>Plastic vs. Glass


beaded Buell X1 Lightning motorcycle bead embroidery glass plastic beading blog pop art Boston
Semi-beaded Buell motorcycle. Bead embroidery on felt.
10″wide x 6″. Beadwork in progress. Click to enlarge.


Has you ever mixed plastic beads in with your glass beads when beading? I don’t make a habit of this, but I did it yesterday because I wanted to use a few square-shaped rhinestones that I had. There are 5 total, and you can see them in the photo above. I purchased these in Prague. I thought they were glass or crystal at the time, but when I took them out of the bag, I could tell that they weren’t. They had a bit of excess plastic (or flash) around the holes. So, I just removed the plastic and continued beading. I don’t know if anyone else will be able to tell by the time I am finished with my beaded motorcycle… 

Next time, I will have to check to make sure before I buy. The best way to do that is to rub the piece against a tooth. The piece in question will feel very hard and cold if it is glass, and warm and softer if it is plastic. If you have ever touched your tooth to a drinking glass you will know what I mean.

Have you ever bought something that you thought was glass but turned out to be plastic? Was it a disappointment? And, do you think the inclusion of a few acrylic beads affects the overall value of the finished beadwork? Why or why not? Thanks for your opinions!

14 thoughts on “>Plastic vs. Glass

  1. >I embarrass my mom all the time b/c if I can’t tell by eye if a bead is glass or plastic I’ll try and sneak the tooth trick right at the store. She thinks I’m funny… but sometimes you just wanna know!

  2. >I don’t think it matters if the plastic bead fits the project. Like others, I prefer to work with glass, but make exceptions when I use certain buttons in my work. Go for it.Arline

  3. >I don’t think anyone will be the wiser since you make amazing work!! But, I do know how you must have felt…as I have had similar disappointments.

  4. >I’m not an expert on beads, so I can’t comment on that aspect of your post, but I DO know about motorcycles, and am speechless with this project of yours!!! As usual, I haven’t visited you for some time, so had to go back to January to find out why a motorcycle (it was no hardship going back, mind you – just means I get to bed an hour later than I’d planned, LOL). I caught up with your pussies ;-), dogs and birds on the way – love everything of course.

  5. >I’m a bit of bead snob, but that lucite sure is neat! Having said that, I would not ever build piece out of plastic, but if I wanted to add a bead or two, I’d do it.It’s looking awesome!!Cheers, Denise

  6. >Like almost everyone else I like glass best, but I also like metallic beads and metal beads. I’ve used plastic sometimes because they were just what I’ve needed but prefer to keep it all one or the other. I wouldn’t say I’m a plastic snob person, but glass while it breaks occasionally, doesn’t lose it’s shine quite so easily. If I wanted to buy a beaded piece a plastic bead or two in it wouldn’t deter me.

  7. >Wow, the motorcycle is looking amazing! The proportions are just right, and the orange really makes it POP 🙂 I’m a firm believer in using whatever works when I create a piece. I’m no bead snob, if a plastic bead fits in with the overall theme, I use it!

  8. >I prefer glass, but I have spent good money on plastic beads that I thought were gorgeous and worth every penny (vintage lucite, for example). Sometimes plastic helps when weight is an issue, as well. I think you need to pick beads by the effect you want them to create — artistic choice, right? And it’s not as if you’re trying to hide it. I don’t think it downgrades the worth of your artwork.

  9. >Wow that is INSANE! Your talent amazes me. I think it’ll be ok to just use the acrylic. Its just as awesome with plastic as it would be with glass. But then again, Im easy to please, so maybe Im the wrong person to comment, lol.

  10. >While I PREFER glass, I also believe that you should use whatever materials you need to get the job done the way you want it done. In this case, I doubt the ultimate wearer/user/admirer of the piece will get their teeth close enough to do the test. 😉

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