Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

7.16-TIPS-AND-TRICKS-BANNER-IMAGEOne of the most amazing aspects of beading is its interconnectivity with other craft art forms. We have all seen beads and crystals used to embellish knitting projects, quilts or clothing. But have you ever thought of how items traditionally used in fabric arts can be repurposed in jewelry projects? Take for example the extremely versatile button. Buttons not only make great closures but they can also be used as a center piece or as a component. Today we are going to cover two wonderful ways to incorporate buttons into jewelry.

Perhaps the most popular use of a button in jewelry is as a clasp on a wrapped cord bracelet. Buttons are the perfect choice for this type of bracelet because the hole on the button shank is big enough to accommodate 1-2mm leather cord. We have a wonderful selection of buttons that work beautifully in this respect as seen on many of our wrapped cord Inspiration Projects.

We are super excited because we have just expanded our amazing selection of buttons to include a new line of beautiful and intricate Czech Glass buttons. What I love about these Czech Glass buttons is their wonderful vintage look! Often, the button motifs are directly based upon patterns produced decades ago, so these buttons instantly communicate that old world charm.mm2997-main-0mm2998-main-0As you can see on our new wrapped cord Inspiration Project the Teal Tourmaline Bracelet the Sunflower Czech Glass button brings a delicate elegance to the bracelet and exquisitely echoes the soft teals and metallic greens in the seed bead palette. The impact of the button as both a focal and as a closure of the bracelet is undeniable.teal-tourmalineOne other wonderful way to use a button is as a charm or component. For example, I have used the Sunflower Czech Glass buttons as slider beads in my three strand Swarovski Crystal pearl bracelet.bracelet-1To use a button as a component it is very important to compensate for the weight of the top of the button. This is best accomplished by placing beads and spacer bars underneath the button on either side of the button’s shank to keep the button facing directly upward. In this bracelet I used a couple tricks to keep the buttons in place. First, I used two strands of Swarovski Crystal pearls on either side of the center strand to flank the button. This prevents the button from tipping either up or down.bracelet-2Secondly, I used spacer bars to keep the pearls straight and locked into their respective rows. Spacer bars help maintain pressure against the pearls to keep them in an orderly line. The resulting tension is enough to keep the buttons from moving, forcing it to lock into position.

The last trick is to create just the right amount of space between the two spacer bars to compensate for the curvature of the button shank. I used three size 11/0 Delica seed beads on strand one and three to match the space taken up by the button shank on the middle strand. The goal is to make sure all strands are spaced equally and that the spacer bars remain aligned perpendicularly to the strands. You can experiment with different seed beads until you get an equal amount of space between the bars to achieve this delicate balance.bracelet-3I encourage you to experiment with buttons and see what other ways you can use them. I am sure you will greatly appreciate the charm and beauty they can bring to your designs.

Happy Tuesday! – Rebecca






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