You might also like

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Depression beads

You can tell by mom’s reminisces that children amused themselves—her cousins building a miniature golf course; cops locking up the robbers in the outhouse.  I know mom did a lot of handwork in her teens; there are quilts, scarves and doilies to spare.  Another depression past time came to light after we’d moved in together.  A friend had been married, there was a church program from the service and mom said she would make beads as another remembrance of the occasion.  The request for her beads grew to the extent she had a bead making station on a table in her room.  And, because an art teacher asked for the instructions, I have those, too.  Mom said these modern times beat the depression, when they coated their beads in shellac, which would yellow.  You can trust clear nail polish to remain clear.

Directions again:


               Paper:  Gift wrap, advertisements.  Mimeograph weight; i.e., church bulletin covers

               Beads:  pearls 4mm, faceted beads 4 mm, Racialles large size, etc.

               Thread:  Beading cord, carpet weight.

               Needle:  2 thin, with long eye.  Needle threader if desired.

               Findings:  Barrel clasps.

               Misc.:  Round toothpicks, Styrofoam, clear nail polish, scissors.


Mark paper for strips 8” long (see Mom’s instructions for illustration).  Cut strips.  Roll paper from the ¾” inch side to tip:  glue and set aside.

Place bead on round toothpick.  Coat with clear nail polish and place on Styrofoam pad to dry (poke an end of the toothpick into the Styrofoam).

18 beads plus 3 of pearls, racialles, etc. between beads is a short string.  If you prefer not to use clasp, string 30 beads with 1 pearl between to fit over head.


Make rolled knot with thread doubled.  Coat knot with clear nail polish and pull through barrel.  String beads as desired.  Leave about 4 bead section for other half of barrel.  Make square knot and coat with clear polish.  Bury ends back through on either side.

I never made a set of beads.  If you’re familiar with this sort of work I’m sure you can do it as well or better.

Mom made hundreds of necklaces.  Bracelets and earrings, too.  The last time I was to breakfast with Carol she mentioned the beads mom made from the church program at her wedding.  So, I told her breakfast today was at her house and I was bringing my camera.  Carol actually had two pair of beads and offered me one set.  Initially I declined, but then thought of Caroline, her great grandmother’s namesake.  My daughter tells me the right granddaughter inherited grandma’s name; this girl out organizes grandma.

 The view from Carol's sun room


  1. Those beads are beautiful.

  2. What an inspiring post, and homage to your mother. How wonderful. I wish my hands could do such fine work, but I have inherited the family gift of arthritis.

  3. The beads look lovely (maybe I should make some?). Thank you for popping over to my blog for my last post about depression.