13 Jewelry and Beading Tips and Tricks

13 Tips to Help Around the Studio
In the spirit of Friday the 13th, we’ve put together 13 tips to help on all levels of jewelry- making and beadweaving, with a few other tips from other mediums mixed in.

First up…Tips on how to make bracelets with stretch elastic cording

stretchy bracelets made by Tammy Honaman

stretchy bracelets by Tammy Honaman

1. When creating a design using stretch cord, prestretch the cording before you string your beads. This is known to help prevent stretching and breaking after you finish your design.

2. Dust your elastic cord with baby powder before stringing your beads as it helps the beads slide on easier.

3. Finish your ends with a surgeon’s knot then add a dab of flexible glue, like E6000. Don’t use nail polish or cyanoacrylate glues as you’ll run the risk of your cords becoming brittle and breaking over time.

Straighten Beading Wire
4. If you find your beading wire stays coiled and won’t relax after being unspooled, place a weight on one end of the cord, unfurl the wire, and suspend the spool so the beading wire has time to relax, overnight or longer, if possible.

Create  Round and Centered Simple Loops

simple loop formed on a length of wire

simple loop formed on a length of wire

5. With your wire bent to a 90-degree angle, ready to form the loop; place the tip of your non-dominant thumbnail into the angled bend, press your forefinger and thumb together and upward against the angled bend while you rotate your dominant wrist away from your body to form the loop. This combined action will help keep the angle sharp and the loop circular.

simple loop being formed on a length of wire

simple loop being formed

Keeping Metal Tarnish Free

sterling silver wire stored in zip-top bags with anti tarnish stirips

sterling silver wire stored in zip-top bag with anti-tarnish strips

6. Place anti-tarnish strips, along with your sterling silver metal (and any other metals that are affected by exposure to the atmosphere) inside zip-top bags. The anti-tarnish strip will help absorb the sulfides in the atmosphere trapped inside the bag and the zip top will help prevent more oxygen (carrier of the sulfides) and moisture from entering the bag, protecting your metal from tarnish.

How to Tarnish or Patina Metal

copper sheet and copper sheet with patina applied via ammonai fuming

copper sheet and copper sheet with patina

7. Place a cloth inside a non-food use container. Place a piece of mesh inside or over the container so it rests above the cloth. Pour ammonia onto the cloth so it is wet, not floating. Do not breathe in the fumes as they can be harmful.

ammonia fuming chamber - glass dish, netting, cotton cloth, ammonia, plastic zip-top bag

ammonia fuming chamber

Place your metal onto the mesh then close the container. Let the metal “fume” until you are satisfied with the color. This technique works for other metals – test out what you have on hand to see what works best for you.

Double Duty Stitch Markers
From Lindsay Jarvis, Content Manager for Online Education and Merchandise, also an avid knitter, beader, and maker of many things.
8. Stitch markers seem to always find a way into my projects whether it’s a simple cowl or a complicated lace shawl. Over the years I’ve been attracted to adorable dangly custom markers adorned with beads of just about anything you could imagine. However, I always seem to come back to the standard jumpring. If you’ve ever experienced the annoyance of yarn slipping through that little opening, though, you know why I wanted to find a better solution to this simple knitting aid. When these jumprings are soldered shut, they form a continuous smooth circle without gaps! Now, you can do this yourself with a fireproof soldering station, torch, tongs, and about 20 more tools…. or you can simply buy a few packs from a jewelry-supply store. Shop for soldered jumprings or closed jumprings at your local bead store or search for them on the internet. You’ll find they are affordable and also come in several different finishes.

How to Glue Swarovski Crystal Flatback Rhinestones Onto Leather
9. This is not a can’t-fail tip, but it comes really, really close and is the best solution we’ve come up with so far. Loc-Tite Super Glue Gel Control adhesive is the go-to glue for gluing Swarovski crystal flatback rhinestones to the surface of leather. This glue has a patented additive that makes it work over all other adhesives tested so far.

Speaking of glues and adhesives – Here is more information on the subject, Tips for Choosing the Right Glue, by Debbie Blair, Editor Stringing magazine and maker of beautiful beaded and wireworked jewelry.

Also a tip from Debbbie, I learned a great tip from a Jewelry Stringing contributor for making wrapped loops.
10. Use the rounded, football-shaped hole in the tip of crimping pliers to round out the end of the wire after forming a wrapped loop so the wire lays nice and doesn’t poke out.

And speaking of gluing onto leather..
11. To help ensure the bond when gluing leather and other materials together, including flatbacks and other leather, use sandpaper to roughen up the area of leather you are gluing onto.

From her video, Intro to Leather Jewelry Making, Melissa Cable shares this tip: Apply a bit of painters tape to the surface of chrome-tanned leather then remove the tape.

leather with some finish removed via painter's tape

leather with some finish removed via painter’s tape

The tape will remove the finish on the leather, prepping it for gluing other materials to its surface – you can see the upper area of this piece of leather has a different finish now that the tape has been removed.

Photographing Your Jewelry
from Jill Simonds, professional photographer and Director, Digital Business Strategy Interweave/FW
12. Experience the joys of soft natural light! You don’t need fancy lighting and flashes to get amazing shots of your jewelry. Natural light will provide the truest display of your work’s color and dimension. Set up your camera and back drops (or whichever artsy pieces to model your jewelry on) next to a window with indirect light (no sun shining in, typically a window opposite the direct sun).

To Bead on a Loom or Not
13. Jennifer shares – weaving beads on a loom gives you the same look as when you use square stitch, but the actual weaving goes much faster. Using a loom for weaving beads also makes it easier to adjust the tension in the beadwork, something that many beginners find difficult when working in square stitch.

Jewel Loom with Jewel beading on the loom

Jewel Loom with Jewel beading on the loom

See Jean’s post, Tips for Beading on a Loom for other tips for beading on a loom. http://www.beadingdaily.com/blog/tips-for-beading-on-a-loom

Have a tip to share? Please leave a comment at BeadingDaily.com.We’d love to hear from you!

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