Archive for the ‘Stringing Materials’ Category

Bracelet Beading – Harlequin at Lane County Fair

Friday, August 17th, 2012

On Wednesday, August 15th, Angela and I hosted Harlequin’s annual FREE Bracelet-making Event in the comfortably air-conditioned exhibit hall at the Lane County Fair. This fun forum has become a yearly tradition for me – two hours of helping people make memories in the form of a bracelet.

Free Bracelet Making at the Lane County FairThis year there were several really young beaders, and I was so impressed by them! Apparently, four and five year-olds can do my job. We used size 6 pony beads and some of our pressed glass beads. Angela and I started the bracelets by cutting a foot of Soft Flex cable and attaching a clasp by using a crimp bead. We had 12 seats and 12 trays of beads to choose from, and the chairs were full for the entire 2-hour session. I only dropped and spilled one person’s bracelet – a little embarrassing, but it happens. Angela didn’t drop any.

It was really fun to observe each person’s beading style, from the pattern-oriented to random freestyle. I think my favorites were the mixed bead bracelets, because the combinations of colors achieved without over thinking were the most exciting to me.

When our brave beaders had strung enough beads to fit their wrists, we finished the final crimp for each person, so everyone left with a finished handmade bracelet.

It was nice to see whole families beading together. It really is an ideal craft to do with children, and with mixed ages. Beading is for everybody!

by Nome

Summer Care for Silk Thread & Beads

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

summer jewelry no-nosIt’s summer and the sunshine means lots of sunscreen – not a good mix with silk thread. Silk thread doesn’t mix well with perfume, makeup, hairspray, hair gels and treatments. Even water is hard on silk thread, so be sure to remove your jewelry when you shower or swim. Remove it when you’re having your hair done. A good rule of thumb I heard is, “Put your jewelry on last and take it off first.”

I know we ladies don’t sweat – we “glow.” Well, that glow is acidic, so keep an eye on your jewelry and clean it regularly. Wipe real pearls with a damp cloth, and glass pearls with a dry cloth. Don’t use any harsh soaps or cleaners on any type of pearl, because you might ruin the nacre or equivalent faux finish. If you aren’t sure if your pearls are real, only clean with a dry soft cloth to be safe.

Swarovski crystal beads and pendants are durable. If they are strung on wire instead of silk, it’s okay to wash them with water and a soft cloth or a soft toothbrush. If they are on thread, string or soft cable – just use a soft dry cloth and no water.

Another popular summer bead is the color-changing mirage bead – also known as the mood bead. According to the manufacturers, mirage beads shouldn’t be immersed in water. So wear and clean mood beads with the same care as you would your glass pearl or silk strung necklaces.

by Beverly

When to Use Stretch Magic Cord

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Sample bracelets strung with Stretch MagicUse Stretch Magic cord for stringing bracelets and anklets when you want to avoid adding a clasp. You can use it to make rings, too.

This stretchy cord is so simple to use. You don’t need a needle or pliers. You string beads on the cord and finish your jewelry piece by tying a neat and tidy square knot – right over left, and left over right – then dabbing a little glue or clear nail polish to secure the knot. Let the glue/nail polish dry and snip off the extra cord with scissors – the only tool you’ll need besides your own hands.

Your finished piece will slip on and off like a breeze. If and when your stretchy jewelry breaks, you can restring it in minutes – and Stretch Magic is super affordable.

The drying time for the glue/nail polish is the only part that requires time, but the bracelets are otherwise completed in minutes.

I never worked with stretchy cord before, because stretch bracelets weren’t my style. I recently picked up a spool of this stringing material for my mom’s sake. She casually mentioned one day that she couldn’t wear many of her favorite bracelets anymore. She reminded me that she’s now 81 years old with arthritis in her hands, and she simply can’t work those small clasps anymore.

I restrung one bracelet on Stretch Magic cord. As is my habit, I had to restring it a second time with extra spacers, because I miscalculated the length the first time. Argh! I think I shaved a couple minutes off during my second attempt. I immediately felt like a stretchy-bracelet expert.

I’ve strung quite a few stretch bracelets now, including one for myself with double-drilled beads I’d had lying around for a few years. Every time, I’m delighted with the result. I’ll try not to get too dependent on the stretchy stuff.

Stretch Magic Bead & Jewelry Cord is a strong yet light-weight stretchy cord used for making bracelets, anklets and rings – a great choice for easy jewelry and beaded craft projects. This is the preferred stretch cord used by beaders, because it is non-fading, resilient, non-cracking and is available in different thicknesses for small or large beads. Not only is Stretch Magic easy to work and knot, it’s so comfortable to wear.

All of the bracelet kits pictured can be found in Harlequin’s jewelry-design-ideas section, along with illustrations and instructions on how to make each piece.

by Margit