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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beading Tips from an insider

Here are some of the key points from Maria's presentation at the Spring Creativ Festival 2015.

One of the question often asked about making necklaces, other then techniques, is about the correct length for various styles. This image shows the standard length you will need to adjust to ensure that it will fit the wearer perfectly.

Guidelines for necklace lengths
Essential tools for most beaders include a design board, needles, cutting tools, pliers, personal lighting and a work surface.

Your work surface can vary based on personal preferences, portable and cost. Here are some that Maria uses; bead on it boards have a contained surface and lap trays can allow you to bead as a passenger on road trips. But Maria's personal favourite is Chinet plates. They contain the beads, are inexpensive and portable (dessert-size will fit into a medium ziploc).

Bead on it Board in use

Lap tray is use

Multiple Chinet plates in use

Tools you will need for basic beadweaving are thread trimmers and various size needles.

Beading threads are generally nylon based. Picture below are the various threads including nymo, C-lon, One G, and Fireline.

various beading threads
Use the colour that best blends into your work. Neutrals such as black, white, grey and ash are essential to have available. Colour does matter. Below are two bracelets, one stitch with crystal Fireline and the other with black nymo.

Thread colour matters
Fireline and other products form the fishing world are used where a stronger material is needed.

Getting the needle onto the thread can be a challenge due to the very small eye of fine beading needles. Try needling the thread. Hold the thread between finger and thumb with just a small end showing. Move the needle onto the thread. If you still have trouble flip the needle as the eye of the needle is punch and one side is smoother than the other.

Needling the thread
At some point in a larger project you will have to add new thread. Here is a great video from Melanie Potter, of the School of Beadwork.

Create a slipknot 8-10 inches from the end of your new thread. Slip it onto the old thread. Tighten and slide down on the old thread to the work. Tie the ends with a surgeon's knot (a square knot with an extra twist).
Adding new thread

You will need to secure the ends into the work using circle knots.

Circle around the woven thread between beads, pull end thru the small loop created and pull tight. Repeat a few times for each end.

Circle knot
A helpful tip for finishing a bead woven necklace is to add an extra bead between the clasp and the beadwork.

Here are some different style of closures you can use to add the last finishing touch to your design. Choose a clasp that works with the style, scale and design of the piece.

Toggle work well for bracelets

Tubular clasp are available in different sizes for wider designs.

Ball & Socket closures are very secure
Working with beading wire requires a different set of tools. Crimping pliers, wire cutters, round nose and flat nose pliers. Choose that best tools that you can afford.

Another small but very helpful tool is a beadstopper. You will likely want to have a number of these little springs in your tools collection. Once attached to the beading wire the beadstopper keeps the beads from sliding of the wire. This is very useful when audtioning the beads for your design.

Auditioning pearls & crystals for a bridal necklace
Auditoning various clay and Tagua nut beads for two different styles
Once you have finalized your design for your stringing project you will need to you crimp beads to attach the findings. Here are the steps for crimping crimp beads.

For a more finished look you can use crimp covers over the crimps which hides the crimp within a hollow bead. Another great finishing component is a wire guard. It will protect the wire as it goes thru the finding.

Detail of crimp covers and wire guard
To create earrings or dangles you will need to use head pins and eye pins. Your basic wire tools listed above are all you will need. Here is the basic steps for creating loops on the pins.

Classic dangles added to a larger crystal to make different earring styles
Follow this link to a folder with the three handouts that Maria gave out during the presentation.

Watch for the highlights of Maria's other presentation "Simply Beadweaving" on the weekend.

Happy Beading!

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