glow in the dark clay bead vine

Honestly, who doesn't need a seven foot long glow in the dark clay bead vine? It wraps very nicely around my daughter's bed frame, but I am also planning on using it later to decorate her book nook by draping it over a large stick I will attach to the wall and hanging mermaids, seashells, and fish (or paper versions of them) from the vine and stick to enhance her private magic under the sea theme she's got going there.*

This is a project that began as something else but meandered it's way through the stages to become something else entirely. The vine's green beads are made from a flour recipe and painted with glow in the dark acrylic paint (which we happen to have in the house because of a failed attempt to make glow in the dark bubbles - something we are desperate to have for some reason?!) The mid size beads are a combination of boughten beads and polymere clay beads that The Man and I have made over the years. The smallest beads are glass seed beads.

The flour clay recipe:

3/4 flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cornstarch
warm water

Mix together the flour, salt and cornstarch. Add warm water slowly until the clay is firm enough to form into small balls.

Beads are formed by pushing holes through to middle of a bead-esque shape with a straw or toothpick. If you find the clay begins to fall apart while you work, wet your hands with a bit of water and the clay will stick together well again.

Lay all your beads on a cookie sheet or tray of some type to dry for 1 to 4 days (depending on how big your beads are.)
Once your beads are dry, paint with a glow in the dark acrylic paint. Or whichever way you like, of course. To paint the beads evenly (something not entirely managed by us) try sticking it onto the unbristled end of a paint brush and painting all around.
When the flour clay beads are all prepped and ready, sit down with your beads and a looooonnng piece of wire (I used a .018 gauge bead wire) and begin your vine.
My vine is fast and loose on the pattern, but generally there is a patch of seed beads, an equal-ish size patch of mid-size beads, one large clay bead, a patch of mid-size beads, and back to the small seed beads. And so on. For a cohesive look or to coordinate with a room stick to beads of the same colour family, or warm/cool colours, etc. I used blue and green because I knew that eventually there would be a mermaid or two tucked nearby.
Hang your finished vine in a brightly lit room (best for the acrylic glow in the dark paint to collect UV rays). At night, after the sun goes down and with the lights off, come visit the vine and oohh over it's lovely (or alien) glow.
* Safety note: this vine is definitely decor and not a plaything. The length and tanglability of the beads make it a hazard for children to play with and it should be securely attached wherever it is to be hung or displayed.


  1. That is awesome! We made all out Christmas tree decorations out of salt dough and then painted them. It is sooo much fun. I bet the mermaids can't wait to live there.

  2. This is great! I'm redecorating my daughter's room this summer I may implement the glow in the dark clay bead vine. Thanks!

  3. Wow, that is so creative! I love the idea of the under the sea theme. So much fun! Thanks tons for the how-to, I'll be linking.

  4. Hello lovely blog!
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  5. Do The beads need to be coated with anything to prevent the dough from going mouldy over time?

  6. Beadstalk, it's not coated with anything and there hasn't been a problem yet. It's something to check into, though. I'm sure at some point the dough will become unstable in one manner or another and the vine will have to be pulled apart and the beads reused for something else.