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About the Beads We Use

The Beads of Courage® Program depends upon a few different types of beads.
Program Beads

Program Beads are commercially manufactured due largely to the sheer quantity involved. These beads are the ones that you may have seen on bead guides that correspond to specific events in a child's treatment journey.

Act of Courage Beads

Act of Courage Beads are the artist-made glass beads that are given to acknowledge the milestones in a child's treatment journey. This year, we expect to need approximately 100,000 of these handmade beads donated so children can continue to receive one-of-a-kind beads for significant treatment milestones. These beads truly bring the arts to our Arts-in-Medicine mission.

Polymer Clay Beads

Polymer Clay Beads are used in many of our programs including Creative Courage Journal, Beads of Courage Program for Siblings, Arts-in-Medicine Workshops and as a Member's Choice bead in the Beads of Courage Program.

Other Manufactured Beads

Other Manufactured Beads are used in many of our fundraising activities and workshops. We welcome your donation of miscellaneous beads, they all find a perfect home to further the mission of Beads of Courage, Inc.

Given the length of time people have been fascinated with beads (over 43,000 years!), as well as their usefulness for counting, adorning and symbolizing importance, they're just right for recognizing and recording your courage as you travel this journey.

How to Donate Beads

Print and fill out this Bead Donation Form and then mail it to us with the beads you would like to donate.

Mail To:

Beads of Courage, Inc.
Attn: Bead Donations
3230 N. Dodge Blvd. Suite J
Tucson, AZ 85716

Important Note: Bead Delivery to Hospitals

None of our member hospitals are set up for direct donation. All beads distributed in our programs are our responsibility, we need to see every Act of Courage bead before it goes out.

Special Requirements: Act of Courage Beads

Act of Courage Beads can take almost any form that you would like to make—it's an opportunity for you to let your imagination go! The 3/32" mandrel is preferred but other sizes are also usable.

Please have nice 'puckers' on the ends of the beads, sharp edges on the bead holes cut fingers and can not be sent out. Overly frilly bits sticking out may break off and leave sharp edges on the surface, be sure that raised dots have solid connections (no undercuts) and that surface decorations are robust enough to take some knocking about.

We ask that you refrain from using reduction frit or glasses that give a metallic sheen on the surface due to heavy metal issues with these materials. We can't send metallic reduction surface beads to the kids.

Anneal your beads properly in a kiln to ensure they don't crack. Cracked beads have to go in the waste basket.

Please make sure that the bead release is cleaned out. Beads with the release still inside take more time for our volunteer staff to clean and this tremendously slows down turnaround time to the hospitals.

When you send your beads please fill out the Bead Donation Form, it helps us to expedite sending you a receipt and certificate for your donation.

Special Requirements: Polymer Clay Beads

Any size or shape is acceptable. The kids love bright colors! Our preferred hole size is 3/32" with no sharp corners, edges, or protrusions that would easily break off. Please remember that they beads are worn and handled by children and should be sturdy enough to stand up to wear and tear.

More Questions?

Robert Simmons, PhD, our Director of Bead Donations is available to answer your questions. His email is

Additional Resources

Printable Guidelines for Glass Beadmakers
Karen Thomas Designs Beadraiser for Beads of Courage Donation Form