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. 

July 3, 2014

New Multi-sided Pendants!

Folks have always loved our four-sided swivel pendants and have been asking us for years to carry four-sided pendants with a simple clean hole through the bar for a slightly different look. Customers suggested a big hole so they can wear them on leather cord without a jump ring and string them on hemp, ball chain and even other chain by the inch. Well we found them, made right here in the good ol' US of A!

The Aluminum four-sided pendant has a nice lightweight quality to it, but it's not so soft that it can't take some serious stamping. It stamps easily and because of the 3mm hole, you can pop it on a nice leather cord.

We are also carry the same size in Brass for folks who prefer a gold tone. When we found out we could carry the same length Aluminum pendant but with six sides, we jumped at the opportunity! This beauty can hold a short saying or a bunch of family members' or friends' names. They have creatively drilled the hole so you will be able to see more than one of the facets at one time when you are wearing it.

One of our favorite things at Beaducation is to fulfill customer requests so if you have one, don't hesitate to offer your suggestion. You never know what we might find! What kind of products would you like to see us carry in the future?

June 26, 2014

Even more reasons to LOVE Tronex Tools!

Anyone who has worked with a Tronex tool knows that these tools speak for themselves. The feel, the precision, and the overall quality of these tools is impeccable. Of course, those features are all valid reasons why a tool would be ranked at the top of its class, but I can think of one more: Tronex tools are made in the USA by a family-run business!

On the way back from a trip to Lake Tahoe, my family and I stopped at the Tronex factory for a tour. I have gotten to know the family behind the business quite well over the years; Arne and Karin are the owners and their daughter Nina also works with them. I finally took them up on their open invitation to stop by and see where the magic happens. It was a fascinating tour! Touring their factory was like being in an episode of How It's Made (a favorite TV program in my home). See those metal rods in the image below? I loved watching the machines slice and dice them into pliers and cutters. Amazing! It really is like magic! 

While I don't have pictures that show all the trade secrets behind their tool manufacturing, that isn't what impressed me the most. What I was most struck by is the sense of family throughout the building. Arne and Karin care about their employees and it shows. They have a strong team where employees stick around for many years. Their team consists of friendly, talented craftsmen who know this trade well and put tremendous care into every tool. From the guy programing their most important machine to the gal who puts every handle on by hand, they all care about the quality of their products. Karin does a lot of product testing herself to make sure no tool leaves their factory unless it's perfect.

I have always recommended Tronex tools because of their superior quality. Knowing they are made in the United States (using USA steel) by a kind and honest family-owned business makes it a no-brainer.

Thanks for the tour Karin and Arne!

June 19, 2014

{HOW TO} Make This: Stamped Cylindrical Ring

One of my favorite things about the Beaducation Blog is that it is a more thorough platform to show people how to make fun projects! This week we look at some of our free online classes and create a finished piece that is a mash-up of three different classes. This project uses the techniques from Riveted Rock Band, Introduction to Soldering, and Mandala Stamping. All of these classes are free, online, and fantastic!

We created this ring for our DIY Project section. Check out the actual DIY Project for the full list of tools and materials used to make this ring, then come on back to view all the step by step photos for the portions we did that are outside the class instructions.

We start out with a few inches (approximately 2"-3") of 12 gauge fine silver wire, a couple of inches (2"-3") of sterling silver flat wire, two 19mm sterling silver circle blanks (we used 18 gauge, but any gauge can work --  note that thicker gauges will be easier to solder to the ring, as they distort less when stamped), and a size 7 sterling silver ring blank. 

As you can see in the image below, the 19mm circle blank fits the circumference of the size 7 ring blank very well.  

Line everything up to double check that the fit is correct and to make sure things are going in the right direction.  Then take the two circle blanks and punch a center hole into each one.  It helps to mark the center of the blank, and we have found there are a couple ways to make this easier.  One way is to use our Charts section on our site; there is a chart devoted completely to finding the center of a circle.  The other way is with a Center Locater Tool.  Once you have marked the center point, go ahead and punch a hole.  We used a pair of Power Punch Pliers and created a hole withe the 3/32" punch bit, that's the smallest in the set.  above on the right you can see the two blanks, each with a hole punched in the center.

With the same 3/32" Power Punch bit, punch a hole at one end of the flat wire. Once all of the holes are punched (2 circle blanks and one flat wire), go ahead and start stamping away!

We used a variety of design stamps.  The ring photographed at the top has a star motif.  We used six different star design stamps along with some other stamps like the letter "v" from our 3.2mm Block Set and a 4.5mm parenthesis stamp and peppered them in to add to the pattern.  We also used a letter set to stamp a message onto the flat wire, so ultimately when the ring is finished, there will be a hidden sentiment inside the ring band.

Above you can see our stamped circle blanks and flat wire. The flat wire has two sides that can be visible, so we went ahead and stamped both sides. The one that is intended to be on the outside is repetitively stamped with stars and the other side has "My lucky star, Ruby" stamped on it.

To stamp the ring blank, we used a ring mandrel and a sand bag for the base.  These two items create the perfect surface to stamp a ring.  As you can see below, the ring kept its shape beautifully and the stars stand out well even before getting oxidized. If you haven't tried stamping on a ring before, check out our free online video class to learn this technique!

Now is the time to create a large head pin.  This handmade head pin will eventually become a large, homemade rivet!  Our free class, Riveted Rock Band, will show you the steps to create this balled wire head pin. If you aren't familiar with this technique, check out the class and then come back to complete the additional steps for this project.  

Coming back to the stamped circle blanks and stamped ring blank, we are now ready to solder our pieces together. We want our circle blanks as flat as possible, so it would be a good idea to hit them with a plastic mallet to take out any warping that could have occured during the stamping process.  

Then, with the help of our free Introduction to Soldering video, prep the pieces and get soldering!  We soldered all three of the pieces together at once using Silver Solder Paste in Soft.  If you are more comfortable soldering the pieces in two stages, make sure to use two different solder pastes (we recommend Soft and Medium) so the second sodering step does not undo the first.  

Above, you can see the various stages involved to create our cylinder bead.  The top left shows the bead set up for soldering. The top right shows the piece right after soldering. After soldering, we placed our bead into a Little Dipper Pickle Pot with a Citric Acid pickle. This works magic on the bead. When you take it out of the pickle pot, it will look bright and clean without any fire scale. The two lower images show the bead after it has been oxidized and polished. At this point, the bead is complete and ready to be assembled into a ring.

If there is anything that did not turn out quite right, now is the time to fix it. For instance, sometimes during the soldering process, a blank can shift or solder can flow to a place that is not ideal. If these things happen you can take a file and clean up the edges or any part of the bead.  Steel Wool is also a great tool for cleaning up blemishes and creating a nice brushed look.

Here are the fabricated components we have worked on that will come together for the ring:

Take the large balled headpin and threat it through the bead. Mindfully make sure the correct side is showing face-up, with the ball on top.  Then thread it through the stamped flat wire. Again, the outer band should be face-up. The top picture shows the ring as it will be seen when it is being worn and the lower portion shows the stamping that will show on the inside of the band.  

The next step in the process is covered in the online class Riveted Rock Band with Kriss Silva. She will detail how to rivet the ring together and form the ring band. Below is the completed piece! We love how the patterned stars look on our homemade bead! 

Here is an alternative version of this design, which was stamped entirely with a letter set. There are so many options to personalize this ring! 

We hope these step-by-step photos help to visualize how to make this beautiful ring. As always, and feel free to contact us with any questions. Also, we love to see your work, so don't hesitate to email us images of your finished pieces. 

June 17, 2014

SALE! Save 25% on all filled metals!

Our filled metals -- gold filled, rose gold filled, and silver filled -- are some of our most popular sellers. These filled metals are more durable than plated metals and will stand up to daily wear beautifully. 

Now, through June 23, you can save 25% on all filled metals -- including blanks, wire, sheet, findings, and charms!

Not familiar with filled metals? Here's the scoop:
  • Silver Filled is a thick layer of .925 Sterling Silver mechanically bonded to copper.
  • Gold Filled is brass or copper covered by sheets of gold in a mechanical bonding process. 
  • Rose Gold Filled is a layer of rose gold (58.33% 14K gold, 1% zinc, 40.67% copper) pressure-bonded to brass.
Happy shopping!

June 12, 2014

{FREE PROJECT} Learn to set any stone!

Beaducation has added another FREE class to our extensive curriculum. In Freeform Prongs, instructor Joe Silvera will teach you how to set any stone or found object. Fire up your torch!


In just 38 minutes, you will take an object of any size or shape and learn how to create a custom setting for it. You'll create a pattern, shape and cut the wire, and solder all the pieces together. Finish the piece by polishing the metal and shaping the prongs around the stone. Voila!

This class is recommended for people who have some experience soldering, but even beginners will be put at ease with Joe's approachable teaching style and thorough instruction.

As always, Beaducation classes are shot at an angle that is like you are standing over the instructor's shoulder so you can see every detail.

We have gotten wonderful feedback on this class and are delighted to offer free instruction to people who are interested in expanding their jewelry making skills.

Give it a try!