Thursday, April 29, 2010

Making Stretchy Bracelets

Q. I'm hosting a bridal shower and we want to make an easy jewelry project. What do you recommend?

A. Stretchy bracelets are fun beginner projects and they make great party favors for bridal showers, birthday parties and other girly gatherings because they don't require any expertise.

You can offer a variety of beads and charms that your guests can choose and string, and then show everyone how to tie the ends in a square or figure-eight knot. I always recommend that people add a drop of jeweler's cement to the knot, let it dry, then tuck it inside the nearest bead if possible. Remember that stretchy bracelets aren't meant to last forever, but they're fun while they last!

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon


Monday, April 26, 2010

Get Crafty

The June issue of Crafts 'n Things is hitting newsstands and mailboxes now! Dive inside for a variety of fun, crafty ideas including my Jitterbug Necklace. It features a whimsical, wire-wrapped crystal bug at the center of braided beading wire from the Metallic Colors Variety Pack.

Other projects in this garden-themed issue include vintage style jewelry, sumptuous floral arrangements, chic pillows, creative clay pots, knit and crochet accessories, gourmet and spa gift sets and much more! Whether you need a quick gift, budget-friendly spruce-ups, or ideas for repurposing flea market finds, you’ll find oodles of inspiration in this issue.

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon


Friday, April 23, 2010

Beading Parties

Tupperware parties maybe a thing of the past, but nowadays, beading parties are becoming more popular in American households. Beading parties are a great inexpensive way to get a group of friends together to create something personal and wearable. Hosting a party doesn't take too much effort, as many beading supplies can be purchased in large quantities. What makes a beading party unique, is the ability to create jewelry for the novice who thought making jewelry was very intricate and difficult and at the same time sharing some laughs and having fun.

Heidi Boyd, an avid crafter and author of numerous crafting titles such as Simply Beaded Bliss and Simply Beautiful Beaded Jewelry, helped contribute to an article on beading parties featured in this month's Woman's World magazine. The article features some great ideas on how to host a party with essential supplies including Beadalon wire, and some personal touches. Thanks Heidi!

Yvette Rodriguez
Event Manager/Marketing Coordinator

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jump Ring Bracelet Pattern

A simple chainmaille-inspired pattern using twisted jump rings in cool colors makes for a striking bracelet that will take you from blue jeans to silk charmeuse. The flower pattern is a well-known, simple chainmaille technique. Using the Beadalon Wire Twister and Jump Ring Maker will make quick work of these stunning jump rings and the stylish hook clasp.

• Materials •

6 6mm Indian Sapphire Create Your Style with Crystallized Swarovski Elements™ rounds

20 Gauge Silver Plated Artistic Wire

20 Gauge Blue Clear Colors Artistic Wire

• Tools •

228A-051 Jump Ring Maker Tool (Round Large)

228A-100 Wire Twister

201P-014 Beadstrom Round Nose Pliers

201P-011 2 Pairs Beadstrom Chain Nose Pliers

202P-015 Beadstrom Semi-Flush Cutters

JTNJ1 Nylon Jaw Pliers

• Instructions •

  1. Attach two silver plated wire lengths of about 3’ to the Wire Twister Tool. Attach the opposite ends of the wire to a sturdy base.
  2. Turn tool until wire is tightly twisted together and work hardened. Remove wire from tool and base using flush cutters.
  3. Repeat for a 3’ length of blue and silver wire. Remove wire from tool and base using flush cutters.
  4. Insert wire end of the all silver coiled wire into jump ring maker using the 14 mm mandrel. Wrap wire around tool following instructions on package.
  5. Cut coil from tool and use flush cutter tool to cut jump rings from coil. Cut the beveled end of each ring flush to make a clean finish on your design.
  6. Repeat the process using the blue and silver twisted wire with the 12 mm mandrel.
  7. You will be making a chain pattern of a single 14mm jump ring threaded into a three 12mm ring jump ring flower.
  8. To make the flowers, thread three 12mm twisted jump rings into each other so they are all interlinked, like a flower. Add the rings one by one and use your two pairs of chain nose pliers to open and close them into the flower shape. See pattern.
  9. Create your chain starring with a large jump ring threaded into a flower. Open and close the large jump ring with chain nose pliers.
  10. Continue alternating between flowers and single jump rings until you reach the 11th single jump ring.
  11. Attach one twisted colored jump ring to this.
  12. Create the hook by bending the end of a 2” section of twisted wire over the inside of a pair of round nose pliers, working at the larger end of the pliers.
  13. Bend the wire over your pointer finger into a hook shape.
  14. Use your round nose pliers at the smaller end to create a second loop, so it looks like a Shepard’s hook as in photo.
  15. Use nylon jaw pliers to bend the larger loop end in opposition to the hook, as in photo.
  16. Attach hook to the first 16mm jump ring on the chain.
  17. Use blue Artistic Wire to make beaded dangles, creating a small loop on the end of a length of wire, threading on a bead and adding a second loop at the top of the bead. Attach these to the final single two color jump ring using your chain nose pliers.
  18. Work back through the design to ensure all jump rings are secured properly with tension.

- Margot Potter

The Impatient Crafter

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As Seen in People Style Watch

Here's a peek at my necklace that appears in a Beadalon-sponsored Michael's ad in this month's People Style Watch. I combined a lot of Spring trends (see Monday's post) in one with this piece that's "luxe for less." I took my inspiration from the layered chain looks that are everywhere in fashion and focused on a gray and silver palette that could turn a simple daytime outfit into a dressy evening ensemble.

To create the design, I started with the connected hematite rings as the foundation of the necklace. From there, it was all about building texture and layers from the center toward the ends. I'd usually be tempted to scale it back, but in this case, more is more! I kept adding lengths of chain, beaded strands and beaded eye pins until the design looked really dense and drapey.

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon


Monday, April 12, 2010

Wire Fest Show 2010

We just finished exhibiting at the Wire Fest Show this weekend in the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA. It was a great show for us since we were so excited to debut Artistic Wire under our wings! We showcased all the colors and gauges and had tons of beautiful wire-wrapped, crocheted, and chain maille designs on display.

Our Designer, Fernando Dasilva and Product Manager, Wyatt White, won the hearts over of all the people that stopped by our booth to view their demonstrations. It was amazing to see people's eagerness to learn every technique and tool we offered to make wire-wrapping and jewelry making easier and more fun.

We loved seeing peoples' anxiousness to buy some Beadalon products and go home to create something that we helped inspire. We held a raffle giveaway worth over $250 filled with Beadalon and Artistic Wire Products. The lucky winner will be announced this week, so stay tuned!

Yvette Rodriguez
Event Manager/Marketing Coordinator

All Eyes on Trends

Gray for Day, Silver for Night is a popular trend for Spring and we expect it to continue through the entire year. New Kink Free Ti™ Titanium Beading Wire and Gunmetal Findings perfectly complement gray and silver jewelry designs, while Stainless Steel Shaping Wire allows you to make wire-wrapped jewelry in this hot hue.

Layered Chains add edge to simpler outfits for spring and summer. It's easy to create this look with mixtures of silver, polyester, and new gunmetal chain. Add ribbon or satin cord to soften the effect.

Vintage Style Jewelry was everywhere at the Oscars and will continue to stay strong in the trend department. Try adding Beadalon's premium European-made Upper Clasps or delicate Filigree Connectors to your next jewelry design.

Turquoise is the Color of the Year for 2010, according to the Pantone Color Institute. Expect customers to want beads in every material and shade of this popular color. Combine turquoise beads with Quick Links™ and other geometric elements for a look that translates from spring to summer to fall.

-Katie Hacker for Beadalon


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Check Out Bead Master

Bead Master is an innovative teaching tool for learning or teaching beading. If you haven't checked it out, there are some sample tutorials in the Design Workshop. The animated illustrations make it possible to see the thread or wire path through the beads, while the flashing beads really clarify difficult patterns.

If you teach classes, you'll be interested in the Bead Master CD/DVD that's full of copyright-free tutorials. These projects make great workshops and our Design Team can attest that Bead Master animation really makes the teacher's job easier!

-Beadalon Blog Team

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Design Team Member: Lauren Andersen

New Design Team Member Lauren Andersen is a chainmaille expert who uses Artistic Wire to create her signature colorful chainmaille jewelry. She says, "I love taking a raw material, like wire, and turning it into a gorgeous new creation." Lauren's favorite chainmaille pattern is the Dragonscale, as seen here.

She says, "I love to see people's faces when I explain how my chainmaille is created. They always have wonderful suggestions for new creations!" Watch for more of Lauren's intricate designs coming soon to the Design Workshop.

My Baby Pink Dragon's Scales

-Beadalon Blog Team

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wrap It Up

Artistic Wire and Quick Links come together in this absolutely fabulous multi-textured and modern bracelet design. The pink and white tones jump off of the sleek silver links.

This design is a great way to practice your wire wrapping skills using two different gauges of wire on a hard base. I was thinking of wheels and water when I designed this piece and I love how the wire has so much movement.

Use any colors you like and any beads that capture your fancy, just secure wires around the bases and wrap and tighten with your pliers, then connect it all with jump rings and attach a clasp. Make it your own and make it fabulous with Artistic Wire and Beadalon.

- Margot Potter

The Impatient Crafter