Some years back I saw bean balls in one of the many gift
catalogs I used to receive and decided that a bowl of bean
balls would be a fine decorative accessory or table setter
for my kitchen or living room and it also gave me an
opportunity to put to use one of the many wooden bowls I
have refinished over the years. Since I happened to have
all needed materials on hand I set about making some and
this is the result. It was a pleasant enough way to spend an
afternoon and I was pleased enough with the outcome.
While I could have laid the beans in a more exacting
pattern as the balls in the catalog were done, I chose to
set the beans randomly as I felt they would look more
natural and less contrived.
The technique of Bean Mosaic has a universal appeal
because of its incredible versatility. Projects can be
simplified for the youngest participants and graduate in
difficulty along with the ability of the craftsman. As you can
see by the examples I’ve included here, craftsmen are only
limited by their imagination.
This procedure does demand patience and dexterity which
should be considered by teachers or therapists. The very
young may not have the attention span needed to place
beans individually and elderly arthritic fingers may lack the
dexterity. Such limitation can be compensated for by using
the glitter method where you lay down the glue and sprinkle
or scatter the beans, then allow the workers to simply move
them with their fingers where they want them.
I encourage all instructors though not to set limitations for
either the old or young. In our effort to insure success we
often discourage ambition. Let the craftsman experiment
and reach if he wants to.
For Crafters –
This is an exploration of new materials and mosaic
techniques. Consider expanding on the idea letting these
simple sample shapes inspire your creativity. What else
could be used besides legumes? Seeds, rice, macaroni,
beads, fish gravel… to get you started. What else could be
covered by these materials? You might consider boxes,
cans, vases or other containers or bowls, plates or tiles.
For Artists –
Consider design possibilities that will work well with this
For Teachers –
The lesson to be taught here is texture and mosaic as an art
Tools and Materials
as you chose
- Object to cover – can be most anything
- Dry legumes – bought from market in as many
- Bowls for your beans
- Acrylic paint in colors matching the color of your
- White craft glue that dries clear
- Tweezers or forceps for ease of placement
How To –
1 – Paint your form a color close to the bean color you will
be using to cover surface. The beans will not fit
perfectly together and you certainly don’t want white to
show through. Allow paint to dry thoroughly.
2 – Apply white glue to painted surface in small sections
3 – Place beans as close together as possible until all
surface is covered.
4 – Allow all to dry thoroughly
5 – Apply ModPodge or you could use a clear polyurethane
finish that will make it more durable and water resistant.
WARNING - Do not use outside as your finished art will
be eaten and much appreciated by visiting varmints.
Arts and Crafts
Painted Ceramic Bisque