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Tuesday Tips and Tricks!


The first netting project I ever tried was our Creepy Crawler Bracelet. I was really excited to make this Halloween piece, but it used all Opaque Black Round Japanese Seed Beads. Because all of my beads were the same color it was very difficult for me to follow the pattern and remember which beads to go back through as I formed my rows! My first attempt at this stitch was a mess, but you can use today’s tip to keep track of your pattern when you’re learning netting!

Using a different color of bead at the intersections of your netting stitch lets you immediately see your pattern. By using a red bead in my project I don’t have to constantly count my beads to know where to go back in with my needle. I love that little pop of color they add and I can’t wait to finish and add my spooky spider charm!

Netting Technique Bead Alternative

Our Basic Netting Technique shows this tip perfectly and you can also see it in our Mint to Be and Aquanet Bracelet Inspiration Projects!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!


I hate it when the cords in wrapped cord bracelet cross or bunch, pushing the last few beads in my design out of place. (Especially when I’ve worked really hard to make my wraps perfect!) Instead of using the same number or even the same type of bead at the ends of these projects, I taper the beading in my wrapped cord bracelets to keep the cords aligned.

It’s easy to taper your design when the bracelet has multiple beads per row. For my current project I narrowed the bracelet by reducing the number of cube beads in each row from three to two to one. You can get the same effect by gradually using smaller beads as you approach the ends of the bracelet.  In wrapped cord bracelets designed with Tila or bugle beads I’ve used round seed beads of a similar color to narrow down the ends.

Tapered Wrapped Cord Bracelet

You can see more examples of tapering the ends of wrapped cord bracelets in our Southwestern StarletAmazonia and Winding Road Bracelet Inspiration Projects!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen


Tuesday Tips and Tricks!


Most jewelry tools are made to last. While this durability means you can invest in pliers and cutters that last for years, it also makes protecting your wire and findings from the harder metal of your tools a challenge. With today’s trick you can avoid tool marks quickly and effectively!

Tool Magic is a great way to protect your work from plier marks, but I don’t always want to wait for it to dry. Instead you can wrap the jaws of your pliers in painters tape! The tape provides a layer of protection that’s thin enough not to distort the shape of the jaws, while still cushioning your wire and findings. You can use your taped tools immediately, there’s no wait time, and it’s easy to remove when you’re finished with your project. You can do this trick with other types of tape, but I like painters because it’s designed specifically to peel away easily without leaving any residue behind.

Tool Magic Alternative Using Painters Tape

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen


Our New Swarovski Favorites!

The whole Creative Team here at is super excited about the new Swarovski Innovations Fall/Winter 2015/16 launch! There are three stunning new colors and effects, and six inspiring new bead, pendant, and button shapes! Whether you prefer classic or modern elements, this launch truly has something for everyone. Check out our favorites from these fabulous new Innovations below!

Allies favorite Swarovski picks


I don’t make a lot of purple jewelry for myself, but I definitely see a multi-strand Iridescent Purple Swarovski Crystal Pearl necklace happening in my future! I think this pearl is absolutely stunning with its purple-green shimmer! I love Crystal Bermuda Blue, especially in the new Queen Baguette Pendant! I was sold when I saw our stunning Dazzling Cascade Earrings; they’re a new favorite of mine and I definitely plan on making a pair for myself and as gifts for friends this holiday season! I love the Spike Pendant, and I think it is gorgeous in the Crystal Patinas! It can add a little edge to any jewelry design, like our striking Next Level Earrings! The Arrow Bead is definitely one of my favorites from the Swarovski Innovations Fall/Winter 2015/16 launch! I was immediately inspired by this bead and I already have a few earring and necklace designs I can’t wait to create! Check out how we used this fun bead in our trendy Love is in the Arrow Necklace!

Codys favorite Swarovski picks


I am in love with the Iridescent Purple Pearl color, especially in the Coin Pearl shape! Check out our Pearl Berry Bracelet, where we paired the Iridescent Purple Pearl with other Swarovski Crystal Pearls to make a beautiful cluster bracelet! The Sun Pendant is a great classic shape, and the facets really bring out the true beauty of this pendant. I love how it looks in the Blazing Sunset Necklace! The Arrow Bead is a fun and trendy new shape, and in the Crystal Metallic Light Gold 2x effect, it is so eye-catching! I can’t wait to use it in some new designs! The Crystal Paradise Shine is such a gorgeous effect, especially in the foil-backed stones. I can’t wait to make a pair of earrings similar to our Touch of Elegance Earrings!

Gabbys favorite Swarovski picks


I love using cool colors in my designs, so I was thrilled to see so many new Swarovski items in fabulous greens, blues, and purples! The faceted layers of the Sun Pendant are practically made for reflecting all the hues in multi-colored effects, and the Crystal Heliotrope doesn’t disappoint! I was already a huge fan of the Clover Bead and Pendant, so I was immediately in love with the Clover Button right off the bat; the Emerald Clover Button looks amazing with my red hair! The foil backing on the Crystal Paradise Shine Rivoli turns the new effect into a brilliant, glittering stone that will really sparkle in a seed beaded bezel! You’ve got to see the Iridescent Purple Pearls in person to truly appreciate their metallic glow; the Coin Pearl shape in this new color is my favorite!

Katies favorite Swarovski picks


I’m in love with the new line from Swarovski for the fall! The new Arrow Bead is by far my favorite. I’m imagining all the possibilities for necklaces and earrings, especially in the fantastic Rose Gold effect! The new BeCharmed Medley beads are GORGEOUS! The mix of sizes, stones and colors are beautiful. The Queen Baguette Pendant is so simple but elegant. I can’t wait to make a simple pair of dangle earrings or use a bunch of them in a statement fringe necklace! Now, I’m not a purple person, but the new Iridescent Purple Pearl is amazing. It picks up so many different colors, and I’m dying to blend it with some dark, moody winter colors!

Sams favorite swarovski picks


I love the Tuxedo Swarovski Crystal BeCharmed Pavé Medley Bead because its sparkles and glitters like nothing I have ever seen! I can’t wait to make a bracelet with this. I love the new Iridescent Purple Pearl color; it reminds me of car paint, but in a good way! The Spike Pendant from the last launch is one of my favorite new Swarovski shapes, but now I can get it with Crystal Patinas!  Now we’re talking! I think I’ll make a cute pair of earrings with these. I also really love the new Queen Baguette Pendant shape, since I’m a sucker for geometries! The Crystal Bermuda Blue Swarovski Crystal Queen Baguette Pendant has such a pretty finish, too! I think I’ll make earrings with these as well and I might even rock a matching necklace…we’ll see!

lindsay's favorite Swarovksi picks


I love the way the Crystal Paradise Shine effect looks on the foil-backed stones. I can’t wait to see how it looks in a Crystal Clay piece! I want to try it with a purple clay base and also a green clay base. I think the effect will look completely different depending on the color of the clay. Either way there is going to be sparkle, sparkle, sparkle! The Iridescent Purple pearl is amazing! I loved the Iridescent Green pearl from the last season and I think the purple will be just as exciting. I want to pair it up with some purple-toned crystals and make a piece for my mom. She will absolutely love it. I think the Tuxedo Swarovski Crystal BeCharmed Pavé Medley Bead is going to be one of my all-time favorite beads…ever! This little BeCharmed bead is similar in color and style to the Crystal Clay pieces that I make myself. It will be perfect in my existing collection. I plan on making myself a piece of jewelry that I will be able to wear everyday. The sleek shape and modern faceting of the Queen Baguette Pendant is gorgeous, but then add the Volcano effect and it is a fiery pendant! The Crystal Volcano effect only comes in a handful of beads and pendants, and that’s what makes this piece so exciting. I will definitely be adding several of these to my collection!

Swarovski Trend Forecast Fall/Winter 2015/16!

The latest Swarovski Trend Forecast for the Fall/Winter 2015/16 Innovations is here! Titled “Secrets of the Soul”, this report takes a glimpse into the impact of digitalization upon our lives and where this is leading us. As people, on a global scale, have started to realize that algorithms cannot replace real human contact and real meetings to experience affection or attraction, Swarovski’s four inspirational directions are hinged on specific human aspects that differentiate us from the robotic digital world which surrounds us. These themes focus on what it means to be human and the qualities that set us apart and make life worth living.

The Art of Expression – Classic
Basic jewelry shapes are transformed into fun, playful objects offering a surprising distraction from everyday seriousness. Fun is reflected not only in bold colors but also in surprising material mixes, and streamlined shapes and glistening metallics update classic designs. Creativity and inspiration run free, mixing both regular and irregular shapes in one design.

Crystal Colors: Amethyst, Crystal Metallic Blue, Crystal Paradise Shine, Crystal Volcano, Light Topaz, Tangerine

The Stillness Within – Progressive
Designers find inspiration in natural forms blended with basic, clean shapes in glossy, shiny surfaces. Asymmetry is conveyed through the random use of pointed shapes and softly rounded edges. Jewelry makes a statement with strong, clean silhouettes and minimal embellishment. Smooth, highly polished metal surfaces merge with fluid forms to create a futuristic effect. The overall design direction is organic with a touch of high-tech.

Crystal Colors: Crystal, Crystal Grey Pearl, Crystal White Pearl, Light Azore, Montana, White Opal

The Seduction of Touch – Romantic
The integration of tactile surfaces, mesh, and pavé responds to the contemporary need to reconnect, touch, and feel. The contrasting effects of matte and shine are married together. Crystal forms the central, precious element of the design with metal structures serving as the setting from which it can shine. A sense of comfort is ensured through the use of fluid and smooth shapes with soft edges, adding to a heightened simplicity.

Crystal Colors: Black Diamond, Crystal Bronze Pearl, Crystal Brown Pearl, Light Rose, Smoky Mauve, Tangerine

The Darkness of Desire – Glamour
Jewelry emulates mysterious, naturally grown forms with tiny intricacies and small oddities. Crystals sit alongside antique beads, pearls, and patina surfaces to add a touch of glamorous sparkle to tangled metal forms. Minimalism is abandoned entirely, and pendants and beads combine to create an individualistic style statement. Symbolic motifs, such as the cross or clover, communicate an instant message of faith and hope for the future.

Crystal Colors: Crystal Paradise Shine, Jet Nut, Purple Velvet, Smoked Topaz, Smoky Mauve, Smoky Quartz

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210My first time using Swarovski Elements Crystal Hotfix Flat Backs was definitely a learning experience! It took a lot of practice before I started setting my crystals confidently and accurately. You can learn from my mistakes and use today’s tips to add sparkle to your projects like a pro!

Crystal Hotfix Flat Backs have a pre-applied adhesive on their back. To activate the adhesive you need to heat your crystal. I used our BeJeweler® Pro Electric Rhinestone Setter to embellish a sheet of Ultra Suede by Lillypilly Designs. The Rhinestone Setter tool gets very, very hot. You need to use it with caution to keep from burning yourself or your fabric! Make sure you’re holding the Rhinestone Setter tool straight up and down. If you lean the tool to one side you won’t get as good of an adhesive bond and you risk burning your fabric with the edge of the tool. There’s nothing you can do to correct a burn like this except work around the mark. I think I can cut around this one, but I wouldn’t want to have to re-do an entire project because of a scorch mark!

Burn with Hotfix Tool On UltrasuedeYou only need to heat your hotfix flat backs for approximately 30 seconds to create a good bond. I was careful to count to 30 for each crystal I set, but I was also pressing down on the tool much harder than I needed to. Firm pressure keeps your tool in place and prevents your crystals from moving while you set them, but too much can make an imprint on the back of your fabric and squish adhesive out from under the crystal. The back of my ultra suede wound up with a polka dot pattern!

Too Much Pressure With Hotfix Tool On UltrasuedeYou can find more information on setting Crystal Hotfix Flat Backs in our step-by-step technique!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen