December 18, 2014

Bead&Button Show 2015!

I love this time of year, when the Bead&Button Show class catalog arrives in the mail and I can sit down and browse through all the wonderful and creative classes being offered. You, too, can check out all the classes and events by visiting their website. This is the biggest and best show of the year! If you are into making jewelry and love shopping for beads, then you need to head to Milwaukee in June!

A handful of instructors here at Beaducation.com will also be at the show. If you love their online classes, you should make it a priority to participate in a live one! Click on an instructor's name to see which classes they are teaching at the Bead&Button Show in 2015:

Beaducation is once again a proud sponsor of the Wirework category in the BeadDreams competition at the Show. Click here to view some of the amazing finalists and winners from the past few years. We encourage you to dig deep, get creative, and enter this competition! There are some amazing prizes in each category. For the Wirework category, the top 3 finalists will receive gift certificates to Beaducation.com ($300 for 1st Place, $200 for 2nd Place, $100 for 3rd Place). Entry deadline is March 15th.

What are you going to make?


December 11, 2014

Fun Projects for Kids!

Your kids are home from school for the holidays and you don't want them looking at a screen all day. You also don't want them driving you crazy by insisting they are SOOOO BORED. Why not introduce them to jewelry making? There are so many projects that are easy and fun for school-age kids, and these handmade projects make great gifts! You probably already have many of the tools and supplies on-hand.

STAMPING ON METAL
Beaducation's roots run deep in stamping, and it's no wonder that Lisa's daughter took to the technique so readily. Young Lucy Kelly loved stamping so much that she asked her mom if she could teach a class that was "less boring" than Lisa's own Stamping On Metal class. It's a class for kids, by a kid! Have your little ones watch Stamping on Metal for Kids while you get the tools and materials set up. Then let them practice on some copper before getting to work on a handmade pendant or ornament. They'll be hooked on stamping in no time! Have fun with our original blank shapes like mustaches and mason jars, or pairs that are perfect for best friends like broken hearts and puzzle pieces!



BLINGY WOVEN BRACELETS
If your daughters have developed an affinity for things that sparkle, this woven bracelet is the perfect project for them. All you need is some crystal cup chain and cord, plus a clasp to keep it secure on your wrist. We particularly like the colored hemp cord we carry! Check out the how-to in this blog post, including a video that will teach you the weaving technique.



ENGRAVED GIFTS
If your child has mastered writing and drawing, he or she will love engraving! A hand-drawn picture is the perfect way to personalize a gift, and it doesn't have to be jewelry. Check out this post, where Lisa shows how she engraved a fancy patterned monogram on a glass mason jar. If you've got kids who are prone to fighting over things like their stainless steel water bottles, you might encourage them to engrave their name or a special picture on them. Of course, engraving on our new 2" circle blanks or large tree and heart blanks is a great idea as well!


We hope our crafting ideas help you enjoy the holiday season by inviting your children to join you in the studio. If your children do end up making any projects, please share them with us in the comments or by emailing us

Happy crafting!

December 5, 2014

The Perfect Stampable Ornament

We are so excited to announce that we have just received our new large tree and heart blanks, perfect for ornaments. These big beauties were designed in-house especially for the holidays!


I have been having a good time stamping on these! I made the below ornaments for my two besties, perfect for when we get together on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts. I will admit, I am a bit of a stamping perfectionist and the D in "Dowley" jumped when I struck it and caused a bit of shadowing. Typically I would say a bad word and throw it in the scrap pile, but today I am feeling the Christmas spirit and can relax a little. I actually think it looks kinda cool! I have 12 more blanks on my work bench, ready to make for all my family members. Don't forget about our 2" circles as well. They also make great ornaments. 

Do these ornament blanks inspire you? What will you make with them? Maybe string on some seed beads to look like garland, attach some crystal snap rivets or toss on some patina to add color? Oh the options! So many! Have fun playing!

November 27, 2014

We are thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving from Beaducation!


Among other things, we are so thankful for such a fun and loyal customer base! When we write blog posts, post on our Facebook and Instagram pages, or send newsletters, we feel like we are talking directly to each of you individually. That's the beauty of being a small business! We can have personal relationships with our customers.

It has been a wonderful year, sharing new products, techniques, and design ideas with you. We already have plans for more of the same in 2015. In the meantime, let's enjoy the season and relish in making it a handmade holiday. Cheers!




November 20, 2014

Make It a Handmade Holiday!

'Tis the season my friends. Time to shower your friends, family, teachers, coworkers, dog walker and babysitter with handmade gifts! For simple, quick and satisfying gift ideas we've got you covered. Lisa has put together a list of quick and easy yet impressive projects for you. So get your pencil out and let's start checking off some boxes on your gift list!

 SISTER-IN-LAW
Briolette Earrings! 
Your sister-in-law is classy, loves color, and has been begging you to make her jewelry for years. This gal needs Briolette Earrings in her favorite color! Two pair of chain or flat nose pliers are the only tools you need to assemble these. Make them as long or as short as you like, simply by adding more jump rings and crystals. She is going to love these!



TEACHER GIFTS
Spiro Pendants!
Let's face it, teachers are the hardest working people on the planet. They deserve to be blown away. This show-stopper Spiro Pendant is easy to wear and easy to make. These can take as little as 10 minutes to construct...but shhhhh, no one needs to know that. Be prepared for screams and hugs when the teacher in your life opens this gift. Is your teacher a dude who doesn't wear pendants? How about a personalized money clip? Equally as awesome!



BOOK CLUB SECRET SANTA GIFT
Wine Charms!
You gave them personalized stamped jewelry last year and they couldn't stop talking about it. Winning! This year, take your Secret Santa gift giving one step further with some stamped wine charms. 'Fess up, you don't really talk about the book, you just sit around and drink wine! Well, you might as well make it easier to keep track of your glass. Our nickel 1/2" circle blanks are just $0.45 each. If you make a set of 8 wine charms, you're looking at the low cost of $3.60 for materials plus the cost of a pretty ribbon to tie them on (but you already have tons of ribbon hangin' around). It will take you less time to make these than it would for you to drive to Nordstrom to get a boring old scarf. Boom, you win "best gift" two years in a row! Every club has a rule-follower who actually reads the book. Impress her (ha!) by stamping her favorite passage on a bookmark!



FOR EVERYONE ELSE ON YOUR LIST
Stamped Jewelry

Boy, aren't you glad you have mad stamping skills! You can easily create a meaningful gift for everyone on your list. Personalize each piece with a font that shows their personality and a design stamp that highlights their hobby. Pick from a variety of metals, choosing one to match their personal style. The options are truly endless!


I hope this helps you get started on the holiday shopping rush. Stay home, avoid the crowds and wow them with handmade goodness! Check out our DIY Design section or our free online classes for even more inspiration. 

Happy Making!

November 13, 2014

More pewter to love!

Our pewter blanks are flying off the shelves and we have four new designs that you are going to love!


Why do we love pewter so much? There are a lot of reasons, including ones you might not have thought of:

  • Pewter is cadmium- and lead-free. This means it's suitable for people who are allergic to other metals. 
  • These blanks are made in the USA!
  • Pewter stamps so easily! You won't need to wield much force with your 1-pound hammer to make a nice impression in this metal. That means it's great for beginners and advanced stampers alike!
  • We designed these blanks in-house and you won't find them anywhere else. They are true originals!
We are smitten with the individual touches on each of these blanks, including the raised paw print and awareness ribbon, the stamped stitching, and the trendy oval shape.

If you have fallen in love with pewter, don't miss the stitched pewter series we introduced a few weeks ago!


Have you worked with pewter yet? What are your favorite attributes?

November 6, 2014

Starting from Scratch with Aluminum

Aluminum blank with initial deep scratches.
Our Customer Service Lead, Lora, gets questions quite frequently about working with aluminum. Sometimes folks are downright shocked when they receive their blanks, because their surfaces are scratched. The important thing to know is that this is completely normal and easy to remedy. By following a few quick steps, they will not remain scratched up for very long!
 
Aluminum is such an amazing metal because few people are allergic to it, it doesn't tarnish, and it is as light as a feather. It is a fraction of the cost of silver and very easy to stamp. You can use your one pound brass hammer and hardly any muscle to get some great impressions with your stamps.

The one initial drawback to aluminum is the superficial scratches that occur during shipping. The more complex shaped blanks tend to scratch more easily because the edges can be sharp and rub up against one another when they are in transit. The best way to get rid of these scratches is to get abrasive!!


If you like a modern matte finish, grab your coarse sand paper and give it a good polish. That's it! If you prefer a more glassy finish, start with a coarse grit sand paper or sanding sponge and continue polishing with finer and finer grits to bring up the shine. Finishing with a Pro Polish Pad will really create a nice shine on your aluminum.

Lora took one of our Aluminum Plaques back to the design space to demonstrate how your blank might look when you first see it. She added some additional scratches across the blank to really show you how you can get scratches out. These gouges are mighty deep! She simply used a few different grits of from our sanding sponges pack and a little elbow grease. She found that the spongy backing makes them easier to hold. Her final polish was with a Pro Polish pad.


Creating a slightly matte finish with these blanks makes a more sustainable product because it will not look scratched with wear. Instead, it will look beautiful and modern and scratch free!