Bead Rack Tute

by anna on January 16, 2012

in Anna's Blog

We all like pretty beads. And many of us make pretty beads. But the truth is – if you lay your round beads on a tile to bake them, you will end up with a semi-round beads, as the tile side will get flattened. So, you have got to bake them on a bead rack. However, prices for quality bead racks run from $20 to $50. Unless you make your beads by the thousand, such investment really doesn’t make sense. What to do? Make your own bead rack, of course!

You will need:

– aluminum loaf pans of different sizes (depending on the size of your beads) – sold in grocery stores for $0.30-0.40 a piece;

– piece of old ceramic tile or a small wall tile (they’re usually 3″x6″) – sold in hardware stores for about $0.20-0.30 a piece;

– fine knitting needles (such as Susan Bates double point 2.75 mm, U.S. size 2) or wire, depending on your bead hole sizes – sold in fabric and craft stores for about $0.50 a piece;

– scissors;

– ceramic tile.

Depending on what you’re going to bake in them, you can:

– pierce holes in the opposite ends on a loaf pan with a knitting needle or wire, then place the beads you want to bake onto the needle and insert it into the holes. For lighter beads it is OK to bake just in a loaf pan. For heavier beads or if you have a big batch of them, be sure to place a small wall tile or a piece of a bigger tile into the pan to prevent it from tipping over;

– cut slots in the opposite sides of a loaf pan with scissors, place a tile on the bottom and suspend a dowel or a ring mandrel in the slots. When baked this way, a few rings of different sizes can be baked at once, as long as they aren’t touching each other.



Things to keep in mind:

– always place your loaded loaf pan on a standard size ceramic tile before putting it in the oven; if you put it by itself, it can get overheated and your beads/rings can burn.

– when making holes in the sides, keep the size of the objects you will be baking in this pan in mind; holes should be spaced far enough so that your beads aren’t touching each other while baking.

– also make sure that needles/wires don’t run too close to the edges and bottom of a pan, otherwise your beads will have shiny spots on them. There should be at least 1/4″ (0.6 cm) clearance between the beads and the sides and bottom of the pan.

– never string heavy beads onto soft flexible wires, like aluminum wire; while baking, the wire will sag under the beads weight, and the beads will get damaged.

Thus, this simple handmade bead rack will cost you less than $5 and serve you for months, if not years. Mine usually last for about 14 months, and I work with clay every day.

What are you waiting for? Go make some pretty beads! 🙂 And leave me a comment as to what you think of it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rocky January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

this is a very nice idea!! thanks for sharing!:) Now off to buy some tin foils!!:)


anna January 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

You are welcome! Glad you can use it. I love the jewelry you’re making, it’s very beautiful and elegant.


Julie October 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I would like to try this but was wondering, with regards to the tiles, does it matter if they are glazed or not. Also, I have old aluminum baking trays, do you suppose I can use those or should I stick to the foil? Thanks in advance for your help and thanks for sharing the info! 😉


anna October 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Julie, you are welcome! 🙂 I don’t think it matters if the tile is glazed or not, as long as unglazed one can withstand the temperature required. I think using a regular aluminum baking tray would be no problem. As long as there is enough of wall height, and the beads don’t touch the bottom of the tray, it should be fine.


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