Beads, Bead Weaving, Beading Kits, and Nail Polish
Creating a Fabulous Bead Kit
Creating kits is one of the most interesting (and challenging!) parts of my job as Beadwork’s managing editor. We usually kit one project per issue of the magazine, which means selecting from a dozen or so beautiful pieces of jewelry. It’s not easy to decide which design will have the widest appeal. But sometimes the decision is even tougher, such as when we try a new concept for a kit.
We recently decided that it would be fun to try pairing coordinated nail polish with a bracelet kit. The project selection was simple: Carole E. Hanley’s Dancing Diamonds Bracelet and Diamond Fire Bracelet were natural choices. These bracelets were published in June/July 2015 Beadwork and August/September 2015 Beadwork respectively.
Both bracelets use simple brick and ladder stitches. Even better, both patterns use only cylinder beads. Easy to kit, plus we know that our readers love traditional seed bead patterns! And both bracelets are stunning, although their colorways couldn’t be more different.
Cool and Hot Colorways
Carole’s Dancing Diamonds Bracelet is a fun pop of bright blues against a background of creams and metallics. Our first thought was to pair this bracelet with nail polishes in dark blue, turquoise blue, and a silvery gold.
Carole’s Diamond Fire Bracelet is a warm mixture of reds and oranges in a classic diamond pattern. We immediately felt that the right polish colors for this bracelet would be dark red, coral, and chocolate brown.
Sourcing Nail Polish and Colors
We initially reached out to some of the larger nail polish manufacturers, but we couldn’t gain any traction with them. So we found a smaller company that was more than happy to work with us. Although this company can produce custom colors, they already had more than 300 colors to choose from. So we knew we could find something we loved.
Our first step was to order the beads for each bracelet, to match with nail polish colors. We sent in samples of all the beads, and the company color-matched them for us. How fun that nail polish colors are available in exactly the same shade as so many seed beads!
When an exact match wasn’t available, they gave us a couple of options that straddled the color we were looking for. For example, either of these blues would look great with the opaque turquoise green Delicas.
We were worried that the nail polish colors in the bottle might not be truly representative of the colors in real life. So like the dedicated employees that we are, some of the editorial and marketing staff proceeded to paint our nails — each finger in a different color! (I’ll spare you those photos!)
Of course we couldn’t keep our nails that way for long, and we needed to schedule a meeting for the team to make final color selections. So I painted some artificial nails in each color. And because editors are nothing if not thorough, I also painted the tips of some plastic spoons, for larger color samples.
Color Selection Is Difficult!
When we started looking at the nail polish samples next to the actual bracelets, we discovered something interesting. Although some of the polish colors exactly matched the beads in the projects, those same colors didn’t necessarily match the completed bracelets. So we were back to square 1 for a bit.
After some more discussion, we decided to go with our original hunch of choosing colors that complemented the bracelets’ overall color schemes. Our merchandising team also advised us that while someone might buy a kit with ONE unusual nail polish color (e.g., blue) out of three, they might not buy a kit with TWO blue polishes.
So we rethought our strategy and ordered some additional colors of polish, sticking mostly with mainstream hues. When they arrived, we knew we’d found our final colors!
For the Dancing Diamonds Bracelet, we selected a rich classic metallic gold; a bright, fun dark royal blue; and a sophisticated pewter color. For the Diamond Fire Bracelet, we selected a bright, fun orangey red; a rich chocolatey brown; and a classic deep red color.
One Last Test: Durability
With our nail polish colors selected, the only thing left was to test was the polish itself. Would it chip, flake, or peel? I painted my nails with one of the final colors we selected. I applied two coats, to make sure the color was true and to give the polish the best chance of surviving my all-day typing.
I had the polish on for a week, and it never chipped. It did wear off on the tips of my nails, but only after a few days. (And normally I would apply a clear coat over colored polish to prevent this, especially for a darker color.)
Honestly, I was pretty impressed with the nail polish. I type all day long, I cook every night (and do a lot of dishes!), and I tend to use my fingernails as tools without considering my manicure. (Truthfully, I never get manicures, because it would be a waste of money considering how hard I am on my hands.) My nails still looked great after 3 days and pretty passable after 6 days. Success!
Icing on the Cake
Now I just need to get stitching, so I can have a bracelet (or two!) of my own! And I suppose I’d better repaint my nails, too . . .
Managing Editor, Beadwork magazine
Find these great kits in our store and all of Carole E. Hanley’s patterned bracelets in Beadwork magazine: