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These pumpkin beads are great all year round but are particularly suited to autumn.

Kids especially love them and I've written this mini tutorial with the children's charity Beads Of Courage in mind.

The Beads of Courage programme is designed to provide an additional treatment and offers support for children and teenagers undergoing serious illness and treatments. The beads help the children to take ownership of their journey and to make sense of the experience they are going through in a very visible and tangible way. The beads gives them a tool to explain it to themselves and others, adults, medical professionals, brothers, sisters, friends and says to everybody “this is my story, this is what I’m doing – its not nice but I’m strong and I will get through it”.With each procedure or milestone in their treatment, they get a special bead. Each bead is their way of saying “this isn’t easy, but I did it”. Another nurse said “I never would have expected for the beads to have such an effect on anxiety as well as compliance issues related to taking medications. I have also seen changes in patients coping skills and confidence with active involvement in this programme”.


To make them you will need

  • 2.4mm coated mandrel **
  • Effetre Dark Yellow (it goes orange when worked)
  • Effetre Petrol green - rod and stringer
  • CiM Peace stringer
  • Reichenbach Deep Black stringer
  • Marver
  • Knife
  • Curved "smile" tool

So let's get on and make our first bead for BoC.

** kids find it easier to string beads with bigger holes!

Be safe - use eye protection and ventilation when making lampwork beads

The link to download this is at the end!

Step 1

Pumkpin 1 (1)

Take your dark yellow and wind on a small barrel .. (be sure to leave space at one end to add the green bit!)

Notice how once this has been flame worked the glass goes orange.

Step 2

Pumkpin 1 (2)

Take your petrol green rod and wind a small bead just touching the "orange"

** even though we'll be adding more orange, I've added the green now as I find it easier to add it next to a thin barrel.

Step 3

Pumkpin 1 (3)

Heat gently  and use a knife (I've used an old kitchen one) or shaper tool and add definition between the two colours.

Step 4

Pumkpin 1 (4)

Take your dark yellow / orange rod and add more glass around the middle to make a rounded oval shape.

You want it to be more oval for the finished shape.

Step 5

Pumkpin 1 (5)

Heat the bead till it's warm all the way through and flatten between two marvers.

Flame polish to remove the ridge marks.

Step 6

Pumkpin 1 (6)

Now we want to add some "ridges"  - I add 3 on each side.

Heat a spot on the bead, rest against a marver (not shown) and using your knife, gently press down (avoiding the green part).

TIP - To keep the bead warm all over, I change sides when adding each ridge.

Step 7

Pumkpin 1 (7)

Take your white stringer, and add two dots.

Gently heat, and flatten with your marver.

Step 8


Take your black stringer, and add a dot on each of the white dots. Heat gently and press in with your marver.

While I haven't melted them all the way in, I have made sure that each dot is securely attached and won't come off (there is no "undercut" on the dot). When adding heat to dots, it's best to take it away from the flame before you think it's melted in. The residue heat will keep melting it in, and it's best to re heat and press then to go too far!


TIP - use a saturated black when adding on top of a light base. Normal blacks are not saturated enough as they are really very dark purple and this will show up on top of a colour such as white. You could also use Effetre's Intense Black 

Step 9

Pumkpin 1 (8)

Take your petrol green stringer, and working slightly to the side of the flame (this will give you better control), add a spiral vine to the side.

Heat enough to ensure it is attached, but not so much that it melts in.

Step 10

Pumkpin 1 (9)

Almost there!

I picked up this nifty tool at a fair .. I don't even know what you'd call it to be honest!

You could use anything with a similar shape .. or even skip this part if you like.

Spot heat the bead under the eyes, and gently push in the tool to add a mouth shape!

Give a gentle heat and place in your kiln or fibre blanket to anneal later (BoC beads must be annealed)!!


Now that's the first one done ... let's go make another!


I hope that you've enjoyed this tutorial, and I'd be grateful if you could spare the time to make a few of these beads and send them into Beads of Courage. You'll put a mile on a child's face! 



Here is the link for the forms and address!

Download the PDF

See this and other free tutorials for BoC here