Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new chain styles we are introducing this week. These chains feature really cool geometric shapes that will look fabulous on a necklace or bracelet. Our wonderful designer Allie has made an amazing Inspiration Project called the Summer Festival necklace that illustrates the versatility of these fun chains. What I’m most excited about is the designs that can be made by deconstructing the chain. This week, I’ve made a few fun and easy projects by turning the individual chain pieces into a focal for earrings and a necklace.

I am in love with the new Base Metal 7.25mm Triangle Drop chain. Not only is the chain fresh and funky, but the little triangle dangles make perfect little components all by themselves! For my first project, I simply cut one triangle off the chain to make a simple, yet elegant small pendant for a necklace.For my second design, I stacked three of the triangles on two segments of parallel chain.Since the triangles and chain are small and delicate it was tricky at first to line everything up. I found if I taped the pieces of chain over the edge of my working table it became so much easier to add each triangle into the right link on each side of the chain.

The next piece I made was from the Base Metal 4mm Round Disk Chain. This chain was easy to transform. For the first earring design, I cut all the connecting jump rings from the disks. I then made several wire wrapped links using 3mm Round Fire Polished Czech Glass Beads and 26 gauge artistic wire. The result is a really sweet, delicate dangle perfect for a long earring.For the second variation, I simply wire wrapped the fire polish beads into the chain itself in an alternating pattern.For my last project, I played around with the Base Metal Drop Bar Cable Chain. This chain is delightfully dramatic! I can just envision a sweeping choker with layers of this chain making a marvelous cascade of gorgeousness, Oh my! For my project, I thought it would be fun to make a dramatic earring from this chain. To construct the earrings, I cut a piece of chain with seven dangles.Then, I collected the end pieces of the chain and joined them together using a 3mm open jump ring. Such simple and easy construction, yet the earring really makes quite a bold impact.I can’t wait to see what everyone makes with this new chain. Make sure and share what you design with us on social media!

Happy Tuesday! – Rebecca

 

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight – Meet Cody!

HI! I’m Cody and I grew up in a small town in Eastern Oregon known for its yearly Round-Up, which is an annual rodeo that started in 1910.  Growing up I always wanted to live in a “Big City,” so when I had a chance to move to Seattle in 1999 I jumped at it and never looked back! I believe Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities, and I love living so close to the water and the mountains.

I dabbled in many different crafts and hobbies growing up ranging from sewing to refurnishing antique furniture. I got a late start on beading as I didn’t really get into it until I moved to Seattle. I came across this great little bead shop called Fusion Beads in the Wallingford neighborhood and I fell in love. I took all kinds of classes from basic wire wrapping to bead weaving. Then one day in 2009 I saw that they were looking for a jewelry designer for their e-commerce site, and I thought I would give it a shot. I’m so lucky that I get to work for a great company with such an amazing team of people and get to be creative every day!

Besides making jewelry in my home studio, I love to garden. Working in the dirt and watching all of the beautiful flowers bloom makes me so happy. I also like to do Encaustic paintings. I love the layers and texture you can build with this technique. I have two black cats (because, let’s face it, black cats rock) that keep me company at home while and I am crafting or gardening. Their names are Mr. Fred and Little Miss and they are both rescue kitties. I volunteer at a local cat rescue, and I have found this work to be so rewarding in so many ways.

Little Miss and Mr. Fred

A few of my all-time favorite inspiration pieces on Fusion’s site are the Peacock Earrings, Garden Treasures Bracelet, Seafoam Petals Earrings, Dazzling Cascade Earrings and the Earth Treasures Bracelet. I love metalworking, and in my personal jewelry I like to incorporate riveting, dapping and messy wire wrapping. I have had my jewelry designs featured in Jewelry Stringing, Wirework, and Beadwork magazines, just to name a few.

Peacock Earrings

Garden Treasures Bracelet

Seafoam Petals Earrings

Dazzling Cascade EarringsEarth Treasures Bracelet

I also made our Spring Time bracelet for this week to highlight a piece that incorporates my favorite colors and style! 

Spring Time Bracelet

Check out our About Us page to see more of my favorite products and inspiration!

Happy Beading – Cody

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

It is that wonderful time of year when we have the opportunity to say thank you to the wonderful mothers and grandmothers in our lives. This Mother’s Day, treat your mom to a very special and personal piece of hand-crafted jewelry. We have several elegant Inspiration Projects that are easy to make and are highly customizable to celebrate her and her children.

My current favorite design is the Mom’s Babies Bracelet. This new bracelet design beautifully blends TierraCast Alphabet Initial charms, bezel charms adorned with Swarovski birthstone crystals and trendy leather cord. You can customize this bracelet’s crystals and charms to represent each child in your family.To get started on customizing your crystal charms, first visit our Helpful Information about Birthstones page to find the colors needed for each child. The Pewter SS34 Glue-In Stepped Bezel Charms by TierraCast® – 16mm accommodate a 7.1mm Swarovski Crystal Flat Back Rhinestone – 2088 – (SS34). Select a flat back color for each child’s birth month.

To add the birthstone crystals into the bezel setting use either E6000 adhesive or 5 Minute Epoxy for a nice, secure seal. Gluing can get messy, so use the following tips to avoid any hassle or mess:

Instead of dispensing the glue from its container, use a toothpick to grab a small dab of glue. This will allow you to control the amount applied in the bezel setting and prevent spilling glue on your charm.

Then, use a handy setting tool like the Crystal Katana or the Jewel Setter to place the crystal flat back into the bezel. Each of these tools have a tacky surface at the end that is designed to grip the crystal and hold it steady as you maneuver it into the bezel setting. You can see detailed pictures illustrating this setting technique in the instructions for the Mom’s Babies Bracelet.If your mother prefers necklaces, we have another variation in our Inspiration Projects you may use. The Mini Me Necklace is so easy to make and your mom will love all the fun charms dangling on this whimsical piece.
If you would like to give something more intricate and even more personalized, why not try making a picture pendant? In our technique section, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to create a photo pendant using resin!If you would like to combine birthstone charms with the picture pendant you can use our Aunt Louis Inspiration Project as a guide. Instead of Teardrop Fire Polished beads, all in blue, select glass beads in birthstone colors. You can also use Swarovski Crystal pendants or the TeirraCast Bezel Charms to bring the whole Mother’s Day theme together!Do you need more Mother’s Day jewelry ideas? Check out the holiday section in our Inspiration Projects for some fun and meaningful pieces for your mom.

Happy Mother’s Day! – Rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Day Charity Results – 2017

The results of our annual Earth Day charity drive are in! 1193 TierraCast Tree of Life and Earth charms, pendants, and buttons were purchased in our Earth Day charity drive, which means that we were able to make a $1193 donation to the National Wildlife Federation!

Their ability to meet the needs of wildlife is inextricably linked to the amazing individuals, groups, organizations and corporations they call their supporters. Together, they form a pack, leveraging their influence to safeguard America’s wildlife and wild places. Your generosity and thoughtfulness will truly help make a difference!

Follow this link to learn more about the National Wildlife Federation!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

Today’s tips are dedicated to all you mixed media enthusiasts out there. I’m going to discuss a few techniques for making resin pendants using fun image transfer sheets! We’ve just added some new Nunn Design bezel pendants that are ideal for creating wonderful and unique resin pieces with these transfer sheets. So, let’s focus on how to use a transfer image in a bezel pendant and go over a few finishing tips to help ensure your piece turns out perfectly.

 

One of our favorite techniques is to add a transfer image into a bezel pendant. Transfer sheets are really handy, they provide several small pictures that are already prepared with self-adhesive so application is super fast and easy.Once you select and cut your image from the sheet, soak it in warm water to activate the adhesive.

 

The secret to perfect adhesion is to soak the image for just one minute. This is all the time needed to separate the backing from the image. Once the backing is removed, place the image in the bezel pendant.  Next, use a Q-tip to press out any trapped air. Continue to press the image down until it lies perfectly flat in the bezel pendant. When your transfer image is thoroughly dry it is time for the fun part, adding the resin!

 

Once your image is set, you can then mix up a batch of resin (steps 11-19). Anyone who has worked with this product knows it tends to form little bubbles during the mixing phase. When you add the resin to your pendant these pesky little bubbles often remain. To make a flawless pendant it is vital to get rid of all the bubbles before your resin cures.There are two easy ways to help eliminate bubbles. The first is to place a desktop lamp close to your piece. As the resin heats, you will see the bubbles rise to the surface. Use a toothpick to move the bubbles over to the side of the bezel to pull them out of the resin. Take care not to allow your piece to stay under the light too long or else the cured resin may turn yellow. The second method is to take a lighter and quickly run it over the surface of the resin. The intense heat will cause the bubbles to quickly rise up. Most bubbles will pop on their own, but you can use a toothpick to pop any stubborn ones that might remaining.

I hope these tips will help you create a perfect resin pendant. Be sure to check out more helpful tips in our Mixed Media and Resin Techniques page.

Happy Tuesday – Rebecca

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

In the last few years I have really noticed a dramatic shift in the beading world, a bead renaissance if you will. With the introduction of so many new multi-hole Czech glass beads, beaders have enjoyed the opportunity to truly stretch their weaving skills. There is a myriad of amazing 3 dimensional weaves and patterns out there now, making it a really exciting time to be a seed beader. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend trying one of the free patterns for CzechMates. These patterns will show you some amazing and imaginative ways to use these multi-hole glass beads that you are sure to love. We are proud to offer an entire selection of free patterns that will challenge you and make you a weaving pro in no time. Below are a few of the many amazing patterns we offer at FusionBeads.com!

Protect Me Bracelet Pattern for CzechMates by Iulia PosticaSlytherin Bangle Pattern for CzechMates by Rae Burns
Luna Rosa Bracelet Pattern for CzechMates by Carole Ohl

Glowing enthusiasm aside, the only thing I don’t love about these beads is the occasional, but dreaded, blocked second hole. Czech glass beads undergo a special manufacturing process which sometimes leaves extra material in the hole. Today’s tip is how to avoid blocked beads and save yourself from a beading headache halfway through your project.

As is often the case, it is all about preparation. I know many of us creative types can’t wait to delve right into a project, but setting aside a little time for prep can ward off time-consuming problems in the future. Before starting any project, cull out any beads with a blocked hole. You can visually inspect the bead by holding it to a light. If the light shines through you are good to go. The second method is to use a needle to simply poke through the holes to make sure there are no obstructions. Once you have a good batch set aside, dispose any of the blocked beads so they won’t creep back into your supply. Nothing is worse than completing a section of weaving only to find a blocked hole stops you dead in your tracks.

A little time spent beforehand will save you a lot of frustration later. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to stretch your skills and try a new weaving technique with these wonderful glass beads. We are sure you’ll love them as much as we do!

Happy Tuesday! – Rebecca