My Shiney Little Secret

I get a lot of questions about my photography techniques. One of the things that is really important in photographing beads and jewelry is to  have an uncluttered background that does not detract from the item being photographed. I often use a “stage” – a plexiglass sheet with a silvery backing to create a soft reflection of the bead in question. But glass scratches plexiglass – and over time – it develops a haze of fine scratches that seriously detract from the professionalism of the finished picture. If you were photo’ing anything of normal size – no one would notice …

Design Iterations – 4 designs that didn’t make it

As I explained – with last Wednesday’s inspiration – there was quite a journey from initial idea to the eventual “Incarnation.” But the choice of blue stone – once I had it in my head that I wanted to do a blue stone pendant – well – I tried a number of different shapes – here is what I tried and why I rejected them. Maybe this will give you some inspiration in the future – when you are trying to make a design decision! I toyed with multiple dangles – I eventually rejected this idea as I really like …

So you want to make Jewelry? Stringing a Basic Bracelet

So – you want to make jewelry? Welcome to our world, little frog – it’s a big, wonderful place, full of colour and passion and choices. Many, many choices. First, we are going to talk about “stringing.” It is probably easy for you to guess that by this, we mean threading beads through their holes onto some sort of long, thing stringy stuff and tying a knot. Yes indeedy. That’s it. You now know how to make jewelry. Go away now, and let the master rest. What – you don’t think that is the all and the whole of it? …

Attaching Swarovski Hot Fix

Last week – I said I would talk more about actually getting the Swarovski Hot Fix Rhinestones onto the fabric. First, a word about what you are attaching to. The hot fix glue needs some sort of surface that it can penetrate into. If you have a new garment, you need to wash it first to remove the sizing and make it so that the fibers will absorb the glue. You can do a water droplet test. If you flick water droplets onto the fabric and they stand up on the surface, you will need to wash it. If they …

Cool Tools to Make Designing with Hot Fix Rhinestones Fast and Easy and Fun, Fun, Fun.

I know, I know – rhinestones aren’t exactly beads – but by now, you’ve probably figured out that the bling is the thing, and so long as it sparkles – it’s fair game. First – let’s clarify some terminology. Rhinestones can fall into two categories – those with a pointed back, and those with a flat back. Pointed back stones need to go into some sort of setting or mount, whereas flat backs can be glued to any reasonably flattish surface that you can get a glue to stick to. Swarovski makes a plain, flat back rhinestone, but, because a …

Rapid Loops

We’ve taught you simple loops, and wrapped loops. And now, we’re going to show you … Rapid Loops. Or, you too can make 14 wrapped loops in 6 mins. Or 50 in half an hour! There are some applications where lots of beads hanging together just look fabulous – but making those dangles and loops can be tedious. First – let me back up a little. 😉 Last week, we had our pre-Christmas staff dinner. All the crazy bead ladies in one room! With Chocolate, and Lychee Martinis. We just want to say to you – anything can be an …

Wire U Talking Like That: Terms to Describe Wire

So choosing a wire is about picking the best balance between strength and workability – as is most appropriate for your project. Workability – hardness vs softness or “hard to bend” vs “easy to bend.” We refer to wire that is easy to bend as “soft” or and wire that is hard to bend as “hard.” Sterling silver wire can be annealed – heat-treated – to make it “soft.” The softest grade is referred to as “dead soft” and the hardest to bend is “hard” – nothing mysterious there. There is a medium grade too – called “half hard.” Hard, …

Syringe Metal Clay

Syringe form silver clay is a fun an interesting form of metal clay. Syringe clay is a thinned form of silver clay preloaded into a syringe. With the syringe clay you can pipe out long strands of silver clay and make some interesting designs. There is a lot of ways you can use your syringe: “Sunflower”, in this piece I used syringe to create the centre. It was done by creating a cork form that the clay was syringed over top. This piece is a Art Clay Level One Certification project. This one is done by Susie Levitsky. It is …

Clasped together – more on clasp styles

Last week – I reviewed some styles of clasps for you – we mention that there are the: spring closure hook and eye toggle These week – let’s carry on with the: box clasp barrel clasp magnetic clasps, others too hard to categorize 😉 The box clasp is the most difficult and complicated of the clasps to make – often involving quite a bit of hand fabrication – unlike the others – which can be either cast or machine-made. So they frequently are quite a bit pricier. However – for a very professional finishing touch – they can be quite …

Clasping at Straws – Different Styles of Clasps

Let’s talk clasps. There are 4 main styles of clasps, and a few oddities that are hard to categorize. The basic styles are: spring closure hook and eye toggle box clasp Oh, and the orphan and unloved barrel clasp. Ptui. oo – and magnetic clasps too! The spring closure is usually some sort of ring or loop, with a movable opening, that allows you to hook it onto something, and then closes up – so that it doesn’t come undone. The most basic of these is the spring ring. Inexpensive and it gets the job done. However, it can be …