Fabulous bead project ideas that don't take forever to complete. Our favorite styles are the trendy, classic, adventurous, the colorful and sophisticated. Most projects can be completed in 1-2 hours, a short afternoon or evening. You will also find information about beading techniques and helpful tips. We offer convenient online shopping at www.BeadBee.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Tier Beaded Necklace

Combine the look of a choker and a long elegant beaded strand into a single necklace that you can wear for work or play. My example features beaded strands made from large white freshwater pearls, sky blue coral 8mm Czech glass fire polished beads, 6mm crystal Czech fire polished beads and 6x9mm crystal Czech fire polished donuts, accented with Toho seed beads.

The contrast between the short and long strands create a dramatic aesthetic that can be worn with a collared shirt and blazer or a fabulous scoop neck dress. The random pattern of the beads keeps it playful and romantic.

To create this necklace, string two strands of beads onto two different lengths of flexible beading wire such as Soft Flex or Flex Rite. With a crimp tool, crimp each strand to jump rings and a clasp.

For an ultra feminine touch, in lieu of a clasp, I finished this piece with a silky cream ribbon  that ties around the neck. Click here for ideas on using ribbon in your jewelry designs.

To purchase the materials featured in this blog post, please use these links:
Flexible beading wire

Sky blue coral Czech glass beads 
White mix Toho seed beads

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to Make a Nursing Bracelet

Nursing bracelets are a wonderful gift for the mother of a newborn. Not only are they stylish, they are also functional. These bracelets are a helpful tool for a nursing mother to remember the time of the next feeding.
Each bracelet contains the numbers of a clock. The three beads following the number each represent a quarter of an hour. A movable charm attached to a lobster claw clasp is clipped in place to designate the time of the next feeding.

The beads of this bracelet are strung onto memory wire so it is easy to put on and take off. This way, nursing mothers can also switch wrists according to which side she is to nurse from at the next feeding.

To create this bracelet, you will need: memory wire, number beads, spacer beads (example above features Czech Glass fire polished beads and sterling silver stardust beads), a lobster claw clasp and a charm. However, in my example, I attached a Swarovski crystal butterfly bead onto the lobster claw claps using a head pin.

The number beads you will need are a set of 15: five "1" beads, two "2" beads and one each of number 0 and 3-9.

We offer the number beads in a pre-counted set so you don't have to worry about ordering each number individually.

Number beads are available in white plastic, rhodium plated pewter and gold plated pewter.

Helpful Tips
1) Make sure you have a memory wire cutter, memory wire will damage other cutters that are not designed to cut memory wire

2) After you determine the approximate length of your bracelet, cut the appropriate length of memory wire, add extra length for margin of error.

3) String the beads in sequence from bottom of the coil and push the beads to the top. Otherwise, if you start from the top and push the beads down to the bottom, the bracelet will be backwards.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make Your Own Head Pins

Making your own "head pins" is a great way to use scraps of wire.

When making your own head pins, you will actually be making an eye pin by creating a loop at the end of the wire which will serve as the "head". This technique creates a different look than ready made head pins and can be intentionally used as a design element.

I created earrings by dangling beads onto handmade pins that accent each bead with small delicate loops.

You can create the loops as large or small as your like, as long as they will hold the beads. You can also get creative by making swirls and other designs for added detail. You can use this technique to add beads to chains, and create bracelet and necklaces.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tie It All Together: Beads & Ribbon

Soft materials like ribbon, leather and suede are a nice way to add a unique touch and a softer look to your handmade jewelry. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate ribbon and other fibers into your designs:

*Use ribbon to serve as a closure for chained necklaces or bracelets. The ribbon tie closure is especially convenient because it makes the jewelry adjustable in length. This technique is easy, simply string the ribbon through each end of the chain and tie around your wrist or neck.

*Strands of beads can be crimped and attached to ribbon, suede or leather.

*Color coordinated ribbon bows can add an adorable touch to a simple piece of jewelry.

*Knot beads and charms onto ribbon for a soft, feminine look. (Click here for more details on creating this look).

I love using ribbon in my jewelry designs, the look is ultra feminine, romantic and simply beautiful! There will be more ribbon jewelry designs to come.

Related posts about using ribbon in jewelry making:
"Alphabet Beads for Grown Ups"
"Ravishing Ribbon and Beads" 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Make Your Own Lanyard with Beads

If you are required to wear an ID bagde daily, use this as an opportunity to enhance your work attire by creating stylish lanyards that express your unique personality.

For a simple design that is easy to make, use seed beads accented with a few larger beads in a pleasing pattern. Using more smaller beads (seed beads) keeps the lanyard from getting too heavy and also avoids clashing and competing with the other jewelry & accessories you may wear. In my examples, I used Toho seed beads, and Czech glass beads. For stringing material, use 49 strand, .024" flexible beading wire for added strength. You will also need sterling silver crimp beads, split rings and lanyard hooks or key rings.

Create a lanyard with a neutral color palette that can match most of your wardrobe, or have fun creating several lanyards in your favorite colors to match different outfits. You can also create lanyards with school colors, the colors of your favorite sports team, or company colors. The possibilities and color combinations are endless. Add charms to your lanyard for further personalization or use our popular alphabet beads to spell your name or other personalized message.

Beaded lanyards will transform your I.D. badge into a beautiful piece of jewelry that compliments your professional wardrobe. Whether you work at a school, hospital, or corporate office, a beaded lanyard is the perfect work accessory.

Attend a Lanyard Design Make & Take Workshop at Bead Bee - See workshop schedule

Thursday, February 18, 2010

All Mixed Up - Mixed Media Bracelet

A great way to use left over beads from previous projects is to incorporate a mixed media strategy which involved a simple strategy of combining different types of materials to create jewelry. You can achieve beautiful results buy combining glass, pearls, metal and gemstones and create jewelry that is unique, versatile and can compliment many different outfits.

If you have a collection of "orphaned" beads or leftovers waiting to be incorporated into the right project, this is a great way to gather them all together.

Our example features Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls in different shades of purple, violet, peach and crystal. Different sizes and shapes were used as well. There are no rules when creating mixed media jewelry. Simply experiment and play around with different combinations of shapes, sizes and colors until you discover something that you like. The key is to just try it out even if you don't think it will look good together, this will allow you to discover unexpected, yet pleasing combos. Then string it all onto a necklace or bracelet in a random pattern.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photographing Your Jewelry: Inspiration

I frequently receive emails from people who share their projects with me. I always love to see what they do with beads that they purchase from Bead Bee. My friend Carolyn recently sent me photos of her latest work. I met her last year when she took a beginner's beading class at my store - she is very sweet and talented.

I wanted to share her photos with you because her jewelry is very beautiful, but the photography is just as striking because she has uses nature as inspiration in composing her images.

Please visit Carolyn's Etsy store at: JewelsByCarolyn

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bringing You Blue Skies & Florida Sunshine!

Right now it is 48 degrees here in Orlando, FL - here we think it's cold, but I know that many of your are braving much, much colder conditions of wind, rain, snow, and gray skies.

We wish we could share our blue skies and Florida sunshine with you, since we can't, enjoy this photo and coupon. You can use it when you shop online, order by phone, or visit our store.

How are you keeping busy with beads? Please let me know by sharing your comments!

Bead Bee Coupon
Get 10% off any purchase of $36 or more

Use Coupon Code at checkout: BEADBEEBLOG02XF
Expires 2/28/10. Coupon can be used online, for phone orders or in our store. Coupon is valid only on in-stock items and cannot be combined with other offers. Coupon is not valid on previous purchases

Start shopping now at www.beadbee.com

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dazzled by Swarovski Crystals in NYC

I had the chance to visit the Swarovski Crystallized Concept store in NYC. It was like stepping into a 3 dimensional Swarovski crystal bead catalog. Every Swarovski bead in every color was on display. It was a great opportunity for me rediscover all the shapes and colors and see the new designs and colors of  Swarovski crystal beads.

There was finished jewelry on display as well which was just as inspiring. If you ever has a chance to visit the store, you definitely should, you will be mesmerized by all the gorgeous crystal beads.

My experience inspired several pairs of dazzling Swarovski crystal earrings, cascading from simply elegant sterling silver ear wires.

Theses earring as simple to make if you know how to wire wrap. The only materials you need are ear wires, head pins and crystal beads. There are endless combinations of colors and shapes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

We are celebrating here at Bead Bee with a little Valentine's Day party with cupcakes & cookies and a little beading fun!

Enjoy your day and the special people in your lives.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Layered Strands of Necklaces

Layering multiple necklaces is one way to enhance your attire and add dimension to any outfit. By putting together different strands of beads, you can create a dramatic look that enhances any ensemble that will be appropriate for any occasion.

Have fun and layer together strands in unexpected color combinations or incorporate colors from printed fabrics in your wardrobe. To create the perfect spring-inspired necklace, pair shades of lavender, pastel greens, light blues, champagne pinks, and silver. A more dramatic look can be fashioned by putting together strands of gold, bronze, oranges and browns. Another impactful layering strategy is to layer multiple shades of one color.

To keep your layers from getting too heavy or overwhelming, stick with bead sizes of 4 to 8mm when stringing your own necklaces.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stringing 101

It's a new year and many of you are new to beading - welcome to the fabulous world of beading where you can create your own unique designs, make personalized gifts and have lots of fun!

For those who are just starting, stringing is simple, but enjoyable and rewarding. You can create beautiful pieces just by stringing the right combination of beads together onto flexible beading wire such as Soft Flex or Flex Rite. Then use crimp beads and a crimp tool to close the ends and add a clasp. Bead Bee offers a illustrated instructions on using a crimp tool - click here to see instructions.

Below are pieces that were created just by stringing beads. To get more ideas, take a look are our other blog entries, read beading magazines and pay attention to beading patterns, color combinations and materials.