Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Beads

I may have written about this before, so forgive me if I have. For the longest time I wanted my beads to be happy. Not just on the inside, but to show it physically, you know, with a smile. I had been using a butter knife to make the straight-across open mouths on my turtles ever since I started making them. If I put the mouth too high on the turtle's face, then the poor turtle got a "Jay Leno" chin. If I put it too low, he'd suffer from severe over-bite and tend to look kind of dumbfounded.

So over a year or so ago I set out to find a smile-making tool. After some trial and error, I wound up making one from the handle of a teaspoon I found in my kitchen drawer. Back then I made a couple beads with smiles (a goofy looking smiling dog and a turtle, I believe), but they sat in my shop for a while. Maybe customers aren't looking for happy beads? Maybe they want beads that look like they've been through a lot to get where they are, less carefree and more angst perhaps. Or at least a nice blank look on their googly-eyed faces. So I stopped with the happy beads.

Then about a week ago I decided to try it again. I felt like I had much more control of my handmade tool and I was really happy with the results. So far I've just made smiling turtles, but maybe I'll add some cheer to some other critters - any ideas?

Here's a picture of the teaspoon handle that I manipulated into a smile tool. I took my pliers and pulled the edges up to form the makings of a grin. Or, if used upside down, a frown. :) Frownie beads - now there's an idea . . .


  1. I love the smiling beads and so far the best tool for me has been an old dental tool.

  2. Let me tell you who had a happy face on Monday -the about to be Bride! She received Penny the Peace Pug and her anxieties vanished into her smile. Thanks Lauren. Here's a tip for smiley faces: You can take a piece of brass (try the hardware store) and cut a small rectangle from it. Bend it into whatever size smile you want and embed it in Fimo to use as a handle - bake in the oven and presto - instant smiley face. Or, you can use wood carving tools. Get the cheap ones - cool them down between "smiles" in water. Yours is pretty darn cool though. Smart thinking chica.

  3. Thank you, Sharon! That is a great tip for making a smile tool! And I'm so glad your daughter liked her Penny the Pug bead. :)

  4. The little froggies sitting out there look really cute and colorful and vibrant.I think it is going to be great for the children and the teenage groups.