Kristen is back with another episode of Free Spirit Beading. Grab your jewelry making supplies and learn how to make a wonderful necklace. This time she strings a necklace with beads below her focal bead and exposes the beading wire for the rest of the piece. Kristen thinks out of the box. Kristen loves to make free spirited jewelry. She finds beauty in abstract designs and does not over correct any perceived mistakes. She prefers to go with the flow and see where her talent will take her.
Kristen films Free Spirit Beading live on YouTube. She discusses beaded jewelry making and her love of art. The show airs every Monday at 11:00am PST. If you catch her live, you can ask her any jewelry or art related questions you have. If you miss her live shows, the episodes are available on Soft Flex Company's YouTube page.
Kristen took a marbling class recently. She learned how to marble paper at a local art center. She used Easy Marble to create lovely patterns. She also learned how to marble a wooden bead. Her wooden bead was the inspiration for her necklace. The marble finish on her wooden bead almost resembles a Septarian or a Jasper bead.
Today, she is going to be stringing a necklace with Tri-Bead Czech Seed Beads from Fusion Beads and her marbled wooden bead. She is using .019 diameter Black Onyx Soft Flex beading wire to string her necklace. She has Beadstoppers on hand. Beadstoppers clip on the wire so you do not need to crimp or hold the wire in place to keep the beads from falling off the wire as you work. You can also clip both ends of a design if you do not have time to finish it and when you come back, the beads will all be in the same place. Beadstoppers come in a variety of colors, which is especially nice if you drop one, very easy to find. Kristen is using a bead mat to keep her materials in one place. She will finish the design with gold lobster clasps and 2x2mm crimp tubes.
Kristen starts the design by cutting a fourteen inch strand and a twenty inch strand of wire off of the Soft Flex spool. She says the finished piece will be eighteen inches long. She says you can opt to make a longer or shorter necklace if you want. She strings her fourteen inch strand on the bottom hole of her wooden bead.
Kristen counted out sixty seed beads for her original necklace. You can add more or have less if you would like, that will just determine the size of the bottom loop of the necklace. She says she may not be exact with the count for the current necklace, but it will be similar.
Kristen says it is fun to string seed beads with Soft Flex. You do not need a needle to string the beads. Soft Flex is sturdy enough that you just poke the beads and they slip on the wire. She is using a medium diameter of beading wire. .019 medium is an all purpose wire. It fits in tiny holes and it is sturdy enough to endure a lot of abuse. Soft Flex is available in multiple colors. She says there are more than twenty colors. She guesses that, as her show goes on, she will be using every color of Soft Flex at some point. She says Soft Flex is marine quality stainless steel. It is kink resistant and will not tarnish. You can wear your jewelry in the water and do not have to worry about the wire. She says that stringing the seed beads is the most time consuming part of this design. She says the rest of the necklace will be finished in short order after she strings the seed beads.
Kristen finishes adding seed beads. She loops the wire back through the bottom hole of her wooden bead. She strings the twenty inch length of wire through the top hole of her wooden bead. She centers the bead in the middle of the twenty inch strand of wire.
She slides a 2x2mm crimp tube over the two wires on one side of the bead. She places a Beadstopper on the other side to hold the wire in place. She pulls the slack out of the smaller loop so the seed beads are flush with the wooden bead. She leaves about an inch between the crimp and the wooden bead. You can leave more or less room - that just depends on your taste.
Kristen crimps the bead with Magical Crimping Pliers. Magical Crimping Pliers crimp a tube into a rounded bead. This eliminates the need for a crimp cover. There is only one hole on Magical Crimping Pliers. Simply place the bead in the hole and crimp down. The first crimp 'pillows' the tube. Turn the crimp slightly and crimp down again. The tube will now start rounding. Turn the tube. Crimp down. Repeat this about six times. The finish will be a beautiful rounded bead. Kristen says if you are having difficulty with this tool, it is likely that the bead slipped out of the center of the hole while crimping.
Once the wire is crimped, Kristen says you can cut the excess wire off. But only cut the excess of the small strand. Do not cut the twenty inch strand.
Kristen removes the Beadstopper and crimps the opposite side of the wooden bead. She cuts the excess wire at the crimp on that side. The focal bead is now complete. She makes sure the focal bead is centered and creates a loop at one end of the twenty inch strand of wire. She crimps the loop in place with the Magical Crimping Pliers. She cuts the excess wire at the crimp. On the other end of the wire, she places her lobster clasp and loops back so the lobster clasp is inside a crimped loop.
The design is complete. A lovely and free spirited necklace.
Don't miss Kristen's live shows. They are a great opportunity to get some jewelry design tips and ask questions.
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Blog contributor Thomas Soles loves Jazz Age writers and crunchy French fries. His favorite gemstones are Lapis and Pietersite. His favorite hobby is day dreaming. And his favorite mustache is Freddie Mercury's. As you can see, he has a healthy (or possibly unhealthy) sense of humor. You can write to him at Thomas@SoftFlexCompany.com