Pebble Necklace for Mother’s Day


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I love sentimental jewelry. And I have a daughter that loves to collect little things, like rocks and sea shells (and sticks and leaves and flowers). Whenever we go to the park or to the beach, I end up with a pocket full of whatever interesting little thing she picks up. So when it came time to start thinking about Mother’s Day gifts for grandma, I thought I would try to make something out of the things she has acquired along our many outings.

Today, I will be showing you how to make a pendant out of a pebble that was found on a recent trip to the beach. For this project you will need the following:

* pebbles (or any other small found item)
* jewelry chain
* 22 ga. craft wire
* jump rings
* head pins
* lobster clasp
* Asst. Swarovski Elements Crystal in birthstone colors
* Asst. TierraCast charms (if desired)
* E6000 Glue

pebblediy1) Wash your pebble off (I used dish soap and an old toothbrush) to remove any dirt or grime that may be on it. Cut a piece of craft wire about 12-24 inches long depending on the size of your stone.
2) Make a wrapped loop with one end of your wire.
3) Bend the wire 90 degrees about a quarter inch down from your loop.  This will be the height of the wrapped cap on the stone.
4) Holding the wire snugly to your pebble, wrap the wire around until you get your desired look.
5) The wire cap will not stay attached to the stone. Separate them and set the cap aside.
6) Apply a generous amount of glue to the pebble.  Place the cap back on the top of the pebble and hold it in place until the glue has dried enough to keep the cap in place.  I recommend allowing the glue to dry for at least an hour (24hrs is ideal) before handling the pendant.
7) Using jump rings and head pins, make charms out of your crystal beads.  I chose different shapes for each birthstone.  Attach the crystal charms to your pebble to create one large pendant
8) I wanted a longer necklace so I used about 26 inches of chain.  Add your clasp and you are done!

Variations: If you would rather use a sea shell than a pebble, glue a small bail to the back for an instant pendant! You can also add a charm to the pendant in addition to the birthstones for an even more personal touch!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial today.  Please share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using hashtag #shipwreckbeads! I would love to see your take on this necklace.



Birthstone Guide


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With Mother’s Day (May 12th) quickly approaching, I thought I would put together this handy little chart showing the gems for each month.  birthstone chart

January – Garnet – CR985-245
February – Amethyst – 13ST414-F
March – Aquamarine – 50CT263-10
April – Diamond – 74RH212-S1
May – Emerald – 10RS286-E
June – Pearl/Alexandrite – 59FP653-14
July – Ruby – 75FC244
August – Peridot – 73SS984-CR
September – Sapphire – ME5773-RS
October – Tourmaline/Opal – ST185-B
November – Topaz/Citrine – 10CC254-BG
December – Tanzanite/Zircon/Turquoise – 74ST413-B

For more information, visit the American Gem Society‘s website.


Sugar Skull – Complete!


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Here is Carol to share her finished Sugar Skull!

When I posted last week I was struggling with how to approach the skull face portion of my beading. I had already missed one deadline, I was not about to miss the second. So – I just jumped in. Once I started I was a beader on fire. I was a woman with on a mission.

Well my beaded skull is completed and what a handsome fellow he is.

There is not much more to tell about the challenges (both psychological as well as technical) as those have been pretty well covered. I enjoyed the project very much and I might just use this technique again. I think this technique could work very well on a flat surface. Just think about the options – a brooch, earrings or hair clip. I bet that would look amazing.

You never know, I might be back sometime in the future with a new project using this same technique.

Happy Beading.

Voting is open until October 29th, so be sure to get your vote cast. You can vote once per day until voting is over! The winners will be announced on November 1st!

Sugar Skull – Progress Continues


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Hi Folks! Carol is back to show us the progress on her sugar skull for our design contest. Take a minute to check out how her project is coming together! (First post here.)

Day 3When I started this project I had no design sketched out, no road map, no defined direction. My goal was to take pretty beads and glue them on this crazy skull. I stared with one orange bead in the center of the skull and started going round and round in circles. I ended my last session and post with a skull that appeared to be wearing a ball cap that was way to small. I have to admit that when I started on the forehead area I kind of lost what little vision I had and kind of froze.

Today when I sat down I decided to take a pencil and draw some outlines of the direction I would like to go.  After placing a few beads I tossed that idea out completely and just started adding my beads. Round and round and round.

A little voice inside asked me why I was not starting on the face. “the face, the face – give this ugly mug a beady face” For some reason I have been hesitant to start on the face. Afraid of commitment probably, what if it looked terrible? But wait, he started out looking terrible could I really make him look more ugly? I took a deep breath and started on the creepy guys face. Now he looks like he has aviator glasses on. Pretty cool.

I have included a few pictures of my process. As you can see I have to hold the skull in my right hand and use the index finger of my right hand to position the sticky bead. If it looks awkward and freaky it is because I am left handed.

Lesson learned
Do not try to do too much in one sitting. The curves are getting more pronounced and the bead slippage factor is increasing. I would work one side of the skull only to find the other side (which had not yet dried) had slipped. I am considering working with a hair dryer or embossing gun to see if I can speed up the drying process.

Ta ta for now,

Friday is the deadline for the Sugar Skull Design Contest.  Don’t miss your chance to win a $250 gift card to the store!

Working With Rivolis – Tips and Tricks


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When I was asked to do a project using  SWAROVSKI Elements and new TierraCast components, I knew I wanted to work with the Rivoli crystals.  I had been admiring the beautiful vitrail color for some time and couldn’t wait to get started.  Shooting for a more formal looking piece, I knew I wanted something completely over-the-top, sparkly and fabulous.

Since this was my first time working with these crystals and components  I knew there would be a bit of a learning curve.

Its always a good idea to have all of your supplies ready to go before you start.  Especially when working with glue, you don’t want to have run around looking for something you forgot, while your glue is busy drying.

DO NOT use any type of solvent based super glue. The chemicals in the glue will eat away at the backing of the crystal and cause damage to your piece over time.  I recommend a glue like Crafter’s Pick craft glue.  Another option is Beacon 527 Jeweler’s Glue.  Personally, I prefer the Crafter’s Pick since it is non-toxic and water based.  I have used it for nearly every kind of craft and never had any problems. 

I found that the 12mm rivoli crystals did not fit into the component as seamlessly as the 14mm.  With the 14mm, (see left, above) a small dab of glue was all that was needed.  The 12mm (see right, above) however, needed a much larger amount for a secure hold.

If you use too much glue it will squish out of the sides and make a big mess.  Crafter’s Pick is washable until dry so if you use too much, rinse it completely with warm water and try again.  I had to do this a couple of times before I found the ideal amount of glue to use. You can see in the picture above that I used a little too much glue on the left one.  The glue does dry clear, but you still don’t want it gooped all over the front of your crystal.

Make sure you let your glue set for at least 24 hours (48 is even better) to ensure a secure bond.  If you attempt to use them before the glue is all the way dry your crystal may pop out.  I know waiting is hard but trust me, I learned this the hard way.

Now that you know a little bit about using the SWAROVSKI Elements Rivolis and TierraCast components, you can download a free PDF design booklet for the bracelet seen here.  And if you act fast, you can get 20% off of the materials used in the project!

Work In Progress – Sugar Skull


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I hope you are all having a happy Thursday.  Tomorrow is Friday and I think we can all agree that is a good thing.  I would like to take this post to introduce you to one of our talented Creative Team members Carol Bauer.

Carol Bauer is a 25-year designer, author, speaker and instructor in all things beads. Her designs and articles have appeared in a number of magazines and books. Carol loves to teach and gets great satisfaction guiding students through the process of beading and will take any opportunity to share. She teaches on land at various locations, at sea with Craft Cruises, on TV with Beads Baubles and Jewels and online with Shipwreck Beads.

So, without further delay, here is Carol!

Day 1 – I am a member of the Creative Team at Shipwreck Beads. Recently I was presented with a Styrofoam skull and the challenge of decorating it in any way I chose. The end result would be an inspiration piece for our contest celebrating the Halloween and Day of the Dead. I have always been a fan of Huichol beadwork and decided that this would be the perfect time to try my hand at this spectacular art technique.

I chose a selection of 5-0 seed beads in colors that are not traditionally used. 5-0 beads because I did not want to have to spend years covering my skull with smaller ones. Yikes! The deadline was looming.

Day 2 – The beading begins. My tools consisted of a bottle of white glue and some bamboo skewers I had around. I would make a small puddle of glue, stab a bead with the skewer and dip it in the glue. I would place the bead on the skull with the skewer and hold it in place with my finger on the other hand. I learned quickly that gravity is not my friend and depending on severity of the curve of the skull, my beads liked to slide. I found that letting the glue dry slightly into a gooey sticky blob improved the tackiness of they stayed put better.

Tip one – Make your glue tackier by letting it dry just a bit

Tip two – Wash your bead finger often as the beads like to stick to the glue that will end up on your finger.

Tip three – Beads on a Styrofoam skull make the skull top-heavy. Early into the project I put my skull in a coffee cup. Later I propped it up between the bead containers I was using.

Tip four – The bamboo skewers were an awesome tool. When they got too gooey I just grabbed a new one. When the first one dried I could pick the glue off and reuse it.

Tip five – When you have a deadline do not wait until the last minute to start your project. The pictures show 2 hours of work and I missed my deadline. On a happy note I was asked to blog about the project and share with you as it progresses. I will be back in a few days with more pictures and an update.

Happy Beading,

Thanks so much to Carol for sharing her progress with us.  She will be checking back in later to show us the continued progress! Keep those sugar skulls coming, the October 19th deadline will be here sooner than you think!

Sugar Skull Design Contest


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If you are one of our Facebook friends or a newsletter member you have probably already heard the news, but let me tell you a little more about it.

Shipwreck Beads is hosting a DESIGN CONTEST!
We want you to create a sugar skull using beads (of course!) and whatever else you would like.  Your creation can be either 2 or 3 dimensional and in any style you wish.  Get as creative as your heart desires!

The submission deadline is October 19th, so be sure to get your entry in fast!

In preparation for this event, our design team (including yours truly)  each created a skull of our own.  We use foam skulls from the Halloween section of our favorite department store.  Take a look at our designs!

My creation is the one in the center.  Although its hard to tell from this picture, I used neon yellow glitter, these cool new spike drop beads, neon pearls, Preciosa flat back rhinestones, and an assortment of scrapbooking flowers.
Here is a closer look.

The others were created by two very talented creative team members.  They both chose to incorporate feathers and the flat back rhinestones with very different and awesome results.  My favorite detail on the yellow skull is the way colored ball chain was used to create a swirling pattern and outline of the mouth.  I just love the way the finished piece looks. And that top hat on the white skull? These black velvet jewelry bags! Construction paper was cut to size and then covered with the disassembled bags.

The contest is already underway and the submissions are rolling in.
I can’t wait to see what you will be coming up with.

Tune in later this week to hear from another design team member, Carol, who will be documenting her sugar skull design process!

What’s Your Mood?


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Have you seen our Mirage mood beads? Check them out now and save 10%!  To help you get inspired, here are my three personal favorites!

#1 – 76MB199 – How charming are these little bees?  These beads are rather large (19mm) and would make a bee-utifil focal point on a bracelet or pendant on a necklace.

#2 – 48MB199-C – Speaking of pendants, we have some brand new copper mood pendants.  In 7 different styles there is surely something here to please.  My pick is the drop pendant that features a fancy flame design.

#3 – 75MB999-S – With small glow-in-the-dark stars and a silver casing, these beads look great stung on leather and paired with chunky silver findings.

Anchors Away!


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When we first got these amazing neon SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS pearls in stock about a month ago I fell in love. Having been inspired by Pinterest and recent fashion mags, I couldn’t wait to create something bright and summery.  And when I saw these new filigree pendants, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

While this isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I set out to do this project, I am thrilled with how it turned out.  The pearls have a really nice, almost matte, finish and the weight of the crystal make it really nice to wear.

The largest bead on this necklace is a 12mm and the smallest is a 3mm.  I finished with a TierraCast toggle clasp in a matching silver finish.  The bright pop of yellow when paired with a navy blue is reminiscent of summer days on the beach.  Bright sun on blue water.

While I was at it, I picked up some of the pink and orange pearls and whipped up a few fun bracelets.

My favorite bracelet of the bunch is the all yellow one.  Instead of using as traditional clasp (or button, as I did on the center bracelet shown above) I used this really cute TierraCast anchor charm.  The prongs of the anchor hook onto the beaded loop for a creative twist. 

I used wire guardians, crimp tubes, and crimp covers to finish off each piece.  I really enjoy working with the wire guardians and crimp covers because it gives the jewelry a really polished look. Check out our YouTube channel and this video for a quick tutorial on how to use a crimp cover!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a matched set without a pair of earrings!

Click here for a tutorial for each of the projects shown in this post.  And if you act now, you can save 15% on all the items used!

DIY Feather Hair Extensions – No Special Tools Required!


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I’m going to teach you how to put feather extensions in your own hair.  It’s so easy and so much less expensive than getting it done in a salon.  All you need is a piece of string, silicone-lined crimp beads, some feathers and a pair of flat-nosed pliers.









It’s also helpful if you have a comb and some hair clips to keep your hair out the way. I took some pictures while I put a few feathers in my own hair to share with you.  Here we go!








Take your string and fold it in half.  Thread your crimp bead onto the string and set aside.  You should have a large loop at one end.






Decide where you want your feather and pin back your top layer of hair.  You don’t want to put the extension right on the surface of your head because then you would see the crimp.  Next separate a small section of hair to anchor your feather to.









Now thread your hair through the loop in your string.  Slide the crimp down the string and pull your hair through the bead.  Position the bead near (but not right at the root) your scalp then slip the end of the feather into the crimp.  Flatten the bead with your pliers.







The bead and feather should be securely attached to your hair.  You can wash them, dry them and heat-styling your hair should not damage them at all. (I’ve tested them out and they are color fast.  I haven’t had any problems with the colors bleeding or fading.)







Feel free to add more than one (I have FOUR!)  The feathers can stay in your hair about 4 weeks, until the hair grows out too much.  To remove, you simply crimp the bead in the opposite direction.  Because the crimp beads are silicon-lined they shouldn’t damage your hair.







Then, style your hair normally! I like to hide mine so just a little color peeks out.  You can’t see them all the time.  It’s so easy to do that you can change them up as often as you like.  I think this would be a fun activity for a girls birthday party, just buy a pack of the crimps and some feathers and you have enough for whole group of girls!  I even put one in for my daughter.  We even have synthetic hair extensions in several different colors if you are feeling really adventurous.