Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beginner Series: Beading tools

There are a lot of tools and materials used to create beadwork jewelry. Beyond threads, needles, and beads, each technique you choose will require specific tools. I will talk about the tools that I consider essential to you start beading.

Scissors: you need sharp scissors with fine points to cut the thread as close as possible of your beadwork piece. You don't want your finished jewelry with thread tips showing.

Ruler or measuring tape: you will need it to measure the thread's length before you start working, or even to measure your beadwork piece.

Glue: glues and adhesives are necessary when working specially with techniques like embroidery and soutache, for example. Sometimes you also need put a little bit of glue on the knots to keep them fall apart. Some of the popular adhesives used for jewelry: E-6000, Epoxy 220, GS Hypo Fabric Cement, Jewel Bond and PascoFix Instant.

Waxes and thread conditioners: it's a substance used to coat thread to make it slightly stronger and smoother, and also make the thread less likely to knot or fray during use. There are two types of conditioners: natural (beeswax) and synthetic (Microcrystaline Wax and Thread Heaven).

Beading mat: A beading mat is a piece of fabric very soft and thick, with a velvety feel. It's great to work on it because the bead mat prevents your beads from rolling off your table. It has low cost and come in a good range of sizes and colors.

Pliers:  There are many different types of pliers, each one with a different purpose. I'll list here the most common types:

Chain nose pliers: they are rounded on the outside but have flat inside edges. They are good for gripping wire or a jump ring , and for closing metal bead tips.

Flat nose pliers: they are great to make sharp bends and right angles in wire. And as the chain nose pliers, they're can also grip flat objects.

Bent nose pliers: they're great to grip jumprings because with this plier you can reach angles and loops that you would have difficulty getting to with a straight plier.

Round nose pliers: the plier's jaws are cone shaped form. They're used for create loops and curves in pieces of wire.

Crimping pliers: specialized pliers for squishing crimp beads.

Nylon jaw pliers: these pliers has nylon jaws that let you work with the wire without leave marks on it. You can use this plier to shaping or straightening the wire.

As an alternative to the nylon jaw pliers, there are products like the Tool Magic. The product coats the jaws of your normal plier so you can work with wire without scratch its surface. But these products are temporary and after some use the coat wears off.

Cutters: they're used to cut wires. The normal cutters have a sharp cut. To get a flat and clean cut you need a special kind of cutters: the flush cutter. When you cut a wire with this type of cutter, you have one side of the cut flat and the other side sharp. This is the most indicated type of cutter to jewelry making.

To cut memory wire you'll need a stronger type of cutters: the heavy duty cutters.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Herculean Knot Bracelet

This is my biggest work until now. I took over two weeks to make this bracelet. I'm very satisfied with the result. The work was worth!

The bracelet is from the book "Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry: Ideas and Techniques for Original Designs" by Maggie Roschyk. You can buy this book online at Amazon.

It's a book for intermediate beaders who already learned the basic jewelry techniques and stitches like peyote and herringbone, among others. I think this book is a big inspiration for all of us. It shows how you can do amazing jewelry using simple techniques.

This is my version of the Herculean Knot bracelet (I used Dyna-mites and Toho seed beads):

Friday, August 16, 2013

Charlotte Ring

This ring is another design by Nunzia Scalpore. You can find the video tutorial here.

My first attempt to make this ring wasn't successful. I followed all the steps correctly but my ring wasn't round and nice as the ring in the video. The central part of the ring was like a dome and all the ring was a weird shape. So I undid the ring to try to do it again. I loosed my tension a little bit. And finally I got a ring rounded and stable just like the ring in the video!

The materials you'll need to make the ring:
- 3g seed beads 15/0 color A;
- 1g seed beads 15/0 color B;
- 24 rondelles 3x4mm;

Monday, August 12, 2013

Herringbone Ring Tutorial

To see the materials I used in the tutorial and more information, click HERE.

Herringbone Ring

I made this ring to show you how to do the flat herringbone stitch. It's a very simple pattern and you can finish your ring in less than 2 hours.

Before you start to create your own ring, I recommend you measure your finger with a thread or cord. So while you're making your ring, you can check the size comparing it with the thread or cord you used to measure your finger.

The materials you're gonna need to make the ring:

- 2g seed bead 11/0;
- 0.5g seed bead 15/0;
- 01 pearl 6mm;

Watch the tutorial HERE.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beginner Series: The best way to thread a needle

I found this video from BeadSchool that shows the fast way to thread the needle. I learned this technique a few months ago in an online class with Laura McCabe. It's a very useful tip so I decided to share it in the blog.

The technique is as follows: put the thread between your thumb and forefinger. Leave only the tip of the thread to show. Then press the eye of the needle over the thread.

Basically you must bring the needle to the thread instead of bring the thread to the needle.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spiral Bracelet Tutorial

This bracelet is very simple and easy to make. It's just simple spiral rope with a modification at the beginning and at the end of the spiral. 

You can download the tutorial for the bracelet HERE.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Bracciale Joy and Anello Soraya

The bracelet and ring are all designed by Nunzia Scalpore. They are very easy and fast to make.

To make the bracelet you'll need: 8g of superduo beads and 2g of seed beads size 15/0. I make the hook clasp and rings with Parawire 18ga in quartz smoke color. You can watch the video tutorial for the bracelet here.

To make the ring you'll need 4g of superduo beads and 1g of seed beads size 15/0. To the ring I suggest you use a thin needle #12 because in the pattern you'll pass through the same seed bead 15/0 many times. You can watch the tutorial for the ring here.

And this is the set with the earring I talked in the previous post:

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