Monday, August 29, 2011

On the Bookshelf: Margot Potter

Margot's latest title, New Dimensions in Bead & Wire Jewelry, explores the possibilities for using wire as a dimensional design feature as well as a structural one through combinations of both hard, soft wire and beads. In addition to basic wire-working techniques, you'll find a thorough introduction to the various types of Beadalon wire  that Margot uses throughout the book.

Projects are organized into five chapters, each with a different focus on the type of wire used. Two chapters focus on hard-wire projects, two on soft wire, and a final chapter combines the two wire types together. Troubleshooting tips are sprinkled throughout the book and three variations per chapter give you great additional inspiration!

Ask for New Dimensions in Bead & Wire Jewelry at your local bead shop or visit 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Colorful Wire Bracelet: Susy Garner

Everyone loved this colorful Artistic Wire & German-Style Wire bracelet at the CHA Show last month. Here are instructions for making your own!

 24 ga Artistic Wire® (3 colors), 7.5 ft. each color
 20 ga round Beadalon German Style Wire in gold or silver 1.75 ft.
• 4 mm bicone crystal beads in coordinating colors (6 in one color & 4 each in the other two colors) - 14 beads
 Toggle in either gold or silver
 Flush cutter
 Round nose pliers
 Flat nose pliers
 Chain nose pliers
 Nylon jaw pliers
 Beading Awl
 1.5 mm (US #000) metal knitting needle 
and/or a coiling tool with a 1.6 mm mandrel

Create a whimsical bracelet with colorful Artistic Wire and this unique technique.
Skills: Must know how to make a wrapped loop. 
1. Straighten and flush cut a 30" length of 24 ga wire in one of the colors of Artistic Wire.

2. Create a 2" coil by wrapping the 30" length of wire onto a 1.6 mm mandrel (if using the coiling tool) or onto a 1.5 mm (US #000) metal knitting needle.

3. Slide the coil off the mandrel or knitting needle.

4. Grabbing both ends of the coil, carefully stretch the coil out to approximately 14" long.

5. Crush the stretched coil between your fingers and/or hand, wadding it up into a ball. Be careful not to stick yourself on the wire ends. Use the nylon jaw pliers to help crush and shape the ball. Tuck any loose ends back into the wire wad with chain nose pliers.

6. Skewer the wire wad ball through its center with the beading awl or knitting needle to create a hole for the Wire Wad bead. Adjust the bead's shape if needed.

7. Repeat this bead making process until you have made 3 beads in one color and 2 beads each of the other two colors. You should have 7 Wire Wad beads in total.

8. Flush cut seven 3" pieces of 20 ga round Beadalon German Style Wire.

9. On each 3" piece of 20 ga round wire, string on the beads creating 7 beaded sections. Beaded sections consist of: one Wire Wad bead, and two coordinating color bicone crystal beads (one bicone crystal bead on either side of the Wire Wad bead).

10. Using the round nose pliers, chain nose pliers and flat nose pliers, attach the bead sections and toggle together by creating wrapped loops on either end of the 20 ga wires.

TIPS: If the bracelet is too short, consider making a few more Wire Wad beaded sections to lengthen the design.
Experiment with varying lengths of wire to create larger or smaller Wire Wad beads. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tips for Chainmaille: Lauren Andersen

I would like to share with you a few of the tips that I teach my students. Shh.... don't tell anybody. It will be our secret!

1.    "Choke up on those pliers." Don't be afraid of your pliers! Put your hands as close the tips of the pliers as is comfortable. The closer you are to your ring, the more leverage you have over the ring.

2.    Use shorter-tipped pliers. The shorter the tip, the more leverage you will have to control the jump ring instead of the jump ring controlling you!

3.    If you are going to pre-open and pre-close your jump rings, use either two pair of flat nose pliers or one pair flat nose pliers and one pair bent nose pliers. The flat nose and bent nose pliers allow you to grasp more of the jump ring and therefore easily open and close the jump rings.

4.    If you want to make smaller tighter weaves, you will want at least one pair of chain nose pliers. You will find when working with tighter weaves you will run out of room to place your flat nose pliers. If you have a pair of bent nose pliers you can turn them so that you are using the pointy part of the bent nose to get in and close the rings.

5.    If you find yourself using what I call the "death grip" on your pliers, try holding out your pinkies. Just like you would if you were to have tea with the Queen. I know it sounds funny, but it works. For some reason, when your pinkies are extended away from the pliers, your grip loosens. If your jump rings tend to "fly across the room," chances are you are gripping your pliers to tightly. Loosen Up!

Lauren Andersen
Beadalon Design Team Member

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Creative Collaborations: Katie Hacker

I like to give Beadalon's education director, Wyatt White a hard time about the huge mess he makes anytime he's demonstrating new products at shows. But, the truth is, sometimes a mess can work to your advantage! At CHA last month, I picked up a piece of chain he'd been working on and it inspired me to create this matching wire-wrapped pendant.

Collaborating on a project is a great way to infuse new color palettes, techniques and other ideas into your work. I can't guarantee that you'll find anything as gorgeous as Wyatt's chain in any old pile of leftovers, but I do recommend trading with a friend. Round robins, Internet swaps and bead soup nights are all easy ways to get your own creative collaborations going!

In case you're wondering about our design: Wyatt used 16-gauge Artistic Wire  to make silver S-hooks. He also made twisted jump rings from 16-gauge gold and 18-gauge silver. He connected double S-hooks between jump rings. For the pendant, I banded three 16-gauge silver wires together in three places using 16-gauge gold then folded them upward around the stone and banded them at the top. You can get great instructions on stone setting in Wyatt's book, Wire Wrapping Components & Stone Setting 

-Katie Hacker
Beadalon Design Team Member

Monday, August 15, 2011

See You at Bead Fest Philadelphia!

Join us this weekend, August 19-21 
at Bead Fest Philadelphia! 

This is the 1oth anniversary of the largest bead and jewelry show on the East Coast! We love Bead Fest because it's right in our backyard. We'll have demonstrations of our newest products and a first-time-ever blowout clearance sale on discontinued items. See you there!

Follow this link to download a $2 off admission coupon

Watch for pictures from the show on our Facebook page. Are you a fan?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

As Seen On JTV's Jewel School: Leslie Rogalski

I've talked before about how much preparation happens before taping TV shows, right? Getting ready for my appearance on JTV's Jewel School was no exception. Even with all I did at home before flying to Knoxville, I ended up spending a whole day there working on new loom pieces. Luckily, there was a marathon of all the Indiana Jones movies on TV, so I set up on my big comfy hotel bed and beaded happily away. It was too hot out to do much sightseeing anyway. (But next visit, Dollywood!)

Yes, I'm totally warped. 3 looms at once.

Using the Spin-n-Bead™ is great--I never would make something
like this without one, since stringing beads one by one for each
strand braided here would take forever.

Showed these loomwork cuffs on Facebook already. 
That Beadalon Beading Loom is really easy to use. 
Definitely fast--and addicting!

Margot and Kim, the Jewel School hosts,
getting ready at their desk in the studio.

I'm setting up at my little desk on the set.

I can't wait to go back! Stay tuned!
Beadalon Design Team Member

 -Leslie Rogalski

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Fun Necklace: Dale 'Cougar' Armstrong

We've been adding projects to our Design Workshop at Stop by and check out the latest additions! Here's a fun wire wrapping project from one of our newest Design Team Members:

Techniques: Involved components, basic coiling
Skill Level: Beginner/All

Don't be bored on a rainy day! The focus of this design is on the fun-to-make link. Use your favorite colors, get caught up in making coils and create a bracelet or necklace!

1. For each link, on the smallest crank rod, coil a 3-inch length of Artistic Wire. Carefully remove the coil and set it aside.
2. Straighten, measure and cut 1 piece of 21 gauge square silver-plated wire, 3 1/2 inches long. Use needle chain-nose pliers to form a small loop at one end.
3. Slide the 3-inch long Artistic Wire coil onto the square wire, until the end fits against the loop.
4. Use needle chain-nose pliers to form another small loop at the opposite end of the silver-plated wire, securing the coil between the loops.
5. At one end of the component, place the tip of round nose pliers between the small loop and the coil. Carefully roll the pliers, causing the coiled wire to follow, forming the first small coiled loop. Move the pliers up the coil a bit and continue adding a curve to the coiled wire.
6. Slide a twisted jump ring onto the end of the coiled component, all the way down and inside the loop created in Step 5. Using round-nose pliers, in the opposite direction, make another loop and a half at the top of the coiled segment.
7. Continue creating and attaching coiled links until the bracelet is the desired length. Attach the jump ring on the chosen clasp to the last twisted, closed jump ring. Make sure there is another twisted closed jump ring at the opposite end to hook the clasp into and your Summer Fun linked project is complete!