You’re here for beads!? The good ones!
We buy ’em, sell ’em, make ’em… and teach ’em too!
Let’s start with the latest news!
- 10+ and QCC at BeadFX June 13, 2019
(and 20% off Czech seedbeads and Kumi stuff for one week only)
Silver-Filled 10+ Wire from ParaWire
You asked, we answered. Ok, our first answer was “huh? Whut?” But then we looked it up, and decided that the folks who were asking were on to something!
“ParaWire’s 10+ silver-filled wire is the perfect replacement for working with solid silver wire. 10% fine silver content, making it behave just like sterling silver wire – solderable, and patina-able – but for a fraction of the price of sterling or solid fine silver.”
Well – hot damn! Sounds like a winner to me. Silver-filled wire, in dead soft and half hard.
And, if that wasn’t exciting enough – Quick Cure Clay.
Now it is your turn to say “Huh? Whut?”
Quick Cure Clay is pliable clay that cures rock hard in minutes with just the use of a heat tool – like a craft heat gun. No need for a kiln or firing. It is stronger than polymer clay or air-dry clay – and does not require mixing. It does not dry out, and will not harden until cured. It is water resistant, does not shrink (it actually expands a tiny bit when cured) and you can then embellish with what ever you want from ink to paint to embossing powders.
Shape and mold the clay as you would any other type of clay. When ready to cure, heat the clay all over with a heat gun until the “reaction” starts. If you want the technical lingo – the reaction is a “frontal polymerization.”*
You will see a whiff of smoke. Stop heating.
If the lighting is right, you will see the reaction spreading across your piece. Just watch and let it happen.
Allow it to cool once it is done – it gets hot enough to ouch. (over 200C). That’s it – you’re done. The process, depending on the size of the item, takes about a minute.
In playing with this so far, I can tell you it is quick, it really benefits from being cured outside (I do not care for the smell at all), it is strong, and it is easy to sand. Check out some of the stuff on instagram, #quickcureclay for some of the amazing ideas in mixed media. Anne Marie is also super excited about this stuff, so watch for her to offer a class on it.
Check it out – link to how-to video in the description!
How do you follow up that? Well – a few other new items, sterling ball chains and etc, so you can review all the new stuff here!!!
*If you want the even more technical lingo – Frontal polymerization is “a localized reaction that propagates through a monomer by the coupling of thermal transport and the Arrhenius kinetics of an exothermic polymerization.”
Sale – one week only – June 13-19 – Selected Czech Seedbeads and Kumihimo tools and findings.
Bulk Bags of Carrier Beads. A lifetime supply! 20% off!
Our Class News
- Summer Starts Now!
We’ve been waiting for this since the middle of January! Effective June 21, we are officially in summer!
Late-June classes range from mixing your materials for a fun boho necklace to adding colour to titanium metal! Get experience doing wire wrapping with a statement pendant or learn how to do sliding knots to create casual summer-style bracelets. You can also explore bead mosaic and how to apply beads on a curved surface.
Here are the classes and open sessions scheduled June 21 – 30:
Friday, June 21
Saturday, June 22
Wire Wrapped Pendant with Swarovski
Instructor: Lucie Lee
10:00am – 1:00pm
Learn how to make a pendant using wire wrapped technique. By the end of the class, you will have a beautiful pendant with Swarovski dangles!
Sunday, June 23
Monday, June 24
Wednesday, June 26
Thursday, June 27
Huichol-style Bead Mosaic: Working on a Curved Surface
Instructor: Pamela Kearns
5:00 – 8:00pm
Learn how to use this ancient, yet easy, technique to apply wax and beads to a shape and create a design!
Click on the class/session name for complete information including course description, applicable fees and on-line registration. You can also click on the instructors’ names to see other classes they are teaching. To see all of the month’s activities, go to the June class calendar.
Our Latest Inspiration
- Photo to Beaded Pattern
A fun little tool from Miyuki to convert your photos to beading patterns
We’ve seen a number of beading-pattern-makers over the years – by and large, they seem to not be much fun to use, and try to do too much.
This, by contrast, does Miyuki Delicas, Peyote or Square stitch. That’s it.
You can also use the Square Stitch option to create patterns for looming.
The software is online, and runs in your browser, so nothing to download – except the pattern afterwards if you want.
They have instructions in English here, but I’m going to run you through a brief intro here too.
First, you will need to click on Peyote or Square to start, depending on which you want the pattern to be.
Next, you will see a screen that asks you to input dimensions
The maximum size is 370 x 370 mm. I had a fairly large image, and so I scaled it down by dividing the size so that it was a lot smaller.
However, if you just playing with it, just enter the 370 in the height and width boxes. Where there is text in a box that is grey, it is a suggestion, not a default value, and you need to enter it yourself.
Number of colours – well, as Miyuki themselves say,
The larger the number of colors used, the more delicate expression will be.
Fair enough, but there does come a point at which, needing to buy 2 beads of a colour is ridiculous, even in my humble opinion.
So you can start with a low number of colours as Miyuki suggests, about 20 or so, and adjust afterwards. One of the things that I like about this software is that you can go back and forth and change things, instead of needing to have it all correct before you start.
Click on import, and navigate to your saved jpg on your computer. Click ok.
From here, you have some options to resize and scale and crop. Click on the blue line to resize, and use the scroll wheel on your mouse, or the zoom icons, to zoom in and out.
And click ok.
Now you get to modify the number of colors, with a preview of what it will look like. You can reduce or add to the number of colours by clicking on the rectangle above or below. Keep selecting a lower number of colours until the quality of the image falls off.
When you think it is ok, click ok and go to the next screen.
It will spin it’s wheels for a bit, and then give you a preview, that you can review or edit.
Pretty awesome, huh?
From here, you can edit the individual beads.
Use the eyedropper icon to pick up colours from beads. Use the paintbrush to apply the colour.
The coloured droplets let you switch to the full Delica colour palette to pick whatever colour you want.
I don’t see anything that looks like a search and replace, however, so to get less complicated colour choices, just go back a step.
I do think that starting with a less complicated image is probably a good idea too. Running your image through a filter an image editing software can make the image less complex. Look for a filter or process called “Posterize”, “Cartoon” or “Simplify” to get a smoother image.
Or, click the back arrow and select a lower number of colours.
When you are done, click ok, and it will ask you if it is ok?
And then pop up the slightly scary warning …
Don’t worry – it will give you the number again on the next page. You can write it down or cut and paste.
You do have the option to download a pdf, which is a good thing, as I haven’t actually seen any of the emailed notifications from them, but maybe they take awhile.
If you use the pattern online, it will actually keep track of rows for you, which I think is a lovely feature.
Here I was playing with a much simpler image – beading a picture of beads is very meta.
Here are the pdf patterns if you’d like to have a closer look. The “shopping list” is at the end, and lists the standard delica number, the quantity and the grams.
And, btw, you are free to go ahead and use these patterns if you want – if you manage to bead up a picture of my wonderful old dog, do send me a pic and let me know! (Because you know I’m never going to get around to it … )
The Dude – (my old German Shepherd) Complex 19031501260367278629
The Dude – (my old German Shepherd) Simplified 19031501474795333579
Black Beads 19031504040304327490
If you get stuck at the “simplify the image” thought and need a hand there – fire me an email and I’ll see if I can’t help you out.
This is a far from comprehensive tutorial, but I don’t think it needs it. The program is fun to use and play with. It’s not like you can do anything wrong, so just click and have fun!