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Katrina

Hematite Snowflake Earrings | Mini-Make

With just 41 sleeps to go until the festive holidays, it’s time to get Christmas crafting! For this week’s Mini-Make tutorial, we’re making a cute pair of snowflake earrings with a touch of Pantone’s trending colour for winter, ‘Navy Peony’. The NEW hematite shiny ring beads fit perfectly around the shiny spacer beads, giving them a cool and contrasting look!

Project Materials

Silver Plated Seamless Rounds 4mm Pk100 (F1041)
Bue Hematite Matt/Shiny Ring Beads 8mm 40cm Strand (EX558)
Antique Silver Zamak Snowflake Connector 13x14mm Pk1 x2 (CR0371)
Silver Plated Ear Wires with Coil Pk20 (F1002)
Silver Plated Iron Headpins (F0035)
Silver Plated Iron Eyepins (F0047)

Project Tutorial

Thread a silver bead onto an eyepin and then a hematite bead (with a silver one inside) followed by another silver bead. Use your pliers to bend the end of the headpin to a 90-degree angle and trim away to leave a post of approx. 1cm. Use your round nose pliers to make a loop. Attach one of the loops to one side of the snowflake connector. Attach the other end to an ear wire.

Next, thread a hematite bead with a silver bead inside onto a head pin and make a loop like before. Attach this to the bottom of the snowflake charm. Repeat these steps to make your second earring.

Monstera Leaf Necklace | Mini-Make

Tropical plants and big leafy patterns and prints are a huge trend at the moment, you’ll find them everywhere! The ‘Monstera’ plant, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, in particular, has made a huge comeback from it’s 1970’s debut. As more people are loving a little greenery in their lives this holey-leafed plant is taking over our home decor..and jewellery! Today we launched the NEW sterling silver 925 monstera leaf charm (also available in gold plated sterling silver) and we thought that since it’s Monday we just had to include this charm for a special Monstera Mini-Make Monday!

Project Materials

Sterling Silver 925 Leaf Charm ‘Monstera’ (SS608)
Sterling Silver Extra Fine Trace Chain with Clasp 16 inches (CH22)
Sterling Silver 925 Jumprings 6mm  Pk10 (SS180)

Tutorial

This mini-make couldn’t be simpler! All you have to do is use a pair of pliers to carefully open the jumpring (like this), link it through the top hole of the charm and close it around the chain.

Tawny Owl Bag Charm | MINI-MAKE

New owl beads have just flown in from Preciosa and I couldn’t wait to make something with them! I’ve used a mix of fire-polished Czech glass beads in bronze and topaz tones with feather charms to make a pretty bag charm. The multiple chains give the piece lots of movement and the life-like feather brings the tawny owl theme altogether. Since you’ll have lots of materials left over from this project, you can easily make lots more for your friends or to sell at upcoming craft fairs. Just remember to buy a couple more clasps and charms!

Project Materials

Copper Preciosa Glass Owl Beads (BG2074)
Preciosa Czech Fire Polished Beads 4mm Topaz (BG0866)
Preciosa Czech Fire Polished Beads 8mm Orange Tweed Pk50 (BG0697)
Gold Plated Tiny Feather Charm Pk2 x2 (CR0212)
Gold Plated Oval Carabiner Clasp Pk1 (F0728)
Beige Large Feather Charm Pk6 (CR0031)
Gold Plated Iron Eyepins 50mm (F0052)
Gold Plated Steed Chain 2x3mm 1 Metre (CH236)
Gold Plated 6mm Jumprings (F0215)

Tutorial

  1. Begin by threading an 8mm bead onto an eyepin and use your pliers to make a loop at the end. Do this for two more 8mm beads, 3 of the 4mm beads and 3 of the owls.
  2. Cut a length of 6cm of chain and attach an owl to the end with a jumpring. Open the bottom loop of the owl and connect a mini feather charm to it.
  3. Repeat step 2 with a 3cm piece of chain.
  4. Connect another owl bead to a jumpring, attach another jumpring on the bottom loop of the owl and connect it to an 8mm bead. Open the bottom loop and connect a mini feather charm onto it.
  5. For your fourth stand, attach your 4mm looped bead to a jumpring. Then alternate between 8mm bead and 4mm bead so that you have 4x4mm beads and 2x 8mm beads. Open the end loop and attach your last mini feather charm.
  6.  Use a 2 cm piece of chain or five jumprings attached together to the top of the beige feather charm.
  7. First link the short owl piece of chain onto the bottom loop of the carabiner and then the longest beaded chain.
  8. Allow the two pieces to fall next to each other and loop the jumpring of your 3rd chain through both of the top two jumprings you just added. Do the same for the opposite side with your last piece of chain.

MINI-MAKE Pumpkin Earrings

Autumn is in full swing and Halloween is just around the corner! I’ve been busy on the allotment, harvesting lots of mini pumpkins and squashes that inspired my latest design! This cute pair of pumpkin earrings is perfect for Halloween outfits or if you’re an avid allotment gardener like me! In this mini-make you’ll learn how to make a wrapped bead cap and coiled wire to make the pumpkin stalk and the vine. You’ll have a whole range of howlite pumpkin beads on your strand to make lots of funky coloured designs. You can find the pumpkin beads at the Halloween Shop where you can find more treats (no tricks – honest!) to get creative this Halloween.

 

Project Materials

Assorted Colour Howlite Pumpkin Beads 12mm 15 inch Strand (EX555)
Copper Craft Wire Green 0.5mm x 25m (W341)
Gold Plated Earwires (F1003)
Gold Plated Iron Jumprings 4mm Pk100 (F0214)

You will also need:
Round nose Jewellery Pliers (W51)
Flat Nose Jewellery Pliers (W50)
Side Cutter Jewellery Pliers (W53)

Tutorial


Cut a length of 20cm wire or 23cm for extra long curly vines!


Grab the very tip of the wire with your round nose pliers and twist to make the smallest loop possible.


Use your flat nose pliers to hold the loop.


To make a spiral, continue to hold the wire with the flat nose pliers and use your fingers to encourage the wire to sit next to the previous loop. You may need to adapt the position of your pliers as you work your way around the circle.


Go around the original loop 2 or 3 times to make a flat spiral. Use your pliers to move the remaining wire into the middle of the spiral to make a post.


Insert the wire through a pumpkin bead, leave approx. 1cm before bending the wire over your round nose pliers. Wrap the wire back across the centre wire to make a loop. For a video on how to do this, follow our How To Wrap a Pin tutorial.


Hold the entire loop with your flat nose pliers and continue to wrap the wire. When you reach the beads, continue to spiral the wire so that it makes a small cap over the top of the bead.


When you have about 3cm remaining, use your round nose pliers to coil the end of the wire. You can keep your coil tight by only using the tip of the pliers. After you have finished your coil, carefully pull and tweak the shape a little. I manipulated mine to follow the curve of the pumpkin bead but this bit if up to you!


Open a jumpring and thread it through the loop of the earwire. Then close the jumpring onto the wrapped loop of your pumpkin bead. Repeat these steps to make the second earring to complete your pair.

What do you think? I love them! Share your Halloween designs with us on our Facebook page and Instagram!

Katrina x

VOTE for us at The International Craft Awards!

Thank you so much for nominating us for a staggering amount of awards for The International Craft Awards, we’re blown away! It isn’t over yet as we still need your help… Voting is now open so if you could please take a minute to vote Beads Direct, we would really appreciate your support. Plus, your vote will be automatically entered into the prize draw to WIN a three-night crafting holiday worth £1,000 for you and three of your friends!

Please vote Beads Direct for the following categories:

☆ Best for Customer service

☆ Best for Quality

☆ Best Craft Website

☆ Best Craft Blog

☆ Best Jewellery Making Tool/Accessory – Beads Direct pliers & Beads Direct bead board

☆ Best Bead Range – Beads Direct seed beads, Beads Direct semi-precious gemstone range & Beads Direct Swarovski.

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 (15/09/2017) 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 to embellish your favourite things!

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!

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