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Katrina

HOW TO: Embellish with Swarovski Crystals

Here at Beads Direct, we’re so excited to launch our online Swarovski Sweet Shop ahead of our appearance at The Handmade Fair later this week with our partners Swarovski Create Your Style. At the Swarovski Sweet Shop, you will find some of the beautifully coloured hotfix and non-hotfix crystals, pearls, beads, transfers and mixes that we’ll be taking to The Handmade Fair to embellish your favourite things! If you can join us at The Handmade Fair, there will be lots of inspiration and live demonstrations to show you just how much you can do with our Swarovski Sweet Shop range that will also be available to purchase from our stand.

Swarovski crystals are an essential part of your crafting stash if you love to add a touch of sparkle to your projects! You can embellish all kinds of things such as phone cases, gift cards, clothing, notepads, handbags and accessories with our beautiful Swarovski range. You can use sew on crystals, hotfix crystals and non-hotfix crystals to finish your crafty project or clothing designs.

View our complete range of Swarovski crystals!

What’s the difference between Hotfix and Non-Hotfix?

Swarovski non-Hotfix crystals have a foiled back that you can hand-glue to your project. We recommend using Gem-Tac embellishing glue or Hypo Cement which is specially designed to apply Swarovski crystals to a range of materials including leather, fabric, ribbon, card, paper and more. Gem-Tac glue will semi-dry within half an hour of application but will take up to 24 hours to completely set and will turn transparent.

Swarovski Hotfix crystals are designed to be used with a Hotfix applicator tool. The crystals have a thin layer of glue on the flat back which is heated up using the Hotfix applicator tool, and adheres directly onto your project. Hotfix crystals used with the applicator tool are great for projects that require a large amount of crystals because it is much faster, more precise and less messy than if you were to hand-glue them with non-Hotfix crystals. The glue on the back of Hotfix crystals is also much faster drying than Gem-Tac glue which can take up to 24 hours to completely set.

How to Use a Hotfix Applicator

We currently sell two different Hotfix applicators. The Hotfix Pro Touch Applicator Heat Tool for SS12-SS34 Hotfix Crystals which comes with 7 different applicator heads for crystals that measure 2mm-7mm. We also sell the Vacuum Applicator Heat Tool for SS6-SS20 Hotfix Crystals which is a cordless applicator that even assists in picking up the crystals with its vacuum suction that is controlled by a button above the nozzle. This applicator also has in-built light for accurate positioning in low-light conditions and can be used with smaller crystals from 1.9mm-4.9mm.

Begin by laying out the crystals on your project surface where you want them to go. Starting with either the largest or smaller sizes crystal, choose and insert the relevant applicator head for your tool. Plug in your Hotfix applicator tool (if required to do so) and allow your applicator tool to heat up, this can take up to 10 minutes for the Hotfix Pro Touch Applicator Heat Tool.

Starting from one corner of your project, take your applicator tool and place it onto of the crystal. Keep the tool in a vertical position and apply a gentle pressure. Hold for 10-30 seconds and remove the applicator tool. Test to see if the crystal has applied (be careful as it will be hot!). Continue to apply your crystals of the same size. If you are using a mix of sizes, you will need to switch off and allow your applicator tool to completely cool down before changing the head to a different size.

Embellishment Tips

When using non-Hotfix crystals and Gem-Tac on very small crystals, you may wish to use a headpin from your craft stash. Insert the tip of the headpin into the glue and brush it onto the back of the crystal. Then place the crystal into position and use the flat head of the headpin and press on the crystal to secure it into place.

The time it takes to Hotfix a crystal will depend on the material you are applying it to. For example, small crystals on a flat, smooth surface such as paper, card or leather will take less time than a bigger crystal on more porous materials such as heavy fabrics. For this reason, you may wish to do a few tests to determine the length of time your crystals will take apply. Gently nudge the crystal (be careful as it will be hot) to see if it has applied after 10 or 20 seconds. Increase the time if necessary.

Always take care when using the Hotfix applicator tool as the end will get very hot! Work on a clear surface and have somewhere safe, such as a heat resistant mat to store your tool in-between applying your crystals.

Be careful not to look away or get distracted when applying Hotfix crystals to surfaces. If you apply too much pressure for too long, or tilt the Hotfix applicator away from the vertical axis, the crystal could slide out of place on the layer of melted glue.

Projects We Made

Crystal embellished denim collar with a Swarovski rainbow transfer.

Embellished unicorn scarf with Swarovski crystal AB mix.

Pocket detail with Swarovski Hotfix crystal pink mix.

Sparkly crystal embellished shoes and purse with a black Swarovski star transfer.

‘Bordeaux’ WrapIt Loom Bracelet

The NEW WrapIt Loom by Rainbow Loom is here and we’re the first official U.K. suppliers of this awesome new tool! Making trending wrap bracelets has never been easier or faster with the WrapIt Loom. Inside the tool you’ll find a handy bead tray, lots of Toho seed beads with patterns and easy-to-follow instructions to make four different bracelets. Now that we’ve made all four bracelets in the kit, we’re using our own choice of beads to make a design of our own! I’ve chosen to use a rich mix of purple and burgundy glass beads inspired by Pantone’s autumn colour ‘Tawny Port’, with our sparkling new vintage pink glass faceted round beads in Pantone’s ‘Ballet Slipper‘ to lighten the design.

Project Materials

WrapIt Loom
Czech Fire Polished Glass Round Beads Amethyst 6mm Pk100
Preciosa Twin Hole Tile Square 6mm Frosted Amethyst Pk20
Preciosa Czech Fire Polished Beads 3mm Vintage Pink Pk100
Nymo Beading Thread Brown
Swarovski Heart Button Amethyst Pk1
Purple Waxed Cotton Cord 1mm 6 Metres
2x Beading Needles

Tutorial

Set up your WrapIt loom following the box instructions. Cut a length of purple cord approx. 34 inches long. Thread your button and move it to the centre of your cord. Take either side of the cords and tie a knot close to the back of the button. Roughly measure the length of the bracelet to your wrist and tie two LOOSE knots where you want the beads to end and the clasp to fit. Make sure you don’t pull the knot tight at this point so that you can easily adapt the length later on if you need to!

Now place the button and knotted end into the top clamp of your loom to hold it in place. Pass the opposite end through the clamp and wrap it around the WrapIt Loom end. Pull back the sliding part and press it into the groove to give you a tight tension.

  

Take a 1.5m length of cord and find the middle. Hold the middle point over your purple cords at the top of the loom. This is where you will begin to add beads. Take the left side of the thread and weave over the outside purple cord and back up through the middle between the two purple cords. On the opposite side do the same, taking the right thread around and up through the middle.

To add your first bead, take 1 vintage pink faceted bead and thread it onto one of the threads. Take the other thread and pass it through the bead in the opposite direction so that each cord crosses through it. Pull both of the threads until the bead sits neatly within the purple cords. After you add your beads, you will always pass each side of the thread back around the outside of the purple cords and up through the middle to complete the row. (Bear in mind that it will take a couple of rows for your design to sit nicely).

  

Next, thread on two pink beads and as before, pass the other cord in the opposite direction through the beads. Pull the cords and encourage the beads to sit within the purple cords. Bring each thread around the outside and up through the middle.

For the next set of rows complete the following:
1x 6mm bead.
2x pink 3mm beads.
1x tile bead – Since this is a twin hole, you need to treat it as if it were two rows of beads. Make sure you still wrap the threads around the outside of the cords before going through the second hole!

Repeat this pattern from your first two pink beads until you run out of room to add more beads. When you reach the end of the loom, check the bracelet against your wrist to see how much further length you wish to add. At this point, you can amend the knot if necessary. Place the bracelet further up the loom, gently clamping around the beads. Return the opposite knot to its position in the other clamp, pull back on the clamp and secure it down into the groove to give you your tension.

Continue to add your beads and when you are almost at the end, finish the design with two rows of pink beads, followed by a single pink bead to draw the end to a point. When you have finished adding beads, knot the thread a few times onto around the thread of a row and trim away the tail end.

You might like to secure the knots further with a drop of glue. Your bracelet is now ready to wear!

MINI-MAKE ‘Unicorn Dream’ Key Ring

Welcome back to another Mini-Make Monday! This week I’ve whipped up a pretty little key ring that can also be used as a handbag charm. If you like unicorns, you might remember the unicorn choker I made a while ago. This time I’ve chosen the galloping silver plated charm with a feather,  striped agate beads and bead caps for extra shine! I love how the pretty little flower beads jingle, adding colour and interest to your otherwise boring-looking keys!

Project Materials

Silver Plated large Lever Ring Clasp 20mm (F0392)
Antique Silver Flower Charm Beads 7mm pk5 (MB454)
Silver Plated Dome Bead Cap 6mm Pk4 (F482)
Purple Striped Agate Beads 6mm Pk20 (EX4378)
Antique Silver Galloping Unicorn Charm (CR0256)
Antique Silver Zamak Feather Charm 11×41 Pk1 (CR0052)
Silver Plated Headpins (ST1783)
Silver Plated Eyepins (F0047)
Silver Plated 6mm jumpring (F0720)
Silver Plated 4mm jumpring (F0623) 

Tutorial


Take a 6mm jumpring and attach your feather charm to the lever split ring.


Take a headpin and slide on a bead cap and a 6mm striped agate bead. Turn a loop. Make two more with headpins and one with an eyepin so that you have a loop either side.


Turn a loop with an eyepin for three of your flower beads and do the same for two agate beads (without caps).


Lay your beads out as above and connect them all together. Use 4mm jumprings in between the beads and a 6mm jumpring to attach them to the level clasp.

DIY Crystal Rainbow Loom Bracelet

This month, we’re celebrating all things Swarovski with our ‘Chase The Rainbow’ theme in preparation our appearance at for The Handmade Fair with our partners Swarovski Create Your Style. Inspired by the huge range of colours of Swarovski crystals, I’ve made a sparkly loom bracelet with Swarovski crystal bicones in the colours of the rainbow. Follow my tutorial to make a short and affordable beaded loom centrepiece for your bracelet with beaded loop connectors attached to pieces of chain. You could even take this project further by making the entire bracelet with Swarovski bicones for even more sparkle! I used the Little Ricky Beading Loom but you could also adapt the instructions to use with any other beading loom.

Materials

Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm siam pk24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm crystal copper pk24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm light silk pk24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm xilion peridot p24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm light sapphire pk24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm xilion fuchsia pk24
Swarovski crystal bicones 3mm violet pk24
Soldered rings 6mm
Jumprings 4mm
Lobster clasp
Size 11 silver lined seed beads
Beading needle (size 10 or 12)
Chain
Beading Loom
Silver KO thread

Tutorial

This tutorial will make a piece that measures approx. 7cm which is 23 rows. If you are using a Little Ricky Beading Loom like me, place your bridge into the 10th hole of the base.

Set up your loom with 7 warp threads as per the instructions included in your loom. If you are using a Little Ricky Beading Loom is should look like the following photo. ~You cut a 1.5m length of cord and secure it to a peg in the bottom left of the base. Take the thread over the first metal bar then up to the top, over and under the bar. Repeat this until you have 7 warps (gaps) for your beads to sit. You should end the thread by inserting the peg at the top of the loom.

Take another 1.5m length of thread, pop a needle on one end and secure the other end to a peg and insert it into the bottom of your loom. This is your weft thread. Begin your first row by picking up the rainbow colours in reverse order – 1x violet, 1x fuchsia, 1x light sapphire, 1x xilion peridot, 1x light silk, 1x crystal copper and 1x siam. Pass the needle (from right to left) UNDER the warp thread. Use your finger to raise the beads so that they sit inside the warp threads. This can be a little tricky but after you finish the first row the rest is easy! Keep the beads raised into the warp threads as you pass the needle OVER the warp threads, going through each crystal and exiting out of the violet bicone.

TOP TIP: If you go wrong, to remove a row simply take off your needle and un-pick the loop that goes around the outer warp thread.

Keep adding rows until you have 1 of each bicone bead left. The final row on a Little Ricky Beading Loom can be tricky. If you don’t have enough room, use your thumb and forefinger to run the beads down to the bottom of the loom. After you have added the final row and are happy that it is secure, you can remove the piece from the Little Ricky Beading Loom. Lay the piece on a flat surface and run your fingers across it from the middle going outwards to fill the gaps where the bars were. Weave your two warp threads back into the design, tying knots as you go. Trim away the tail ends.

TOP TIP: Use a red felt tip or marker pen to ‘colour in’ the white thread running down the red side of the loom piece!

Take a new length of cord approx. 50cm long. Put your needle on the end and weave the needle into the end of the piece, tying a couple of knots as you go. At the end of the piece, exit through the light silk bicone, add eight seed beads and go through a soldered ring. Pass the needle back through the first seed bead you added and pull the thread to make the beaded loop. Take the needle through the blue bicone. Weave the cord back into your design like before with a few knots. Repeat this step for the opposite side.

Cut 2x 3cm (1.25in) of chain. For each piece, attach the end to the soldered ring with a small jumpring. On one end attach a lobster clasp with a jumpring and on the other side just a large jumpring. For extra decoration, make a loop on a sterling silver headpin with your remaining bicone beads. Attach the beads to a small jumpring and connect this to the big jumpring at the end of the chain!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Show us your loom bracelets by posting a photo on our Facebook page!

Join Beads Direct at The Handmade Fair with Swarovski Create Your Style

Here at Beads Direct, we’re SO excited to have partnered with Swarovski Create Your Style for The Handmade Fair, this September!

Join us on the day to pick up your embellishment kits with Swarovski crystals, FREE inspiration and hear our tips & techniques on how to decorate your favourite things with the colours of the rainbow, at the Swarovski Sweet Shop! You won’t be able to miss us, just look for all the glistening crystals.

The Handmade Fair brought to you by Kirsty Allsopp, is one of the biggest events of the year for creatives who love to make! The event takes place at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey from Friday 15th September to Sunday 17th September.  You can take part in all kinds of workshops, hear from the UK’s renowned crafters and enjoy perusing the craft stalls to get your hands on new tools, materials and beautiful crafting supplies.

In the run up to The Handmade Fair, we’re celebrating all things Swarovski with our ‘Chase the Rainbow’ theme! For your chance to WIN TICKETS to The Handmade Fair, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook.

We hope to see you there!

Image result for facebook rsvp button

Instant Peyote Bracelets | Mini-Make Monday

This week’s mini-make is the perfect project for beginner jewellery makers who haven’t yet mastered intricate beading stitches! These two friendship-style bracelets use our new ready-made seed bead peyote-stitched connectors to make an eye-catching centrepiece.

Project Materials

(Gold)
Miyuki seed bead connector charm black/white
Gold plated steel chain 2x3mm 1 metre
Gold plated iron 6mm jump rings
Gold plated lobster clasp
(Pink)
Miyuki seed bead connector charm pink
Satin cord 0.7mm light pink 5 metres
Fevi Kwik glue

Tutorial

To make the gold style bracelet, cut two pieces of chain 2.5 inches long. Fold each piece in half and join the two ends together with a jump ring. Connect one jump ring to a lobster clasp. Connect the other jump ring to another one. Find the middle point of each chain and use a jump ring on each end to link it to the beaded connector.

To make the pink style bracelet, follow our YouTube tutorial to learn how to make a Macramé square knot bracelet.

Graduation Necklace | Mini-Make

Graduation season is in full swing! This week’s Mini-Make is just the perfect project to gift to your graduating loved one! Using the NEW and trending adjustable chain, you can wear this necklace as a choker or at any length you desire. Choose from a selection of beautiful Swarovski Pave Pendants to make your necklace glisten and shine on the big day!

Project Materials

SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL PAVE DROP 10X26MM RHODIUM PLATED PINK MIX PK1

STERLING SILVER 925 ROUND SNAKE ADJUSTABLE BALL NECKLACE WITH CLASP 22″

STERLING SILVER 925 SMALL LOOP BAIL WITH RING


Tutorial

Using a pair of pliers, carefully open the small loop on the bottom of the bail and close it onto the pendant loop. Open the clasp of your chain and slide on your pendant.

Pip Flower Ring | Mini-Make

Haven’t you heard?! NEW Preciosa Pip beads are here! Obviously, I couldn’t wait to get making with these pretty little beads so they’re the main focus of this week’s Mini-Make. Follow my tutorial to make a simple flower ring and once you learnt how to make the basic flower shape, you can make all kinds of bracelets and matching earrings too!

Project Materials

Preciosa Czech Pressed Glass Pip Beads (Transparent Amethyst)
Preciosa Czech Pressed Glass Pip Beads (Peach)
Toho Size 8 Round Seed Bead Frosted Permanent Finish Galvanized Pink Lilac
Purple KO Beading Thread
Rose KO Beading Thread


Project Tutorial


Step 1. Cut a 30cm length of cord and thread your needle. String on 6 pip beads and take the needle back through the beads to form a loop.


Step 2. Work your thread back around the flower petals, creating knots along the working cord to secure. Do the same thing with your tail thread. Trim away the ends.


Step 3. Cut a new length of thread 30cm long and string on 15 seed beads, leaving a tail of approx. 10cm. Pass your needle through the centre of the flower.


Step 4. String on 1 seed bead and pass the needle back through the hole in the centre of the flower and out to the opposite side.


Step 6. String on 15 more seed beads. At this point, you may wish to check the size and how it fits on your finger. Once you are happy with the size, pass your needle through the precious 15 beads, and back down those you just added to form a loop.


Step 7. Pass the needle through the loop a second time, tie your two ends in a couple of knots and trim away the tail ends.

Crystal Sparkle Ring | Mini-Make

We all love a bit of sparkle in our lives, so for this week’s mini-make I’ve chosen to use our brand new sterling silver ring base with Swarovski Crystal AB crystals! The end result looks super expensive but actually, it’s easily affordable at just £12.83 if you already have your glue. You could make them for your friends or sell them to make a bit of extra cash for yourself! The sterling silver ring base is quite soft and can be adjusted to fit any size.

Project Materials

Sterling silver 925 ring
Swarovski crystal chaton 4mm crystal AB F
Gem-Tac embellishing glue
Blue-Tac


Tutorial


1. Roll a piece of blue-tac into a ball and press your ring base into it to secure it to your work surface.


2. Apply a very small amount of Gem-Tac glue to the inside rim of the ring settings and press your crystals into place for each of the four holes. You might find it more precise to apply the glue to a headpin first and use this to paint the glue onto the settings.


3. Leave your ring on the blue-tac and allow your crystals to dry for at least 24 hours before wearing your ring.

Mini Make Monday | Unicorn Choker

A blessing of unicorns has just flown in! Take a look at the awesome NEW range of unicorn charms to make your trending choker! For this project, I’ve used the (double sided) white and yellow enamel 3D charm because it’s so cute and a bargain at just 97p! There’s also an origami style unicorn which would be great on a longer charm if you want to layer your look.

Project Materials

White and Yellow Enamel Silver Tone 3D Unicorn Charm 16x20mm Pk1
Black Round Leather 2mm Cord (5m)
Antique Silver Zamak Cord Ends with Loop
Silver Plated Chain Extension
Silver Plated 4mm Jumprings (Pk100)
Silver Plated Lobster Clasp (Pk5)
Fevi Kwik Glue 1g


Project Tutorial