Aug 25, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Wire Rings and Buttons!

Hey Gang!

I am so excited to share this fun and easy technique for making wire rings. All you need are a few materials and tools and you are on your way!

You'll need the following tools:

Materials needed:

Buttons. I used the following:

Czech Glass


I used a variety of wire, but mostly 16 and 18 gauge for the ring bands. I wove with 26 and 28 gauge and used Gilding Matte 11/0 Seed beads to embellish the weaving.

I think the results are really great and it's so easy to create a ring for every finger! (Plus... they will make great holiday gifts! It's never too early to start gift making.)

Check out the entire FTF video below and let me know what you make! I'd love to see it. Email photos to kate at beadshop dot com.

Have fun!

Aug 24, 2017

Buttons and Beads

Buttons and beads make a perfect match when married together in your beading designs, and Beadshop is constantly adding to its collection of both. Sometimes the inspiration for a jewelry design develops around a button. This may be why Beadshop's newest arrivals of full moon buttons have been very popular with beaders lately.
Red Luna
Measuring 18mm in diameter, the Red Luna button is made of glass and comes from the Czech Republic. On the back is a 1.5mm metal shank. 

Amber Luna
Enhanced with the color of amber, the Amber Luna Czech glass button has an Aurora Borealis coating, and like many of the beautiful buttons in this collection, the coating on each bead may vary due to the unique nature of each button.

Total Eclipse
Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Karen Marshall 
Clearly, the moon button clasp on Karen Marshall's Total Eclipse bracelet influenced the design of this wrap bracelet. The laddering technique was used for this, and it is a free project available on Beadshop. You can download the free pdf instructions and quickly collect all the ingredients you need to make one for  yourself on the Beadshop's Total Eclipse project page

Here are some other free projects that incorporate unique buttons in the finished piece:

In Across Cultures, Toes in the SandDesign by Janice Parsons ~ Sample by Grace Noland - A gold-tone sand dollar button became part of the toggle. 
Toes in the Sand 
Garden PathProject and Sample by Janice Parsons - This button has a beautiful dragonfly on it. 

Garden Path
Whether making a necklace or bracelet using simple crochet techniques, like those in Grey Gardens, using a button as a clasp adds even more character to this beaded jewelry piece, designed by Emily Miller. An interesting square-shaped button, called Off Beat, was added to this piece. 
Grey Gardens

There seems to be no end to the possibilities of buttons teamed up with beads. 

Aug 18, 2017

Connections 8.18.17

Hey everybody! I can’t wait to share these amazing customer submissions we’ve gotten over the past two weeks…I took a short Connections hiatus last week so I could bring you the Tiara Challenge, but I am back this week and ready to show! Let’s start off with a bang…

From Mountain View, CA, Kathi G. sent us this absolutely amazing Memory Wire bracelet that she created for a friend. A self-proclaimed “bead collector,” Kathi had an amazing selection to choose from in her stash to create this piece, inspired by the colors of the state of California:

“On one end, it begins with the greens of the Giant Redwood Groves and marijuana farms in the northern part of the state, then moves into the Wine Country hills and grape vines with scattered Cabernet and Chardonnay colors.  Next are the greens and whites of the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains (but no neon bright ski jackets).  Moving westward across the San Francisco Bay, there is a glimpse of the rusty orange of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then traveling south, there are sandy beaches, the aqua Pacific, and the blue sky.  The southern part of the state starts with endless gray highways, bright sun, golden hills and ubiquitous bougainvillea.  Lastly, there are the desert tans, sage greens and occasional bright poppies and surprise wildflowers of the Joshua Tree National Park.”

Isn’t that just incredible? This bracelet uses so many different beads, from 6/0s and 8/0s (in colors like Matte Terracotta, Picasso Seafoam Green, and Matte Transparent Gray AB) to one of nearly every single round from Dakota Stones that we carry…its a great mix that works together so beautifully. This is a great project to use up odds and ends in your stash!

Jeannie L. from Schenectady, NY sends us her really cool takes on Spiral Rope. She’s incorporated bugle beads into her spiral and they give these necklaces a really interesting look. This is a great idea to try once you've mastered the basics (which Emily will help you do here!)

“I have been stitching seed beads for quite some time. My spirals here have size 8s in the middle, bugles, 11s on outside and the pink one has an additional 3mm Czech glass beads. I have learned so much from watching and trying new projects. Thank you!”

No, Jeannie, thank you! It’s great to know that even seasoned seed beaders are picking up new tips and tricks from Emily, and of course we love to see what’s being made! Pardon the pun, but this new twist on the Spiral Rope is just brilliant.

Donna H. of Tallassee, AL sent in another piece, if you remember in our first post we shared her Mini Off the Cuff and a Macrame wrap bracelet made with hemp. This week she shares her own Pathways Cuff in a stunning Topaz Vitrail Matte Superduo and Champagne S/L Matte 8/0s. With an Abalone button to finish the look, it’s a stunner. 

We don't carry the same colors, I am sorry to say! But this abalone-inspired piece made me want to create my own version of a shell-colored Pathways Cuff. Here's what we suggest:

Finally, I want to share some pieces that just came across my inbox just this morning. Marian S. sent us some photos of her work, all the way from the Phillipines! 

She's created a bright Born Yesterday with Turquoise and a Tree of Life Button, using her own pendant instead of a Pi Disc. I think Blue Calico 8mm would be a good substitute for the Turquoise, and since so many colors complement blue you could really choose any Pi Disc for a pendant.

 Marian also created aBeaded Berry Chain bracelet and earrings set. How cute are these? Her blue-green color palette is fresh and summery and would complement a variety of outfits.

“I have been watching your videos for quite some time now.  I'm a long time beader/crafter since I retired in 2006.  But since I started watching your videos, I have learned so much and have been inspired to try my hand in the various projects your group has been sharing.  I always look forward to your shows every week.  I live in the Philippines so if I try to watch your shows live, I'll have to wake up really early.”

Lastly, a really pretty Tricks to Looming using 3mm Miyuki Cubes in a pattern: Try it yourself in Mate Metallic Khaki Iris and Black

Thanks for waking up early to join us, Marian! It's so cool to see submissions come in from far away locales.

That’s it for this week!  We’d love for you to share your work with us! Email photos to me at with “Connections” in the subject line…I can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!

Happy beading!

Aug 15, 2017

Bead School Now Open

Those tiny little beads, known as seed beads, have been planted firmly into the Beadshop curriculum. To help beaders learn new bead weaving techniques, we’ve created a special place on Beadshop’s Web site just for them: Seed Bead School

Seed Bead School Inna Kit
Registration is not required to start learning at this school. Plus, you can work at your own pace and create your own homework and assignments. Begin by getting all the tools and supplies you need with the Seed Bead School Inna Kit. If you are new to working with seed beads, this kit is a fast and economical way to make sure you have all you need to get started weaving with seed beads. It includes a package of beading needles, which are thinner than regular sewing needles, as well as Clear Blue KO Thread, made of fine nylon, and beeswax, used to condition the thread so that it makes it easier to weave through the beads.  To also help you create an area to bead, this kit has a metal triangle tray to scoop and store your beads and a bead mat to work over. Additionally, the kit has a selection of seed beads in black, white, and a contrasting blue. This color trio will help you learn the basics. 

Chloe ~ Project and Sample by Emily Miller
Once you acquire some basic supplies and tools, you can take off from there and work through many of the free projects available on the Seed Bead School page. An excellent beginner project is the Beaded Berry Chain, a project developed by Emily Miller, who often appears with Kate during Beadshop's weekly Facebook Live Shows

Early Morning Ombre ~ Project and Sample by Emily Miller
Peyote is another lesson available at Beadshop's Seed Bead School. Currently two projects, Early Morning Ombre and Golden Ombre, are available as free downloadable instructions. For a limited time, these will also both be available in kit form, but they sell out quickly, so check Beadshop's selection of kits often and catch either after they are restocked.  

High Tea ~ Project by Emily Miller and Sample by Kate Richbourg
Seed beaders who are interested in adding another new stitch to their schedule will be ready learn Spiral Rope, which has three variations so far: High Tea; Fog Over the Bay; and All in Black + White. This rope technique can be used to make necklaces, bracelets, or anklets. Just adjust the total length of the piece as needed.

More projects are in development and will be added to Seed Bead School, so check back often. 

Aug 11, 2017

Free Tip Friday Silk Road Necklace with Boho Components!

Thanks for watching our #FreeTipFriday on FB LIVE. We had a lot of fun creating our NEW Silk Road necklace on air together. If you haven't watched it yet, here is the link to Youtube.

In addition to the Modern Woman Bib component, and Plum tassels, Kate used the following beads:

 The findings and stringing materials used:

You can follow along in the video for exact details on constructing the piece. Kate began by adding the dangles and tassels to the bib component.

You can find more details on wire wrapping using a headpin in our skill builder on Kate also referenced the how to wire wrap a briolette skill builder for tips on how she wrapped the tassels.

After completing the embellishment on the bib, it's time to string. Along with the techniques in this episode, find more tips on stringing with Soft Flex in our FB LIVE broadcasts Soft Flex 101 parts one & two as well as our skill builder; Using Crimps, Guardians, and Covers.

It is a fun and fast project to create! Thanks for watching and we'd love to see what you make using our fantastic bib components

Aug 10, 2017

The Tiara Challenge

We have a lot of fun here at’s certainly not all work and no play! And when our new Tiara Frames arrived soon after Kate’s Free Tip Friday video on beaded hairpins aired...well, a challenge was born!

We’ve created ours, now it’s time for you to create yours. Purchase a Tiara Frame in either Silver or Gold, and get beading! Use whatever you like, beads from your personal stash or our shop...we did! Take some beautiful photos (of both the tiara alone, and if you’re not camera-shy, of you wearing it!) and send them to us at, by November 5, 2017 (we updated this!! We figured Halloween would be an awesome reason for making tiaras...why didn't we realize that sooner??). Winners will be announced shortly after...with gift card prizes!
1st place: $75 gift card
2nd place: $50 gift card
3rd place: $25 gift card
Check out the beadshop team’s tiaras below for inspiration...will you wire wrap like Janice and Ivan? Create an ocean vibe like Cara and Louise? Use chain like Karen, charms like Grace? The possibilities are’re limited only by your imagination!

Baranduin - Rising

We often see inspiration in fire, the stars, the sun...Baranduin’s beautiful tiara uses wire to create a very sunny look!

I was inspired by an art piece I made years ago for a family gathering which was a wire wrap of a sun with feet.”

A multi-textured look of both color and shape, Baranduin’s “flames” are created using wires in different metal finishes and sizes. From one end of her silver Tiara Frame to the other the wires fan out. She’s used bronze, gold, silver, and copper...framing her beaming face, she really does look like a sun goddess.

Cara - Mermaid Dream

Cara started out with a palette inspired by the colors of beads in the “extras” boxes in the office. Looking for a way to add height, she started creating swirls with 16 gauge wire, though she wasn’t quite sure where the design would take her…

“The beads and pink pearls especially seemed like colors and baubles a mermaid would wear! The swirls seemed to turn into waves…”

Completing her look with with the gorgeous Tiffany Flower Czech Glass Button in Sea Green, Cara also added Silver Little Shadows and a host of pearls and baubles (some from her personal stash...don’t you wish we had those pink pearls??). It’s definitely a Mermaid’s Dream.

Drea - Myasthenia Princess

Drea has a confession to make...she is a princess-loving fool. So as soon as the words "Tiara Challenge" were out of Kate's mouth she was ready for this. 

The inspiration came quickly...Drea was recently diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, sometimes called The Snowflake Disease because it affects each patient so differently...but “beading is great therapy and this was a great project to energize me.” Using teal, the awareness color for MG, and a snowflake motif, Drea bead-embroidered patterns with superduos, seed beads, and 4mm fire polish. C-lon and True-2s Macrame’d up the sides kept the base simple.

Grace - Ornate Boho

Grace’s golden tiara was inspired by the bohemian look. “I love organic things that exude life and happiness.”

Using leaf charms and wire to build, Grace completed her piece by adding a hint of color to counterbalance all the gold: Czech Rollers in Champagne and Olive Copper paired with Sueded Gold Jonquil Fire Polish

The details are exquisite, even wire-wrapping the leaves and their "stems." Overall, it creates a look that’s powerfully feminine without being overly girly-girl...just like Grace.

Ivan - Prince Medley

Of course, Ivan had to join the challenge. Who says tiaras aren’t for men? While not a beader, Ivan certainly rose to the occasion by creating a jewel-encrusted band fit for a king.

“I was inspired by my teammates! While I don’t have as much beading knowledge, their enthusiasm was infectious.”

With mixed metals and a selection of Dakota stones (Devotion and Greek Moon), Czech Glass, and tribal Shadows beads, Ivan created an almost color-blocked design (so on-trend right now!) with his wire-wrapped patterns and colors. We think he knocked this challenge out of the park.

Janice - Charlotte

"It's really fun to encrust a tiara, bobby pin, hair comb, or even a bead with this style of wire wrapping.”

To get the symmetrical yet eclectic look, as Janice worked on one side, she set aside a like-bead for the other side. The Rhodonite and Rose Quartz Pavers are large but flat, so encrusting them with layers of wire and little beads is lots of fun. Janice rounds out her design with an assortment of pearls, Czech glass, and seed beads, all in pastel pinks and creams, and with a hint of blue for fun and interest. 

Named for her goddaughter, the Charlotte tiara is beading royalty.

Jen - Goddess

Jen gives “encrusted” a new meaning...a simple gold band is made anything but simple with a collection of 6mm Fire Polish in several colors inspired by one of the first mixes Jen made, "the midnight mix." 

Rather than neatly wire-wrapping a single row of beads around her tiara, Jen gave her beads a bit more freedom as she created layers and gives her crown texture and depth. 

This piece definitely has a Gypsy Goddess vibe, like a treasure chest of jewels just waiting to adorn your head. To recreate this color story, you’ll want to stick with a cool blue/purple family, and add hints of gold and brown for warmth.

Karen - Shadow Queen

Winter has come...and Karen is Queen of the North in this beauty. 

“I was actually inspired by the white walkers from Game of Thrones and my love of the icy white winters.” Known for its exceptional costuming, we think Karen's work could easily be featured on the show.

Her 16 gauge wire frame is draped with silver figaro chains, white moonstone chips, and a selection of 4mm fire polish in snowy whites and silvers, Karen’s tiara is a masterpiece. Using skull beads and a pentacle pendant from her personal stash, she really made it her own.

Kate - Deco Dream

Kate has always loved the hair ornaments of the 1920's. “When I was working on the design, I saw my Lalique Looming Cuff in Nymphs and thought I would continue that theme into my Tiara.”

Kate wanted something with a starburst silhouette since that is a very period style for hair ornaments. The color samples she strung up on eyepins for the FB LIVE broadcast were still together, so she started there and the design evolved onward. Coiling leather around a Czech Glass button, Kate’s bugle beads radiate outward...simply glorious. Check out her process on this Free Tip Friday broadcast.

Louise - Beaded Waves

Summertime is wedding time, and in California many couples choose the beach as their location to tie the knot. “The soft, delicate colors of the waves and sand inspired my tiara design for either the bride or perhaps the flower girl.”

Memory wire in the ring size was beaded with a collection of blue 2mm Czech glass and peachy seed beads, along with some Silver Little Shadows and Copper seed beads. The ring Memory Wire “spring”  gave dimension to the tiara and while Louise used silk flowers, she thinks fresh flowers woven into the memory wire loops would be even prettier.

Flash Sale Friday...get creative!

Last week Kate went shopping for some special strands at a local gem show, and she brought back six stone strands she couldn't live with...