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June 09, 2023

How to Use Wire Guardians for Beaded Fringe Earrings

Bugle bead earring component next to wire guardian
Bugle bead earring component next to wire guardian


There are a variety of ways to attach findings to beadwork. One very secure and attractive way is to use wire guardians. Wire guardians are small, U-shaped metal findings that are used to protect the ends of beading wire or thread from wear and tear. Wire guardians may also be called wire guards, thread protectors, or wire protectors. They are convenient to use and they can help prevent the thread on your handmade bead jewelry from breaking or coming undone. One way to use them is as the hanging loop for brick stitch fringe earrings.

June 06, 2023

Double Bugle Bead Chain Necklace Beading Pattern

Double bugle bead chain necklace
Double bugle bead chain necklace 

 This easy beaded chain uses bugle beads and seed beads stitched together in a variation of right angle weave.  It's a sturdy beaded chain that makes a beautiful and delicate beaded necklace or bracelet, and also works well as a beaded amulet bag strap or eyeglass chain. An advantage to using bugle beads is how quick this chain is to stitch - with each bugle bead adding the length of 4-5 seed beads - so there are less beads to pick up.

June 05, 2023

About Bugle Beads in Jewelry Making

A variety of bugle bead sizes and brands
A variety of bugle bead sizes, types and brands

Bugle beads are long, narrow beads that are often used in bead weaving and other handmade jewelry projects. They can be made from a variety of materials, but most often they are made from glass, and sometimes metal. The beads are made from glass tubes or metal tubes that are cut to the desired size. They may have additional shaping to make them more interesting, such as twists or shaping that gives them facets that reflect light.

This article will look at the different types of bugle beads and how you can incorporate them into your jewelry designs, as well as some issues you may encounter using them.

Types of Seed Beads Used in Jewelry Making

Picture of a variety of types of seed beads
Different types of seed beads including cylinder and round seed beads.

Getting Started with Seed Beads

Getting started making jewelry with seed beads seems like it should be easy.  You've got one or more types of seed beads, a beading needle and beading thread, possibly something you'd like to add some decoration to with bead embroidery or some findings to make jewelry. You may already have a project in mind, so what else do you need to know?

Honestly, getting started making bead jewelry is that easy - and can be very enjoyable, but once you get started you'll find that the little differences in the shape and size of your seed beads can make a huge difference in your finished project. To have more control over your finished beadwork, you'll want to know more about the types of beads, the sizes they are available in, and what beading stitches they are best suited for. 

This article will describe common types of seed beads, how to identify what types of beads you have or should buy, how to find the best beads for your project or how to find suitable projects for the beads you already own.

April 09, 2023

Hercules Fishing Line: Perfect for Beadwork including Fringe

Hercules fishing line as beading thread

Hercules is a brand of braided fishing line that is also an affordable, durable, and versatile beading thread. It can be used in place of other fishing threads that are used for beadwork like FireLine and PowerPro. One major benefit to Hercules brand is that it is less expensive than many other brands of fishing line that are often used for beading. But there are other benefits to using Hercules fishing line besides its affordability.

March 10, 2023

Twisted Bead Fringe Tutorial

Twisted bead fringe is a variety of loop bead fringe that wraps around itself to form a spiral column of beads. The effect is a lot like twisting a loop of string or wire - but, of course, it is more interesting with beads since you can vary the size, color and pattern. 

Twisted bead fringe in neon orange and green

It is not a style of fringe that you see very frequently, but I think that's a shame - so I'll show you how to make it and try to change that! 

March 09, 2023

Beadographer Beading Design Software Review

 Have you heard of or tried Beadographer? Beadographer is a web-based bead pattern design tool. If you currently draw your beadwork patterns by hand on bead graph paper and are looking to do this on your computer or I-Pad instead, beadographer can help you do that. 

Beadographer Bead Design Software home page

There are several advantages to using bead design applications over designing on paper. I like that bead programs give a more realistic representation of my project. Most create the bead grids based on the size and type of beads you specify and provide the approximate finished size of the project. They also have libraries of the different bead colors for different manufacturers, so you're not limited to marker or pencil colors - and you can even get an idea of how different bead finishes will look.

Prior to Beadographer, I used BeadTool 4, but there are a few features of Beadographer that I think really make it stand out, so I'll make sure to tell you those. Before I get there, I'll start with the basic info.

Rio Grande Jewelry Findings and Supplies Review

Rio Grande is a reputable supplier of metals, findings, diamonds and gemstones, tools, finished jewelry, displays, packaging and anything else a jewelry crafter or designer needs. Their selection ranges from base metals like stainless steel, brass, bronze and copper to precious metals including argentium silver, sterling silver, gold filled, karat gold and even platinum. I'm guessing their customer base is mostly jewelry businesses and more advanced hobbyists.

Gold plated brass chain and findings from Rio Grande

This article is a review of jewelry making products that I've purchased from Rio Grande. It is meant for my personal reference to remember which products I like, which were different than what I expected, how the item held up over time, what I want to reorder, etc. 

If you find it useful, that's great - but remember it's just my opinion. (And opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one). There are no affiliate links in this article, all of these items were purchased by me, and if you would like to add your 2 cents about items from Rio Grande you like or dislike, please add it in the comments.