Some people may turn up their nose at vintage acrylic and Lucite beads, but you don't know what you're missing!!!!
First, the difference between Lucite and acrylic. Lucite is carved from a rod of Lucite and has no seams. Acrylic is pressed in a mold like some glasses and therefore DOES have a seam. Both are lightweight and often come in creative finishes and styles you can't get in glass. So many people think vintage is all about rhinestones and things like that. Don't get me wrong, I love that, but these beads are accessible and wearable and COOL.
First, I'll show you my finished piece -- a long necklace that features a bit of all of the beads provided, and then I'll break down WHY I did what I did.
And another shot. Here you can see how I made a loop with a bead accent and a bead dangle in the large black and gold ring. My original plan was for that fancy lobster claw to hook directly into the black ring but it wouldn't fit. I'm actually glad it worked out this way, because I think the balance of large/small/large at the clasp looks good.
The finish on nearly all of the beads was bright gold, so I decided to use jeweler's bronze and not patina it. Almost all of the beads had some sort of pattern on them but some of the turquoise beads didn't. Therefore, I took that as an opportunity to wrap 14ga bronze around the bead. Let me tell you -- 14ga bronze is STIFF. Wear eye protection. Just sayin'.
To add even more texture to the necklace (as well as length) I folded a 16" piece of fringy chain from AD/Adornments. I doubled the chain because when you look at the necklace as a whole, it needed that width and size. A single strand would have looked out-of-balance. Next time you're working with a design like this, practice with various strands of chain and see what you think.
Above, you can see the black/turquoise/black bead unit I made. The turquoise bead had large holes, and I wasn't satisfied with how it looked sitting directly on the black and gold beads. I took three gold jump rings and made a love knot. To make one, close one jump ring. Open a jump ring and thread it through the closed jump ring and close it. Then take the third open jump ring and string it through BOTH the closed jump rings. If you did it right, you won't have a 3-ring piece of chain, but a little knot spacer.
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The photo above shows how I dealt with the beads with the largest holes. Whenever I string lampwork or ceramic beads, I fill the holes with seed beads so the larger beads won't wobble on the wire or thread. I have several tubes of various sizes so something is bound to work. No seed beads? Wrap thin-gauge craft wire around the base wire the bead sits upon to make it thicker.
For the purple beads, I wrapped 14ga bronze around the end of bail making pliers. Why those pliers? So the coils would all be the same size and not start looking like a cone as the wire headed towards the end of regular round nose pliers. Doing this gave visual interest but it also effectively blocked the large hole.
This piece is a perfect example of using Bead Soup. I made all the bead units first, and then started moving them around so I didn't end up with all the large beads on one side or all of one color stacked in the same way. And using a decorative clasp makes the necklace versatile, as it's an integral part of the piece and can be worn in any orientation.
And a big thank you
to Crystal of Bead Happily Ever After!
This is the last Cup of Bead Soup for 2012.
BIG things in store for 2013 with all new designers!