Anyone that knows me can tell you I am not an organized person by nature. When it comes to making jewelry I often say, “Creation is messy!” as I sprawl out and take over the living room with my latest project. But as my beading supplies have grown in quantity and my projects have become more complex, I have learned the virtues of organization! Storage boxes have been an indispensable tool to help me beat the craft craziness and clutter into submission.
For seed beads I like to use the Clear Plastic Storage Box with the assorted flip top boxes. This storage box includes small, medium and large flip top boxes that provide the perfect amount of space to organize seed beads of various shapes and sizes. I like to sort my beads by color so I can have an overview of my whole collection. This is tremendously helpful when I am planning and shopping for a new project. I can avoid purchasing duplicate colors and order only what I really need to complete the current project.When I am working on a complex project that will take several weeks to complete, I like to sort the box to contain all the colors in my project’s palette. This keeps all the beads in one place and makes it super easy to pick up the project at any time without the headache of tracking down supplies.
I also heavily rely on storage boxes to organize and separate my collection of findings. I have dedicated boxes for my silver findings. I know that these boxes only contain precious metals so I won’t accidentally mix up my silver and base metal findings. I use a medium Utility Box for storing special items like Hill tribe silver beads, Bali beads, pendants, large toggles, chunkier clasps, chandelier earrings or long headpins. Recently Fusion Beads introduced new bulk packages of precious metal findings. I’ve taken advantage of this great new offering and stocked up on jump rings, head pins, seamless rounds, crimps, ear wires, lobster clasps and more. I store all my new bulk findings together in the small Clear Plastic Storage Box. This helps me to visually keep track of my inventory so I will never run out of my jewelry making essentials unexpectedly. This little bit of organization is a life saver! Now I am free to create with abandon and not waste hours collecting and sorting my materials. I may still create my jewelry in a messy whirlwind, but at least my supplies will always be all neat and tidy.
If you are anything like me you have a healthy stash of extra beads from past projects taking up precious space in your craft area. What do you do with little bits of this and that? The solution; make a multi-colored bracelet using your bead “leftovers”. You will be amazed how random beads of various sizes and colors can come together into a gloriously blended piece with very little time or effort. The secret is finding something to tie all the colors together, and nothing is more effective for creating this color cohesion than using a seed bead mix.
Fusion Beads has taken the guessing out of coordinating colors with the beautiful new seed bead palette collections. Not only do these palettes playfully combine complementary and contrasting color themes, they also include different finishes and textures that add to the visual diversity of the blend. This allows the colors to mingle and complement each other without being all one note.
For today’s project I am using a seed bead mix with a lovely palette of purples. The Size 11 Round Japanese Seed Bead Palette by FusionBeads.com® in Hyacinth includes 10 shades of purple seed beads. Each color in this palette comes in a 10 gram bag, so I have plenty to work with for this project and still have more for future pieces.Since the colors are already coordinated all I need to do is add a few of my leftover beads! This will bump up the glam factor in the mix! I begin by stringing 5 or 6 seed beads in a random pattern, then I string some of my leftover Swarvoski bicones or fire polished round beads on the strand. The Swarovski and fire polished beads in their different sizes, finishes and textures create a nice contrast to the little seed beads. This combination of different beads makes the mix even more visually appealing. I string several strands in this fashion.My next step is to weave the strands together. Though the pattern motif in each strand is random when the strands are gathered together, all the individual colors begin to meld together creating one cohesive color theme throughout the piece. This blending is a well-known color manipulation technique most recognizably applied in paintings from the Impressionism movement. The color flows together effortlessly so you can feel free to use all of your odd number beads and put them to good use in one beautiful piece.
Now that I have several strands, I simply braid them together to make a multi- stand bracelet. Lastly, I use a base metal & Swarovski Crystal pearl Corona Box Clasp in Iridescent Purple to bring the final design together.
The final piece is blended beautifully! Using a seed bead palette allows me the flexibility to use up some of my beads from my collection with very little creative effort and minimal expense. I love it when a plan comes together!
Do you ever find it difficult to translate the project you have in your mind in to a reality? If you are a visual person it may be challenging to shop online and put together a cohesive color palette for your project without feeling overwhelmed by too many options. This is a very common design conundrum. Luckily, we have a very nice solution built right in to the website to help! Today I am going to discuss how to use a wishlist to create a virtual color palette for a project.
Fall is my all-time favorite season and it is a little tradition of mine to make a new necklace every year that is inspired by the brilliant colors of the autumn leaves. My biggest challenge is how to narrow down the extensive list of beads into a small but beautifully coordinated collection that will bring my homage to fall alive without killing my allotted budget. The wishlist function on the website is my favorite tool just for this purpose! I use it all the time to build and solidify my ideas into an organized and manageable shopping list.
The very first thing I do is sign into my customer account as I begin my hunt for the perfect beads. I usually find one product that serves as my foundation for my project’s color palette. For example, Fusion is introducing new beautifully coordinated seed bead mixes that are absolutely ideal for my project. The new Size 11 Round Japanese Seed Bead Palette by FusionBeads.com® in Harvest is exactly the right colors and tones for my necklace.Now that I have my main product selected I can start filling in my wishlist with some other coordinating beads. As I browse I can save items to my wishlist by simply clicking on the heart icon located to the left hand side of the product picture. Once the heart icon is clicked, a dropdown descends and I can click on the green button to “Create a New List”. For my project I have created a list called “Fall mix necklace”.To view my wishlist at any time I simply click on the link located at the top of the webpage and then select the title from the “My Product Lists” page.As I open the Fall mix necklace wishlist I can view all my liked items on one running list. I now have the opportunity to visually gauge what products I like and delete any that won’t work. Once all the tough design decisions have been made I can then move the products from the wishlist to the shopping cart by clicking on the “Move to Cart Button”. Now I have everything nicely coordinated and ready to purchase in just a few steps.For me, this online tool helps keep all of my creative ideas organized. Most importantly it helps me to focus my attention when my little bead-loving heart becomes too distracted by all the lovely beads I see. It is a flexible and easy tool that helps ensure any project will be a smashing success!
The results of our Beads for Backpacks Charity Drive are in! 1000 select alphabet beads and charms were purchased during our charity drive, which means that we were able to make a $1000 donation to Treehouse, a charity that provides underprivileged foster children with much-needed school supplies!
Due to a number of challenges, less than half of youth in foster care graduate high school on time. Treehouse has a plan to ensure that foster youth graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers with a plan for their future by 2017.
Treehouse invests in the lives of young people who have faced the deep wounds from a crisis of parenting. In helping them to secure the essential education, basic material needs, and social experiences they equally deserve, they help kids in foster care discover their own resilience and strength. Treehouse is committed to leveling the playing field for youth in foster care, so that each is included, may prosper in, and contribute to society.
Thank you all for your amazing support and generosity – Fusion Beads
Welcome to our third installment of Clasp Crash Course!
Over the last two weeks I have sung the praises of the illustrious toggle clasp and lobster claw clasp which are the most popular clasps in the beading world. Today, I’m going to highlight a lesser known, but no-less notable clasp, the box clasp. True to its name, the box clasp is in the shape of a box. It is composed of walls, a top side, a bottom and an open area for the “tongue” or metal tab to lock into. Though a box clasp is traditionally shaped as a square or rectangle, it can also come in other shapes like triangles, rounds or ovals. The oval shape is also commonly referred to as a fish eye or Marquise clasp as shown below. The box clasp is very traditional and its main claim to fame is its elegant and instantly recognizable design. Often adorned with a delicate filigree on top, box claps are the ideal clasp for a knotted pearl or small gemstone necklace. Unlike lobster claws or toggle clasps, the box clasp is meant for delicate or light weight items. If the lobster claw clasp is the work horse then the box clasp is a show pony! Its main attribute is its stunning good looks and fanciness. Use a box clasp when you want to add a special flourish to your jewelry or when you want a piece to communicate vintage, or old-world charm.
The box clasp works best on necklaces but can be used on small, lightweight bracelets as well. The built in safety catch on some box clasps is a nice feature that helps ensure the closure will not accidentally come undone during movement.One thing to keep in mind though is the delicate nature of filigree box clasps. Since the clasp is hallow it is important to shield it from accidental impacts that can cause the box to deform. Just like other elegant and delicate things, it requires protection and attentive care.
Though filigree box clasps are the most popular version of this type of clasp, there are quite a few different variations available.For extra visual impact, you can opt for a box clasp with a set gemstone, crystal or pearl. One of our most favorite pearl box clasps is the Base Metal & Swarovski Crystal Pearl Corona Box Clasp.The stunning appeal of this special box clasp is undeniable and it is a perfect companion to any Swarovski pearl piece. The clasp is a showstopper as you can see on our Inspiration Project the Electric Purple Bracelet.
Box clasps are amazing and beautiful findings that are sure to add another layer of visual sophistication to any design.
In our last installment of Clasp Crash Course we discussed the versatility of toggle clasps. Today we are going to talk about a very standard, well-known type of clasp called a lobster claw. The lobster claw clasp’s name is derived from its unique shape. Yep, you guessed it, it is named after its likeness to a real lobster claw!It is opened with a trigger on the side. When the trigger is released a spring-loaded mechanism causes the clasp to shut thus securely latching it onto a reciprocal jump ring or chain just like a real lobster claw grabs and clutches its prey. Awesome.
This sturdy, durable and nearly indestructible clasp will never open or release on accident. For this reason, it is the work-horse of the beading industry and is suitable for any necklace or bracelet, especially heavier pieces that require extra secure closures. The other advantage of using a lobster claw is its smooth svelte shape which makes it the least obtrusive clasp you can use on your neck. It will not itch, pinch skin or snag delicate fabrics. It is invaluable for its dual attributes of simplicity and functionality.
Lobster claw clasps also come in various different sizes, styles and shapes. One of the most popular shaped lobster claw clasp is the heart which is perfect for a Mother’s Day bracelet, Valentine piece or even a little girl’s bracelet.Some other styles can be quite useful and can solve some common jewelry design dilemmas. Have you ever had a necklace or an anklet that refused to lay straight? Use a swivel lobster claw clasp! These clasps have a separate lower section that rotates independently from the rest of the claw. They are specifically designed to twist, move and adapt as you wear them. The swivel clasp’s flexibility and range of motion makes it an ideal choice for heavy chains or charm bracelets. When a chain becomes tightly wound from twisting it can become strained. It may kink, or even worse, snap under the pressure. A swivel lobster claw clasp alleviates this pressure and can help prevent your jewelry from becoming a tangled mess. Hooray!A lobster claw clasp’s functionality is its most obvious attribute but keep in mind a wisely-chosen lobster claw clasp can also contribute greatly to the aesthetic success of your piece! Using a chunky or oversized clasp can add to the piece’s visual impact. A bold design calls for an equally bold closure! Having fun with size can elevate your piece from ordinary to extraordinary with just one simple change. You can see this effective use of size on our fun and chunky Let’s Dance Inspiration Project shown below.Lobster Claw Clasps are a brilliant choice for any design. Their strength, practicality and solid construction are guaranteed to never let you down!