Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TIP OF THE WEEK: How DO you String a Bracelet ???

Remember all this week--buy one get the second item of equal or lesser value 50% off...plus leave a comment to be entered to win the beautiful rose quartz bracelet shown on Monday, February 2nd post!!!
So, if you don't already make some of your own jewelry, maybe you've always wanted to, but weren't sure where to begin. Let's start with the basics....I'm not going to write a complete tutorial for stringing in this post...but I am going to link you to one.
Now when I was first learning I found a wonderful tutorial online and it's still my favorite---with step by step pictures and directions. The tut is by Julie Ferguson at www.fergiebeads.com . Go to the website and on your left click the heading--tips and tutorials. Click on 'how to make a bracelet and dangle' and you're good to go! This same basic skill works for bracelets, necklaces, ankle bracelets, etc. It's easy peasy...so get going!!!
Of course the first step is to get your supplies together. Julie's tut tells you what tools you'll use. You'll need stringing wire...Julie, uses beadalon, but I prefer soft touch or soft flex...either will work. You'll need a pair of crimp beads--try to get sterling ones...they are sturdier than base metals. I like to use bullion or french wire to finish off the ends of my bracelets, but it's mostly cosmetic, not essential. Julie doesn't use it in her tut, so it's up to you. You'll need a clasp--so many choices, pick your style! And of course the beads you want, to reflect your design ideas--gems, crystals, pearls, lampwork, resin, metal...the choices are endless...here's where the fun comes in. If you want a dangle or two, you'll need head or ball pins, plain or fancy to wrap your dangle. I like a finished length of about 7 1/2 inches...your clasp will add about 1 to 1 1/2 inches to the length, so the 'bead' part of the bracelet will only be about 6 to 6 1/2 inches before you finish with your clasp...so now that I have you totally confused...go look at Julie's tutorial and then come back and see if it doesn't make more sense...and send me a picture of what you make, OKAY?

If you don't have a clue where to go for supplies, your local beading store should have everything you need or want. If you prefer shopping on the internet, here's my fav one stop shopping store.... http://www.artbeads.com/ What I like about artbeads is--they carry quality supplies at reasonable prices and ship absolutely any order free anywhere in the U.S. They ship quickly and have all the basics. I primarily purchase wholesale...but when I'm in a pinch and don't want to place a huge order with my wholesalers, I still turn to artbeads for a little this or that....it's quick with free shipping it's a deal! So if you want 2 crimps, a small spool of beading wire, and a clasp...they're not going to make you feel like a nuisance, so that's my little tip for you.
P.S. Etsy and Artfire are great online places to go if you're looking for artisan beads, gemstones or other goodies to use in your designs--I'll talk more about them in another post--- http://www.etsy.com/ and http://www.artfire.com/ Maybe you'll find your own favorite place that I've missed...but I hope this will help you get started if you've wanted to, but been just a little afraid to make a start!


Elizabeth said...

So where do we pick up your wonderful sense of style? And I hope I can pick it up at bargain prices! :)

Kristen said...

So nice of you to do this! It's always nice to see what a variety of beading supplies other designers use. Your work is always top notch, and you have a great sense of picking just the right beads to combine together!

Kitties & Cupcakes said...

Yay! I am glad to see you have a blog. I agree on the Softflex. I wouldn't use anything else. That tray of bali beads in the background is making me drool!
~Lori Ramotar

LJArtGlas said...

I can't wait to see what the final bracelet looks like! I love the flow of your pieces.

Rickie said...

Thanks all--Elizabeth, Kristen,Lori and LJ! Lori, don't hesitate to come over and play anytime--I'll let you use anything you like from my box of beads! So what if we're clear across the country from one another--it's fun to 'wish we could' (and you could teach me how to do your wonderful metal work!)


Dave Robertson said...

Hi Rickie, it's great to see a talented designer like you reaching out & sharing some tips! Way to go :) I like your style.

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