Polymer mood beads

Hoover on PCDaily

These beads from Indiana’s Beth Ann Hoover will reflect your mood. She offers a whole series of Mirage polymer beads that include heat sensitive liquid crystals that change color.

How does Beth Ann do this? Does she add ink? Film? Paint? What’s your guess? Will she divulge her secret? Looking at these beads may put you in a curious mood (that’s yellow). Here she is on Facebook and Pinterest. What mood have you chosen for this week?

Correction: Thanks to all who quickly noted that these are manufactured hollow polymer beads that Beth Ann is distributing. My bad, I misunderstood and I rarely venture to wholesale bead sites. Problem is I’m still intrigued as to how this is done. So the question remains. Color my mood “red” with embarrassment.

  • reply Dori Imran ,

    Does she make these, or just distribute these? They are available on Amazon as well, from Shipwreck Beads. Looked into this a while ago. It is thermosensitive liquid crystal with UV protectant. Can’t get really wet, because water based. More of an industrial process at this point. Some automotive paint companies have such pigments. Also available are pigments which are light-sensitive and change color in the sun.

    • reply Cynthia Tinapple ,

      Dori – Right you are! Oops. Thanks


    • reply Dawn ,

      Does she make these beads herself?

      (By the way, the link that says it’s to her Facebook page actually goes to the Etsy listing for the beads shown in the photo.)

      • reply PiperPixieDesigns ,

        I would love to know her secret! These are beautifully detailed:) I could make some awesomely awesome earrings with these bad boys!

        • reply Dori Imran ,

          • reply Peg Harper ,

            I looked into trying to make my own mood beads a couple years ago. The only references I could find were for science class demonstrations which ended in a temporarily suspended crystal sample, nothing solid or permanent. I’d love to know how to do this if anyone out there has figured it out. Perhaps our super-analytical scientist Carol Simmons will be the pioneer for this!

            • reply Karen Price ,

              Actually, I’m a little relieved to know that you can make a mistake; your wealth of accomplishments can be a little intimidating.

              • reply Kathy McCurry ,

                I bought some thermo-chromic pigments a while back – they came in small containers in powder form (similar to mica pigments), and they are supposed to change color some based on temperature (ergo the therma-chromic descriptor – haha), but I’m not entirely sure how to use them effectively. Since clay is fairly ‘thick’ and I don’t think it’s a great conductor of heat (like metals are), I’m not sure how much it would change color – especially on the visible sections of beads, and earrings really don’t get affected by heat at all. Has anyone had any luck with this?

                • reply Sherry Bailey ,

                  Polymer, maybe NOT “polymer CLAY”. Pretty in any case…

                  • reply Carrie Harvey ,

                    Nonetheless they are very beautiful!

                    • reply polina ,

                      • reply Dori Imran ,

                        There are references and hints here and there to a liquid crystal paint, which no longer seems to be available. Here is a video showing such a paint from Edmond Scientific: http://youtu.be/Ts5k-xi-UAY First they painted the object black and then applied the liquid crystal paint.

                        No such paint available. Make your own? Need liquid crystal and some way to make into paint and seal it in. Or should someone just contact Edmond Scientific ( http://www.scientificsonline.com) or the http://www.paintwithpearl.com automotive dudes and ask them about their paint?

                        LIQUID CRYSTAL:

                        http://youtu.be/-hgEgto1xpY makes a mood patch of liquid crystal..
                        “Explanation of how liquid crystals work, like in mood rings and mood patches. Demonstration of how to make a mood patch thermometer using overhead transparencies, packing tape, black spray paint, and cholesteric liquid crystals (a 50:50 mixture of cholesteryl pelargonate, CP, and cholesteryl oleyl carbonate, COC). Examples of every-day products that use CLCs.”

                        Can you just mix the two chemicals together? Do you have to heat them up to mix like these guys (http://youtu.be/Q_Yem5v8JrI) did? I gather different percentages of the two ingredients can be made to respond to different temperature ranges. The ingredients can be purchased from http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/ for $185.

                        MAKE PAINT:

                        Next, in the comments to this video, http://youtu.be/YSIlid5ZloM,: “Dude, to make a paint you need to make it into an emulsion. Find some hard setting air drying liquid polymer that’s less dense (important!) than your LCD (like liquid resin or something) and mix it with your paint. Then you spray it on using a standard automobile electrostatic airbrush. What happens is the less dense polymer floats to the top and reacts with the air to create a hard shell over your LCD, allowing that to stay whatever the funk it wants to be.”

                        Okay , , , What kind of resin would work? (I think using an airbrush is probably overkill.)

                        AND, how to apply it to polymer clay? Can it be directly applied to cured clay, or does the clay have to be sealed with a resin first?

                        So, then . . .
                        1. Make and cure highly textured polymer clay object.
                        2. Blacken the recesses with acrylic paint? Black polymer and cure again?
                        3. Seal the object with thin coating? Would black paint need this sealing more than polymer?
                        4. Apply liquid crystal mixture somehow suspended in some kind of resin.
                        5. Seal again? UV protectant seal?

                        A little obsessed, am I?

                        • reply Dori Imran ,

                          • reply Cynthia Tinapple ,

                            Dori – Your obsession is our gain. Fabulous. Thank you.


                            • reply Kris Speed ,

                              • reply gyanna ,

                                what is going on

                                Leave a comment