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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!

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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!
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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.
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Carefully pull the threads off your fingers. You should have a circle of thread now. Hold one end steady.
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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

Meet Our Retail Store Team!

Retail Team

Trish
MEET TRISH
I’ve worked at Fusion since October of 2013 and I’ve loved every moment of it! I am currently the store manager. I was born on the East Coast and moving to the Pacific Northwest a few years ago was a great creative inspiration for me! I enjoy using bold colors, mixed media and recycled pieces in my jewelry. My first beading experience was working at a bead shop in New York and I have been hooked ever since. My favorite part of working at the store is interacting daily with all of our inspirational customers; I never go home without learning something new! I have a great staff that is always positive and ready to help, and our website is such a fantastic resource for both the customers and staff as well. The next area of jewelry making I want to dive into is seed bead weaving, and our Techniques page has me well on my way!
Kelsey
MEET KELSEY
I am the assistant manager at the Fusion Beads retail store, and I have been with the company for a little over a month now. My background is in design and I have a keen eye for color and composition. I really enjoy helping customers select just the right missing piece to a project they are working on – being part of such a creative community of customers and staff makes each day fulfilling! I love that the Fusion Beads website is always adding new inspiration projects and is such a great resource when helping customers here at the store. I am really excited to be part of the Fusion Beads team!
Judy
MEET JUDY
My job is to ensure that we have product to sell to customers – I keep the store stocked! About 75% of what is in the retail store is on our website and ordered from the warehouse or the purchasing group. However, the other 25% is product that is only available in the retail store; my job is to find it and have it available for customers. I also ensure that specialty items that are needed for classes are located and ordered. This can be a challenge, as sometimes they are items you wouldn’t normally think of for making jewelry, like copper or steel rods and tubes. Although I am a planner by nature, I love it when I have a request for an unusual item or have to find something in short period of time. It’s like a game; I like the challenge of hunting down the item and getting it to someone when they didn’t expect it! I am so lucky to work with great people that each have amazing talents!
Laura
MEET LAURA
I have been working for Fusion Beads for a little over three years and am one of the store leads. My favorite part about working for the store is helping customers see just how easy it is to bring their vision to life with the right materials, tools, and resources. I enjoy having access to the Techniques section of our website; it’s a brilliant resource I utilize everyday! It makes me happy to be able to help fuel and nourish such a supportive community of vibrant artists, beading enthusiasts, and beautiful human beings. I believe strongly, just like any creative outlet, that jewelry making is good for our health and our hearts!
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MEET MONICA
I have worked at Fusion Beads for three years now, and I am a sales lead and a teacher for the retail store. I studied metalsmithing in college and apprenticed with several jewelers. My preferred techniques are working with resin, lapidary, and metal, and my style is very eclectic and bold. My favorite part of working at Fusion Beads is finding the right tool for a customer’s project, and I am excited to show beginners new techniques! Many times customers enter the store with a vision of what they want to make, and my job is helping that vision come to life. Fusion Beads has one of the best selections of tools and supplies for jewelers in the Seattle area – I love being part of a group of such talented designers!
Glo
MEET GLORIANNE
I am a woman of all trades at Fusion Beads! I work for the Creative Team creating inspiration pieces for the website and making jewelry for magazine submissions, and I also work in the store managing the seed bead department and doing customer service. I have been with the company for over six years as an employee, and as an instructor for 7 ½ years. I love learning new techniques and working with new materials, and sharing my enthusiasm with customers and students. My favorite features of the website include the techniques and the inspiration; I get so many positive comments from customers and students about the website and all of the helpful inspiration!

Sneak Peek at Swarovski Elements Pre-Season Launch Fall/Winter 2015/16

It’s finally here! Swarovski Elements Pre-Season Launch Fall/Winter 2015/16! We are really excited about this new launch and the exciting new shapes and new finish that Swarosvski has come up with.

Crystal Patina
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Drawing on the continuing allure of vintage jewelry, the Crystal Patina effect creates an impression of nostalgic authenticity while still showcasing its distinctive sparkle. Due to the nature of the effect, each piece has its own unique patina pattern, giving off an elegant aura of deliberate imperfection.

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Double Spike Bead
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Created in cooperation with designer Jean Paul Gaultier, the edgy Crystal Double Spike Bead features an avant-garde bicone hexagonal shape that finds its inspiration in “rock chic” trend that is sweeping the fashion world. Part of Swarovski’s Crystal Spikes and Studs collection, this sleek bead can be used in industrial-style jewelry and spiked haute couture designs alike.

Spike Pendant
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Another new addition to Swarovski’s Crystal Spikes and Studs collection, the geometric, unisex silhouette of the distinctive Crystal Spike Pendant lends itself to both classy jewelry designs or wild glam rock pieces. Finding its inspiration from designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s dramatic style, this bold pendant holds its own as both a brilliant accent or an opulent focal piece.

Skull Bead
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The Crystal Skull Bead line has also been extended to include the vibrant Sun color. Unique and utterly attention-grabbing, the Skull Bead is a stunning masterpiece of crystal design. Its impeccably precise multi-layer cut gives the Skull Bead a profile that is intricately detailed and highly reflective.

Stay tuned! This edgy Swarovski Elements Pre-Season Launch Fall/Winter 2015/16 will be available at FusionBeads.com soon!

Happy Beading! – Sam