People are watching their spending closely. It’s no different for artisan jewellery being worn by this year’s brides. Try DIY ~Do It Yourself~ kits. You’ll learn a new technique that may send you down a path you thought you’d never follow. A new hobby is in the offing, perhaps. The DIY kits I write give you the instruction cards and some inexpensive beads to make the kit. If you already have the beads you want to use and really need only the instructions, the price would be less: it makes sense. It is hoped that the experience for the beader will be good enough that she will carry on with her own variations on the technique.
If you are like me, you work well under pressure and everything needs doing NOW.
Well! I’ve been commissioned to work on the jewellery of 2 weddings. And for the person who wants to do it herself, I am working on a tutorial for an illusion-floating necklace. But I don’t have the exact illusion necklace made in 3D; just some rough sketches. However, as I write the tutorial I’ll be doing the steps myself to ensure nothing important is left out. When the tutorial is finished, so will be my illusion necklace.
Okay, Beth, get yourself to London and find the beads you want. Here’s a list of the bead shops in the London area I found. I don’t know London but I’m sure you do so you can map out your day.
If you are like me, you will stand amazed at all the pretty stuff. Take your shopping list and, for this trip at least, stick to it. If you decide you want to do more beading after the immediate jewellery emergency, then go back to the shops you liked best and stock up.
You will need a filament that is clear and skinny and strong. Hit the local Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire: find the fishing gear and get the smallest and least expensive reel of Monofilament Fishing Line. It’s a plastic line ~ I have 15lb test/tension but 6 or 8lb is just as good. Run out a small section of the line and knot it: does it hold the knot or does it begin to un-knot itself? You want to be able to knot it. Remember, you must go cheap or live with all kinds of the stuff left over.
You will need a string of pearls and another of crystals. How many will depend on how close together you want the pearls to be spaced. Don’t forget that if you do the bracelets you have the same consideration of how much is needed.
8 inches ~ 20 cm This measurement includes the clasp
Choker = 16 inches ~ 41 cm
Princess = 18 inches ~ 46cm
Matinee = 24 inches~ 61cm
Opera 32 inches ~ 81 cm
Rope 48 inches ~ 122 cm
Let me share an experience I had several months ago. A lady with a very small frame commissioned a choker necklace. I made the mistake of not measuring her neck ~ not a mistake I want to repeat. I re-did the necklace 3 times because the ‘standard’ choker length of 16 inches was too big. Finally the piece measured 14inches and my client was happy.
So !! Measure twice and string once. Measure it again.
The measurements are for that mythical being, the ‘Average Woman.’ If the recipient has a big wrist then the 8inches might be too snug. A 16inch choker will be too tight for a large woman and too loose for the woman with a tiny neck.
You can do a multi strand necklace.
Sit down with paper and pencil ~ you can do it in front of the TV!
What have you in mind for the bracelet and necklace?
How few or many stations (pearl component) will you want?
How fancy will each pearl component be? Multiple pearls with a single crystal? or the other way around? or 1 crystal / 1 pearl / 1 crystal / 1 pearl spaced out along the line?
Measure 2x and bead once. The more planning you do here, the faster the process will be. Take your time in the planning stage and do it well.
Think of your choice in clasps now, before you buy them, so they look proper in the piece of jewellery ~ neither too big nor too small. It has to look appropriate for its job of supporting the filament/s.
Remember that if you are doing multiples of the same design, such as all the bridesmaids, then you will have to take what you need for 1 bracelet or necklace and multiply it by the number of people receiving this wonderful gift.
One last thing to consider! The size of the beads.
A 7mm bead looks wonderful in a floating or illusion design. A 16mm bead would probably be too big.
You need a clasp, 2 clamshell beadtips, 2 jumprings or springrings, crystals, pearls, seed beads, clear monofilament fishing line.
You need a measuring stick. A ruler is fine. I use a retractable tape measure. I really don’t know what I would do without my local hardware stores. So much of my equipment and findings, etc. I buy at the hardware.
You need a bead tray or cloth to lay out your beads.
You need a couple of dabs of glue. And the glue must not damage the monofilament. Read the information and check that it can be used with glass, plastic, metal.
This really isn’t an ad and I haven’t received any money, year’s supply of !
I use Household GOOP (hardware again) or Beadalon’s Bead Stringing Glue. Check with the bead shop staff to get their opinion on glues.
You need peace and quiet (maybe with your favourite music playing?).
You need to have your social secretary ~ or child, or husband, or ….,handle all your phone calls.
You need your favourite non-alcoholic beverage.
You need to keep your adorable pets safe from what you are doing. You will be working with small bits and pieces and they can kill your cat/pet. Same goes for wee kidlets.
There you go. You are on the road to beading heaven. It can be a very expensive hobby if you are not careful. If this is your first foray into beading artisan jewellery it’s important not to spend money too freely. Get what you need and leave. You can, and probably will return.
I wish you joy and a new hobby you can enjoy for many years to come. Working with your hands and brain both engaged produces some really marvellous pieces of wearable art.
Will you send me pictures of your finished pieces? I’d like to add them to this blog.
All tied up in beads …Helen