I thought I was quite clever when I came up with this idea for little perfume bottles, but then I found out others had thought of it before me.
It’s always hard to discover that you’re not original. Nonetheless, I decided to go ahead with the tutorial because these little gems are a great “beginner” accessory for 1/144 scale.
These bottles are SIMPLE to make (if you have a good pair of tweezers) and really add lovely detail to your tiny little dressing table.
The biggest problem you will have are beads skittering away — but a saucer and some scrap polymer clay will take care of the majority the runaways. There will be beads who choose to take flight. Some beads were just born to be free.
I was not able to find the two sizes of no-hole beads locally, but I ordered from MiniKitz. Deb (at MiniKitz) is super-speedy with getting orders out the door and a pleasure to deal with.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though you’ll only purchase two sizes of beads (1/2mm and 1mm), you will quickly discover that you have a wide variety of sizes. These micro-beads are not even close to consistent in sizing. But that’s a Good Thing — it gives you more options on fancy bottles and various size bottles.
- 1/2mm and 1mm “no-hole” beads — I got mine from MiniKitz.
- CA Glue. (I use “Zap-A-Gap”.)
-Toothpicks (for applying glue)
- Scrap Polymer Clay (for holding beads in place)
- Saucer (for holding beads)
- Tile or similar (for holding glue)
Making a “Bed” for your beads.
This step is to provide a workspace where beads don’t roll around all over the place. Flatten out a piece of scrap clay that gives you about a 2″ workspace.
Use the BLUNT end of your tweezers or the handle of a paint brush to make a “moat” around the edges (this traps beads that escape your tweezers).
Placing the bottle bases.
Select from the larger beads and place several in your clay base.
NOTE: As you can see from the pictures, I place an assortment of beads on a plate (make sure it as a curved edge or “lip”). I find this much easier than trying to nab beads out of their individual containers. When finished, I just dump the assortment into their own plastic bag.
Use your tweezers to gently press each bead into the clay. You want to make a slight indent with the bead, not shove it deeply into the clay.
Voice of experience: if you push the beads too far into the clay, you end up with clay on your bottle and these tiny little treasures are tough to clean-up.
Place a drop of CA glue (e.g., Zap-A-Gap) on a non-porous surface (such as tile or an old plate that you sacrifice to “craft purposes only”).
This bit of glue will usually stay fresh enough to use for your entire session of bottle making.
Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to pick up a dab of glue and place the dab on one of the “bottle” beads already placed in your clay.
Placing the bottle tops.
Select from the smaller beads and place one on each bottle you’ve dabbed with glue. I find it best to make the tops a contrasting color to the base. At this scale, if you use the same color for top and base, the top is very difficult to see.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you accidentally touch your tweezers in the glue (it will happen), STOP. Drop the bead and clean your tweezers. Better to mess up one bead bottle than your tweezers.
Allow bottles to dry thoroughly.
I put this in as an extra step because I am so likely not to wait long enough. CA glue does dry quickly, but not as quickly as I would always like.
But if you pick the bottles up to quickly, you will lose some of the tops.
Removing Beads from Clay.
If you bend the clay a bit, it pulls away from the beads and makes it easier to remove the bottles with tweezers. Be sure to perform this step over a small curved plate in case any fall from the clay (in the hopes that the curved lip of the plate will imprison any wayward beads).
Using your bottles.
These bottles make the perfect addition to a vanity table or bathroom counter. I’ve used them here with a mini-metal vanity table.