For me, today is a dull, chilly day. Not the sort of day that fills me with energy. So, as I need a bit of revving up, maybe you do too. Which is why I’m calling this Monday Beading Inspiration.
If you regularly follow my blog, then this is part three of my little design course. So, in part 1, I challenged you to start living your dream of creating your own beading design.
Then part 2 showed you how to start planning your ideas. This is the first step in turning them from dreams to reality.
Now today, for that Monday beading inspiration, I want to show you what happens next…
The bad news…
It does occur to me that the whole Monday beading inspiration may be setting your hopes rather high. So, if you think I’m about to reveal a secret trick that only designers know, think again.
I hate to break it to you, but there isn’t a trick to making a beading design. If you’ve done the first two parts, then you should feel quite confident that your design is do-able.
Now it’s time to get down to the hard work…
The good news…
I say ‘hard work’, but if you love beading, this really isn’t going to feel like work at all. What you’re going to be doing now is just ‘playing’. So, you will be beading and experimenting all at once.
If you’re itching to get on with your turning your design idea into reality, then feel free to skip the rest of this blog. Today’s step is simply to get out your beads and start trying to make something.
If that all sounds a bit frightening, then read on and this Monday beading inspiration is going to offer you some structure for this step of the design process.
Monday Beading Inspiration
Right, so now is the time to take out your bead design plan.
(Remember, that was the free planner you downloaded and filled in last time around. If you’re still trying to catch up, then you can get your free planner here.)
Now, you’re going to start with whichever design you feel like you can most easily create. For this design, I’m going to show you how to start working with the answers that you gave on the plan.
A top tip before we start…
I said there was no quick trick to creating a beading design. What I mean is this… Throughout this design process, you are going to be doing ‘frog stitch’, or un-beading, or ‘beading backwards’, or however you like to term this. It is very rare that a design ‘just happens’ without things going wrong.
So, get yourself used to the idea that ripping out beads is normal and inevitable. This may mean that you sit playing with your beads for several hours and still have no actual project to show for that time and effort. Depressing right?
Actually, no – there is no reason this has to be depressing. When things don’t work out as you hoped or planned, don’t be tempted to look at this as a failure. It is the most valuable learning process you can have.
So, if you use this right, you will find yourself with not just one, but perhaps many new designs at the end of this task. Every time you try joining beads, you will learn something. They may not form the shape or texture or look that you initially had in mind. But they will form something interesting.
What to do with the ‘mistakes’…
For me, those interesting new shapes or textures or colour combinations inspire new ideas. So, when you realise your particular experiment isn’t turning out as you want, do one of two things.
- Put it to one side as a sample that you can come back to use later on (make sure you can work out what you did, so you might want to jot down a few notes to help).
- Make a note of what you did and what new idea it inspired. This is your next beading design idea all ready to go! Then you can rip out the beads and try something new.
Very often, when something doesn’t work out, you also get a step closer to the solution you are looking for.
So, now I want to show you a few short cuts that might help save some time in this process.
For no particular reason, I’m starting with colouring. Hopefully you have jotted down some ideas for a colour scheme. Maybe you have even the actual beads you plan to use.
Well, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve started on a project, got a huge way through, then thought, ‘these colours just aren’t right.’
So, to save yourself some time here. Instead of embarking straight on the design, bead a little colour sample. Pick your colours and make a little strip with your favourite beading technique. As you do this, you want to check a few things:
- Do the colours actually work together?
- Which colour is best to use for the background or main colour?
- Which colour(s) make the best highlights?
If you’re not sure how to check those things, then grab a copy of my free colour combination project here. Once you have that information, you can use it to get the colouring right first time in your design.
Remember, any schemes that don’t work for this, may prove useful for something else in future.
Size, Shape and Texture
This is where your planned techniques will come into play. Also, where your chosen beads may make a difference.
Once again, you can take elements of your design and try making small samples to see what will work. This is a very effective strategy if you have planned a piece of jewellery that uses motifs or beaded beads. So, you can perfect the basic motif or bead first, then move on to build the rest of the design.
Or, maybe you are planning some sort of rope as part of your design. So, this is a great opportunity to try out a few small samples of rope techniques to see which you like best.
I have one very specific piece of advice for dealing with size. If your project combines different elements, then start by creating the smallest element. Then, it is easy to scale up. You have options like using bigger beads to create a larger scale, or just adding extra rows to the object.
To see what I mean, consider my Halloween Cake. I started with the Pumpkin, then beaded the cake to a suitable scale. OK, so I could have put a giant pumpkin in the centre of the cake, but I thought this might look odd!
Again, this whole process is about trying things to see what works. Note down what you do, so you can replicate the design later on.
Monday Beading Inspiration: The Final Word
I thought I would end this Monday beading inspiration with a little story that is fresh in my mind. So, you have probably seen, last week I published my Cupcake Beaded Box.
I have been making beaded boxes for years. So, I am experienced in how to create a solid structure.
I have also made a fair few cupcakes in the past…the first was in 2012. So, all these projects have taught me something new about how to create icing.
You might then think that this little beaded box just rolled off my beading mat easily. Well, you would be wrong.
I actually came up with the idea several months ago and it has taken me a lot of experiments to turn my idea into a reality that pleased me.
Why? Well, simply the texture and shape of the cupcake. I could have just settled for a straight tube of beads. It wouldn’t have looked that bad. But it didn’t match the image in my head.
So, instead, I have spent hours trying different ideas to create that ‘just unwrapped’ texture with the imprint of the cupcake case. In addition to the texture, I wanted my cupcake to have an accurate shape. So, that meant the top needed to be a little wider than the base.
Again, turning this wish into reality involved an awful lot of beading and un-beading. Where I could, I tried small samples, but this wasn’t always possible. So, I had a lot of hours’ work with nothing to show for it. But I also learned a lot more about the techniques and the ways in which the beads would combine.
So, this is all knowledge that I will take forward and use in the future.
Over to you…
Now, this is the end of my Monday beading inspiration. It’s up to you to take your beads out and start trying something.
Don’t expect your design to work out perfectly. Maybe it won’t even work out at all. But I can guarantee you one thing, unless you start trying to create it right now, it will never happen.
Just remember, work with what you know. If you feel you need to learn something new, then go and do that and come back to your design. Everything you try will add to your knowledge and experience. So, don’t give up. Most of all, you don’t have to create something amazing first time around. Just create something…!
Designing with beads is a process and an endless learning curve. It is also incredibly fulfilling and something that is genuinely accessible to everyone. So, go and have fun and don’t forget to let me know what you create!
And, if you have questions, just leave a comment below…