Many quilters are unaware that beads may not necessarily be colorfast. For instance, this beautiful blue bugle bead below may appear as if it's blue glass. Not so......it's clear glass that has been dyed or painted blue. Often the color remains secure on the bead, other times not. So.....if you think there's a possibility that your project will be washed, become damp, or even require high steam for pressing.....take a few minutes and test your beads for colorfastness.
Most of the time, there isn't a problem, but for that heirloom project....you'd be devastated if during a final steam pressing, the bead color ran into your fabric. The pricier beads may be just at risk as the less expensive ones.....you can't tell by looking.
Here's how to test:
- Fill a shallow dish with hot sudsy water....drop in a few beads....let it sit for 15 mins.
- Remove them...rinse and let dry on a paper towel.
Note....sometimes color will be visible in the water, other times....the color will slowly eek out as it dries. As you can see....this blue bead has run.....red is another color I check carefully.
Don't let this scare you.......we are all aware that colorfastness can be an issue with fabrics......now you know that beads carry the same risk. Even if the bead color doesn't run....sometimes the fancy coatings......that make a bead's surface shimmer with various affects, (like rainbow) can dissipate......and the bead will lose its luster.
I've tested very, very few beads that I decided not to use......or that I've used with caution......beading is worth any effort....hopefully with this hint....all your projects will continue to shine brightly!