Edit 1/20/05: fixing pics
I've been meaning to do this for a very long time and I'm sure most of you have already finished your beads ... But, for those of you who haven't, here is a great way to weather your beads:
* I found the 3/8" beads here locally at ACE hardware. They have them on a spool that is probably 100 feet long. Cut off a 75 bead chain. If you can't find the beads, I can pick some up for you for cost.
* Pick up a bottle of Birchwood Casey Perma Blue Liquid Gun Blue. You can search online for it. I have tried a couple different brands of gun blue and so far, this is the best brand I've used. Other brands leave the beads way too black or rusty looking.
* Find a small container. I use a very small rubbermaid container. Fill it with the gun blue and put your beads in there. Stir them a little so that the liquid touches all of the beads. This takes less than a minute. They'll turn black and pull them out.
* Rinse them off really well under the tap. Scrub them with your fingers to clean off the excess tarnish.
* I take them outside and swing them around to get most of the water out.
* The key to not getting rust on your beads is to lay them flat on a paper towel for a day...or two if it's humid. This leaves excess water inside the beads to evaporate. Notice in the picture that some of the beads are touching. Try to stretch them out the best you can! If the rod piece in between the beads stays inside the bead with the water, it might rust.
I initially hung the beads up and if you do this, the water drips down the rods in between the beads and causes some rust. If you lay them flat, you shouldn't have a problem