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Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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When choosing a stringing material, it’s important to know the hole size of your beads. We list the hole size of all of our beads online, but how do you determine the hole size for beads from the bottom of your stash? I’ve wound up with plenty of beads from swaps or vintage jewelry that aren’t labeled with a hole size. Fortunately you can use today’s trick to figure out the perfect size of stringing material for your beads! You’ll need two things for this trick. The first is a chart that lists the conversions of American Wire Gauges (AWG) into millimeters and inches. We have a great copy of this chart on our website and you can see the chart I keep on my desk in the photo below.

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The second thing you’ll need is a wire gauge key. My key has a labeled scrap of each commonly used gauge of wire. To determine the hole size of a mystery bead I run different diameters of wire through the hole until I find one that fits just right. Then I can look at my chart to find the diameter of the hole in millimeters or inches. For example, if my 22 gauge wire fits through a bead’s hole I know that a 0.5mm cord and a .019 beading wire can too!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Get Creative With Katiedids!

Have you had your eye on our Katiedids components, but didn’t know what to create with them? Here’s a quick and easily customizable way to turn a Katiedids piece into a sparkling crystal clay pendant!

materials

To make your pendant, you will need a Katiedids component, 1088 PP24 Swarovski Crystal Chatons (I used Tangerine and Sunflower), Crystal Clay, a head pin, round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, and wire cutters.

adding head pin

Starting with the centermost hole, slide the head pin through the holes in the component.

wrapped loop

Follow our Wire Wrapping Technique to make a wire wrapped loop on the head pin.

clay

Using our Jewelry Clay Bead Technique, mix the Crystal Clay and fill the channels of the component with the clay. Don’t worry too much about little surface divots or unsmoothed lines; the chatons will fill the vast majority of the clay surface when applied.

finished

Use the beeswax-tipped toothpick included with the Crystal Clay to pick up the chatons and press them into the clay. When finished, set the piece to cure for 24 hours.

And there you are – you are ready to rock your brand new Katiedids pendant!

Happy beading! -Gabby

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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When your stringing material is close to the size of a bead’s hole it’s hard to use a needle. Folding a thread or cord around a needle eye doubles the thickness of that material. You can string directly on to metal wires or beading wire or Griffin Bead Cords with their attached needles, but what do you do with something like Superlon Bead Cord or Pearl Cotton? Fortunately you can use today’s trick to make the end of your cord into a needle!

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I like using E6000 for this trick because, while it’s a strong and durable adhesive, it’s also easy to clean off my hands. If you have sensitivity to adhesives you’ll want to use gloves when you do this. Cut your stringing material 3-5 inches longer than you need for your project. Squeeze out a dab of E6000 on to a piece of scrap paper  or a plastic lid. Pick up a little bit of the adhesive with the tip of your finger. Run the last 1-2 inches of cord between your forefinger and thumb, turning the cord to get an even coating. Allow the glue to dry completely before stringing any beads.

The goal is to stiffen the end of your cord with layers of adhesive until it becomes hard enough to string your beads on to it directly, like a needle! When all of your beads are strung you can cut off the glue-coated end of your cord and finish your project.

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Fantastic Tassels!

Trio
Blue
I confess, it’s true: I am OBSESSED with tassels. They are my new favorite thing to make in all the world! I want them in my jewelry, on my clothes, on my shoes, dangling from my purse, in my hair, on my pillows… oh my, I should stop…
Seriously though, they are so cute and fluffy! Plus, they are super easy to make and you can use almost ANY cord or thread; I have used many different threads and some leather with great success. The only thing that will change from one material to another is how fluffy they turn out to be.
Have I convinced you yet?
To make your own tassels, check out these easy step-by-step images!
Step-2
To begin the tassel, wrap the thread around your fingers. (Don’t wrap too tight or you’ll never get the thread off!)
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Once you are satisfied with the thickness of your threads, trim the end.
Step-4
Carefully pull the threads off your fingers. You should have a circle of thread now. Hold one end steady.
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Step-9
Thread a second piece of thread through the top of the circle of thread and secure with a square knot.
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Take another piece of thread and knot it around the top of the circle, near the knot you just made.
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Thread the end of that thread onto a needle and push that through the threads created in the wrap-around. This will help secure those threads.
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Now you can cut the bottom of the circle of threads and trim them to neaten the tassel.
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Voila! You have made a super adorable fluffy tassel! Aren’t you in love?
If you want more detailed instructions, you can see this technique on our site by clicking here.
Here are some finished pieces I made using this easy tassel technique:
White tassle
Pink
Orange
Have fun making your own fantastic tassels! -Sam

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210It takes 72 hours for ICE Resin to cure completely, developing its permanent, glassy surface. A lot can happen in 3 days, so today’s trick will help you keep your resin projects safe while they dry!

Every crafter I know would love to have a dedicated studio to work in where they could leave projects out without fear. Most of us don’t have that and instead take over desks, dining room tables or kitchen counters when we get inspired. Leaving a curing resin project out in a high traffic area is asking for a disaster that at best leaves you with a ruined project and at worst means you’re chipping cured resin off of your floor. First you need to find an out of the way spot to stash your projects while they cure. I like using the top of a bookcase or a high shelf.

To keep dust, lint, bugs and stray hairs from becoming part of your project forever, you’ll want to cover it! I use upside down glasses or clear plastic tubs depending on the size of my project. A clear cover lets you casually check on your project without having to touch anything. If you do need to remove the cover before the end of the 72 hour period, remember to lift straight up. Lifting at an angle means you might accidentally tap your project and spill the resin or shift any objects you’ve included.

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You can find even more tricks for getting perfect results with resin in our Techniques!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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I love the look and feel of metal beads, but unfortunately their cost can add up quickly, especially when you’re using them as spacers in a necklace or bracelet. You can use today’s trick to get a metallic look without straining your budget!

Glass beads with a metallic finish can give your jewelry the same look as metal beads, but at a fraction of the cost. I frequently use metallic Round Japanese Seed Beads instead of round metal beads. You can also substitute metallic Delica Beads or Bugle Seed Beads for metal tube beads.

Instead of using metal spacer beads and faceted metal round beads in my bracelet, I substituted our new O-Beads and metallic Fire Polished Glass Beads. The O-Beads are the perfect shape to be a spacer bead and I love the shine of these silver fire polished beads!

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Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen