1. Using an emery board, sand off any imperfections on the surface of the bead. Wipe down bisque beads with a damp sponge to remove dust
  2. Begin painting the bisque beads, ends first, with the paste. Make sure to coat over the edge down into 1/16" of the hole of the bead. Do each end first and repeat 4 more times. Then do the other end of the bead, 5 times total
  3. Next fold over 1" of chenille pipe cleaner stem. This will ensure that the bead does not move on the chenille stem while you are painting it. Place your beads on the chenille stem
  4. Paint the body of the bead, and place it in the Styrofoam to dry
  5. Apply 5-6 coats total to the beads, making sure to coat the the inside 1/16" of the holes as well 5-6 times
  6. Using 800-1000 grit sandpaper, gently sand the bead to remove brush strokes and unevenness in the surface of the bead. This will give you a mirror finish. If you are going for a satin/textured finish, 4 coats of PMC3 is adequate enough, and skip the sanding step. Be careful not to sand off too much of your silver
  7. Punch out your PMC+ Sheet shapes for embellishing. I prefer to pre-fire the shapes before attaching them to the bead. This will give you a more pristine shape and also makes it easier to apply the shapes, rather than trying to apply them in their floppy greenware state. Use PMC3 as your glue to attach them to the bead. I use tweezers to hold the pre-fired shape, coat the shape with PMC3, and then press it quickly and firmly onto the bead. One swift motion will enable the sheet shape to form to the shape of the bead, by pressing firmly. Also a swift movement will prevent the PMC3 paste from sticking to your finger, thus coming off when you remove your finger. If you are using a Hot Pot for firing, you will need to pre-fire these PMC+ Sheet shapes with your torch first to properly fire them
  8. Apply syringe and set stones if desired. You may drill holes into the bead in order to set the stones flush with the surface
  9. Fire at full speed, to 1650 degrees, for a 10 minute hold. This firing will take approximately 25 minutes. You may then crack the door of the kiln 1" to speed up cooling after it has completed firing. If you are firing pre-glazed beads with PMC embellishments, you must stilt these beads on the nichrome high-fire wire placed in between the prongs on the bar stilt. You should be able to stilt 20 or more beads in each load, just on one shelf. We do not recommend you put glazed beads in the Hot Pot. However you can torch fire glazed beads. Try to slowly heat up the bead at first. It is recommended that you torch fire each bead for at least 5 minutes
  10. Polish by hand or tumble
  11. To tumble: place chenille stem back into bead and curl each end to prevent shot from getting stuck in the bead. Tumble with burnishing fluid for 60 minutes max
A Precautionary Note

If you only apply 3 coats or if you are a thin applier you may experience shivering of the silver off the bead. This can be repaired by adding more PMC3 and refiring. Experiment to see how heavy you apply the product and pay attention to making sure the entire bead gets covered with each coat


Advantages to using the Bead Blanks™ for PMC applications

  • When painting them assembly style you can complete, with embellishments, a bead in less than 10 minutes. When charging $25 an hour for labor, this is only $4 in labor costs
  • With a medium to large size bead, including embellishment, your only going to use about 1.5g of PMC. At Whole Lotta Whimsy's low prices, including the Bead Blank™ you are only looking at $2.50 total cost for materials
  • $6.50 total cost for a bead that you can incorporate into your work or sell individually for $12-20 is a nice markup (not to mention you already made your $25 an hour labor costs)
  • Children and those with arthritis can accomplish this project easily
  • Each Bead Blank ™ form is consistent so you know they will match in size and shape
  • The form is already made for you. This way you have no labor, no worrying about the material burning out and leaving burn-out spots, cave-ins etc. There are no fumes, and they can be fired with the torch and Hot Pot. It also gives some substance to the bead without them being too heavy or too light