If you have beads and some basic tools, you can be ready with a unique and personal gift in minutes. I made all of these projects with beginner-level beading skills and, for the most part, supplies from my stash. Well, because, oh, that’s pretty – I bet I’ll need that someday.
Awareness Ribbon Charm Bracelet
A family member recently received a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. As she learns more about this reason for her chronic widespread pain, she discovers how much misinformation is out there. She wanted an Awareness Bracelet for Fibromyalgia so that people would feel comfortable asking her about fibro. She is comfortable talking about it and how it affects her. It’s important to keep awareness and facts at the forefront. With more information, we can come closer to effective treatment – and maybe a cure. Like pink for breast cancer, purple signifies fibro (along with some other autoimmune diseases), so the purple ribbon is symbolic for the cause. I had everything I needed (beads, beading wire, crimps, clasp) except for a purple ribbon charm. Darn! More bead shopping! Fortunately, I found the perfect charm quite easily at my local bead store!
I gathered my supplies: amethyst gemstones, purple seed beads, beading wire, crimps, sterling silver lobster clasp, and the all-important purple ribbon charm. I needed a few basic tools: cutters (for the beading wire), chain nose pliers (for the jump rings), and crimp pliers (to secure the crimps on the wire). A beading board made it easy to lay out the beads in the order I wanted and to measure for the correct fit.
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Here is the finished bracelet, ready to start conversations!
Charmed Beaded Bookmarks
I’m blessed to have nieces and nephews who treasure handmade gifts, but they have such varied personalities! I try to come up with gifts that they will use and that reflect a bit of their individual personalities. For a recent Christmas, I made Charmed Beaded Bookmarks. The English teacher in me wants to encourage a love for reading, so I made bookmarks with beads, gemstones and charms to match personalities and interests – a java charm for the barista, musical note for the pianist, baseball cap for the Orioles fan, healing hand for the nursing student, and so on. Once I gathered the materials, the bookmarks went together quickly using basic tools with jump rings, beading wire, and crimps.
First, I gathered my bookmark components.
And here are the completed bookmarks. You could substitute wire and wrapped loops for the beading wire and crimps, but these are for kids, so I didn’t want them to “get bent out of shape”.
Beaded Tie-Dye Bookmarks
I shibori dyed some cotton fabric in a class and ended up with fabrics that are mostly blue and green. So, in honor of the sensational Seahawks in Seattle, the city that reads, I made Seahawks Bookmarks! I had to add some beads. I really had to.
Shibori is a Japanese dying technique that uses stitches, ties or clamps as resists to produce designs. The resists (stitches, etc.) block the dye from reaching certain parts of the fabric, resulting in one of a kind patterns. Experts in the process can predict results better than newbies can. It was such a fun surprise to unwrap each piece of fabric after they dyes were set!
For this pattern, I bound the fabric over glass marbles all over with rubber bands and dropped the dye onto the fabric with pipettes. That allowed me to use more than one color, which immersing the fabric in a pot of dye would have given me. A narrow zigzag sewing machine stitch secures the fabric to stiff interfacing to make bookmarks with some heft. (They should be able to endure a lot of page turning!)
Stitching beads on one end of each bookmark was an afterthought, but I think it makes them more fun – more Seahawky – and easier for friends and family to keep track of their own Seahawks Bookmarks. The easy brick stitch makes the beads stand at attention!
Dangling Wine Charms
I wanted to make wine glass charms that were a bit different. Using sterling silver chain instead of the usual wire circles adds a little elegance to the party.
To make these charms, I selected an assortment of beads and gemstones that I could pair up for each charm, then group into sets. With a wrapped loop on a sterling headpin, I attached them to the each end of a 6-7-inch length of chain.
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