The Ultimate Delica Bezel Directory

Learning to Bezel

I really enjoyed learning to bezel.  The evening I learned, I was attending a monthly Wine and Bead night at the Potomac Bead Company, where we learned to make the Queen Victoria Earrings.

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The evening ended up taking longer than expected because all of the rookies in attendance were brand new beaders or not beaders at all. But, it was was a fun time nonetheless.  After I left that evening, I wanted to bezel more on my own and purchased some black 10 mm Potomac Crystal Rivolis and some Miyuki 15/0 seed beads.  I messed around with the stitch and really liked using a peyote stitch for the bezel, which is different from the stitch in the Queen Victoria Earrings mentioned above.  My finished product was a cute pair of black and gold studs earrings that I love!

bezel2Arriving at this finished product was not without its frustrations.  I ended up wasting lots of thread and not just a few feet.  I’m talking YARDS.  I couldn’t quite get the starting number of beads right and wound up ripping out my work and restarting four times or more.  I also ended up breaking a few beads from too many passes with the thread and needle, causing me to start over yet again.  After I moved on from that project and went on to others I made sure to keep note of all the “starting numbers” of beads and type of beads to use for each size item I was bezeling, hoping to avoid starting and restarting over and over again. Surely, I’m not the only one who has started bezels, and restarted them trying to get the size right and so I wanted to share my bezel directory with you!

Best Bead For Bezeling

After working with Miyuki 11/0 and Miyuki 15/0 seed beads (link), Toho 11/0 and Toho 15/0 seed beads and Miyuki 11/0 Delicas, I found that the delicas were my favorite to work with when starting a bezel and I’ve decided to focus this directory on using Miyuki Delica 11/0 seed beads to start.

 Here is why they are my favorite:

  • Size Consistency – They are incredibly consistent in size which makes the belowbezel3 bezel directory more reliable.
  • Shape – Their cylindrical shape with straight sides allows for a consistent, neat, and tight-fitting bezel to start.
  • Large Hole – A larger hole will allow for more passes through a bead with the thread and needle.

I’m recommending starting a bezel with delicas but after the first few rows are complete and you want to start decreasing the beads around what you are bezeling, you can move on to using smaller beads such as Miyuki 15/0 seed beads and even Czech 15/0 Charlottes depending on how small you want to go.

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The Beaded Bezel Directory

And finally, here is the bezel directory I want to share with you.  You may find that there are some sizes and dimensions of items you are making a beaded bezel for that are not included here.  You can most likely figure out, based on the numbers below and the size of what you are bezeling, on how many beads to start with.  If you do have some information to add, please share your secrets with us and we’ll expand this directory!

BEZEL DIRECTORY USING 11/0 Miyuki Delica Beads
Shape Dimensions # of Delicas to Start
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Round

10mm 26 Delicas
12mm 32 Delicas
13 mm 34 Delicas
14mm 36 Delicas
16 mm 42 Delicas
17 mm 44 Delicas
18 mm 46 Delicas
23 mm 56 Delicas
25 mm 62 Delicas
27 mm 68 Delicas
30 mm 76 Delicas
 

 

 

Oval

13 mm x 18 mm 40 Delicas
18 mm x 25 mm 56 Delicas
20 mm x 30 mm 66 Delicas
30 mm x 40 mm 88 Delicas
 

Square

14 mm 42 Delicas
18 mm 52 Delicas
 

Drop

13 mm x 18 mm 40 Delicas
18 mm x 25 mm 56 Delicas

If you’re looking for something to bezel, check out Potomac Bead Company’s awesome selection of cabachons including Par Puca Cabachons, Cameo Cabachons, Czech Pearl Cabachons, Lunasoft Cabachons, Druzy Cabachons, Mood Cabachons, and more.

In addition, check out Potomac Bead’s exclusive crystal products including rivolis, squares, drops and more!

-Lindsay Seifarth

7 Trending Color Theory Tips: PANTONE Spring 2018

Twice a year, PANTONE presents the world with seasonal collections of colors that help guide designers and businesses to connect with consumers in the most effective way.  As jewelry designers, these heavily contemplated collections can be very helpful.  I find they can guide, teach, and inspire us to try new colors and/or color combinations to enhance our creative work. I thought it would be fun and instructive to apply the PANTONE Spring 2018 colors to the “Color Theory Tips” I previously discussed.

Trending Color Theory Tip 1: How do these colors fit in the color wheel?

If you come across a color you like but don’t know how to combine it with other colors, the first step would be to decide where that color fits on the color wheel.  This can be confusing when the color may be a lighter or darker version of a color on the color wheel.  As depicted below, I placed the PANTONE Spring 2018 colors in the most logical places on the color wheel considering the color instead of focusing on the light or darkness of the hue. This will give us a great foundation to start making color combinations using these colors and color theory.

Trending Color Theory Tip 2: Triads

A triad color harmony is made up of three colors that form an equilateral triangle on the color wheel.  Below, I depict two Triadic color combinations that occur in this collection of colors.   You can find Demi Rounds and Piggy Beads in these trending colors at potomacbeads.com and potomacbeads.eu.

 

Trending Color Theory Tip3: Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are those next to each other on the color wheel.  A combination of three or more can create a very pleasing color palate for your jewelry designs. I put together some analogous combinations of the spring collection colors and also gathered some Cali Beads in similar colors.  Check out our great selection of Cali Beads! They come in the most beautiful and trending colors!

Trending Color Theory Tip 4: Complementary Colors

Complementary color pairs are those that appear directly across from each other on the color wheel.  These combinations are very bold and great for adding a pop of color to any project.  Below, I have collected some examples of complementary pairs from within the trending collection. These colors are readily available in Toho Seed Beads as depicted below!

 

Trending Color Theory Tip 5: Split Complementary Colors

Split complementary colors, a variation on the complementary color harmony, chooses the color on either side of the color’s complement instead of the direct complement. I think these color harmonies provide some of the most interesting color combinations, bringing three bold yet harmonious colors together.  Here are the split complementary combinations I discovered within the PANTONE Spring 2018 collection. Our RounDuo® beads come in an amazing range of colors as you can see below!  You will be sure to find the color you need for any project!

 

Trending Color Theory Tip 6: Warm and Cool Colors

The color wheel can be divided directly in half separating it into Warm and Cool colors.  Here I have the color wheel divided into Warm and Cool colors with the additional of the PANTONE Spring 2018 colors.  Using Warm or Cool color combinations are a tried and true methods for creating simple yet beautiful color palates for your jewelry designs.  Below are some necklace bracelet combinations in Warm and Cool colors made with our vintage Czech glass shapes!

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Trending Color Theory Tip 7: Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are those that are neither very Warm or very Cool.  These colors can be effortlessly combined with a variety of colors to round out a color palate.  I have chosen three colors from the spring collection that can be used as Neutrals.  Though some are warmer or cooler, they are still dominantly neutral and therefore very versatile.  Using natural or wood beads is a great way to add neutral colors and interesting texture to your jewelry. Check out the natural beads we sell at potomacbeads.com!

I hope these tips will help you explore all your color options and enhance your designs.  If you would like some more in-depth color theory tips for your design toolbox, you can take a look at my previous blog: “6 Color Theory Tips to Enhance Your Beading Designs.”  As always, please share your color combinations and designs with us on Facebook!  We all like to see your work!

-Ashley Krzanowski

potomacbeads.com

Thread & Needles: One Beader’s Review (Part 2: Needle Types)

 

In part 1 of this review, I focused on reviewing some of the more common threads available to beaders.  Here, in Part 2, I will focus on the needles.  There was a time when I thought that all needles were pretty much the same and they all did the same job.  I took for granted that every needle would perform just as well as any other and there was no need for me to stray from the kind I had always used.  Now, after trying out a few brands, I realize how important the subtle difference between them can be.

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NEEDLES

Needles are just as important as thread when it comes to enjoying the beading experience.  As the tool you’ll use to stitch each part of your project together, it is important that you find a needle that not only does the job, but one that feels good in your hand and has the appropriate amount of flexibility and length.

 

Pony: These needles are long enough to grip easily and easily bendable.  Although I’ve bent many Pony needles too badly in one project to use in another, I believe it is still worth it for the price.  Since I always keep a pair of flat nose pliers handy, it is easy to bend the needles straight again if I get the needle too bent to continue.

One advantage of a more flexible needle is that it is very unlikely to snap in half.  I hear lots of other beaders complain about their needle snapping in half while they are in the middle of a project.  I hadn’t had this happen to me until I used some less flexible needles.  Not all stiff needles will snap, but it is more likely that you will snap a stiff needle.

Wildfire: The Wildfire needles are much shorter than Pony needles. The short length is preferable for intricate patterns where you may have less room to work with your needle, but I found that it took me a while to adjust to the needle itself.  I wasn’t used to holding and pushing a shorter needle through my project.  This made my stitches a bit awkward or clumsy.  I ended up with looser stitches and my project was loose.  This won’t happen to everyone; if you are accustomed to using a short needle, you will probably love the Wildfire needle.  These needles are also less easy to permanently bend, but are still flexible enough to maneuver through tight spaces.  My overall assessment of the needle is that it is great for when you are working in a small space.  In the picture below, you can see the length of the Wildfire needle in comparison to others.

Another needle that is similar to the Wildfire is the John James needles.  These needles are available in both short and long and are pretty flexible.  The only down side to these needles is that I have heard more reports from customers about John James needles breaking than other needles.

Tulip: These needles are generally more rigid than the other needles and generally have a heavier, more substantial feel in my hand.  They held up better over time than any other needle I had used previously.  I could complete an entire project without permanently bending the needle. Although Tulips are not as flexible as some other needles, I didn’t feel like they were going to snap.  These needles are also a bit more expensive than other needles, but I believe they are worth it.  Many projects require you to spend hours with the needle and thread in your hand.  It’s important to choose materials and tools that you are going to enjoy working with.

I wanted to also make a quick note about the big eye needles.  I didn’t include them in my needle experiment, but it is worth mentioning them for those who are curious.  The eye of the big eye needles runs the entire length of the needle.  These needles are also very flexible, possibly too flexible.  The advantage of the large eye is, of course, that it is very easy to thread.  However, with this comes a needle that becomes so flexible, it may not be stiff enough to easily push through your project.  When I am designing a new project, I tend to go back through the same bead many times.  This causes the hole in my bead to get very tight and I need a stiff needle that will be easy to push though.  Personally, I don’t use these big eye needles because they just don’t offer the stiffness I need.

 

If you, like me, have been stuck in a needle and thread rut, don’t hesitate to sample some different products for yourself.  You may find that the characteristics that separate one product from the next make all the difference.  Don’t let advertising or the opinion of other beaders stop you from trying something new for yourself.  You’ll never know what thread or needle is your favorite until you try them all!

-Anna Taylor

Thread & Needles: One Beader’s Review (Part 1: Thread Types)

When I first learned the technique of beadweaving, I learned from a friend who had her own needle and thread preferences.  The overwhelming selection of threads and needles available, and an incomplete knowledge of every brand, prevented me from venturing too far from my beginnings.  After a couple years of almost exclusively using the brands I had learned with, I realized that I needed to expand my horizons and try different brands for myself.  

I chose to gather some of the most popular and accessible types of both needles and threads.  After threading each needle with one of the threads, I used each pairing to stitch a short strip of peyote, one of the most common stitches.  Although all of the products I tested will produce a great project, knowing the subtle differences between them will help you choose the needle and thread that you most enjoy working for your project.  Keep in mind that while there are certain properties that are quantifiable, what I am mostly concerned with here is the overall experience of using these tools.

Threads I tested:                                                  

ThreadNeedle
I included more threads in this review than needles because that is where I had the largest knowledge gap.
  1. Wildfire
  2. Fireline
  3. Miyuki KO
  4. Toho One G
  5. Sono
  6. Hana

Needles I tested:  

  1. Pony, size 10
  2. Beadalon Wildfire, size 13
  3. Tulip, size 10, 11, and 12

 

THREAD

Generally, the threads fell into two categories: those that were thermally bonded and braided and those that were not.  Although all of the threads are nylon, the thermal bonding gives these threads some unique characteristics.

Thermally Bonded:

Wildfire and Fireline are both thermally bonded and braided thread.  There is a noticeably rougher texture with these threads. Thermal bonding means that it won’t fray at the cut end and will be more resistant to sharp bead edges.  However, any thread will succumb to sharp bead edges or an accidental knick with your scissors. (I personally like to use a pair of Slip-N-Snips since they easily fold into themselves to hide the blades.) Thermally bonded threads also generally feel thicker and more substantial as you work with them.  

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Both Wildfire and Fireline are available in basic colors including black and white. Wildfire has a few more color options with green, blue, and red available. I’ve found green to be the most versatile.  In Fireline, the Crystal seems to be the most versatile since it is not an opaque white, but rather a semi-transparent. The recent addition of the Black Satin color, which touts a smoother surface and permanent color, has made some loyal Fireline users very happy.  

The thermally bonded nature of these threads also creates a thread that lacks in stretch. This is neither a good or bad quality, it will depend on your project.  It is, however, something to consider when you select a thread.  This characteristic, along with its texture, make it my preference for beadweaving projects.  

Nylon threads:

All the other threads I compared fall into this category of Nylon threads.  As I mentioned before, all these threads I looked into are Nylon, however these threads are not thermally bonded.  A plain nylon thread is smoother and feels lighter. These threads more closely resemble sewing thread than the thermally bonded.  These threads have a generally lighter, more delicate feel when you are working with them.  If you are a loyal Wildfire or Fireline user, you will be surprised at the delicacy of these non-thermally bonded threads.

These nylon threads have an elasticity that makes them great for projects that require a little elasticity.  These threads are not to be confused with elastic or stretch cord, but the extra bounce in these threads is great for some projects.  I recently spoke with a fellow beader who thought the stretch was ideal for tassels. As I used the threads, I felt that SoNo was the least elastic and KO, One-G, and Hanna were all very similar and noticeably more bouncy.

Nylon threads also come in a wider variety of colors than Wildfire or Fireline.  I was able to find a much wider variety of colors in KO and One -G with almost any color available that you might need.  Although available in fewer colors, the Hana thread has a beautiful selection of vibrant colors, as shown below: 

 

Now, when I have bead embroidery projects on a beading foundation, I use one of these nylon threads for my project rather than a thermally bonded thread.  The

After working with these threads, I grew to appreciate the wide variety of threads available rather than being overwhelmed by numerous options.  I’ve overheard many heated debates over which thread is the best and have realized that is all subjective.  There is no BEST thread, there is only the best thread for you and your project.  The only way to know which is the right one for you is to try them.

Next week, in Part 2, I will be sharing my thoughts on the needles I tested.  Until then, have fun exploring new threads!

 

-Anna Taylor

 

Finding Inspiration through Travel

As a fairly new beader and a very left brain, a-type personality, I struggle with figuring out what handmade jewelry to create, how I want to create it, and what bead colors I plan to use.  After browsing the Potomac Bead store for much too long, I inevitably end up at the check-out counter with black, gray or brown beads (because they match everything) and zero clue on what I plan do to with them.  The result? A drawer full of filled-to-the-brim, untouched tubes and bags of beads waiting for me to feel inspired.

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At the beginning of October my husband and I were fortunate enough to travel to Europe with Nate and Allie to visit a number of Potomac Bead’s suppliers and get a glimpse into how some of Potomac’s beloved Czech glass beads are manufactured (Click here to see glass production videos!). We witnessed the production processes of a number of bead shapes like Potomac’s AVA Bead and their various coatings. Some of these processes were very new and cutting edge, others were age-old and haven’t changed for many decades. Even this was fascinating as the old machinery and manpower lead to ideas and were inspiring.  The smallest of details have been meticulously thought out and tinkered to perfection, which was especially true as we toured the ClaspGarten manufacturing floors. 

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On the days we weren’t visiting factories, we explored cities, countrysides and mountains, indulged in the local fare, and admired the beautiful architecture of centuries-old buildings and the intricate detail of almost every sidewalk we stood on.  We traveled to Europe planning to set foot in only four countries but by the end of our 14 days of travel we had successfully been to nine and driven close to 2,500 miles. The places we visited were beautiful and the weather was perfection.

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The hours spent traveling in the car were never dreaded because the cities and countrysides were interesting and different.  I couldn’t peel my eyes away! The book I brought to pass the time went completely untouched as I marveled over the greenery, nature, newness, and unfamiliar. 

As the days passed, I started to look back through the images I captured from our travels and slowly I began to realize that the beading inspiration I lacked and had me totally stumped, was ALL around me.  Beautiful patterns, colors, and shapes were everywhere. One of my most favorite parts of the homes and buildings in nearly every country were the chock-full-of-pink-flower window boxes. Bright, beautiful, overflowing window boxes that had me falling in love with pink. PINK! Coming from someone who pretty much sticks to black, gray, and brown, this was kind of a big deal. When I came home I purchased lots of delica beads in pink, coral, purple, and cream.  IMG-0855

In addition to the gorgeous window boxes I loved so much, I was so intrigued by the unique pattern of the meticulously laid bricks of the sidewalks and roads. I thought to myself, what a great pattern and totally something I could recreate in a piece of jewelry! Right there in the sidewalks I could see stitches like herringbone, circular peyote, right angle weave, ect.  All I have to do is pick my beads, find the right Potomac YouTube video,  and get inspired looking back at the multitude of cobblestone photos like the one to the left.  There is already a cobblestone Potomac Bead Company YouTube video to get me started! 

I purchased some great souvenirs along the way but really wanted something unique, meaningful and different to remember our trip. One thought I had as I was going through the photos was why not just CREATE a souvenir that was totally INSPIRED by my trip?  When I returned home, got back into real life, and had some time to do some beading, I went back and referenced some of my favorite things from the trip. Out of my reminiscing and the inspiration I experienced came this pair of earrings that I adore. They took me forever, but it was worth it. 

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They remind me of my travels and the amazing times we had. They were created to mimic the patterns of the sidewalks and the colors of the rich, green countrysides of Europe.  I’m currently working on another pair. PINK this time and maybe a little purple. They too will be designed to remember by trip by and remind me me of those overflowing window boxes I can’t help but covet and wish were draping from the windows of my own home.

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Next time you’re lacking inspiration, just take a look around you and perhaps design and create something for yourself that means something, that is something special.  Something that is more than just a pretty necklace made of pretty colors. Maybe those colors could be chosen after the color of your child’s eyes or your grandchild’s birthstone.  If you need help picking colors you can even check out Ashley’s or Tereza’s recent blogs on color. Or maybe pull up that photo you took last week of that incredible sunset or the bright blue water from your latest trip to the beach.  Many of you probably already do these things and that is great, I’m just a little late to the game. But I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of of myself and the little lesson I learned about inspiration.  For more inspiration you can also check out The Potomac Bead Company’s Pinterest account!

Happy beading, everyone!

– Lindsay

The Potomac Bead Company