1. Beads - You can't make anything beaded without beads! ;) Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming. I try to limit myself to one color scheme at a time. Usually, I choose certain colors I want to work with for a few days. I set those apart from all of my other beads. Often I use no more than three colors in one piece, but not always. I do find that when I limit myself in some way the creative juices flow more freely.
2. Tools - Let's look at each one individually.
Crimp pliers have two little sections. Squeeze the crimp bead one way, then squeeze it the other way. Squeeze it so that the crimp bead is secure, but be careful. If you squeeze too hard the crimp bead will break. Ask me how I know. ;)
Flat-nose pliers are only necessary if you choose to use crimp covers to hide the crimp beads.
Cutters cut so that very little of the wire (if any) shows in the final product.
A bead reamer is a handy little tool! Sometimes you will come across holes in beads that are not large enough for the bead wire or stretchy cord. Sometimes you will find that the hole does not go all the way through the bead. Bead reamer to the rescue! Just (carefully) put the bead reamer through the hole that you want to enlarge and twist it a little. It takes just a second or two to do this. Brush off any debris that might be left behind and your bead is ready to be used! The debris should be minimal.
3. Findings - These are the small pieces that make your medical bracelet attachment complete. They tie everything together.
Lobster claw clasps will make your medical bracelet attachment easily interchangeable. They give you the freedom to wear the attachment of your choice on different occasions. You'll need one for each end of your medical bracelet attachment.
Crimp beads secure the clasps and keeps the beads together. Basically, they keep your medical bracelet attachment from falling apart! You'll need one for each end of your attachment.
Crimp covers are optional. It all depends on the look you're trying to achieve. They cover the crimp beads and gives them a more rounded look. You'll need one for each crimp bead.
|Crimp bead (upper left), crimp cover (bottom), and lobster claw clasp (right)|
A bead stopper comes in useful after you've secured one end of your medical bracelet attachment and cut the other end off the spool of stringing material. If you secure one end of the attachment before securing that final clasp and use the bead stopper on the other end you can put it around your wrist or measure it to see if it's the length you want. Then, you can easily remove the bead stopper and either adjust the number of beads or secure your bracelet attachment with the second clasp.
4. Stringing material - There are two options I prefer.
Bead stringing wire - My preference is .012 inches (0.30 mm). It's flexible and easy to work with, but strong.
Stretchy cord - My preference is .5mm (019 mm). Again, it's flexible and easy to work with, but strong.
5. Bead Palette - This is a lot like a painter's palette. It's a place for you to put your beads into different compartments so you can mix and match them before stringing them. It's also a place where you can measure your medical bracelet attachment before putting it all together. Just be sure you're using the outer part of the ruler, as it's usually more accurate than the inner part.
Have you made jewelry before? Is there anything else you find useful that's not on this list? If you haven't already, are you ready to get started? What else would you like to know? :-)