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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.

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!

Crystal Shine Necklace by Lynda Pearce

Create a beautiful, crystal embellished necklace using shimmering glass crystal bicones and silver plated copper craft wire. Follow Lynda’s project below and make your own gorgeous wire necklace with crystal droplets around the V shape at the centre. This design is the perfect bridal design and can be made even more special by swapping your glass bicone beads for beautiful Swarovski bicones instead! Find your Swarovski bicones in Crystal AB here and choose your 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads.

Project Materials

AB crystal bicones (4mm, 6mm, 8mm)

– BG1445 (x2), BG1457 (x1) , BG1469 (x1)

Silver plated copper wire (0.8) – W389

Silver plated copper wire (0.4) – W393

50mm silver ball end head pins – F0063

Antique silver toggle clasp – F0105

(You will also need round nose pliers & wire cutters)

Step 1) cut a 40cm length of the 0.8mm wire. Find the centre point and create a loop in the centre of the wire.

Step 2) measure a point 5cm away from the first loop on the working wire. Use your round nose pliers to make a loop at this point, curving the wire slightly between the two loops.

Step 3) measure a point 5cm away from the new loop you made and repeat the process from step 2. Repeat the process one more time so you have 4 loops in total.

Step 4) finish the end of the wire off with one final upward facing loop.

Step 5) repeat steps 2-4 on the other side of the wire. Your finished piece should look like this.

Step 6) cut a 2m length of 0.4mm wire and anchor the centre of the wire to the centre loop on your wire frame piece. You should have two working ends of equal length.

Step 7) add a 4mm crystal to one of the new wire ends. Position it above the curved wire on your frame, then wrap the working wire around the frame twice to lock it in place.

Step 8) add another 4mm crystal to the same wire, position it neatly next to the first one then wrap the wire twice again. Repeat this process until you have filled the whole curve with crystals.

Step 9) continue along the length of the wire frame until there are crystals all along the one edge. Repeat the process along the other side with your second working wire until the top edge of the frame is completely filled.

Step 10) cut another 2m length of 0.4mm wire and anchor it at the base of the centre loop as before. Add a crystal to one end of the new wire and position it on the underside of the curved wire. Wrap the working wire around the frame to anchor, using the point between the previously added crystals to position it. Repeat this process all along the curve again.

Step 11) continue adding crystals to the underside until the whole frame is full, then repeat the process on the second side.

Step 12) add two 4mm crystals, two 6mm crystals and two 8mm crystals to a ball ended head pin. Create 3 icicle droppers like this.

Step 13) create some smaller icicles by adding one crystal of each size to a pin. You will need 4 icicles this size.

Step 14) roll the tops of the headpins with your round nose pliers. Before closing the loops completely, attach the icicles to the loops on the crystallised wire frame. Ensure that the central icicle is a long one.

Step 15) Position the remaining icicles so that the sizes alternate as shown. The very end loops should have shorter droppers made using one 4mm, one 6mm then another 4mm crystal on to finish.

Step 16) to finish, add a length of chain to either side of the icicle piece. You can either use ready made chain or create a beaded chain using the remaining crystals and 0.8mm wire like the one shown. When you are happy with the length, add one part of the toggle clasp to each side and your necklace is complete!

 

Festival Tassel Earrings | Summer Jewellery

Make these trending earrings using super soft white thread, colourful satin cord and some shining gold findings! This design is so easy to personalise and adapt with more beads, different cords and your favourite metallic findings. Follow the project below and make your earrings, perfect for wearing this Summer!

Project Materials

Soft white thread

0.5mm Turquoise satin cord

0.5mm Electric satin cord

Gold plated ear drop frames

Gold plated earwires

Gold plated eyepins

4mm Capri Blue fire polish beads

Step 1.

Take one of your ear drop frames and open it at the top.

Step 2. 

Cut a piece of sturdy cardboard measuring approx. 4cm. From the reel of thread, wrap your white thread around this approx. 70 times. Pass the wire of your earring drop under the threads like in the image below.

Step 3. 

Leave a few inches of thread and cut your thread off your reel. Move this tail thread upwards and out of the way so it doesn’t get cut. Carefully slot one side of your scissors under the threads on one side. Cut them at the base while holding the top of the tassel near to the earring drop loop. Pull the earring upwards and take your tassel off the cardboard.

Step 4.

Take your long length of thread on your tassel and wrap this tightly around the top of the tassel, below the earring loop. Holding this in place, take a second piece of thread from within the tassel, and knot your wrapped thread to this. Knot a second time to secure. You can now trim this longer thread to match the rest.

Step 5.

Make a total of 8 tassels just like the first one.

Step 6.

Cut a length of dark blue cord measuring approx. 10″. Position your 8 tassels around your earring like in the image below and start wrapping your blue cord once around each tassel loosely.

Step 7.

Once you have wrapped once around all of your tassels, gently pull each gap together, starting from one side until your tassels are close together. This is what the back of your earring will look like.

Step 8.

Secure this cord to the back of your earring by knotting to the cord that passed around the last tassel. Bring the cord around the last tassel and knot it to the back. Before knotting the second side of the earring, spend some time to move the blue cord along again to tighten the wrapping. Then complete this section by knotting the other end. The images below show the back and front of the earring.

 

Step 9.

Repeat this process using a new length of turquoise cord. To start this, take a length of cord measuring 20″ (twice as long as with the dark blue cord). Fold it in half and knot to your first tassel like in the image below. Simply bring the folded end of cord under the tassel and thread the other ends through the loop on the end to secure to the tassel.

Step 10.

Continue wrapping around each tassel as you did before to add another layer of colourful cord.

Step 11. 

Once you have loosely wrapped all the way to the other side of the tassels, spend some time pulling your thread tighter around each tassel. Complete this and knot at the other side on the back of the earring. Knot a second time to secure and trim off the excess thread,

Step 12. 

Turn your earring over and look at how neat or how short you want your tassels to be. I chose to trim off 1cm to neaten my earring.

Step 13.

Take a fire polish bead, an eyepin and your earwire.

Step 14. 

Thread your bead onto the eyepin and bend the pin to a 90 degree angle above the bead. Trim off the excess pin leaving 1cm of wire. Next, turn a loop using your round nose pliers.

Step 15.

Finally, open one side of your eyepin and thread onto your tassel earring. Close the loop securely. Open the other loop on the eyepin and attach this to your earwire. Close the loop securely. Hold up your earring and twist the loops on your eyepin so that your earring hangs correctly.

 

Try personalising your earrings with little seed beads knotted onto your tassels or more layers of colourful cord!

 

Make a Beaded Pompom Keyring

We’re always looking for ways to make our everyday accessories match our outfits and jewellery. This cute pompom charm is perfect for attaching to your keys and your Summer purse! It’s so easy to make your own personalised keyring charms and pendants. Once you’ve mastered this fun project, why not make your own tiny pompoms and attach them to ear wires or a delicate charm bracelet?

Project Materials

  • Pink Cotton 6 Strand Mouline Thread 8 Metres
  • 8mm Czech Fire Polished Beads
  • 8mm Silver Plated Jump Rings
  • Cardboard for your pompom template/frame

Step 1.

Cut out 2 circles of cardboard measuring 1.5″ (3.5cm) across. Cut a 1cm slot in the side and cut a small circle in the centre of each.

Step 2.

Cut a 4″ piece of cord and position it around the small circle in the centre of one of your cardboard frames – like in the image below. Place the other circle of cardboard on top. You can hold these together with paper clips or bulldog clips if you want.

 

Step 3. 

Take your long 8metre length of cord and start wrapping this around your pompom frame.

Continue to wrap your cord around your frame until you have used all 8metres.

 

Step 4. 

Once you are finished wrapping, loosely knot your two short pieces of cord from inbetween your cardboard frames together.

Step 5. 

Take a pair of small and sharp scissors and cut around the edge of your circle frames. Then tightly pull your two cords you knotted together to secure your pompom. Knot these threads again tightly.

Step 6.

Finally, thread on your chosen beads and knot your thread to a jump ring or straight onto your keychain!

Trim off any tail threads and neaten any end threads. You can add a drop of glue or clear nail polish to your knots to secure further.

 

Spool Knitting with Beads

Try your hand at spool knitting with this simple tutorial using pretty pink cord and matching seed beads! This project is a great place to start for beginners to spool knitting.

 

Project Materials

  • 0.7mm Satin Cord
  • 9mm Cord Ends, Clasp and Extension Chain
  • Size 8 Round Seed Beads
  • Fevi Kwik Instant Glue
  • Beadalon 4 Prong Wire Knitter Tool
  • Crochet Hook

Watch this quick 3 minute video by Artistic Wire to learn how to get started with your Beadalon 4 Prong Wire Knitting Tool.

You’ll learn the basic technique and movement to make to start knitting before you start adding your beads.

 

Step 1.

Take your reel of cord and thread on approx. 100 seed beads. Don’t worry about threading them to the end of the cord, you will need them quite near to where you are working so that you can add a bead between each movement. You can add a knot to the very end of the cord if you are worried they will fall off the end.

Take your working end of the cord and thread it down through your knitting tool/spool.

Step 2.

Leave the end of the cord underneath the spool and wrap the section coming out of the top around the 4 prongs like in the image below.

Step 3.

Take the working thread on the right hand side (in the image above) and wrap it around the outside of the prong below it, above the thread already around this prong (see image below).

Step 4.

Take your crochet hook and lift this lower thread on this prong, up and over the prong towards the inside of the spool and let it go.

 

Step 5.

Continue this technique, taking your working thread around the next prong shown above next to my thumb, and lift the thread below it up and over with your crochet hook.

Take a look at the video above to see the technique repeated all the way around the spool.

Make sure, after every movement, you pull the cord coming out the bottom of the spool, this will keep your work tighter and more even. You can add a weight to the cord if you would like.

Step 6.

Continue knitting around the spool 3 or 4 times. This knitted section will fit inside your cord end and be hidden.

Start adding beads inbetween each movement. As you bring your thread around to the next prong, slide a seed bead up into the gap between the prongs and continue to finish the step.

Step 7.

Continue adding a bead inbetween each prong. You will start to see your work forming down the centre of the spool and you can continue until you have approx. 5 or 6″ of beaded cord.

Step 8.

Your knitted cord will be very flexible and soft and will be able to stretch and twist.

Once you are happy with the amount of knitted cord, finish your knitting with 3 or 4 rounds of the spool without adding beads. Pull this tightly at the end and make a couple of knots to secure the end of the thread.

Remove your knitting from your spool and check you are happy with your design. Cut off the rest of the reel of cord. Knot the other end of your knitting (the end you started with) to secure this further.

Step 9.

Trim down the end tails of thread leaving the end of the knitted cord to fit into your cord ends. Test that the end of the knitted section fits into your cord end before you glue it in.

Add a few drops of glue into the cord end and coat the inside of the metal around the edges so that the cords will stick to the cord end on all sides. Squash the end of the knitted cord into the cord end and move it around so that it sticks to the edges. You can add more glue inbetween the gaps of cord if you need to using the precise nozzle on your glue.

Repeat this on the other end of your bracelet!

How To: Kumihimo with Preciosa Tee Beads

The new Preciosa Tee beads are here and we just love their unique, interlocking design! Joy Wignall couldn’t wait to get her hands on the new beads and shares her Kumihimo necklace and bracelet project in the tutorial below. The gunmetal seed beads contrast perfectly with the plum and frosted silver AB Tee beads to make a cool, wintery look! Check out all the Preciosa Tee beads to make an alternative colour combination if you wish. 
kumihimo-tee-bead-project-beads-direct

Project Materials

Preciosa Pressed Tee Beads Plum x3 (BG0659)
Preciosa Pressed Tee Beads Frosted Silver AB x3 (BG0650)
Toho Size 8 Round Seed Beads Metallic Hematite x3 (8TR81)
Antique Silver Zamak Heart Toggle Clasp (F0108)
Silver Plated Kumihimo Bullet End Caps 3mm (F743)
Silver Plated Iron Jumprings 5mm 0.8mm (F0211)
S-Lon Bead Cord Gunmetal (TC663)
Silver Plated Magnetic Clasp (F982)
Small Round Kumihimo Disk (W343)
No Tangle Thread Bobbins (W510)
Fevi Kwik Glue (W311)

< ORDER ALL MATERIALS >

Project Tutorial

For tips on how to Kumihimo, check out Sarah Milsop’s Kumihimo necklace video tutorial.

To make a 50cm necklace, cut four 2 metre lengths of S-Lon cord. Gather the middle of the four cords and tie a knot. Push the knot through the centre of your Kumihimo disk.  Tie a weight on to the knot for the tension.  I started with a 90 gram weight and changed to 45 grams when I reached the Tee beads, changing again to 30 grams at the end of the Tee beads, this allows for an even tension through the whole necklace.  I use a bag of coins so it is easy to change the weight. Set up the disk by slotting two strands either side of the dots at 8, 16, 24 and 32.

On each of the four strands at 16 and 32 thread 133 size 8 Seed Beads, either tie a knot around the last bead or go back through the bead to use as a stopper bead.

On the remaining four strands thread 35 seed beads, then 22 Tee beads, followed by another 35 seed beads. If you are using two colours of Tee beads thread one strand of each colour at each point, making sure they are in the same order on the opposite point.

step1

Wind the threads onto bobbins, this helps stop the threads from tangling.

Begin braiding starting with point 32 at the top and count 64 passes to give a couple of centimetres of braid.  This is important to provide a strong base for the beads.

To start adding beads slide a bead up the cord towards the point of braiding and press it as close as possible to the braid making sure it is tucked under the last cord to have been moved.

kumi

Carry on braiding as normal dropping a bead into place on each move until you reach the first Tee bead to be added.  Change the weight for the tension to 45 grams.

On the Tee bead passes drop one Tee bead on each pass, making sure the smaller end points towards the middle.  On the seed bead passes drop 3 seed beads on each pass.  Use your finger to keep them there if necessary.  If the seed beads try to ‘jump’ out of place pull the underside of the braid through the middle slightly.

kumi-2

Continue until all the Tee beads have been used.  Change the weight to 30 grams and continue braiding adding one seed bead at each pass.  Keep going until all the beads have been used or until the length of seed bead section is the same as the first section, you may need more or less beads here depending on the tension of your work.

When you are happy with the length, braid another 64 passes without beads to create a couple of centimetres at the end.  Remove cords from the notches and knot together so the braid doesn’t unravel.

necklace

Wrap some cotton tightly around the braid at the length needed for the cord end and sew through the braid a couple of times to make sure it is securely fastened.  Do this at both ends.  When you are happy that you have secured the braid cut the knots off.

caps

To complete glue each end into the end cap and allow to dry. Attach the clasp with jump rings.

To make a 19cm matching bracelet

Cut four 1.2 metres of S-Lon cord and follow the basic instructions as above, but thread 69 seed beads on the four strands at point 16 and 32. On the other 4 strands add 2 seed beads, 22 Tee beads then 2 seed beads. Use a 45 gram weight throughout for the tension.

Separate the magnetic clasp and glue onto each end of the bracelet,  glueing them separately in case the glue seeps through to the magnet.

end

We hope you enjoyed Joy’s beautiful Kumihimo project. Are you feeling inspired? You can find all your project materials right here. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

kumihimo-tee-bead-project-beads-direct

kumi-long