Thursday, May 28, 2009

Check Out Our New Site!

Have you seen the new Beadalon website lately?  We've done another complete redesign making it an even bigger resource for all of your Beadalon and beading needs.  The new design workshop pages have hundreds of project instructions, design ideas, tips& techniques and how-to's.  My favorite part is the BeadMaster animated instructions that are available for many of the designs.  You can also find the newest series of Beads, Baubles & Jewels clips from Design Team member Katie Hacker. We're always adding new products, and you can see them all on-line, too.  

Did you know that Beadalon has a dealer direct program that supports local bead stores? As part of our effort to get the word out about where people can purchase Beadalon products, we're excited to announce our new Dealer Locator. Beaders around the world can type in their US zip code or search by country to find out what stores carry Beadalon. Going on a trip? Definitely check it out before you go. Part of the fun of vacation is discovering a new bead shop! 

Many bead stores participate in local bead society activities. Bead societies are a great way to get together with fellow beaders for inspiration, idea sharing, and skill building.  Most societies have monthly meetings which feature guest speakers, project lessons and show and tell. Check on-line to see if you have a society in your area. 

Recently, Beadalon's own Wyatt White and Meredith Roddy have been making the rounds on the society circuit, presenting Beadalon's "Workminar": "Designing with the Newest and Most Innovative Beadalon Findings."  We've been having a great time meeting fellow beaders and demonstrating new products.  The program has been such a hit, we're taking it on the road to Bead & Button this June!

-Meredith Roddy for Beadalon

Monday, May 25, 2009

Perfecting Your Crimping Technique

Crimp beads are round and look like tiny seed beads. Crimp tubes are cylindrical. Deciding to use crimp beads versus tubes is primarily a matter of personal preference. Most people tend to use crimp beads when it’s important to have a smaller overall look, like when holding beads in place on an illusion design. Crimp tubes can make better surface contact with the beading wire, so use them when you need extra strength, like when attaching a clasp. The best quality crimp beads and tubes are seamless, which prevents them from breaking open when squeezed with a crimping tool.

Crimp beads and tubes both come in several different sizes that are sold separately or in a variety pack. Choose the size based on the size of wire you’re using. Keep in mind that you’ll often have to pass the wire through a crimp twice. Choose a crimp that will be mostly filled by the wire because this helps prevent breakage. If you’re having trouble with crimps breaking, you may need to use a larger size of wire or change to a smaller crimp.

Crimps have an internal and an external diameter. The internal diameter (ID) determines which size wire will pass through and the outside diameter (OD) determines how much space the crimp will fill in a jewelry design.

For example, .012” wire works best with #0 (.8mm ID/1.3mm OD) crimp beads and #1 crimp tubes (1.3mm ID/1.8mm OD) while .030” wire works best with #3 crimp beads (1.8mm ID/3mm OD) and #4 crimp tubes (2mm ID/2.5mm OD). You can also use these larger sizes of crimp beads and tubes to crimp multiple strands together. Sizing information is printed on the crimp packages and the beading wire spools to help you match up the correct size products.

Different sizes of crimps require different sizes of crimping tools. Use a micro crimping tool with #0 crimp beads and #1 crimp tubes. Use a standard crimping tool with #1&2 crimp beads and #2&3 crimp tubes. The pocket crimper  functions as a standard size crimping tool, it just has shorter handles . Use a mighty crimping tool with #3 crimp beads and #4 crimp tubes. Look for this information printed on the crimp and tool packages to assist you. 

When crimping, there are three basic steps. Before you begin, make sure that the wires are parallel inside the crimp bead or tube. Place the crimp in the outer jaws of the crimping tool and squeeze gently so the crimp forms and oval shape. Place it in the inner jaws of the crimping tool and squeeze hard so it forms a crescent shape. Turn the crimp 90 degrees and place it in the outer jaws. Squeeze gently to fold and round the crimp. 

 - Katie Hacker for Beadalon

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beads, Baubles & Jewels

Beadalon is a proud corporate sponsor of the popular television show, Beads, Baubles & Jewels. I just returned from taping 13 Beading Lessons segments for the 11th series, which will air on public television stations this fall. Each episode of the show features guest artists who share how-to projects, beading techniques and artistic inspiration. 

This season, Beads, Baubles & Jewels features "Style Meets Technique," with lots of creative ideas for combining traditional beading techniques with fashion-forward looks. In addition to covering basic beading techniques like wire-wrapping head pins and knotting gemstones, I'll show you how to make trendy charm holders and upscale your fun acrylic jewelry designs. 

You can access my Beading Lessons segments from series 100-1000 anytime for free in the Beadalon Design Workshop. Topics include everything from preventing wire breakage to design ideas to new product information and more!

 -Katie Hacker for Beadalon

Monday, May 18, 2009

Over 100 New, Free Beading Patterns

The Design Workshop has been updated with over 100 new, free beading patterns to inspire you! In addition to necklaces, bracelets and earrings, you'll also find clever ideas for beaded badge clips, cell phone straps, purse charms, anklets, and more. The projects include complete materials lists and instructions so you can replicate the designs at home and Zoomify images so you can really see the patterns up close.

The Design Workshop also features a Tips & Techniques section, where you can learn about everything from using a Jump Ring Maker to attaching a Scrimp™ finding. Plus, don't miss our ever-popular 5 Rules for Defeating Abrasion!

Have you ever made a design from the Design Workshop? We'd love to hear about your favorites. Please leave us a note in the comments.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We’ve got a surprise for you!

Beadalon recently sponsored a segment for Lifetime TV’s daily dose of inspiration for the busy modern woman The Balancing Act. Coordinating producer Meredith Dobro and her crew were kind enough to send us some sneak peek photos from the shoot on location in Southern Florida.  It was absolutely gorgeous!


Host and lifestyle guru Kathy Peterson and I chatted about jewelry making and Beadalon products. I showed how to make a fun and easy bracelet we’ll post on the website when the show airs.  We discussed DIY jewelry making trends and talked about the history, quality and provenance of the Beadalon brand, an industry leader since 1976.  Look for more information in the coming months leading up to the show air date in early July!


Margot Beadalon Design Team Member

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Become a Beadalon Fan!

Just can't get enough of us? Show your Beadalon love and stay up-to-date on all the latest news by becoming our fan on Facebook or visiting us on Bead-Space.

Our Facebook page includes photo albums, event updates, new product releases, and other info to inspire and educate our fans. To receive our FB updates, just click "Become a Fan" under the profile picture.  

In case you don't know about it already, Bead-Space is a social networking site for beaders and bead enthusiasts. Bead-Space includes a gallery, blogs, forums, a bead store directory, and more. Check it out! 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Check out Bead Master Animated Instructions

Here's a free Sunburst Necklace pattern that will take you from easy stringing to painless stitching. Click the necklace pattern link for a sample of the fully animated Bead Master instructions and experience the future of beading!

Bead Master  is a revolutionary technology for learning how to bead. It makes difficult designs a lot easier to understand because you can see the thread pathways inside the beads. The animated on-screen instructions have play, pause, rewind and fast-forward controls, making Bead Master a powerful  and easy-to-use instructional tool for beaders. 

The Sunburst Necklace pattern is just an appetizer so you can see how the Bead Master system works. The full, copyright-free Bead Master collection is available as an instructional DVD or in 22 individual kits with instructional CD-roms. You can reproduce the Bead Master Collection designs for sale or teach them as beading classes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Come Visit Us!

In less than a month, we're heading  to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the country's largest consumer bead show, the  Bead & Button Show! Over 13,000 people visited the show last year and many took at least  one of the 580 workshops available during the week long extravaganza. At the  show, you can find almost any bead imaginable, and learn almost any beading  technique.

This year, we're extending the Beadalon sponsored workshops  to include "Beadalon Presents: Designing with the Newest and Most Innovative  Products" by Product Manager,  Wyatt White. Design team member Katie Hacker will feature CRYSTALLIZED™ and  Beadalon Presents: Crystal Scallop Bracelet and CRYSTALLIZED™ and Beadalon Presents: Black Diamond Chain. All workshops will showcase the revolutionary Beadmaster flash  animation. Materials and products are included in the class fee.

Visit  us at booth #618-620 to view demonstrations and learn about the newest  Beadalon products. Our goal is to educate the consumer and support our  Distributors by referring people to their booths to buy Beadalon  products.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Jewelry Trends

Love is in the Air

Brides are busy planning for their spring and summer weddings and many of them are asking for custom designs or are making their own jewelry this season. Delicate designs in pearls and crystals are always in style, with illusion designs and simply strung pieces at the forefront. Beadalon's new SilveRose™ beading wire is a perfect complement to all skin tones and blends the lines between silver and gold for brides who don't want to choose. Check out other bridal ideas in the Design Workshop: Lacy Bridal Set, Pearl Cascade, Triton's Net and more.

Naturally Stylish

Shell, coconut and other beads with an organic feel are hot in jewelry making this season. It's easy to integrate them into stylish jewelry with the addition of some simple stringing materials and findings. Texture is a big part of the story, so don't be afraid to mix metal and fiber in new and creative ways. Beadalon wire in Satin Colors provides a lovely matte contrast to lustrous mother of pearl components, while Suede Lace is perfect for use with wood and other large-hole beads.

Make a Statement

Necklaces with dramatic focal points are in vogue, with emphasis on statement pieces that define a person's look. Get creative with geometric shapes, large pendants, tassels and other eye-catching focals to create your own fashion-forward designs. Use Beadalon wire to make a one-of-a-kind circular pattern as shown here, or look for more inspiration in the Design Workshop: Blue Danube, Smoke & Ice, Rose is Still a Rose and more.

More Chain, Please!

Chain is still going strong in the trends department, especially when combined with glass and gemstone beads in long, linear designs. The typical length for this type of necklace is 42-48", unless the necklace will be doubled while worn. Make your designs more dynamic by combining different geometric Quick Links™ with beaded sections and Quick Links chain. Learn more about customizing your own chain in Beads, Baubles & Jewels episode #909.

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon