August 28, 2014

A Year of Designing with Plaques

It has been one year since we launched our plaque blanks. Where does the time go? These four distinct shapes (Mod, Scholarly, Elegant, and Lanky) come in two sizes and five metals; there are so many combinations you can create! Because of their versatility, we have had fun working with these blanks to create pendants, rings, bracelets and more.

Here is a sampling of the beautiful jewelry these blanks have become over the past year, compliments of our in-house design team:



You can find a lot of these projects in the DIY Designs section of our website, where we list out the tools and materials needed to make them. Others are shown as an alternative view to the product. Can you identify the jewelry making techniques we have used -- stamping, riveting, enameling, soldering, and fold forming. If you aren't familiar with any of these techniques, check out our free online video classes to learn! 

August 21, 2014

Double-Sided Stamped Pendant

We get a lot of questions about the best way to design a double-sided pendant so I thought I would share my favorite techniques, along with a few tips.

Thin gauge metal, like 24 gauge, will not accommodate stamped impressions on both sides. In the picture to the right, you can see that the impressions on the front leave letters protruding and showing through on the back. To that end, we recommend 24 gauge metal for one-sided pendants. Don't worry about the impressions showing through on the back; that is how you can tell it's handmade! In fact, years ago, those scuff marks and protruding letters were sought out when purchasing traditional Native American jewelry to make sure it was handmade and not cast.

Double-Sided Riveted Pendant
The best (well, I should say the cleanest) way to create a double-sided pendant is to stamp on two separate blanks and then rivet or solder them together. For this example, let's focus on riveting.

In the picture to the right we stamped two 24 gauge blanks and used the Riveting System on all four corners. Click here to view the details of this DIY Design.

In the project below, we actually riveted three pieces together (one copper blank on either side of the sterling blank) using Nail Head Rivets.

Remember, when riveting, punch and rivet one set of holes at a time. If you punch all holes in all the pieces right away, there's a high likelihood that your last holes won't line up. Aisha explains this very well in her class Riveting with Nail Head Rivets.


Double-Sided Pendant on a Thick Blank
You can stamp on both sides of a blank that is at least 18 gauge in thickness, but make sure to stamp pretty lightly. The harder you stamp, the more the letters will protrude on the back and the deeper the scuff marks will be.

Even if you use a thick gauge, you will still get slight scuff marks from the bench block. You might think that some padding (like a polish pad or piece of leather) between the metal and the bench block would help with this, but in fact it makes it worse because it causes the stamp to protrude through the backside a bit which is much harder to buff out.

On the below project, you can see the light scuff marks caused by stamping on the front and the back.


To remove the scuff marks, I buffed the blank with 800 grit sand paper, followed by 3000 grit sand paper, and then a Pro Polish Pad. Buffing those scuff marks out took only about 2 minutes. Click here to view our mix pack of sand paper with various grits. Sanding will leave your piece with a slight texture but I actually prefer that look. To bring it back closer to a mirror finish, check out the tips and tools in Joe's Polishing with Power Tools class.


We hope this helps you create wonderful two-sided pendants! Have you tried it yet? We'd love to hear your tips and tricks! 


August 14, 2014

{FREE PROJECT} Crystal Cuffs & Bangles

A couple of weeks ago, we showed you how to make this quick and sassy bracelet using our new Crystal Cup Chain. We started playing around even more and came up with two additional projects that bring a lot of bling in just a few minutes -- crystal cuffs and bangles.


We even put together a free video tutorial to teach you the technique! As always, you can buy all the tools and materials at Beaducation.com. Here's what you'll need:

2mm or 4mm Crystal Cup Chain
Sterling Silver Flat Wire or Bracelet Blanks
Gold or Silver Plated Flat Bangles
24g Wire
Screw Down Hole Punch
Chain Nose Pliers
Flush Cutters

Lisa Niven Kelly is a master at working with wire and this project is easy enough for a beginner. She shows a few different options for these bracelets, depending on how neatly you want your wire wrapped and if you choose a bangle or a cuff. You could also substitute thread or hemp cord in place of the wire. So many variations!


August 7, 2014

Beaducation Originals + Swarovski Crystals = A Perfect Pair

We have always wanted to pair our Swarovski Flat Back Crystals with a Beaducation Original pendant and 2014 has been our year for success. We didn't just create a single pendant to showcase your birthstone, we designed three of them!

The trick is always balancing something that is affordable, yet expensive-looking and pewter is the metal that achieves both. Pewter is such a great metal because is has a nice weight to it, it is so easy to stamp, and rarely causes any allergic reactions. It maintains its color and we were able to have these darkened so they have a vintage look of timeless antiquity.


We are offering a shape for everyone: our popular rectangle shape, our 7/8" circle and our classic heart. We put stitching on the outside of each of these little treasures to truly make them look like a collection. Each piece was designed specifically to fit your choice of 2.6mm Swarovski Flat Back Crystal, affixed with a little spot of Hypo Cement or 5 Minute Epoxy. The pewter bezel around the crystal creates a safe haven for the stone so any rubbing or bumping will not cause it to come out.

At less than $3.50 apiece, you will not find a more expensive-looking statement piece for a smaller price point. Because these pewter beauties are 'Made in America,' we are able to get them back in stock in just about a week. No long waits if you see a SOLD OUT sign on one of these product pages! Because of the popularity we've seen with these three pendants, we are designing five additional blanks to add to the collection. Stay tuned to see more fabulous Beaducation Original pewter designs coming in the next few months. Be sure to give these a try because we are sure you will love them as much as we do!


July 24, 2014

It Must Be Kismet!

After years of fielding customer requests for a larger set of our popular Kismet font, we are delighted to introduce these 7mm letters!


Lisa Niven Kelly hand-drew each letter in the original Kismet Letter Set and it continues to be our best seller. We offer this font in 2mm and 3.2mm size and were repeatedly getting requests for larger letters that can be used as monograms.

After many trips back to the drawing board, we finally arrived at design that includes the whimsy of the original Kismet letters and added playfulness of dots. Based on the feedback we have already gotten from customers, we know you love it as much as we do!

We are selling these letters individually or as a set. Buying the set saves you $65 over buying each individually, and it includes a handy wooden stamp holder to keep them organized.



July 17, 2014

{FREE PROJECT} Quick and Sassy Bracelet



This past weekend, my daughters Lucy and Izzy taught their friend Elle how to make this fun and quick macrame bracelet which combines hemp and crystal cup chain. This weave is commonly referred to as Cobra Braid or Cobra Stitch, or Square Knot macrame.

When Izzy saw that Beaducation carried crystal cup chain she wanted to somehow incorporate that into her macrame bracelets. She asked me how to do that, and my answer was "I have no idea, but I bet you could figure it out." Sure enough, she returned 30 minutes later with a gorgeous finished bracelet. You can bet that was a proud mama moment for me!


Tools and Materials needed:
  • Hemp String - Elle used the new Rainbow Hemp, isn't it awesome?!
  • 2mm Crystal Cup Chain - length will depend on the length of your bracelet. You will need as much chain as you have woven part (typically at least 5"). We had a 2 foot section of the chain that we just worked right off of and trimmed at the end so there was less waste.
  • The video below shows you how to make the bracelet with an adjustable clasp, or you can tie on a metal clasp (if tying on, I suggest using a little glue on your knots).
  • Glue - in the video, she uses nail polish to seal her knots. I like to make it extra secure by using glue. This Hypo Cement glue, with a tiny applicator needle, works great!
  • Scissors
  • Tape to secure your project to the table as you work.
(nice nail polish Lucy!)
The below YouTube video by simplyDIYs will show you how to do the basic weave for this bracelet. In fact, Julia's whole channel is great; visit her and her fabulous team of crafty ladies at HGTC Handmade.
To incorporate the crystal chain, keep the chain above the middle string. In the picture to the right, Lucy has 2 middle strings, in the video she only has one. Either way works fine. Let each knot come up and around the next crystal link in the chain and tie that knot tightly around it.  You will see just how easy this is once you get rockin'.
HAVE FUN! I'm off to make an extra long one to wear as a wrap around bracelet!
The YouTube video






July 10, 2014

Check Us Out On Instagram!

Did you know that Beaducation has an exciting feed of pictures on Instagram? We do! It is fun for us to show behind the scenes images and introduce our staff through this fun social media venue.  If you are not on Instagram yet, Beaducation might be a good reason to join. If you already a part of the Instagram community, we invite you to check us out and follow us!


Here are a few great reasons to join our visual conversation on Instagram:

We have exclusive giveaways! These giveaways might include a kit, a tool set, a readymade piece of jewelry, everything you could need to make a specific piece of jewelry... the possibilities are endless! 

Our Instagram feed is a great way to get to the know the Beaducation Team in a whole new way! We love showcasing what we do and who is doing it. Check out the hashtag #MeetBeaducation to see us in action. 

If the giveaways and behind the scenes images are not enough to sway you to come and follow us, then check out one of our other favorite hashtags, #DogsOfBeaducation! Our company is great for so many reasons, and one of those is that we are dog-friendly. Employees are welcome to bring their furry family members to work with them. Here is a sampling of our model hounds:  

We hope that this sampling of pictures from our Instagram feed has brought you some joy. And this is just scratching the surface! Something we did not show is our wealth of ideas and creative projects that we post daily! We have had people tell us on numerous occasions that they love our feed for the various DIY ideas we post. Creativity is contagious and we are happy to spread it around!

Join the Instagram converstaion today! We love to see what you're creating. Keep us in the loop and tag your jewelry posts with #BeaducationProjects so we can follow along.