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Entries from April 2012

The Arrival of Spring Brings a Happy Song

April 30th, 2012 · No Comments

With spring on its way, the birds are starting to sing in the morning. Welcome their songs and the arrival of brighter days with this simple necklace idea. Learn how to make a simple bird-themed necklace by reading the free instructions in the Learning Center.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

How is Anodized Aluminum Made?

April 27th, 2012 · No Comments

We’ve just launched some cool new anodized aluminum sheets from Lilypilly that are a great way to create unique jewelry components. You may be wondering how anodized aluminum is made. Well, we’re here to explain. Much like anodized niobium, the process of anodized aluminum increases the natural layer of oxide on the material by soaking it in a solvent bath, manipulating the electrodes with an electric current in order to achieve a specific color. This makes the aluminum much harder than natural aluminum and also increases resistance to corrosion.

First, wrought allows are cleaned in either a hot soak cleaner or a solvent bath. Then, a direct current is passed through the electrolytic solution and the aluminum piece is used as the anode, or positive electrode, to complete the current. This current releases hydrogen at the negative electrode and oxygen at the surface of the aluminum anode, creating a buildup of aluminum oxide.

The electric current running through can be manipulated to change the final color and the layer thickness, but this all depends on the chemical makeup of the solvent bath.

You can browse our selection of anodized aluminum sheets that are finished with beautiful colors and patterns. You can even make cute components like this heart clasp from our Mama’s Boy bracelet, a free idea from the Learning Center.

-Marissa

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Tags: Ask The Experts

Queen for a Day Giveaway

April 25th, 2012 · 1 Comment

The one you call “mom” isn’t always the person who gave birth to you. It’s the woman who raised you, who helped you become the person you are today. This is the woman who you can turn to when life gets hard and can put a smile on your face. She deserves to be treated like a queen, and you can make that happen with our Artbeads Queen for a Day Giveaway. You could win a $100 Artbeads gift certificate for your special queen and a $50 Artbeads gift card for yourself. We can even e-mail the gift certificate for you so she gets it just in time for Mother’s Day. We’ll also send you a prize package that includes everything you need to make a beautiful pearl and shell necklace that focuses on the color of the year—Tangerine! Learn how to enter by reading the official rules on our Wildfire page and get the chance to do something special this year. This contest starts tonight, April 25, 2012 and runs until Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM PST.

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Tags: Just For Fun!

How to Make a Two-Seed-Bead Backstitch

April 25th, 2012 · 10 Comments

Want to create a dazzling display of seed beads around your favorite cabochon for a remarkable hand-made bezel? This simple two-bead backstitch is perfect for beginners. We’ll show you how to create a border around a large pendant, and then how to embellish it with floral accents. Just choose your favorite cabochon or pendant to work with and thread in a complementing color. We are using red in order for you to better see it. The first thing you will need to do is glue your component to one piece of Lacy’s Stiff Stuff using Gem-Tac permanent adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry completely.

Cut a long piece of thread for your project. A good rule of thumb when making seed bead designs is to use no longer than an arm’s length. Thread one beading needle and tie a knot at the end to secure. Condition the thread with beeswax or Thread Heaven.

Step One:

Thread two seed beads onto the needle and line them up along the edge of the cabochon. Push the needle down through the Stiff Stuff and pull it through.

Step Two:

Come back up through the Stiff Stuff, closest to the first bead.

Step Three:

Bring the needle back through both seed beads.

Step Four:

Thread two new seed beads onto the needle.

Step Five:

Push the needle down through the Stiff Stuff, closest to the last bead.

Step Six:

Count three beads back from the last bead, and bring the needle up between this third bead and the first bead. Be sure not to pierce the needle through the thread as this will damage the design.

Step Seven:

Pass the needle through the first three beads.

Step Eight:

Continue this process for the remainder of your piece. You can create multiple borders along the edge using this same technique.When you’re finished, trim the excess Stiff Stuff.

Flower Embellishments:
We added flower embellishments to hide the large stringing hole in our pendant. First, cut approximately 3 feet of thread and condition it as before. Bring the needle up through the stringing hole.

Step One:

Thread the desired flowers onto the needle and allow them to rest on top of the pendant.

Step Two:

Thread 3 seed beads onto the needle. Run the needle through the second bead, skipping the first. Bring the needle back down through the stringing hole to create a loop.

Step Three:

Repeat Step Three to make a second loop for the flower.

Step Four:

Do this for as many flowers as you like and then sew a knot on the back of the Stiff Stuff to secure the flowers. Trim any excess thread.

Step Five:

Once you are finished, cut a second piece of Stiff Stuff and glue it to the first and then trim the excess. This will hide your stitching. You can use felt or permanent marker to color the Stiff Stuff so it matches the colors in your piece.

-Marissa

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Tags: Ask The Experts · Beader's Resource

Sheldon’s Big Bracelet

April 24th, 2012 · 8 Comments

This bracelet is sure to make you go bazinga! With flat SilverSilk knitted chain capturing a collection of multicolored beads, the bracelet is perfect for every style from geeky chic to Hollywood glam. We’ll give you all the steps to make Sheldon’s Big Bracelet in no time.

Step one:
Cut two strands of flat SilverSilk approximately 7 inches long and lay them parallel.

Step two:

Thread one big eye beading needle with approximately 3 feet Fireline thread. Longer needles work best due to their flexibility. Thread the needle through the inner most loop of one SilverSilk strand.

Step three:

Pull the Fireline through and secure it with two tied knots.

Step four:

String one TOHO 9mm bugle bead onto the needle, coming from the underside of the second SilverSilk strand and through the innermost loop.

Step five:

Thread the needle back down through the bead.

Step six:

Move to the next closest loop on the first SilverSilk strand and thread the needle up from the underside.

Step seven:

String a second bugle bead in a different color onto the needle and thread it up from the underside of the second SilverSilk strand.

Step eight:

Thread the needle back down through the bead as before in Step three. Continue this process until you reach your desired length. Keep in mind that your ends and clasp will add length, so take this into consideration when determining the overall length.

Step nine:

Place the small portion of one hidden end piece over the end of the bracelet.

Sew it to the SilverSilk strands by weaving the needle and thread though its stringing holes.

EXTRA TIP:

Make sure that the bead pattern continues all the way to the end of the bracelet so you can set the hidden end piece over the top of the beads. If not, you will end up exposing the thread when you place the cover over the end piece.

Step ten:

Use a thread burner to remove excess thread on the ends.

Step eleven:

Place the hidden end piece covers over your ends.

Add your desired clasp using jump rings and you’re finished!


Show off your cool new bracelet at the next beading party or quantum physics presentation!

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Brown and Blue Summer Inspiration!

April 23rd, 2012 · 2 Comments

The beautiful blue and brown palette in this necklace is a great way to get in the mood for summer! Its delicate shell pendant accented with sparkling Swarovski crystals creates a lovely image ideal for a summer wedding. In fact, this was a gift from bride Carrie to her bridesmaid Jessica. You can learn how to make a brown and blue summer necklace now and be ready to hit the beach when the sun starts to shine a little brighter in the months to come.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Swarovski annouces new summer launch

April 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Normally, Swarovski launches its products twice a year, once around February and once around September.  This year, however, following up on the success of the new Gemcolor pearls recently released, Swarovski just announced a new summer launch.  In it will be three new neon color pearls (pink, orange and yellow) as well as a line extension across many existing items of the very beautiful Crystal Astral Pink color, currently only available in a few heart shapes and select other articles.  Stay tuned next week as we get more information to you on this exciting surprise release!

Michael H.

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Tags: New Product Introductions

Become a Jewelry Design Star!

April 20th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Are you looking to gain fame from your jewelry? Show the world your creativity as an Artbeads Jewelry Design Star! Each month we will feature a new artist on our website, where their design will be displayed in a professional gallery for thousands to see. If you think you have what it takes to be a Jewelry Design Star, upload a photo of your favorite design with a brief description and what inspired you. Others will vote for their favorite, and if yours wins, you’ll be crowned our latest Jewelry Design Star! This competition is an excellent opportunity to expose your talent and imagination to other designers.

Enter the Jewelry Design Star Contest or learn more on our site.

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Tags: Company News

A Designer with a Big Heart

April 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Artbeads President and Chief Jewelry designer Cynthia Kimura wanted to share with everyone the story behind one of her favorite necklaces. Here’s what she had to say about the inspiration for her fashion ideas.

I like to mix contradicting materials together when I design because it brings a sort of balance to everything, like combining something delicate with a rough element. When I received this big Swarovski crystal as a present I immediately fell in love. It is so elegant with its long, slender shape and light-reflecting details that it would be perfect to pair with rougher-looking beads.

I had a strand of mother of pearls that I bought 2 years ago in a trade show. When I put it against the crystal, I knew I had an amazing combination. To create a transition for the heart pendant from sophisticated to rough, I used a TierraCast antique silver-plated pewter with large spiral pinch bail. Its sleek, silver shine contrasted with fun spiral patterns was the perfect balance. I also added the 14mm Antique Brass Swarovski Pearls in order to maintain the elegant look of the heart crystal. When going over how to finish the necklace, I wanted to keep a simple style that wasn’t overpowered by large pearls and the brilliant pendant. So, I used this beautiful antique copper-plated chain, which is really easy to use. The big oval links are actually jump rings so there is no need to cut it.

This necklace is quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces. The idea of balancing rough and delicate must be a popular trend because every time I wear this necklace, someone will ask me where I bought it!

Cynthia Kimura,
President and Chief Jewelry Designer

-Marissa

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Tags: Employee Gallery of Designs

Scrap Happy!

April 18th, 2012 · 11 Comments

Here at Artbeads we sell chain by the foot. If you’re designing a bracelet, you often wind up with two to four inches of chain left over. The same thing happens with necklaces—you are more apt to have remnants after your project is done. With a few other basic supplies and very little time, you can turn these scraps into something that will make you so happy to wear! Their various styles will add cool dimension and you can create whatever feeling you wish to provoke from your imagination. We’ll teach you how to connect them together, but the end result is up to you. We made our bracelets using jump rings and a simple wire wrapping technique.

Multi-Stranded Silver Chain Bracelet
Arrange your scrap pieces in the order you like before connecting them together. Find two larger open jump rings that will fit three chains together and two smaller jump rings that will connect to the larger ones. We used 1.27 x 8.0mm sterling silver open jump rings for our smaller choice. Attach one end from each chain to a single large open jump ring and close. Attach this jump ring to a smaller jump ring, and connect the smaller one to one portion of your desired clasp. Repeat this process for the other end. We used a sterling silver heart and arrow toggle clasp.

Industrial Chain Bracelet
Connect one heavy gauge open jump ring to each end of your chain. Attach one large lobster claw clasp to one jump ring and close. For our bracelet, we attached one 10mm sterling silver 13 gauge open jump ring to one end and one 12mm sterling silver 13 gauge open jump ring to the end that would connect to the clasp. Make sure the jump ring you use to connect the clasp is durable enough to hold it.

Leather and Links Bracelet
For this bracelet, we used a scrap piece of chain as well as some small pieces of leather cord. Thread one piece of leather through each open end of your chain. Connect both ends of the leather together and wrap the ends with sterling silver wire to hold them in place. Attach an open jump ring to each loop you created with the leather strands, and then connect these jump rings to a second smaller jump ring. Our larger jump rings are size 20 gauge. Connect the smaller jump ring to your desired jewelry clasp. Follow this same technique for a bracelet with multiple chain strands in the center. Learn how to finish fibers with wire wraps by reading our Handy Tip in the Learning Center.

Take a new twist on fashion by turning your leftover chain scraps into jewelry you’ll want to wear. Get scrap happy with your favorite pieces!Recycling your old pieces of chain is a perfect project for Earth Day this Sunday, April 22.

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

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