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!

20180413_111436

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.

20180411_113112

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.  

20180327_143102

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.

blackbeads

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. 

IMG-0866

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.

IMG-1303

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. 

unnamed

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.

IMG_2490

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

6 Color Theory Tips to Enhance Your Beading Designs

We have had countless Potomac Bead customers express their frustration with choosing colors for their jewelry projects.  We hear things like “how to choose colors, it’s the hardest part of making jewelry” and “could you help me?  I don’t know where to begin.” As an artist and former art educator, I always enjoy helping people choose colors for their projects. Color happens to be my favorite part of design in general as you can tell from my colorful arm tattoo.

ashleys-arm.jpg

As The Potomac Bead Company continues to grow and evolve into potomacbeads.com and potomacbeads.eu, so does the way we share our knowledge and inspiration with you.  Therefore, I want to share with you some color theory tools that will help you to create new, interesting, and exciting designs.  This will help you get out of the rut of using the same colors over and over. For these tips I will be using a color wheel I made as the main tool in helping choose colors. If you do not have time to make your own, you can purchase a detailed color wheel from us online!

COLOR TIP 1: Primary, Secondary, Triads

The Primary Colors (Red, Yellow, Blue) are “primary” because they are the only colors that can not be made.  When mixed together, the Primary Colors create The Secondary Colors (Orange, Green, Purple).  These colors form the basis for the color wheel.  They also are great examples of Triadic Colors.  Both the Primary Colors and the Secondary Colors create a Triad or triangle with equal sides on the color wheel.  When you want to use three colors in a design consider three colors that form a triangle on the color wheel as depicted.

 

COLOR TIP 2: Analogous Colors

The color wheel forms a continuous circle of colors that blend from one to the next.  Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are called Analogous Colors.  For example: If you really enjoy the color Violet for instance but want to use other colors with it, you could choose colors on either side of it (Blue Violet, Blue or Red Violet, Red) to create an Analogous Color Harmony as depicted.

 

COLOR TIP 3: Complementary Colors

Colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel are Complementary Colors. For example:  If you want to create a piece of jewelry using mainly blue colors, you may want to

complementaryuse it’s complement orange to add some small pops of color throughout your piece. Every color on the color wheel has a complement, as depicted. What is the complement of your favorite color? Here is a sample of a YouTube video in which we used two complementary colors.

 

 

COLOR TIP 4: Split Complementary Colors

The Split Complementary Color Harmony is a twist on Complementary Colors. Instead of choosing the color directly across from another color you choose the two colors on either side of it.  For example:  The main color you are using is Red.  The Complementary Color of Red is Green.  In a Split Complementary Color Harmony you would choose Yellow Green and Blue Green which are on either side of green instead of just green.  Like the Triadic Color Harmony, this gives you three interesting colors to work with.

COLOR TIP 5: Warm and Cool Colors

The color wheel can be divided down the middle into Warm and Cool Colors.  Warm Colors are colors that remind us of things that are hot or warm such as: fire, light, the sun, etc like the SuperDuo mix Autumn Fire (below).  Likewise, Cool Colors are colors that remind us of things that are cool such as: water, ice, rain dripping off leaves, etc. like the DiscDuo Mix Blue Skies (below).  Using a combination of Warm Colors or Cool Colors in your designs can give your piece more depth and interest.

COLOR TIP 6: Neutral Colors

So, what about all the colors you don’t see on this color wheel?  When many colors are mixed together, a Neutral Color can be made such as brown, black, grey, etc.  These colors can be warm or cool depending on the ratio of warm to cool colors used to make them, but they are still considered Neutral.  Neutral Colors are great because they can accent or go with just about any color.  In beading, Neutral Colors can also be gold, silver, and other metallics along with black, grey, brown or white. All these colors can be added into your designs without taking over the whole piece. They can also be used together on their own to create a classic look.

Flexible Colors.jpg

I hope these 6 color theory tips are helpful and that you can add them to your design “toolbox” to give you more confidence in choosing colors and enhance your jewelry projects. If you need more help in choosing your colors, check out Tereza’s blog on choosing colors for your next beading project.   We look forward to gathering your bead orders and seeing your project color selections!  Share your finished projects with us on Facebook! We love to see your work!
– Ashley Krzanowski
potomacbeads.com
potomacbeads.eu

What is the ideal necklace length?

What is the ideal necklace length? This is a question that many of us who make jewelry may wonder.  Sometimes a design lends itself to be long or choker style while other designs might have you perplexed. If you are making a piece of jewelry for yourself, the simple task of holding the piece up in front a mirror may lead you to realize what length you want to create.  However, what if you are making the necklace as a gift?  People come in all different shapes and sizes and finding the right necklace length can be difficult.  So, with the help of the chart below, let’s go over different lengths of necklaces and where they may fall on the female body.

Necklace Length Where it sits on the body
14” Necklace -35cm Fits like a choker above the clavicle bone
16” Necklace – 40cm Hits at the base of the neck like a collar
18” Necklace – 45cm  Just below the throat at the Collarbone
20” Necklace – 50cm  Falls a few inches below the Collarbone
22” Necklace – 56cm Often hits between the chest
24” Necklace – 61cm Lays on the neckline
36” Necklace – 91cm Hangs at the base of the bra

A 14” necklace length is known as a choker.  Caution, this is a very small measurement and will fit most adult women “like a choker” – hence the name.  If you are creating for someone, and want to achieve a smaller fit,  it is better to go a size up to the “princess” length necklace which is 16”. Many high-end retailers, such as Tiffany’s, will sell this size as their shortest available measurement.  On a plus size woman, this will mostlike fit as a choker.  However, I am a 5’5″ female with aspirations to stay around 135lbs. and I love the 16″ length.  I prefer this length to wear with many of my clothes and make most of the designs that I create (those featured on the Potomac Bead Company YouTube Channel) 16 inches (40cm) long.  For many this is too short and the shortest length they will wear is an 18” or what is commonly referred to as “the standard” necklace length.  An 18” necklace is a great option if you are adding or considering to add a pendant.  This length fits nicely over most crew neck shirts, but is not so long that a pendant will get lost at the base of a V neck shirt — between the ladies ;). At potomacbeads.com, most of the pre-finished necklaces we stock are available in the 18″ length since that is the most popular necklace length.

necklace length

Now we get into longer lengths.  20-24” necklaces will fall right at or below the neckline and look the best when worn with low plunging shirts/dresses or over turtlenecks and sweaters.  I tend to like the drama of a long or short necklace and do not have many that I have created or wear at this in-between length.  More often, many of the accessories that I create are “opera length” and are 36” or longer.  These longer lengths have been very popular in the boho style which is featured in many of my videos including the “Boho Druzy Necklace”.  Many of the designs that are longer than 36” can be worn long or doubled around the neck to create the illusion of two necklaces. I love to create or add a tassel on the bottom of these long necklaces to give movement to the look.  Long, opera necklaces are also a great gift since the length will fit every body type and size. Additionally, many of these do not require a clasp and can easily be put on over the head.

What about male necklace lengths?

In addition to the standard sizes listed above for woman, there are also standard necklace lengths for men.  Keep in mind that men, just like woman, will vary in size. Your male model (wearing the piece) maybe average, small, or more the size of Fabio or better yet, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson which will affect the fit of the necklace.  Below is a chart like the one above to help create the perfect male jewelry fit!

Necklace Length Position on the Body
18″ Necklace – 45cm Sits at the base of the neck (for smaller neck sizes).
20″ Necklace – 50cm Reaches the collarbone (most common length for average men).
22″ Necklace – 56cm Falls a few inches below the collarbone.
24″ Necklace – 61cm Reaches just above the sternum.

Before testing the length for a male neck, also ask if the male will actually wear the necklace.  There are very few designs that men, my husband included, is willing to sport around town.  Most male jewelry and specifically necklaces, tend to include leather and metal and are geared to fit at the collarbone.  If you want to see some “male approved supplies” you can check them out here! 

Kids have necks too!

We have covered women and men but I thought, being a mom, I would also take a look at average kid size suggestions.  If you thought men and women were hard to size, try sizing a necklace for a child.  Children vary soooo much in size that these are just as stated above, suggestions.  I used my 4 children to test these lengths which hit below the throat.

Child’s age Necklace length
0 – 1 years 8 to 12 inches (20-25cm)
1 – 3 years 10 to 12 inches (25-30cm)
3 – 7 years 12 to 14 inches (30-35cm)
7 – 10 years 14 to 16 inches (35-40cm)

Also, it is no surprise that kids grow quickly! You may want to add chain at the end of the design to make an extender so the necklace can grow with them.  Also, keep in mind that stretchy string may be a good option!

So what length is the right length?

Above all else, make and wear what feels comfortable and is a compliment to your current fashion status. If you are still struggling, make a couple samples to get the look and feel of the different lengths.  In our Ocean City, NJ location they have samples ready to try on to get a better idea of the desired measurement before beginning a design. Additionally, if you are creating your own piece, a bead board with measurements may aid in your length making decision.

OC Necklace Lengths

Also, fashions change.  When I was 16, chokers where all the rage.  If you looked at a runway model or even a mom with 4 kids hustling to get out of a grocery store, they were wearing chokers.  But that was 1999.  For the last 15 years only teenagers and goth enthusiasts seemed to wear necklaces tightly around their necks.  But like all things fashion, the trends come back!  I currently writing this while wearing a 14” natural turquoise necklace that I love and only took minutes to make since it is short!

choker

So with all of this in mind, how do you decide?  Try it on!  Even if a piece is purchased or designed with a friend, husband, or child in mind, the charts above are suggestions.  Think about the person the necklace will be worn by and their body size and shape. What is the most flattering necklace length on that person and do they already have a tendency toward one length over another?  Woman that are older tend to gravitate toward a longer necklace while a teen will more likely wear a choker or princess length. Finally, keep in mind that a chain, beaded necklace, lanyard or other piece may have started at a specific length… but you can always lengthen or shorten it!  There are several YouTube videos I have created to show you how to fix a broken chain and shorten a necklace! If you make your own jewelry, making a piece the exact length and size you desire is part of the joy!  Relish the process and do not stress about the length!

Allie Buchman 

 

 

The Top 18 Beads of 2018

Potomac Bead Company discusses which brands and shapes of beads were most popular at the end of 2017, and beginning of 2018.

Each year we are asked at www.PotomacBeads.com “what are the most popular new products?”  Fortunately, we have a lot of data that helps to answer this question.

While these products are going to be based on sales volume, keep in mind that customer preferences still vary significantly.  What one person likes and uses might be completely different from what another individual might prefer.  Still, this information is drawn from the meta data from the past 12 months.  Some of these shapes might become even more popular in 2018, while others may dwindle… we will take a look again in 2019 at how things have changed!

1) AVA Beads
First produced by Potomac Bead Company in December 2016, this totally new bead shape has revolutionized creative shapes.  Each bead is hand pressed to create the thin and delicate profile.  Each AVA bead has 3 holes, size 10mm, and available in packs of 20.  Even in 2018, popularity for this fun AVA shape is still growing, and we expect AVA Beads to stay at #1 or 2 through 2019.  Browse here for projects using the AVA Bead.  In Europe, get AVA beads here.
AVA BEads

2) ZoliDuo Beads
The paisley shaped ZoliDuo bead began making waves in the beading market in early 2018.  With both a left and a right version, this 2-hole bead offers some fun varieties of projects that you will love to make.  Each bead has a flat side and a puffed side.  5x8mm ZoliDuo right and left beads are sold in tubes of approximately 50 beads. In Europe, get ZoliDuo beads here.ZoliDuo Beads

3) IrisDuo Beads
IrisDuo beads were first produced by Potomac Bead Company in July 2017.  (In Europe get IrisDuo here).  This fun marquise 2-hole shape plays well with an incredible variety of other two hole beads, including each of Potomac’s other exclusive shapes.  One side is flat, and the other side is puffed.  Each bead is size 7x4mm, and contains approximately 50 beads per tube.  Need IrisDuo inspiration?
Slider - IrisDuo Launch

4) RounDuo® Beads
RounDuo® beads are one of Potomac Bead Company’s original shapes, released in 2014.  The RounDuo® is among the most useful 2-hole beads on the market, because it can be used with almost ANYTHING.  Each pack of RounDuo® contain 75 beads, and you can also get factory packs of 600.  You can find many dozens of patterns and tutorials with 5mm RounDuo® beads here.  You can also get RounDuo beads in Europe here.Slider-RounDuo4

5) DiscDuo® Beads
Potomac Bead Company’s 2-hole 6mm DiscDuo bead offers a puffed coin/disc shape that also makes a great replacement for any other 2-hole 6mm bead design (honeycomb, 2H Cab, etc.).  This popular bead has been produced by Potomac Bead Company since 2015, and is available in tubes of 50, or factory packs of 600. Get DiscDuo jewelry patterns here.  Find DiscDuo beads in Europe here.Slider - DiscDuo

6) SuperDuo Beads
SuperDuo beads are among the original 2-hole beads that re-launched multi-hole bead weaving in 2011/2012.  This fun oval shape is pinched at both ends, allowing for a wide variety of flexibility in any design.  You can find thousands of patterns and tutorials using SuperDuo… particularly given how easy it is to use them with a wide variety of other bead shapes.  Each tube of SuperDuo beads contain approximately 175 beads.
Slider - SuperDuo

7) RounTrio® Beads
RounTrio® beads are another Potomac brand.  The RounTrio can serve like a larger RounDuo® bead, but also offers a third center hole should that be required for designs.  The RounTrio® also features both a smooth and a faceted RounTrio® (fire polished) version, making it the only fire polished multi-hole Czech bead.  RounTrio® beads are available in both packs of 50 & 300, and offer a wide variety of patterns.
Slider - RounTrio Beads
8) O Beads
Czech O beads make the perfect spacer for nearly any type of projects, whether you are stringing or beadweaving.  These beads have been available since 2013, but continue to be a favorite each and every year.  Each tube of O beads contains approximately 285 2x4mm beads.
Slider - O beads
9) DiamonDuo® Beads
The DiamonDuo ® bead has been very popular in recent years because it offers a faceted look to a 2-hole Czech bead.  This 5x8mm shape comes in tubes of approximately 56 beads, and you can find a wide variety of DiamonDuo® patterns here.
Slider - New DiamonDuo
10) 2-Hole Cabochons (Cabs)
Flat on one side and domed on the other, this 2-hole cabochon shape gives you a lot of flexibility in designs.  You can also use RounTrio beads in nearly any design that would call for a 2-hole cabochon.  Keep in mind there are 2 different sizes of 2H Cabs from two different suppliers.  The original cabochon is 6mm, and comes in tubes of approximately 30 beads.  The later 7mm Czechmates cabochon comes in packs of 25.  There is also now a 7mm “Baroque 2-Hole Cabochon,” also available in packs of 25.
Slider - 2-Hole Cabs 2

11) Arcos® Par Puca®
Arcos® Par Puca® are a unique 5x10mm 3-hole curved shape with a moon/macaroni/telephone shape.  Each tube of Arcos® contains approximately 34 beads.  Have fun with this unique Czech glass shape with all of these Arcos® jewelry-making patterns.
Arcos Par Puca
12) Tiles
CzechMates 2-hole 6mm tiles are another essential building block for dimensional beading.  Tiles are often used as base elements for a variety of bead weaving techniques.  Tubes of tiles contain approximately 42 beads.
Slider - Czechmates Tiles

13) MiniDuo Beads
MiniDuo beads are the smaller version (2x4mm) of the SuperDuo bead (2.5x5mm).  See this video that highlights the differences.  Each tube of MiniDuo beads contains approximately 190 beads.  Here is also a list of MiniDuo patterns.
MiniDuo Beads 180 Colors

14) Crescent Beads
Crescent beads are an incredibly fun orange slice/crescent moon shaped 2-hole Czech 3x10mm glass bead from CzechMates.  The Crescent was launched in February 2015, and we have loved creating beading patterns with this shape.  Each tube of Crescents contains approximately 75 beads per tube.
Slider - Crescent Beads 2

15) BowTrio Beads
Potomac Bead Company just launched the BowTrio in December of 2017, and within just a few months it had already become one of the fastest selling beads in company history.  A whole entire fun new line of metal beads is currently under production, and each will offer incredible opportunities just like this 3-hole 18x4mm shape.
Slider - BowTrio

16) Cali Beads
Cali beads offer a marquise shaped bead with the holes through its thicker profile.  These 3x8mm beads just came out in early 2017, and contain approximately 50 beads per tube.
Slider - Cali Beads New Colors

17) Kheops® Par Puca®
Kheops® beads and designs have been available since around 2013 (we don’t remember the exact date) and feature a 2 parallel holes through the equilateral sides.  The 6mm Kheops® shape is also available in a version called the “SuperKheops®”, which features a 3-sided pyramid style of pointed profile on one side.
Slider - Kheops New

18) 2-Hole Bar
The Czechmates 2-hole bar is another fun 2-hole staple that provides a great spacer or base component in beadweaving designs.  Each 2x6mm 2-Hole bar is approximately 1/2 the thickness of a brick, and 1/4 the thickness of a tile.   Like many of the top 18 shapes before it, you can find many tutorials and patterns that utilize the bar.
CzechMates 2-Hole Bars


In addition to the most popular current shapes, we are projecting that most of the following beads will rise in popularity through the rest of this year, and will likely make the top seller lists in 2019.  If you like to be on top of the latest trends, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of these awesome new shapes before anyone else!  In no particular order:

StormDuo
This will be Potomac Bead Company’s first exclusive shape of 2018, and is scheduled to become available in April.  Lots of designs are in the works, and we predict that this will be a top 3 shape by the end of the year!  StormDuo beads will be available in tubes of 80 beads, or factory packs of 600 beads.  For EU, get them here.
StormDuo 3
DropDuo: 
A 2-hole drop shape bead available in the 3x6mm regular version, and a larger puffed, 4x7mm rounded top version.  Many of these colors have just arrived in the past week.
Slider - DropDuo Beads 2

Amos Par Puca
Like the DropDuo, the Amos is a 2-hole drop shape, but both flat and larger than either DropDuo style.  This size is 5x8mm and tubes contain approximately 45 beads.
Slider - Amos Par Puca

DiamonDuo Mini
The smaller version (4x6mm) of the DiamonDuo bead (5x8mm) is now here.  Not only does it work well with the original DiamonDuo, but the new size gives you a lot of flexibility with approximately 110 beads per tube.
Slider - DiamonDuo Mini

2-Hole Spacer Bezel
This Potomac Bead Company 2-hole metal bead has a setting for SS24 chatons.  You can quickly add beautiful crystal bezeled looks to your projects with these awesome beads.
Email - 2-Hole Spacer Bezel

S-Shape Snake
This of Potomac Bead Company’s new metal bead shapes being developed.  These fun high quality Zamak metal beads add a beautiful and wear-resistant metallic look to your projects.  We have generally been producing these metal beads in shapes that would not be possible with glass.

 Conclusion:
What shapes are your favorites?  As always, it is the customers and designers that determine what shapes become popular, and which do not.  Hopefully this list helps you determine what to prioritize when you are shopping for new supplies.

Happy beading!

-Nathan Buchman
Co-Founder, Potomac Bead Company