Help with Problem Beads

Do you have a problem bead in your collection? Maybe more than one? I'm sure the minute I asked that question, you thought of a specific bead, didn't you?

Types of Problem Beads

There are many types of problem beads. Here are some of mine:

  • The hole is not where I expected it. Now what?
  • It's an unusual color that I don't typically use (lime green).
  • I bought this bead to match some other beads, and it doesn't.
  • This bead is very, very special (read: expensive) and I'm afraid that I will "ruin" it with whatever I create.

Advice for Problem Beads

The best thing about problem beads is that they are not a problem for everyone. What you think of as a problem bead may not be a problem for someone else. Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective.

Enter Gretchen Coats. Gretchen is a Beading Daily reader who worked at a bead shop until it closed recently. She really misses helping customers, especially troubleshooting and offering design ideas.


I pulled out a couple of odd beads in my collection to share with her, including these polymer clay beads that I bought over Christmas. I thought they were fascinating. Not really "me" at all, but that's partly why I like them. I've been trying to stretch myself creatively and use materials that I wouldn't normally. Other than creating a simple pendant with one of the beads, I really had no ideas for these beads.

Gretchen suggested: "When I saw the pinecone polymer beads the first thing that popped into my head would be a lariat with maybe one bead on one end, and two on the other. I would pair it with some jasper, and even some nephrite or serpentine and give it a fall feel. Maybe the green bead could go on one end, and start in the green family, and blend slowly throughout the necklace to browns, with the other two browner pinecone beads on the other end."

I love this idea! I would never have thought to use them all together, but I can picture the lariat she is describing and I think it would make for a dramatic piece.

It's Your Turn

I asked Gretchen if she would mind helping out a few Beading Daily folks. And being a generous beader (are there any other kind?), she of course said, "Yes!"

Do you need help with a problem bead?

If you would like some free, professional beading advice from Gretchen, then please fill out this form. We'll pick 3-5 interesting cases and share the "problems" and ideas for solutions in a future Beading Daily so that we can all pick up some new design ideas. Deadline to tell us about your problem bead is February 9, 2008.

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She can't wait to hear about your problem beads!

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