Treehouse Holiday Charity Drive Results!

Treehouse-Logo2The results of ourTreehouse holiday charity drive are in: we sold an amazing 2713 TierraCast holiday charms, which means a huge $2713 donation will go to help Seattle foster children have a merrier Christmas this year! You have truly made a difference in these children’s lives and we thank you for your incredible generosity!

Thank you so much from the entire FusionBeads.com family! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210I’m dressing up my gifts with something extra-special for the holidays and so can you with today’s tip!

For me, packaging small presents starts with a box. I always keep a stash of little boxes for jewelry, reusing ones from gifts I’ve been given or ordering our gift boxes if I run out. And with an endless variety of colors and textures of cord and ribbon to choose from you can dress up your boxes any way you want!  This year I’ve added a touch of sparkle to my silk string and ribbons by combining it with our Metallic Vintage Hemp Twine.

Tying up a gift is great, but if you add a charm to your package it becomes something more! By adding a Nunn Design charm on to each ribbon not only do I have pretty packaging, but I’ve also made a bonus gift. Once the box is unwrapped there are two presents – the gift inside and a simple necklace or wrap bracelet!

Add charms to your gift wrapping for an extra giftThe best part is that you can reuse wrapping like this year after year, whether it’s in your jewelry or to wrap future gifts!

Happy Holidays! – Gretchen

Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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It can be tempting to reach for the closest pliers or tube of adhesive when you’re rushing through a project. Instead take the time to make sure you’re using products that are designed for jewelry making. Using the right supplies for your project will help you have a successful and enjoyable experience from the start!

Hypo Tube Cement and Stretch Magic are a perfect pair!

This tip is especially important for adhesives. Using the wrong glue means you’re project won’t hold together the way you want. I’ve made the mistake of using super glue to seal the knot on a stretchy bracelet more than once. While super glue is handy for fixing things around the house, it’s not designed as a jewelry adhesive and can melt elastic cords. Now I know to use Hypo Tube Cement for my stretchy bracelets because it dries clear, stays flexible, and won’t eat through my Stretch Magic.

Since different adhesives work best on different materials, we’ve made a great chart to help you choose exactly the right glue for your project! This chart lists the properties of each adhesive we carry, along with their curing times, and the materials they’re designed to bond.

What’s your favorite jewelry adhesive?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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So far I’ve set seed beads, gemstones, and Swarovski Crystal stones in Crystal Clay, but this week I found way to use this clay with one of my favorite things – charms! Crystal Clay and a bezel can become the perfect frame for a favorite charm and you can use today’s tips to combine these supplies into fun new pendants and links!

The first step is to find a bezel that fits your charm. You’ll cut the loop off of the charm in the next step, so be sure to think about that as you look for the right bezel. My favorite bezels are made by Nunn Design and you can find the inner dimensions of most of these on our website.

Crystal Clay pendant and charm suppliesNext you’ll cut the loop off of your charm. Cutting something too hard or too thick with your nice cutters can dull or even break the blades, so I like to use my not-so-nice cutters for this step. Clipping the entire loop cut off on the first try is hard. Be prepared to trim off any remaining pieces of the loop with your cutters and file away the sharp edges.

Cut the loop off the charmNow it’s time to mix and add your Crystal Clay! Don’t fill the bezel completely if you want your charm to sit below or flush with the top of the bezel. I wanted my finished pendant to have a more three dimensional look, so I added enough clay to fill the bezel and then pressed the charm down into it. Make sure all of the edges of your charm are touching the clay to get a secure bond, applying firm and even pressure to keep the charm straight.

Place charm in Crystal ClayOnce my charm was in place I brushed Pearl Ex Powder over the surface of the clay. This adds a beautiful metallic sheen to the clay and gives the whole piece a polished look.

Apply Pearl Ex pigment to the Crystal ClayHow have you used Crystal Clay lately?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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Snowflake forms are the quickest way I’ve found to whip up beaded ornaments in a hurry. The only hard part of using these pre-made wire forms is fitting your beads into the sharp angles at the center of the form. But you can use today’s tips to make a whole flurry of sparkling snowflakes!

Snowflake ornamentsThe key to building a perfect snowflake is using small or tapered beads at the center of the form, where there’s the least amount of space, and adding larger beads as you work outwards. Planning your design like this keeps your beads from crowding each other at the center and getting pushed out of place.

Our Frosted Flake Snowflake does this by starting at the center with tiny Fire Polished Round Glass Beads and working outwards with progressively larger Preciosa Czech Crystal Flower Beads.

frosted flakeAnd our Ice Storm Snowflake starts with Round Japanese Seed Beads before transitioning into Bead Frames by TierraCast®. It uses two different sizes of bead frame too, alternating large and small frames on the spokes to make sure there’s no crowding.

ice stormOur Yuletide Cheer and Holly Berries Snowflakes both use small beads at their center, followed by tapered beads with their narrow ends facing inwards.

yuletide

holly berriesYou can use larger beads at the center of your snowflake, if you alternate their spacing on the form. Push your beads into the center on the first, third, and fifth spoke of the form. Then add a bead to the second, fourth, and sixth spoke, letting them rest on the first beads you added.

Snowflake ornament large beadsCheck out all of our fun Snowflake Ornaments and get inspired for the holidays!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210Polyethylene beading threads, like FireLine, are some of the most durable bead weaving threads available. If I use FireLine to weave a project I’m confident my jewelry won’t break or tear over time. But the durability that makes a project last longer can also wreak havoc on your beading scissors. Luckily you can use today’s trick to cut your FireLine cleanly and preserve your tools!

Cutting FireLine with the wrong type of scissors will damage your tool and your thread. It can take 2-3 tries to cut through FireLine with a regular pair of beading scissors, a process that dulls the blade of your scissors and frays your thread. Instead, I keep an old pair of wire cutters in my tool kit just for FireLine! These cutters are tough enough to cut through the FireLine, but are already so battered and well-used that I’m not worried about them dulling down and ruining a tool I’ve invested in.

Cutting Fire Line With Old Cutters

You can also use scissors with a special blade to get a perfectly cut piece of FireLine. The Xuron Thread and Fiber Scissors have serrated edges that snip right through FireLine! These scissors are great for all kinds of fiber stringing materials and keep their edge well over time.

Cutting Fire Line With Xuron Thread and Fiber Scissors

What tricks do you use to get the best results with FireLine?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Gretchen