Jewelry Making Basics: Different Ways To Incorporate Beads

Instructions and tips on ways to incorporate beads into jewelry creations as focal points, themes, and accents.

Incorporating beads into jewelry designs of your own making is a great way to personalize an already individual reflection of your love affair with art through jewelry. Beads come in so many different forms, that beads can be the driving force behind a design or just a compliment to a nearly finished piece looking for a bit of extra "˜wow'.

Designing around a Bead Theme

Some beads are so distinctive in design that they beg to be the focal point in a piece of jewelry. They would work as an accent, but would truly be in their glory only as the center of attention. For example, if you made or purchased a large bead that encompasses a green frog along with two more beads that are lily pads, these could direct you to make an item that highlights the frog and lily pads. You could have the frog as a centerpiece of a necklace surrounded by blue swirl beads that evoke visions of water, and then use the lily pad beads as the main component of a pair of earrings accented with the same blue swirl beads. Together they make a set, not just connected through the blue swirl, but also through the common focus of the frog and lily pad beads. Some beads are so distinctive, that they would only work as the focus. A large bead shaped like a sun complete with extending rays, in bright, dominant colors and overly large, would be difficult, if not impossible, to work into a necklace or bracelet, but would work as a brooch with no other components other than the pin backing.

Individual Beads Transformed by Unity

Another fun way to incorporate beads as the main focus is to design a set of beads that as individuals, they look pretty, but nothing to rave about, until, laid out as they were designed, they make up a pattern. For example, a hand-blown set of glass beads in various shades of reds, oranges, greens, and a few black look like nothing more than what they appear, beads in those colors, but when laid out in the order the artist created, they combined to make a fabulous fire breathing dragon. Seed bead artists create in a similar fashion with pre-made beads. By transferring pictures to graphs, they can turn nearly any picture or object into a pattern that when worked in seed beads, becomes a magnificent piece of art wholly created of beads.

Single Beads Bringing Focus to Bead-less Designs

Beads do not have to be the focus of the jewelry item though. Many fabulous pieces worked in crochet, woven hemp, wire, and other mediums, can be transformed by adding just a bead or two. The addition of beads just in the eye area is a common, beautiful way to work a bead into an otherwise bead-less piece of jewelry. For example, a fish shaped completely of wire, complete with thrusting fins and the water around him, will go that extra step by the addition of a single glass bead eye, or a leaping tiger finished by adding a single red glass bead eye. Wirework brooches of intricate twists and turns, beadlike shapes, even three-dimensional shapes, can come into their own by the addition of a few beads.

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