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Finding Beading Inspiration (3/30/2011)

2011 March 30

Where do you find beading inspiration? A lot of us read beading books and magazines, we see what our friends and fellow beaders have made, and we take classes. We even find free ideas and patterns online. But have you noticed that some of the biggest bead supply web sites have extensive beading inspiration sections?

Fire Mountain Gems has a great section called “Similar Styles As Seen In…”. They have over 500 jewelry designs that designers have recreated from ones they have spotted in magazines. They give you the magazine name as well as the issue in which the piece appeared. They also give you a complete list of supplies you need and links directly to them on their web site. There are not any instructions, so make sure you know the techniques each design uses. I found this amazing resource in their “Jewelry Maker’s Library” which contains a Gallery of Designs, Free Beading Instructions, Jewelry-Making Video How-To’s and much more. If you like to keep up with the trendiest jewelry, you will love these inspirations:

Fusion Beads has a great inspirational section broken down in several different ways. They add designs constantly, so they are organized by month, but you can also look through them by Under $25, type of jewelry (necklace, bracelet, etc.), type of stitch, technique (resin, stamping, soldering,  etc.), bridal jewelry, holiday jewelry and magazines projects. They lay out each project with a list of tools you will need, a list of the techniques you need to know and all the beads you need. There are links to the tools and the techniques, and you can order the beads on the same page. They have free PDF instructions for their projects – for the projects from magazine they refer you to the magazine you need for the instructions.

If you don’t get their newsletter, it is worth it just to see the new products, new inspirations and the fabulous color combinations they put together in their photographs.

Art Beads has a “Learning Center” that includes New Ideas, Themes & Events, Jewelry Ideas, Craft Ideas, Resources and Beader’s Loft. The latter two are particularly helpful, containing handy tips and tutorials, instructional videos, charts, guides, jewelry Q & A, glossary, Swarovski resources, fun facts, historical information and more. The Jewelry Idea section breaks down into New Jewelry Ideas, Types of Jewelry, Jewelry Themes, Postcards, Jewelry Sets and each of those sections break down into further sections. Each design page has instructions, a list of components, the tools needed – even an approximate cost and the time needed to make it. At the bottom, you can order everything you need from their site, alternatives for color, chain, etc., and even any tools you might need with one click.

So the next time you need inspiration, have some beads you don’t know what to do with or have trouble coming up with a color combination – one of these sites will help you out and help you buy everything you need.  You may already have many of the materials on hand, or similar materials, or your local retail bead store can help you out also.

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