Sports ‘N Crafts: Mardi Gras Beads Makeover

There are a number of reasons to start our new (and hopefully, semi-regular) feature on sports themed crafts with today’s project.  For one, it is nearly Mardi Gras (and our own CuteSports is in New Orleans as you read this!). For another, the beads in this project belong to my oft-mentioned Saints fan boyfriend, and today is his birthday.  (Don’t worry, babe, I got you real presents, not just a blog post.)

As you can see, my boyfriend’s lucky Saints beads, which he wears for every game, are a little worse for wear after several seasons of nervous fingering.beadsbefore

Yeah, those gray beads? Those are supposed to be shiny gold. I took it upon myself to spruce them up for next season.  Here’s the supplies I used:

  • RoseArt metallic permanent markers (I’ve had these for years and it doesn’t appear they make these exact ones any longer, but this set at Target is very close.)
  • A plain old black Sharpie.
  • A cardboard shoebox (or other small box that you can cut small slits in).
  • Nail polish

Did you know nail polish is essentially enamel paint?  It’s true (especially the cheap stuff, which is what you’ll want to use for this project).  For my beads, I ended up purchasing gold (Maybelline Color Show in Bold Gold) for the large gold beads and sparkly black (Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in Black Diamonds) for the small beads — which were also originally gold, but I really wanted a third alternative to the large solid black and gold beads.  I also used some cheap old white for details on the two football shaped beads and clear as a top coat for extra shine and protection.

Of course the big question with a project like this is — how do you paint little round objects without them rolling all over the place or smudging where they touch a surface? Enter the shoebox:


As you can see, I cut a slit in each end of the box and slipped the beads into it, making it as taut as possible across the box. Because the big black beads didn’t need painting, I was able to use them as holders to help rotate the string as I painted and make sure I got all the way around the beads.  (You can also see in that picture that I tried to paint the small beads white initially, but didn’t end up liking how that looked.)footballcloseup

I used the permanent markers on the two big football shaped beads (the bronze metallic color) and to patch up the big fleur-de-lis pendant (which was the EXACT gold of my gold marker – a crafting miracle!).  The sharpie patched up the black edges and the “#1” on the football — and you can see on this half finished bead how well it worked.  I could have used nail polish on this too, of course, but having something that wasn’t in danger of dripping in the wrong place made things a lot easier.


Here’s a close up of the beads in progress.  This is an easy project, but it’s not a quick one.  You’ll need to do at least 2 coats to get a really nice opaque color on each bead, plus a clear coat, and of course you’ll have to reposition the string on the shoebox rig a few times.  Make sure you let everything dry really well between coats or you’ll wind up with smudged beads AND messy fingers.

beadsafterThe finished beads, all ready for September.  I was just refurbishing this string, but the polish covers so well that it would be really easy to make any string of beads any colors you want, so long as you could find an appropriate color of nail polish.  Just make sure you take your time and let everything dry!

Edit (1:30 PM): Because I am a doofus and accidentally published this at 2:45 AM instead of 2:45 PM, I was unable to add our big craft-adjacent news: the Ladies… are now on Pinterest!  Be sure to follow us for Hump Day Hotties, Foodie posts, Crafts, and more! (Also, we’ve updated our Share buttons to include a Pinterest option, just to make it that much easier!)

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