Sunday, February 23, 2014

How do you Organize the Madness

Firstly, I do not profess to be an expert on organization by any means.  Anything I have come up with is by sheer necessity.  

It is overwhelming and daunting to say the least, when you studio looks like this, and every single one of those beads each gets a special paint treatment and sealer in 5-8 layers.  Each layer needing to dry completely before the next is applied.

View of the studio before starting the varnishing of each hand....with a paint brush......

I literally have trays stacked everywhere.  And once I get to the varnish phase, they get divided into three categories depending on the finish I want for them.  Gloss, Satin, or Matte.  

And since each bead gets painted one side at a time, and each side gets three coats, there is just no way I can track it.

I use bead trays while I paint, because I can stack them in such a way, that they still dry. I take out the pads, so nothing sticks if it is tacky or drips.  
I wouldn't have enough surface area to lay these out flat otherwise.  It's actually kinda  a fun thought that if I laid all these beads out flat they would cover my studio.  WHAT FUN!

So I invented this system to keep track of what has gotten what.

(marvel at the genius of

I just write little notes when I am done each one, to know what has been painted while it dries and I move on to the next varnish.

This process is tedious, but I won't cut back on how many coats of varnish I do.  I want your beads to last you a lifetime, so they get at least three coats of varnish every time.

I am almost done varnishing.  Now I need to move onto the metal!  Time for some liver of sulfur baths and polishing and sealing of them.

Do you make beads?  Do you have some sort of system that helps you remember where you where when you have to leave the studio or move onto another project?

For those of you interested: for sealing my polymer I personally prefer painting on my varnish.  (PYM II works very well too, but it is aerosol, and i just don't find it very convenient) I have tried many many many things, and I keep coming back to just a water based acrylic varnish like Liquitex, and Diamond Varathane- water based also.  These will not break down the clay over time and become tacky, and they seal extremely well.  I follow the instructions and do 3-4 thin coats, allowing the maximum drying time in between them for last durability. 

Remember if you are in PA, in the Reading area, to stop by next weekend for the Berks Bead Bazaar.  The best little bead show around- especially if you love Art Beads!!! 


  1. I am duly impressed with your system and those new neutral beads with the small designs are knocking my socks off.
    The beauty of lampwork is that when it's done it's done as far as selling the beads so that keeps my storage simple and I can't massively produce enough to take up a whole lot of room but with my stashes for my own use is a whole other story.
    And thanks, I learned a little more about your process with this post too.

  2. Your new designs are fantastic Staci! Thanks for the info on varnish. I'm a newbie to polymer but so addicted already.

    1. You are welcome Cory! Its my most popular question! when you spend so much time on something, its a shame to use the wrong thing to seal it. many things react with the polymer and turn gummy down the road! and that is just heartbreaking to have that happen!

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