Sunday, March 15, 2009

Environmentally Conscious Bead Parties

We will be adding a “green” party package to Beading Buds. This package is an environmentally conscious alternative because we use beads made from recycled glass, reusable beading boards and encourage parents to use the jewelry the kids make as the loot bag, therefore eliminating all the plastic and other by-products that are usually in loot bags and other party favors.

While researching for beads made from recycled glass, I came across a company in Africa that explained how these glass beads are made. I found it fascinating and encouraging that beads are being made out of old glass.

This is how the beads are made. Recycled glass is crushed by hand. Dyes and colours are not added so the glass that is being crushed has to be the colour that you want the beads to be. Once you crush the glass, the mixture is called a "fritt". The fritt consists of mainly crushed glass, but some larger pieces can be left as they melt down during the baking process. Before the fritt is poured into the moulds, the moulds are coated with a fine mixture of kaolin clay and water to prevent sticking. The moulds are placed into a special machine that heats up and when the right temperature has been reached the bead making artisan takes out the moulds. He uses two awls, one to hold down the mould and the other to shape the bead, he also uses one of the awls to make the hole for the bead. This has to be done quickly before the glass cools. When the beads are completed every single bead has a slightly different shape and size to it because each bead is made by hand. Below are some pictures showing the different colours of the beads and what the beads look like.

Recycled Glass Beads

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