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But a Bing! Not a Bang! By Becky Nunn!

Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blanks are cast in lead-free pewter and plated with copper, .999 fine silver and 24k gold. Pewter, as a metal, is softer than various gauge of sheet metal and can be bit of a surprise to those who have experienced stamping with force to get an impression. Hence, we have put together this tutorial titled: But a Bing! Not a Bang! Here are a couple tips on having success with the Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blanks:

Step 1. Clean Your Nunn Tag

Tip 1.
Because the Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blanks are plated pewter, you will only want to use a wet wipe to clean the surface and not a polishing cloth. If you do use a polishing cloth, and really go to town with polishing, you will eventually rub away the plating.

Step 2. Tape Your Tag Down View 1

Tip 2.
For best results, tape your Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blank onto a steel stamping block. This will provide a firm and flat surface.

Tip 3.
You will not want to use any type of permanent pen or Sharpie Marker on the Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blanks. Use a pencil to provide a stamping guide.

Step 4. Grip Hammer Close To The Head

Tip 4.
When using your stamping hammer to make your impression, grip close up to the hammer’s head. This will allow you to strike with less impact.

Tip 5.
Not all hammers are equal. For best results, use a 1 pound brass flat and pein stamping hammer.

Step 6. Hold The Tool Tight

Tip 6.
When “binging” the Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blank, be sure that the metal stamping tool is held firm (but not too tight) within your fingers and held upright. Resting your fingers upon the metal stamping base will also allow you to keep the stamp steady and to not slip when binging.

Tip 7.
When you “bing” do it initially just one time. If you “bing” “bing”, there is a risk of the stamping moving slightly and creating a shadowed image.

Step 8. Line Up The Tool And Stamp Again

Tip 8.
If you “bing” and it isn’t enough of a “bing” to provide a good impression, you can line up the stamping tool within the impression and “bing” again to provide a deeper impression.

Step 9. Dont Stamp Close To The Edge

Tip 9.
Metal stamping forces the metal to move, it doesn’t just go someplace else. If you stamp too close to the edge of the Nunn Design Metal Stamping Blanks, it will distort the shape and potentially chip the plating. Stay away from being too close to the edges.

Step 10. Dont Stamp Too Hard

Tip 10.
If you “bang” too hard, you could chip the plating both on the surface and on the backside of the blank. Don’t get me wrong, you do have to “bing” with some meaning, you just don’t want to smack the heck out of it. Once the blank is smacked there is no going back or correcting.

Step 11. Use Gilders Paste To Darken The Impression

Tip 11.
Use acrylic paint or Gilders Paste to darken your impression. Most people have read or been taught to use a Sharpie Marker to darken the impression, but again, the plating will rub off when you use a polishing cloth to remove the Sharpie Marker.

Step 12. Place Something Underneath To Prevent Collapsing view 1 Step 12. Place Something Underneath To Prevent Collapsing

Tip 12.
If you are have a surface that does not have a flat back, you will need to place something underneath to prevent the tag from collapsing in the center when stamping.

Step 13a If You Have Tags You Arent Happy With Step 13b You Can Fill Them With Resin

Tip 13.
If you have tags that you aren’t happy with, you can cover them with colored resin!

Step 14. Cut A Piece Of Card Stock Step 14. Use Card Stock As A Buffer When Punching Additional Holes

Tip 14.
If you want to punch additional holes, cut a small piece of card stock to prevent the punch from damaging the flat tag. The card stock provides a buffer.

Step 15. Before Punching the Hole Make An Impression

Tip 15.
Before actually punching your hole, press down slightly without the card being in place. This is to provide an indented area so that you can easily line up your punch into the hole while the card stock is in place (and making it harder to see).

Step 16. Bend The Tag Carefully

Tip 16.
Plated pewter can be bent slightly, but it must be done very gently and slowly to prevent cracking. Start on one end of the flat tag and slowly start to bend from one end to the other using Nylon Jaw Bracelet Bending Pliers.

Tip 17.
Metal stamping, like any other art form takes practice. Allow yourself the time to learn this new craft. Otherwise, you just won’t have any fun making beautiful jewelry.

You can download a PDF of these steps here.

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210 I always save my scrap stringing material! I keep cords that are less than 6 inches long all jumbled together in one container because they’re too short to become tangled. But I try to keep longer cord scraps from knotting together or kinking. Today’s trick doesn’t work with wire, but you can use it to keep your leather and fiber stringing materials tidy!

Griffin Bead Cord and our Embellishment Cords are packaged on handy storage cords that can be reused for your scraps! Cards are a great storage solution because they can be stored flat and take up less space than spools. It’s also easy to re-label them with the name and size of your cord scraps.

If I don’t have an empty card ready to reuse, I cut my own out of card-stock or leftover cardboard. To make your own cards, first measure and cut out the best size for your storage space. I have a tin box I like to keep my leftover stringing material in and 3 inch x 2 ½ inch cards are ideal for that container! Cut a notch in the card for each end of your stringing material. For thicker materials, like leather, cut a wider notch or punch a hole in the card to thread your material through. Put one end of your stringing material in the notch or hole and then wrap over that end to secure it. Don’t wrap too tight or you could crease your cord! When you’ve wrapped it all up, put the other end of your stringing material through the other notch or hole.

Tuesday Tips and Tricks | The Creative Room Blog | Fusion Beads

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Beads for Backpacks – Charity Results!

treehouse The results of our Beads for Backpacks Charity Drive are in, and they are absolutely incredible! 1085 Swarovski Elements Crystal BeCharmed Beads were purchased during our charity drive, which means that we were able to make a $1085 donation to Treehouse! This donation will be helping to purchase back-to-school supplies for foster children!

With fierce optimism, 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, we 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 so much from the entire Fusion Beads family!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210 Humans come in a wonderful variety of shapes and sizes! That means a bracelet I make for myself might not be the right size for a friend. Some bracelet designs can be made adjustable with an extender chain, but you can use today’s trick to make your bead woven bracelets fit more than one size of wrist!

When making a bead and loop clasp for your bracelet, create two loops for each bead of the clasp instead of just one. Leave an extra-long tail at one end of your bracelet or add a thread that’s twice as long as normal so you have enough thread to extend your loops. After you’ve made one loop, pass back through half of those beads and bring your thread out at the center of your first loop. Use the same steps to create your second loop as you did to make the first loop. Two loops means the wearer has two sizes to choose from and can find a fit that’s comfortable for them!

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks | The Creative Room Blog | Fusion Beads

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks | The Creative Room Blog | Fusion Beads

 

How have you made your jewelry projects adjustable?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

An A – Z of Gemstones and Their Meaning

Starting with A

I’ve really been getting into gemstones lately; I blame the whole Boho trend! So I decided to do some research and look into gemstones and their meanings and wanted to share my findings here. Since there are so many different gemstones I thought the best place to start would be with the stones we carry that begin with the letter A. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks as I’ll try to delve into the entire alphabet of gemstones – all of which can be found on Fusionbeads.com!

Agate
Agate gemstones Agate is a variety of chalcedony, a microcrystalline quartz. Agate is a more translucent microcrystalline quartz and technically is striped, though many stones named agate are not striped and some like jasper are more opaque. There are many, many different types of agates in many different color combinations, and different types are known for different appearances and/or properties.

The hundreds, if not thousands of types of agates are found all around the world. In fact it is so popular and so widespread that it is the state gemstone (or stone) of a number of US states: fortification agate – Kentucky; agate, Louisiana and Montana, Tennessee (state stone); Lake Superior agate – Minnesota; blue agate- Nebraska; Fairburn agate – South Dakota; prairie agate – Nebraska (state stone); fire agate – Arizona.

Agates promote inner stability, composure, and maturity. It’s warm, protective properties encourage security and self-confidence. It provides protection, strength and harmony. These stones balance yin and yang energy, and are used for courage, protection, healing and calming. Historically agate stones were placed in cooking water to dispel sickness. Most lore surrounding agate stones depend a lot on their coloring but all agates have the following characteristics:

It is a stone of strength, and it enhances creativity and intellect. It is known for bringing good luck and longevity. Because it balances yin and yang energy it will not give the wearer constant energy, rather it will equalize energy and provide it in short bursts when needed. This makes it known as a conservation stone. It is also very protective, especially for children and namely to protect them from falling. It is useful as a protection amulet when traveling, and is especially effective against traffic accidents. Agate provides emotional strength, self-confidence and it dispels fears. It grounds emotions and is good at combating envy. It is the stone of acceptance and can be enormously helpful with self-examination and personal circumstances. Agate is superior when combating anxiety and stress and works wonders to heal and improve relationships. It is the stone of marital and romantic fidelity.

Physically agate is said to be particularly helpful with tooth and gum issues, stomach problems, physical endurance, and insomnia.

Amazonite
Amazonite Gemstones
Amazonite used to be a pretty rare mineral and was obtained almost exclusively from an area in the Ilmen Mountains of Russia, where it occurs in granitic rocks. More recently however, good-quality stones have been found in Colorado. It has also been found in Virginia.

Amazonite is a mint green to aqua green stone said to be of truth, honor, communication, integrity, hope, and trust. It is said to enhance intuition, psychic powers, creativity, intellect, and psychic ability. Amazonite is often associated with the throat chakra, and as such, said to be beneficial to communication. It assists with relationships by enhancing communication concerning love. It is also said to assist with peacefully making the transition out of this life, helping to heal emotional disturbances and the after effects of emotional trauma. It is good for one’s health in general, especially for colic, decreasing heart problems, benefiting the muscles, calcium deficiency, pregnancy, eczema, muscle cramps, helping the nervous system, lessening tooth decay and osteoporosis.

Amethyst
Amethyst gemstones

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz. The name comes from the Ancient Greek ἀ a- (“not”) and μέθυστος methustos (“intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels out of it to prevent intoxication. It has been used to get rid of addictions to alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc, and destructive compulsive behaviors of all kinds. It is one of several forms of quartz.

Amethyst is produced in abundance from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, where it occurs in large geodes within volcanic rocks. It is also found and mined in South Korea. The largest opencast amethyst vein in the world is in Maissau, Lower Austria. Much fine amethyst comes from Russia, especially from near Mursinka in the Ekaterinburg district, where it occurs in drusy cavities in granitic rocks. Many localities in south India also yield amethyst. One of the largest global amethyst producers is Zambia in southern Africa with an annual production of about 1000 tonnes.

Amethyst occurs at many localities in the United States too. It can be found in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Yellowstone National Park, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maine, and in the Lake Superior region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Amethyst is relatively common in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia. The largest amethyst mine in North America is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Amethyst is a meditative and calming stone which works in the emotional, spiritual, and physical planes to provide calm, balance, patience, and peace. It has been thought to be beneficial when dealing with legal problems and money issues. It is said that amethyst is an excellent all-purpose stone that can increase spirituality and enhance intuition and psychic powers of all kinds. Amethyst has been used to aid in meditation and lucid dreaming. Amethyst is said to protect against psychic attacks, especially during spiritual work.
Emotionally, amethyst is used in crystal healing to help heal personal losses and grief. Amethyst has a gentle energy that can promote happiness, peace, and contentment. It also is said to bring emotional stability and inner strength.

Physically amethyst is said to heal the withdrawal symptoms of any sort of addiction. It can help with headaches, insomnia, arthritis, diabetes, pain relief, circulatory system issues, endocrine system problems, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, immune system deficiencies, asthma, phobias, pregnancy and preventing miscarriage, menopause, PMS, and general healing.

There are so many different types of gemstones, I know I’ve only just touched the surface. But be sure to check back in the upcoming months as I work through the alphabet and post more information on the meanings of gemstones. You can also find all three of these types of gemstones at Fusionbeads.com. Just click here.

Happy Beading!
Sam

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

I hadn’t worked on any bead crochet projects in a while, so when I started a new set of bangle bracelets I wasn’t surprised to catch myself in an old bad habit. But by using today’s tip you won’t repeat my mistake!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks | The Creative Room Blog | Fusion Beads

It’s important to always leave room in the loops of your stringing material as you move them off your crochet hook. It’s easy to accidentally cinch a loop down tight as you move it off the hook and this was my biggest beginner mistake! Chains of bead crochet are supposed to have an open, almost airy look, like our Posh and Walk on the Beach Necklaces. When making a bead crochet rope you need to leave space to fit your hook back through later as you build your structure.

Maintain a firm, but relaxed tension on your stringing material, making sure it is also unspooling easily. Don’t pull your thread tight around the shaft of the hook. Instead keep your loops the same size as the shaft of your crochet hook as you move the thread. I do this by pinching the bottom of the loop between my thumb and middle finger as I move it off the hook and make my next loop. The more consistent and open the loops of your chain are, the easier time you’ll have when making your rope!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks | The Creative Room Blog | Fusion Beads

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen