3 Ways to Mix and Match Bead Designs

Do You Follow Project Instructions?

I admit I was a little hurt when a recent survey revealed only about 25% of Beadwork readers follow our instructions bead by bead. Here at Beadwork our editors and illustrator spend countless hours to make our instructions accurate and easy to follow. However, it’s been about six years since the last time I followed project instructions—even then I used my favorite colors and finishes instead of those prescribed. So this means I’m with the 64% of you who “use the magazine designs as inspiration and adapt the instructions to fit my needs.”

Knowing that many of you are constantly looking for ways to add personal touches to your jewelry, I chose favorite elements from 3 different projects from Beadwork’s April/May issue (subscribe to Beadwork today so you don't miss this issue) to show how easily you can mix and match design ideas to create a project that is uniquely you.

3 Ways to Mix and Match Design Elements 

1. Choose a favorite color palette. When digging through my stash, I pulled out beads the color of Jamie Hogsett’s Brass Garland necklace—I love her mix of grassy greens and brass with a touch of golden yellows.




 2. Single out a component.  Amy Haftkowycz made the sweetest little beaded beads for this issue’s Vintage Charm bracelet and I couldn’t resist trying them out myself (though I only used 5 in my design, I made more than a dozen). You’ll appreciate Amy’s clever pattern—she shares with us the perfect combination of 15°, 11°, and 8° seed beads and 3mm and 4mm fire-polished rounds, things you probably already have in your stash. 

3. Pick a silhouette.

A sucker for all designs asymmetrical, I was immediately drawn to Barbara Richard’s Urban Chic pyrite necklace. Her design combines three beadwoven elements with simply stung elements—a smart way to create a quick necklace that doesn’t forego the rich touch of seed beads.  

My Finished Necklace

My result? An asymmetrical necklace that combines earth-toned beaded beads with knotted pearls, separated by occasional bead caps. It is simple enough to be worn with jeans and shiny enough to wear for dress-up.







If you’ve been inspired to combine ideas from our April/May issue—or just want to tell me what you loved or loathed in the issue–then please take our April/May survey now.  To automatically receive surveys and other fun assignments (for example, over 1,700 people voted to help choose this issue’s cover!), sign up for our Reader Advisory Panel. Why not help us make Beadwork the best magazine it can be?  

Melinda Barta is editor of Beadwork magazine. She is the author of Custom Cool Jewelry and Hip to Stitch, and coauthor of a new book, Mixed Metals. Melinda is teaching classes at Bead Fest Philadelphia in August and Bead Fest Portland in September. If you can’t attend one of these shows, be sure to check out her Custom Collage Charms DVD.  Please post any comments or questions for Melinda on the website. 

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