead embroidery projects ... which I seem to be addicted to right now! I'm updating my January Bead Journal Project by using clear, crystal and silver beads from several bead sizes for more snow. I even added 2 cardinals in the tree which were made from bead soup leftovers. Love, love, love bead soups! Can't wait to see what you do with yours later on.

    1. Bead embroidery and bead soups were definitely made for each other. Best of luck with your BJP!

  3. i wasthinking it would be coolto save the uber weird shaped ones i come across here and there but never get around to it - they just go in with the remainder beads into the whole bead soup. i really needabig beadsoup project to do since my bead soup weighs like 5 to 10lbs now! i think i need to come up with some bead embroidery designs with a multicolor background or something!

    1. That is a pretty serious soup! Have you ever tried making beaded tapestries? Either strands or netting looks fabulous with mixed beads.

  4. Yes! No one but another beader knows why it is impossible to throw away these li'l critters. I find they almost have a magical quality to them; misshapen, malformed, stunted, runted, whatever the reason is they are not capable of fulfilling their purpose in life.
    I keep mine in little jars. I tried using them with some decoupage once to top a jewelry box but it didn't turn out like i had hoped.
    I love the fact that you too have them. I only dream about having as many as you have. Thanks for sharing this and all the other parts of your life that you share with us.


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