Zam beads .. tutorial


Active Hunter
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 :D

have fun ;)

enjoy :D
Last edited by a moderator:
Great tutorial!

Could you pick me up some of those beads? I've looked all over for them (ACE, Home depot, Lowe's, Sears hardware, etc.), and they just don't seem to be around here.

If you can help me out, just PM, and we can set it up.

I think MonCal said he got them at Ace Hardware... they were on a big roll and cut to the length you want.

There are similar beads available at any arts and crafts store (i.e. JoAnn's) - though the strands are shorter and you would have to fasten them together somehow.
Yeah, I tried the Ace hardware by me, and they didn't have it. :( I tried some of the arts & crafts stores, but they just had the beads, without the spacers. :(

I did find the Hot topic, and Spencer's, but I would have to buy at lest two or three precut strands, and there kind of prices.

I was hoping someone here could help me out, but if not there is a store that has the cheepo, plastic Mardi gra beads, but I would rather have the more accurate metal ones.

I can pick them up here locally. The beads cost $8.00 plus shipping.

Let me know via PM with your address and I can figure shipping from there.
was curious...i got some of cal's beads but they seem kind of short to make them look like they do in some of the pictures...some of the photos i saw they really appear to not only be looped twice with one hoop longer than the other, but also appear to hang almost to her knee...comments? The strand i got from cal is barley long enough to make the two loops...the tail end hangs about 3-4 inches past the this shot

I counted at least 85 if not more beads in this shot...
Last edited by a moderator:
I don't have that pic... at least not a copy good enough to count the blasted beads.

I would count the beads... let us know what you come up with so we can have an "official number." Then we can go from there.

My beads are also shorter than that... :/
from what i can see it looks like about count in the pic...thats about 10 or so more than my cal beads...
I've been going off of the number we decided on years ago when this forum was just a pup ;) ... but now we have more reference... if we decide on a new number I can certainly add more to the string.
I wish I had counted at FIDM... :(

Honestly I was so tired and overwhelmed at that point... *bangs head against wall* Now I just wish they would re-show Zam someplace.
Made an interesting find while Christmas shopping. Hot Topic has what they call a Shotbead necklace (like a dog tag chain) in their jewelry section in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra large. Bead count is 28 beads per chain on the extra large(approximately, count varies by size). I got 3 of the extra large because it fell between 3/8 and 1/2. Didn't have my caliper with me at the time to determine what a large is but they were very close in size.:D

p.s. won some brown Prada boots off ebay today as well...yay!
I am doing some bead-tests too... Great tut, BTW :)

( I too won some Prada-boots in November from evilbay, fairly cheaply and they are very accurant-looking)
This is a way cool thread. If anyone frequents a native American festival, usually they have some sort of seminar on bead construction. There is a lot more to this than one might think.
This thread is more than 6 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. This thread hasn't been active in some time. A new post in this thread might not contribute constructively to this discussion after so long.
If you wish to reply despite these issues, check the box below before replying.
Be aware that malicious compliance may result in more severe penalties.