A Bead Shape With Roots Dating All The Way Back to 1858:
Here is a unique bead shape you may or may not have seen before… the mobius bead. Made from a slice of a square polymer clay cane, the mobius bead in this photo was formed and baked onto a long glass bugle bead as the center spindle.
The mobius bead shape is named after the mobius strip… you know that loop of paper you made back in Math class with the twist in it. The one where if an ant were to crawl along the strips’ surface, it would cover the entire length of the loop, both sides, and return to where it started. All without ever crossing over an edge? Yeah that’s the one!
HISTORICAL TIDBIT: The Mobius strip was named after a mathematician and astronomer by the name of August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868). He came up with the concept in September 1858. Coincidentally in July 1858, the German mathematician Johann Benedict Listing (1808-1882) devised the very same object in July 1858. Apparently, these two fellows had never met prior. Some historians argue that the Mobius shape should be referenced using both names, Mobius-Listing. But unfortunately it looks like poor old Johann got left out of the loop :(
Anyway… although it’s not an exact representation of a continuous mobius band, the mobius bead kind of has that look to it. So this is probably how it got its name. I’m not positive, but I think Mike Beusseler (clay guru) was one of the first ones to make this bead shape from polymer clay.
What makes my mobius bead design unique compared to others I’ve seen, is the addition of the center bugle bead piece. It serves as the hole for stringing your beading wire through, and also adds a great deal of strength.
You can make these mobius beads using a fairly thick and very even slice from a polymer clay cane. The cane needs to be quite a soft and flexible, otherwise it will crack under the strain of bending it.
Opposite corners are then drawn toward each other until they touch. Two going one way and two going the other.
This has to be done slowly and carefully. Both sides at the same time using your thumbs and forefingers from both hands. Kind of a slow pinching motion.
When creating a mobius bead over a glass bugle bead, you pierce the center of the cane slice before bending. You then push your bugle bead through the hole in the center of the cane slice and bend the corners up towards the bugle bead. This way the hole in the bugle bead serves as your hole for your mobius bead and there is no need to pierce it further.
When making a mobius bead without a bugle bead center, you can pierce it after you made it or build it on a piercing wire. Just give the wire a twist before you bake it so you can easily remove it from the wire.
They look fabulous in many jewelry projects, and are great beads for making earrings. So try out this Mobius Bead shape and let me know what you think.