Today’s unsung beading heros? Beadalon Bead Bumpers

Bead Bumpers

~Design by Fernando DaSilva, courtesy of Beadalon

They’re small, sometimes fiddly, but these little, rubberized beads are incredibly helpful in making snug designs that have movement. Originally designed to mimic the look of knots between pearls, the Bead Bumpers do that and oh, so much more!

Some of my favorite things about Bead Bumpers:

1. They act like a Bead Stopper at the end of Memory Wire so your beads don’t fall off as you are designing.

memory wire bead bumper

Use a Square Bead Stopper on either side of your clasp to hide extra wire.

2. They take up the slack when you are adding a Magnetic Tube Clasp to finish your memory wire. You’ll need a little extra room to get the loop turned over and hidden in the clasp. Use a Square Bead Bumper on each end, and they’ll squeeze and release to minimize the exposed wire.

3. We all know that we should leave some “wiggle room” in our designs to minimize the beads from rubbing against the wire, but who likes exposed wire at the ends of our designs? Here’s where Bead Bumpers really shine. Add a few on each end, and their elastic properties will allow you to build in the “wiggle room” without the wire gaps.

Have you been using Bead Bumpers in your designs? Found any other great uses for them? Post your projects and ideas on the Beadalon Facebook page! Instagram more your style? Here’s the link!

My Current Favorite Findings – Magna Tube Clasps


6mm Magna Tube Clasp from Beadalon

It’ a little unassuming, perhaps easily overlooked, but don’t underestimate this powerhouse of a magnetic clasp!

My favorite way to use it is on the ends of memory wire (round or flat). Use Round Nose Pliers to turn a small half loop on the end of the Memory Wire, use a Chain Nose Pliers to flatten the loop as much as you can, then string the clasp onto the Wire so that the loop catches in the large hole. Add your beads until you reach the other side leaving about a half of an inch of bare wire to add the other side of the magnet. Making sure the poles of the magnets are correctly aligned, string on the second half of the magnet with the large hole facing away from your beads. Turn and flatten a loop on the end of the Memory Wire so it slides into the large hole in the clasp.

I’ve been making these for myself, and also giving them as gifts. The Magna Clasp is super strong, and makes for a beautiful bracelet that’s a cinch to put on and take off!

memory wire magna tube

Making a Knotted Headpin

knotted headpin

Knotted Headpin made with 22 Gauge Gold Color Artistic Wire

I can’t take credit for coming up with this technique for making knotted headpins, but I am totally taking credit for letting everyone know what a game changer it is!

You can find the original video that I watched here. I modified the technique just a scosh to make it work better for me. I like the idea of straightening it (and hardening the wire a little bit) with the nylon jaw pliers as I pull the knot tight.

I love it because it because it uses up scraps of wire, you can match the color of your headpins exactly to your wire-worked design, and you’ll never run out of headpins again!

I taught the technique as part of Beadalon’s Inspiration Playground Workshops at BeadFest this year. Feel free to print off these instructions and spread the word! Link>Instruction knot head pin

Set Fancy Stones with Beadalon StoneSett Components

I have dozens (ok, maybe hundreds) of pointy-back stones, odd shaped stones and various small flat cabochons in my bead stash. And, to Kate Richbourg’s disappointment, I still haven’t made use of my torch and various soldering supplies to start setting like a metalsmith.

Luckily, Beadalon’s StoneSett Findings Collection is the perfect solution for adding these kinds of components to finished jewelry! There are 5 different earring styles, 11 pendants and drops, and 5 styles of rings. Perhaps the coolest parts in the entire collection are the 4 starburst settings. The starbursts offer an almost unlimited range of possibilities for capturing stones without needing to solder. Plus, they are really easy to use and work up super quickly. Just look at some of the cool designs you can make!

Craft Business likes what I have to say about the latest trends in Jewelry (Jewellery) Making!

craft business gifI was honored to be asked to contribute to the trend article in the latest issue of Craft Business Magazine. And I was thrilled to see that they liked what I had to say! The article focuses on new trends in Jewelry Making and how Bead Stores can best get their products in customers’ hands. Some excerpts from the article:

Jewellery making remains a popular pastime and this year has already seen a number of products stand out as top sellers. Meredith Roddy, assistant product manager at Beadalon, says “This year, our new, award-winning 3-D Bracelet Jig has been very popular as it gives you the versatility to design bracelets with wire in three dimensions…[it’s] really handy for making a popular style of adjustable charm bracelets.”

“This year, we also introduced the Tassel Maker, and people have been using it to jump on board the tassel trend.”

“While it’s important to be ready to offer your customers the ability to create the latest trendy styles, you need to always have on hand the building blocks of good jewellery design. These include 49, 19, and 7 strand wire, crimp tubes, crimping pliers and good wire nippers. Add a good set of jewellery quality round nosed and chain nosed pliers, and your customers will be ready to start designing and creating both traditional and cutting edge designs.”

“People love to be inspired by examples. The easier and more manageable you can make it, the more likely a person will be inspired to try something new. Offer instruction sheets for easy, manageable projects. Show lots of finished projects and break them down into manageable steps. Offering in-store demonstrations and tutorials is another great way to get people trying new techniques. This technique works particularly well for specialty tools where a demo works wonders to showcase the tool’s creative potential.”

The Beadalon website has lots of projects with instructions that we’d love for you to make, demonstrate, and use for yourself or to encourage others to bead. Feel free to print out and distribute the instructions (giving Beadalon and the designer proper credit, of course!) and post photos of your designs on the Beadalon Facebook page!

Craft Focus Autumn Jewellery Makes a Statement!

Craft Focus Autumn Jewellery Makes a Statement!

To read the whole article, click here!


Look at what I found!

aw braid braceletI love seeing what people make with Beadalon and Artistic Wire products – and I love it even more when findings from companies that I love work perfectly with our products! Last week, New Product Manager Wyatt White hung out with the lovely TierraCast team in Salt Lake City, and stole  brought back a gorgeous charm bracelet made with Artistic Wire Braid and finished with the TierraCast 2mm Pagoda Cord Ends.

The heart charm and Swarovski Crystal dangle are a perfect way to add some pizzazz. I would suggest BeadFix Gel or 2 Part Epoxy to glue the wire into the cord ends. A couple jump rings to attach a clasp, and you’re good to go! What a gorgeous design!

Be sure to check out all of our colors and sizes of Artistic Wire Braid over on the AW website. And….big news coming soon for additional ways to finish off the AW Braid as well as heavier gauges of Artistic Wire. I can’t wait to share!

Happy beading!

Free Tutorial – Tennis Bracelet with Flat Memory Wire Findings

Have you seen all of the findings that you can use for Beadalon’s Flat Memory Wire? This tutorial uses the Round Cup Findings and Cubic Zirconia stones to make a sparkly, fun tennis bracelet. Swarovski Elements 1088 Xilion Chaton size SS29 also fit perfectly into the channels. I love how easy it is to make a super fancy tennis bracelet at a fraction of the cost!

Free Tutorial – Making Charm Bracelets with the Artistic Wire 3D Bracelet Jig

Stackable charm bracelets are so popular right now, and you can make your own so easily with the award winning 3D Bracelet Jig!

Here are the written instructions:

  1. Put one pin into the jig on the top row.
  2. Count 3 holes over and one down and insert a second pin for a small wrist (4 holes over for a large wrist).
  3. Straighten a 20” piece of wire.
  4. Lay it across the jig and bend the wire to the outside and around the first pin. Take the wire around, underneath the jig and up the other side.
  5. Make another loop around the second peg.
  6. Cut the excess wire off of the loop so that ¾ of the loop is remaining. Repeat on the other loop.
  7. Remove the bracelet from the Jig.
  8. Wrap the bracelet around a smaller object. This helps tighten the bracelet to the correct size. Open it back up.
  9. Attach the loops around the bracelet wire by using a chain nose pliers to stand both of the loops up at a 90’ angle, then bending them out.
  10. Slide each loop over the wire and close it.
  11. Attach your charms with a jump ring and enjoy!

We’d love to see what you make! Be sure to post on the Beadalon Facebook Page!

We’re the big winners!

I am so excited and proud to announce that the Artistic Wire 3D Bracelet Jig won the CHA 2015 Hot Product Award at the CHA Mega Show! Check out Wyatt’s touching acceptance speech above.

The Jig really is an amazing tool, and we’re just beginning to explore all of the ways to use it. Here is some design inspiration for you. I love that you can make popular stackable charm bracelets in just a few steps. More on that soon……

In addition to the 3D bracelet jig, Beadalon and Artistic Wire debuted dozens more new products including new colors and styles of Artistic Wire, the Tassel Maker and Cording, and new mandrels for the Conetastic Tool.

I love when we finally get to introduce the new products we’ve been working so hard on, but now it’s back to the drawing board to develop the next cool new thing!

Jewel School Customer Appreciation Workshop Recap

Whew! What a whirlwind trip it was down to Knoxville last week. I spent so much time prepping and preening, I can hardly believe that it’s over already. What an amazing experience the 5th Annual Jewel School Customer Appreciation Event was. It was such an honor to meet the “Jewel Schoolers” and hear how much they enjoy watching the show.

To kick off the 7 workshops (!) that I taught over two days, Beadalon Product Manager Wyatt White and I joined three other amazing artists, Anne Dilker, Kate Richbourg and Anie Piliguian, on Thursday morning for Jewel School in front of a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE! I think my favorite part was when we were warming up the crowd, Wyatt and Ani ran out Oprah style and told everyone that they had won a new car. Check that one off the bucket list for Wyatt!

The audience was fantastic, and the energy in the room was great as I debuted the new Tube Clasps and brought the Tying Station out for another demonstration. Kate lent me her necklace to wear – a perfect match for my dress, then she wore it during her segment as well! I even got to be a seat holder, just like at the Oscars. You can see me in the back of the audience toward the end of Wyatt’s segment.

It was great seeing old friends and making new ones, too. I can’t wait to go back next year!