I'll start off with some jewelry. I was visiting my boyfriend a couple of years ago and was incredibly bored while he had to work. So, I went to one of those craft shops, got some essentials for ‘beading’ and was hooked! Completely and irreversibly! The choice is amazing, from real pearls and semi-precious stones, to more simple (and cheaper!) plastic knock-offs, glass beads, metallic pearls, wooden beads, swarowski crystals, all sorts of different hooks, clasps, wires, rubber bands, tools, books – you get the picture. ;) I bought the things I used from Michaels arts and craft store in Newport, RI, but I know there are other shops that provide the same selections. In Estonia I have been mostly stocking up at the Abakhan fabric shops, but one can also get these pieces from old and/or broken jewelry (especially clasps!), little bric-a-brac shops, pretty much anywhere if you have the eye for it! ;) Some of the things I have used have been collected from the beach. If the selection is good, one can find a lot of shells with a hole through which to put a string, sharks’ teeth (they need some wiring around them for a loop, though), cool stones (with a hole or the wire for loop again), pretty pieces of glass… One can really use pretty much anything that would not break your neck or harm you in some other crazy way. I am by no means any sort of expert in this matter, but here is some advice on how to get going.
To get started one needs wire, string or a rubber band on which to string your collectibles and pearls.
A clasp if the jewelry is not on a rubber band or long enough to be put around your neck over your head.
Pearls, beads, coolness and a good dose of patience and good music!
In the books they usually advise you to make the design on a folded paper (like a paper fan) or a special nifty board before putting everything on a string. I made my things on a string, though. I am not THAT patient, either. :P If I did not like something, then off they came and a new design was created.
Make your piece of jewelry the desired length (it is easier to have a tape measurer and know the length in advance and then simply place it on the measurer to know how long you still have to go). I measured my pieces on me since I had no tape measurer, and that resulted in a few casualties. Fat fingers, walking around with a piece of string open on both ends and loooots of beads carefully placed on the aforementioned string is just begging for a disaster! I bet the owner of the flat can still find some beads stuck between the floorboards! :P
Then it is time for closing up. If you used regular string or rubber band then it’s easy – simply tie the ends together (very well!), move the beads around a little so they cover the knot and voilà jewelry! Go dazzle everyone! ;) But if it is shorter and on a wire then you are going to have to attach a clasp. You are going to need crimp beads, a crimping tool and a little wire ring. You can get the detailed info on how to do that in the list of links at the bottom of this article.
Making your own jewelry is really simple and most of the girls have already done something similar in childhood with their mother’s broken pearls (ok, perhaps the pearls were not originally broken, but that was a long time ago!). It is a good way to make something that is uniquely you, interesting, and also a decent entertaining when TV no longer satisfies. Most of the things also get done fairly quickly, so it is not like sewing and they make for great gifts as well! Good luck and show it off with pride!
www.auntiesbeads.com/ has some really pretty designs!
www.fusionbeads.com/ also very cool pictures of what one can do…
Simply google ‘beading’ and there are a lot of results on this subject!
Some photos of the things I have made and of them in action! ;)
Yeah, that's what I am talking about! Best strawberry daiquiri in a little road-side cabana bar in Treasure Island, FL!
This turquoise set has been worn very often as I really love the colours! It is made of plastic turquoise beads, metallic divider beads, seed beads etc. I just made 4 different strings and then attached them together on the clasp. When I wear it I mostly just twist the necklace a little to give it a knotted appearance.
This photo was taken in Gent, Belgium in May of 2005. Since the necklace has so many colours in it, it really does go with almost everything in one's wardrobe. :P Notice the smug look... No idea what I was thinking of!
This one was inspired by a rainbow and made entirely of seed beads. I alternated the design on different strings a little so they would not run too perfectly and got these cool zig-zags at some places.
Long necklace in action! :P In FL, with a dude belting out Jimmy Buffet songs, people pulling up in jetskis and yachts, frozen drinks, deep-fried snacks, palm trees and warmth! And all that in October 2005!
This loooong (about 3 metres) necklace clasps wherever you want it to. You simply close the clasp behind one of the bigger pieces and let the rest of it hang. I have also worn it as a bracelet (wrapped several dozen times around my wrist) and it could be warn around the hips. It is made with little glass beads (seed beads), pieces of coloured shell and glass pearls.
This one is made with red and white seed beads and red and white swarowski crystals. It has not gotten a whole lot of milage yet, so hence no 'in action' photo.