Sunday, November 4, 2007

Altered Item Tutorial ~ Beaded Pens

OK, I know I was asked to do a tutorial on altered items a looooonnnng time ago, but finally I'm getting around to it. A few months ago, I went to a meeting where one of the make'n'takes was a beaded pen. They were so quick and easy to make, I have done quite a few since, mostly for birthday presents.

To make one of these pens, you will need the following supplies:

- pen with a smooth barrel (think dollar store, or Staples if you want something fancier)
- white address label that will fit around the barrel of the pen (I used 1" x 2 5/8" here)
- small stamps (I used the Little Pieces set)
- alphabet set (optional)
- 3 or more coordinating ink colors
- clear microbeads (Stampin Up has really nice ones; dollar store ones work also)
- double sided adhesive (ThermoWeb or dollar store wide adhesive tape)
- heat gun
- 6" piece of narrow coordinating ribbon (optional)

Here's what to do:

Begin by pouring your microbeads into a shallow container that is slightly longer than your pen. I used a covered plastic container here so that I could leave the microbeads in the container and not have to transfer them back and forth from the container they came in. This one is actually larger than I would have liked, but it's what I had on hand. Set the container aside for now.

Next, stamp your label while still attached to the backing material. I wanted bright colors to match my pen, so I used Yoyo Yellow, Gable Green, and Real Red. Then, I decided I wanted to personalize my pen, so I used Basic Black with an All Night Media 1/2' alphabet set that I picked up on clearance at Wal-Mart. (Note: I'm anti Wal-mart and only buy clearance items there as my own little form of protest. I figure I only shop there when they are losing money by selling things to me).

Wait a couple seconds for the ink to dry (doesn't take long), then remove your label from the backing and wrap it around the pen.

Next comes the hardest part of the whole process ~ and it's really not all that difficult! Cut your adhesive strip to fit completely around the pen barrel, covering your entire label. It's ok if it overlaps itself, but it must completely cover the label or you will end up with an area without beads. I'm using dollar store double-sided tape, so I had to cut two pieces and overlap. Once the adhesive is stuck in place, remove the protective paper from the other side of it, so you now have a sticky surface completely covering the stamped label. You're almost finished!

Heat the sticky surface with your heat gun. You don't want to completely melt the glue, just soften it up so that the beads will stick really well. About 20 seconds or less will do it.

Then, while the glue is still warm, quickly roll your pen in your container of microbeads. Try to resist the temptation to touch the beads with your fingers, as the oil from your skin will cause them not to stick as well on this and all future projects that you use them for. Once your pen is completely coated, set it aside for a few minutes to cool. This will set the beads.

Congratulations, you did it! If you are giving this pen as a gift, you might want to tie a small length of ribbon around the end, or just leave it as is ~ it looks great. Makes a perfect accompaniment to an altered calendar, notebook or clipboard. Although your first pen seems to take forever to do, you'll find that subsequent ones make up very, very quickly...great when you need just a little something to give someone.


Jules said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I need to do this sometime!

Deborah said...

@aolLooks like a fun pen prject! Deb

Michelle said...

Very cool1 I definitely have to make these!

Beth said...

Fabulous tutorial. TFS.