Designer Spotlight – Meet Katie!

Hi Everyone! My name is Katie and I’ve been working here at Fusion Beads for almost 19 years. Wow! Time sure flies. I can’t believe it’s been that long.

I moved to Seattle from the Bay Area in 1998. When I first started working for Fusion Beads, we were just a local bead store in Ballard, a funky industrial neighborhood in Seattle. We offered all sorts of classes in everything from bead weaving to lampwork glass bead making. I had already been beading for a while, but I learned so much in those first few years, and I keep continuing to learn even now. I love the fact that beading has so many different styles and applications, so many ways to use all the beads I’ve collected over the years!

We went online in 2004 and since then I’ve had my hands in a lot of different projects around the company, but I mostly work on picking out new product for the site and working with our amazing Purchasing team to keep everything in stock in my role as the Chief Procurement Officer. I also get to spend some time designing and creating with our Creative Team in my role as Chief Creative Officer.

I call myself a super crafter – I always have projects going in crochet, quilting, sewing and of course, my favorite of all, BEADING. My craft room can be a bit chaotic, but I try to keep it under control and contained inside the room, but it always ends up spreading through the entire house!

I live in a cute neighborhood in Seattle called Columbia City with my rescue dog Scout. When I am not beading, I can be found riding my bike, kayaking, or hiking in and around Seattle. And I try to travel as much as I can. My happy places are Lake Tahoe, Rome and Orcas Island, but I want to go everywhere! The list is long and growing, next up is Iceland or Machu Picchu.I also stay busy by serving on the Young Professional Board for a local organization Treehouse, which helps support youth in foster care in Washington State. And I volunteer every month in their store where foster youth can shop called the Wearhouse.

My favorite product, projects and techniques are always changing. Right now, I’m on a bead crochet rope bracelet kick. I’m trying to make my way through all of the Delica colors. They are just so gorgeous that I want to have an entire collection of them! I’ve made about 60-70 so far. I love the texture that you get in these bracelets. Only 1100 or so more to go. Yikes!I also love working with lots of color. Our new seed bead palettes are calling my name! I had fun using one of the new mini palettes in our new Beachy Necklace and Beachy Bracelet.I also created the Deco and Coastal crochet rope bracelets using our original collection of seed bead palettes and had fun playing with different patterns and color blocking with these!

When I’m not obsessing over bead crochet, I also love to right angle weave, wire wrap and of course just string up beads. Below are some of my favorite projects that we’ve featured on the site over the years.

Cadmium Orange Bracelet

Sparkling Nights Earrings

Diamond Back Bangle Bracelets

Frolicking Fall Earrings

And to wrap this all up, THANK YOU! I love being inspired by everything that we see you, our customers, making and sharing with us. We have such a vibrant and creative community of beaders that support us. It’s so fun to see how everyone uses beads in their own unique way and to find inspiration from each other. Looking forward to many more years of sharing my love of beading with you.

– Katie

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Look out for my takeover on Instagram this week! I’ll be sharing more of my life and beading adventures with you there!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks – Adding a little Pizzazz ain’t so Bad! How to place a Swarovski Crystal into a Setting

For this week’s post I was reminded of my reaction when I was first exposed to Swarovski Crystals. I remember my eyes widened. I probably let out a little gasp. And I think I stuttered something along the lines of,  “Oh! The twinkle! The sparkle!” and quickly proceeded to buy them all. Just kidding! I did, however,  put a little dent in my bank account.

Swarovski fancy stones are a great way to add a little pizzazz and elegance to your pieces, and they are some of my favorite products to use in my jewelry. A fun way to incorporate fancy stones into your pieces is by using a Swarovski Crystal fancy stone setting. The settings have 4 holes located at the bottom, making the 2 holes on either side of the setting great for stringing!

Now, the trick to setting your crystal securely and evenly is to press down two prongs that are facing diagonally. By following this simple step, it can help prevent the stone from shifting from the pressure of the pliers clamping down.

On an additional note, it is a common misconception that the crystal’s edge will be flush to the top of the setting. The stone will actually sit on top of the setting. The stone will fit snugly with the setting only concealing a portion of the crystal. While it takes a little bit of force to get the prongs to press down flat on your crystal, it does not take too much pressure! Proceed with caution, you don’t want to break the setting or your crystal while you clamp down the prongs!

For my visual example of how your crystal should look while you are setting the stone I used a 18x13mm Swarovski Crystal Oval Fancy Stone with a 18×13.5mm Rhodium Setting.

Step One: Place your crystal face up into the setting of the stone. The stone will sit comfortably in the setting. Do not push the crystal down.

Step Two: Using Nylon Pliers, press two sets of prongs down that are facing diagonally from each other.

Step Three: Secure the stone in the setting by pressing down the remaining prongs. And tah-dah! You have an evenly set stone.

A gorgeous Inspiration Project, Crystal Night Bracelet, uses the 18mm Crystal Oval Fancy Stones with the rhodium settings strung together to make a bracelet.

Crystal Night Bracelet Inspiration Project

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s Tips & Tricks!

Happy Beading! – Zoe

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks

You may find yourself asking every once in a while, “How many beads will I need to make this bracelet?” To answer this question there is a wonderful tool at your disposal! You may have already guessed it…that’s right, a beading board! For today’s tip, I will be highlighting how working with a beading design board can help you plan out your projects without the headache of constantly restringing your pieces.

The first thing I like to do before I get started on my project is to lay out all my materials. A really nice feature of design boards is that they have little dividers that make organizing your beads easy. It looks a little like a TV dinner tray but is WAY more exciting because it has beads in it! 

The best part of knowing how many beads you will need per inch, is having the calculations already made for you! Another great tool is this super awesome chart that calculates the number of beads you will need based on the size of your bead and the length of your bracelet. You can find this chart and other helpful tips on our Design Tips Q&A page. For making bracelets, especially multi-strand bracelets, I recommend using a straight beading board. The board measures out the length in inches (or centimeters) and has an inverted ridge to place your beads. In the image below I have used 3 different sizes that all come out to the same length.

An additional perk to using these boards is that it allows you to mix up the colors and sizes of your beads, and at the same time, keeps track of the length of your strands. When playing around with the possible patterns to use for my bracelets I love using bead stoppers as well. The bead stoppers make it possible for me to wrap the beads around my wrist to test out my design without the permanence of crimping or knotting. Beading boards are fabulous visual aids, and I find as someone that relies heavily on visuals, that I come up with even more unique patterns and design possibilities when I use my board.

Before I sign off for this week I wanted to leave a few examples of my favorite inspiration projects that are multi-strand bracelets! I hope you love them as much as I do!

Shadows Of Gold Bracelet Inspiration Project

Pastel Shimmer Bracelet Inspiration Project

Spring Time Bracelet Inspiration Project

Shoreline Bracelet Inspiration Project

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Tips & Tricks!

Happy Beading – Zoe

6 Tips on How to Prepare & Embed Organics in Nunn Design 2-Part Resin + Videos

Embedding organics into 2-Part Resin can cause air bubbles or a tacky resin surface that never fully cures if the embedded items are not prepared properly. Learn how to prepare organics such as flowers, seeds and shells to embed into Nunn Design 2-Part Resin with these 6 simple how to tips.

Tip 1.  Dry your Organics with a Silica Gel

Drying your organics with a silica gel allows for the moisture in the flower or plant to be removed without altering the color. Bubbles that occur in 2-part resin are often caused by moisture in the organics. Most flowers can be dried within 2-5 days (there is a chart included in the package that states how long various flowers take) and also included in the packaging are methods for speeding up the drying time by placing the silica gel in the microwave. Silica Gel is non-toxic and very fine so it doesn’t damage your organics and is reusable. To use the Silica Gel, find a tub or a Tupperware container that has a lid. Sprinkle in a layer of gel into the base of the tub, then lay in your organics and sprinkle on another layer. Build up layers until your tub is full. Wait the required amount of time on the packaging for the organics to dry. To remove the organics, take a large plastic bag and slowly start to sift out your organics. Follow the instructions on how to reuse your silica gel by drying and storing it.Here are some of my dried organics, stored in a tub and ready to be created with.

Tip 2.  Air Dry your Organics

I really like the look of dried flowers. I like the aged look that comes as the flower naturally dries and the color changes. I also like the look of a rose bud slightly withered. It looks beautiful to me. To air dry, I like to place my organics on the windowsill where it can have a lot of exposure to the natural sunlight. I live in the Pacific Northwest where we have a moderate level of humidity, so I’m not sure what is going to happen on your windowsill in Florida! You will have to give me a full report, but for us, it takes 2-3 days depending on the amount of sunlight.Tip 3:  Spray your Organics with a Resin Spray

I have gotten in the habit of spraying all my organics that I embed in resin. I’m not really sure if this is totally necessary, but honestly, if I’m going to spend a bunch of time mixing and pour resin, I want to take any and all precautions to make sure I have great results. I place my organics in a cardboard box with high sidewalls and head outside when it is time to spray. The Resin Spray is very fast drying, easy to apply and will seal your organics nicely. Sealing the organics will prevent the resin from absorbing into the organics, causing the flowers to darken. Sealing with Resin Spray can also prevent any moisture from coming in contact with the 2-Part Resin. We know what moisture does! It causes bubbles!Tip 4:  Coat with Nunn Design 2-Part Resin

Another way to prepare your organics is to coat them with Nunn Design 2-Part Resin before you even embed them fully into your resin filled creation. Even when I have dried and sprayed with a resin spray, I have still had issues with bubbles. This typically occurs when I’m working with a piece of bark from a branch, a shell or from a bud of a flower. These are all places where air can get caught in a little pocket and won’t emerge until submerged into resin.Watch a Video!  How to Incorporate Organic Matter into 2-Part Resin by Becky Nunn

Tip 5: Use the Nunn Design 2-Part Resin to Anchor your Organics

Another way to embed your organics into resin and to prevent unwanted junk happening is to anchor the organics into the resin. This can be done by pouring a wee bit of resin into a Nunn Design Bezel, an open framed bezel or within a Keepsake Pendant then adding the organics. By pouring a wee bit of resin in first, placing in your organic and then letting that cure before filling the bezel full of 2-part resin, allows you to cement your organics into place. This prevents the organics from moving around and floating to the surface.

Here is a piece filled only part way with resin and fully cured, and then I added more resin to finish it off.

DSC_0059_1000x1000Tip 6:  Drizzle Your Resin onto the Organics and Go Slowly!

When you use your stir stick to slowly drizzle resin into your bezel and over your organics, you give the resin the opportunity to off gas and for the air bubbles to naturally pop. It also allows you to control your resin pour preventing spillage and all that unwanted messy clean up action later. Before you have fully filled your bezel or Keepsake Pendant with resin, take a moment to poke around in the resin hopefully dislodging any air bubble that could have been trapped. If any air bubbles do rise to the surface, breathe on your resin. The hot air from your breath will make the air bubble expand and pop.  When you are done poking about, drizzle more resin into your bezel bringing it up to a high dome of resin. Tip: Place your bezel on a business card prior to filling your bezel with resin. This will allow you to easily move your bezel with less risk of the resin spilling.

See all of these tips and more in this video!

_DSC8153-organics-logo

I hope these 6 tips on how to prepare and embed organics in Nunn Design 2-Part Resin will help you have a successful pour of resin. BUT, at some point, if you want to embed organics into resin you will need to accept that bubbles happen. If you have found a bubble free trick, please let us know about it!!!

-Becky

becky@nunndesign.com

Preserving Organics for Resin Jewelry

The more organics that I preserve, the more I learn. But honestly, in the big scheme of all there is to know on this subject, I have to admit, I know very little. I’m embracing the fact that I’m learning as I go along and am committed to share what I learn.

A couple months ago, I did a post on 6 Tips on How to Prepare & Embed Organics in Nunn Design 2-Part Resin. At that time, I hadn’t explored the process of gathering and harvesting mushrooms or fiddleheads. This post is an account of my experience and process.

Gathering of the Organics:

One of the things that is so addictive for me, about working with organics, is the hunt of the treasure. Finding a patch of mushrooms or fiddleheads in nature is equal to hitting the mother-load at a garage sale. The same sort of adrenaline courses through my body. Those who have come across a patch of tiny little mushrooms know exactly what I’m speaking about, don’t you?

Here are examples of preparing mushrooms and fiddleheads using the silica gel.

Step 1: Harvest

Katherine and I headed out to harvest some mushrooms and fiddleheads.

  

Dry your Organics with a Silica Gel

Drying your organics with a silica gel allows the moisture in the flower or plant to be removed without altering the color. Bubbles that occur in 2-part resin are often caused by moisture in the organics. Most flowers can be dried in 2-5 days (there is a chart included in the package that states how long various flowers take).  Also included in the packaging are methods for speeding up the drying time by placing the silica gel in the microwave. Silica Gel is non-toxic and very fine so it doesn’t damage your organics and is reusable.To use the Silica Gel, find a tub or a Tupperware container that has a lid. Sprinkle in a layer of gel into the base of the tub, then lay in your organics and sprinkle on another layer. Build up layers until your tub is full. Wait the required amount of time on the packaging for the organics to dry.

To remove the organics, take a large plastic bag and slowly start to sift out your organics. Follow the instructions on how to reuse your silica gel by drying and storing it.

Step 2: Silica Gel

In a Tupperware container, I sprinkled a layer of silica gel into the base. (If you are seeing stuff in the gel, there were little bits of organics left over from my last batch I dried).

Step 3: Place in Silica Gel

Next I placed the organics into the silica gel, leaving space in-between each item.

 

Step 4: Create Layers and Cover

I continued to sprinkle the silica gel, creating multiple layers. Once all of the organics were covered, I placed the lid onto the container.

 

Step 5: Let Dry

I placed my container under my bed and let it sit for the recommended amount. Well, actually, I totally forgot about the fiddleheads for a week or so. I don’t think there was any time that was listed on the silica chart on how long fiddleheads take to dry. I figured extra time wouldn’t hurt.

Step 6: Sift and Store

Once the organics had done their time, I sifted through the silica gel to find all the dried mushrooms and fiddleheads. The silica gel is very fine. It was a challenge to get all the gel off the tiny mushrooms. I gently blew on the mushrooms and fiddleheads to try to remove gel. I had no noticeable side effects from the gel still being in the crevices when I poured the resin.

This is one of the Tupperware containers I use to store my organics once they are dry.Option: Spray your Organics with a Resin Spray

I have gotten in the habit of spraying all my organics that I embed in resin. I’m not really sure if this is totally necessary, but honestly, if I’m going to spend a bunch of time mixing and pouring resin, I want to take any and all precautions to make sure I have great results. I place my organics in a cardboard box with high sidewalls and head outside when it is time to spray. The Resin Spray is very fast drying, easy to apply and will seal your organics nicely.

Sealing the organics will prevent the resin from absorbing into the organics, causing the flowers to darken.

Sealing with Resin Spray can also prevent any moisture from coming in contact with the 2-Part Resin. We know what moisture does! It causes bubbles!

Finished Pieces

This was my first try with making the mushrooms and fiddleheads into resin pendants.

It really was a lot of fun. I did have little tiny bubbles that occurred. Next time I will explore placing the resin filled bezel in my vacuum tank to remove the bubbles. Does anyone know if that will work?

Learn More:

To read a tutorial on how to embed organics into resin, you might be interested in these blog posts.

How to Use Organics in Open Back Bezels with Nunn Design 2-Part Resin

Colorizing Resin in an Open Back Bezel with Organics

-Becky

becky@nunndesign.com

How to Make 2017 Summer Pantone Colors with Colorized Resin

Supplies Needed:

Nunn Design 2-Part Resin Kit

Resin Mixing Cups

Resin Stir Stick Narrow

Resin Stir Stick Wide

Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments

Others:

Wet-wipes

Toothpicks

Plastic bag for work surface

Tape

Plastic gloves

Step 1:
Read the resin instructions for safety concerns regarding the Nunn Design Resin. When I work with resin, I always:

Place a large plastic bag over my work surface and tape it down.

I make sure I have ventilation in my workroom.

I wear gloves.

I wear glasses (readers because I can’t see anymore. Plus it protects my eyes!).

I have a pile of wet wipes handy.

Step 2:

Place one cup (included in the Nunn Design Resin Kit) onto your table. For curing purposes, it is very important that the resin be an exact 1 to 1 ratio of Part A and Part B. I suggest getting your eyes level with the resin so you can see the lines on the measuring cup. Pour Part A of your resin kit up to the ½ fluid ounce mark on your measuring cup. Pour Part B of your resin kit into the same cup until it is filled to the 1 fluid ounce mark. It is important to pour Part A first and then Part B. It is some chemical thing about the part A being heavier or something.

Step 3:

Set your timer for 2 minutes. Using the stir stick from your kit (a popsicle stick or coffee stir stick will work great too), slowly and carefully stir your resin scraping the sides as you stir. Stir for the full 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, scrape both sides of your stir stick on the edge of your resin filled cup.Step 4:

Once your resin is fully mixed, pour the resin into a resin mixing cup up to the 1 teaspoon line.

Step 5:

Squeeze a little of the Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments onto a plastic bag. To prevent your Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments from being contaminated with mixed resin, you will want to use a fresh toothpick with each “toothpick tip” worth.  I cut my toothpicks in half so I could easily use both ends.Step 6:

The Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments are very potent. Let’s define what a “tiny toothpick tip” and a “toothpick tip” amount of colorant should look like. This is not an exact science. If you don’t get the exact amount, your color will still come out fairly close.

A “tiny toothpick tip” should look like this.

A “toothpick tip” should looks like this.

Step 7:

Add the required amount of Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigment to the mixed resin following the formulas for each of the Pantone colors. If you want to make more of any one color, double the batch!

Step 8:

Once all of the Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments are added into the resin, stir everything together with a stir stick until fully mixed.

Here are the formulas for the 2017 Summer Pantone Colors:

Primrose YellowFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 2 toothpick tips Yellow
  • 1 toothpick tip White
  • 2 toothpick tips Brown

Pale DogwoodFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 1 tiny toothpick tip Red
  • 8 toothpicks tips White
  • 5 toothpicks tips Brown

Island ParadiseFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 1 tiny toothpick tip Blue
  • 1 tiny toothpick tip Yellow
  • 4 toothpicks tips White

FlameFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 1 toothpick Red
  • 2 toothpick Yellow
  • 1 toothpick White
  • 1 toothpick Brown

Pink YarrowFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 2 toothpick tips Red
  • 2 tiny toothpick tips Blue
  • 3 toothpick tips White

NiagaraFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 1 toothpick tip Blue
  • 3 toothpick tips Black
  • 3 toothpick tips White

KaleFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 4 toothpick tips Yellow
  • 1 tiny toothpick tip Blue
  • 2 toothpick tips Black
  • 1 toothpick tip White

Lapis BlueFormula:

  • 1 tsp Nunn Design Resin
  • 3 toothpick tips Blue
  • 1 toothpick tip White
  • 1 toothpick tip Black

-Becky

becky@nunndesign.com