Turning Porcupine Quills into Beads

| 2/25/2013 2:36:05 PM

quill beadsThis week an old friend visited my farm in Northern New York from his home in Klamath, Calif. A pure-blooded Yurok Indian, Arnie is well-versed in the traditions of his ancestors and knows much about fishing, edible wild plants, and various Native American crafts  While here, he made use of a dead porcupine from the yard, teaching me how to turn the quills into beads that can be incorporated into homemade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or other arts 'n' crafts projects.

While many of us living a rural lifestyle have horror stories of dogs being quilled by porcupines, these spiky protuberances can also be plucked from roadkill—or, if you've got a brave heart, you can throw a blanket or towel over a living porcupine. The quills will stick to the cloth. Always remove quills carefully! The backward-facing barbs will pierce your skin easily and stay there.

Once you have a collection of quills, turn them into beads by following these simple instructions.

Trim the Quills

Clip each end of every quill with scissors. Take care to ensure the clipped ends land in a trash can so your pet — or your child — doesn't get quilled after your arts and crafts session is over. Cats especially love to eat quills! With both ends cut, the quill should resemble a tube-shaped or bugle bead.

Wash and dry your beads-to-be

Porcupine quills have a very soft, delicate interior. Make sure you don't do anything that will damage them. After clipping the ends, wash the quills in warm water with a mild, grease-fighting soap. If they are especially dirty, leave them to soak. Then rinse them off and lay them out to dry.

7/18/2014 11:28:10 AM

I think I might give this project a try, I love all kind of jewelry and if I could create some then I would be even happier. I will still check out http://quadrumgallery.com/category/ on a regular basis though, their jewelry is truly exquisite.

7/8/2014 5:33:24 AM

They look so lovely and authentic. I love this type of craft-hood, I find it so artistic and real. You guys should http://www.delightjewelry.com/ to get some new ideas on how to use beads in different shapes and colors. Your friend should definitely make a business out of this.

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