How to Make Potato Jewelry
Go into any department store today and you'll find big chunky beaded jewelry at high prices. You can make your own department store fashion statement at a fraction of the price using, of all things, potatoes. Making jewelry out of potatoes is a fun and simple craft that is great for all ages. From the first step of making the potato beads, to the resulting gorgeous piece of jewelry, you are sure to surprise friends and family when they discover that the necklace you just gave them is made out of the same thing they find on their dinner plate.
Because you'll need plenty of time to prepare, this is the perfect craft for people that help out in a class regularly, like sunday school or a weekly senior group. Make sure to allow yourself at least 3 classes, or 2 weeks, for this project.
With a few inexpensive supplies you'll be making jewelry out of potatoes in no time.
1 5lb (or as many as you want) bag of russet potatoes (or another type)
Acrylic spray sealer
Craft paint brushes
Embroidery floss/elastic thread
Decorative Beads (if desired)
Long embroidery needles for beading
Old baking sheets
An instructional slide show on making potato jewelry
How to prepare the potato beads
You will need about 2 weeks to complete the process of making the potato beads.
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- Cut the potatoes to the desired size. For this demonstration I cut approximately 1 1/2" chunks. This size made large chunky beads. Note that the potatoes will shrink by at least a third, so if they are cut too small, they will break easily.
- Put the potatoes on the bamboo skewers and place them on wax paper covered baking sheets or another surface. Use a portable surface so they can be moved easily.
- Put the skewer filled trays in an out-of-the-way spot and let them dry for at least 10 days or up to 2 weeks.
- Important: Give each potato a twist on the skewer every day to prevent it from sticking to the skewer.
- Once they have dried completely and feel as hard as rocks, they are ready to paint.
- Leaving the potatoes on the skewers and using acrylic paints, paint each bead, making sure to cover the entire surface of the potato.
- Let dry overnight.
- Give the potatoes a second coating of acrylic paint and let dry overnight again.
- Once the painted potatoes are completely dry, spray them with an acrylic sealer spray. Do this step outside or in a well-ventilated area and keep kids away!
- Allow the finished beads to dry overnight.
- Take the beads off the skewers. Some may be tough to remove and there will be a few that break.
- The potato beads are ready to use.
How to Make a Potato Necklace
Making a necklace with potato beads is easy and takes no time at all.
- Using any surface, start by laying out your beads in a design. Add other types of beads for a different look. Once you are happy with the look, it's time to start beading.
- Thread a large embroidery needle with your desired thread. For this necklace I used embroidery floss. I always cut an extremely long piece of thread so that there is plenty of extra length for knotting. I would not recommend using elastic thread for a necklace. The bead weight will stretch it out as it hangs around the neck.
- The necklace in this demonstration is long enough to fit over a head, but if you want a shorter style, like a choker, then you'll need to affix a necklace clasp to the ends of the string.
- When finished beading, remove the needle from the thread and tie a knot. Make sure to tie the knot close enough to the beads so it disappears in the beading. This ensures a seamless finished look. Once you have the first knot tied, tie a few more for safe measure.
- Slip the necklace on and admire your handiwork!
* To make a bracelet, follow the above steps, but instead of using embroidery floss, I suggest using elastic thread. It makes it much easier to slip over the wrist and makes the bracelet more comfortable for daily wear. As with the necklace, a clasp can be added instead of knotting. It is your personal preference.
- Make sure your needle fits through all of your different bead sizes.
- Don't disassemble your bead layout once you have chosen it.
- Before tying the knots in your necklace, make sure it will fit over your head. If not, add beads or a necklace clasp.
- Tie at least 3 knots for safety and add a dab of glue on the knot for an extra hold.
© 2012 Claudia Mitchell