From Anna Gray
Tip: "With virtually every pendant I make, I also make matching "bail bead". Often I make these bail beads in odd shapes, like crescent moon. For this purpose, I take a piece of thick (18-12 gauge) wire, wrap the clay around it rather than trying to pierce a huge hole, finish forming the bead, then bend the ends of the wire into a circle (together with the bead which is wrapped around the wire) and suspend the top end of the wire circle on a baking stick. After the bead has baked, I take it out of the oven while it's still very warm, carefully open the wire circle and carefully remove the bead as it would still be soft and larger in size. If you wait until the bead has cooled down and, correspondingly, shrank, you won't be able to remove it from the wire. In this case, re-hit the bead with the wire in the oven and then remove the bead from the wire."
Tip: "Beads should have a attractive and varying colors. It is very essential to have bright colors with a balance of dimness so it will be able to catch some eyes."
From Jackie S.
Tip: "Information from the Soft Flex Company (bead stringing wire): Sara Hardin, who works there, shared this information... 'Regarding the size of Soft Flex stringing wire for certain projects - 'Though most stores inundate the market with .014 because it is more inexpensive, it actually should be the least used diameter as it is only for pearls, seed beads and very light, tiny gemstones. Our .019 is our multi-purpose diameter for mixing and matching beads with small holes (85% of pearls) with beads that are abrasive (metals, crystal, stones). .024 is for anything that is abrasive or receives a lot of wear and tear. So, it is great for bracelets, lanyards, eye glass holders or large lampwork, ceramics, etc...' "
Tip: "Making striped beads easily: This is a great idea for colorful beads especially for kids. You start with very thin, flat sheets of clay(great to use up scraps). Let then sit a bit so you can punch holes in them with a hole puncher. Stack the punched holes evenly, in the amount you want. Then roll into a ball. It works so fast and comes out quite uniformly. You can make beads of the same size(just about) by remembering the number of punched holes used in your stacks, and by keeping the sheets of clay the same thickness.Vary the thickness of some colors, and you have stripes of different sizes."
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