Vote for Your Free Project from Custom Cool Jewelry

Aug 4, 2008

Standing Out from the Crowd

In the forums, folks are discussing their preparations for the upcoming holiday craft fairs.  In addition to the questions about packaging, displays, and pricing, there's another question that occasionally pops up in these types of discussions.  With more and more beaders and jewelry makers selling their work, how do you make yours stand out from the crowd? 

Making Your Own Pendants and Charms

One way is to make your own unique pendants, charms, and clasps.  I love this idea!  Just over the weekend, I was playing with some "shrink plastic" which is basically a grown-up version of Shrinky-Dinks!  (Remember those?)  You can draw on the plastic, cut it out, and then bake it in the oven.  After you take it out, you'll have a tiny charm or pendant that is your own unique creation to add to your signature jewelry designs.  (I haven't baked mine yet--temperatures here hit 100 degrees over the weekend and I couldn't bear to turn on the oven even in the name of blogging goodness!  I did find some really cute examples online, which I've posted in the forums.)

If you're not sure how to start making your own components or want to try some new techniques, check out the new book Custom Cool Jewelry by Beadwork and Stringing managing editor Melinda Barta.  She uses a wide range of jewelry and basic crafting materials, including embossing powder, collage papers, wire, fibers, glass-etching cream, patinas, found objects, fabric, memorabilia, and more.  This is a great way to get a taste of many different types of techniques and see which ones speak to you.  One of my personal favorites is Melinda's idea on how to recycle tin into pendants and charms.  I knew I had been saving all those candy and tea tins in my basement for a reason!  View a preview and order your copy of Custom Cool Jewelry.

Vote for Your Free Project

To give you just a little taste of what's inside this book, I asked author Melinda Barta to select three different projects from the book.  Now it's up to you to decide which one should be a free preview on Beading Daily.

Vote for your favorite project from Custom Cool Jewelry--the one with the most votes will be available for one week as an exclusive free preview just for Beading Daily!  Flirty Frames teaches you how to combine bead frames and wire in unique ways, Splash of Pattern adds decorative transfers to metal charms, and Impressionable Clay mixes polymer clay and rubber stamps.

Flirty Frames

Splash of Pattern
Impressionable Clay

Voting ends Monday, August 11th.  One vote per member.  Winning free project and insider design tips from the book's author will be shared Friday, August 29th.  Project will be free for one week.  Vote now! 

Reader Poll:  What inspires you?  Take the poll now.  This poll ends August 10, 2008.  Responses will be shared in a future Beading Daily.  If you have an idea for a poll, please send it along to me at  (You'll get an automatic form letter reply, but don't worry, I'll see your message!) 

Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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MimiM@7 wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 12:27 PM

I've really gotten to enjoy the beading daily e mail.  What I especially like about it is that it's fresh, and it's honest.  The little anecdotes about the lives and ways of the authors are great!  It's nice to know they don't live in (beaded) ivory towers and that they have similar frustrations at times with ideas, or techniques.  

Keep up the great work!


tammy@81 wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 1:11 PM

I like the ideas-heres one--instead of turning on oven for shrink plastic use a heat gun.  it is very fast and fun to watch-make sur e to brush lightly w/ baby powder and hold down one edge w/ tweesers while doing. Tammy

tammy@81 wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 1:11 PM

I like the ideas-heres one--instead of turning on oven for shrink plastic use a heat gun.  it is very fast and fun to watch-make sur e to brush lightly w/ baby powder and hold down one edge w/ tweesers while doing. Tammy

EleanorD@5 wrote
on Aug 5, 2008 12:52 PM


  In the May/June issue of Step by Step Beads, you had instructions for Bluebells.  When I called Firemountain Gems about the 7 ring connectors, they didn't have any.  Do you have the product code or can you suggest a place where they might be found?  

Thank you

~Eleanor Denton

SandraG@34 wrote
on Aug 7, 2008 2:44 AM

I have been making my own beads and pendants out of polymer clay for about 2 years now, and it is such great fun...I can't imagine stopping or not doing this.  I feel very Martha Stewartish...making the components, then the jewelry.Beads are my passion.!!

bmc130 wrote
on Aug 8, 2008 9:37 PM

Just an idea, here ...  In the summer the house gets way too hot when we cook.  We do a lot of cooking outside.  At my Mom's, because she doesn't like the idea of carcinogens from the grill .... uhg! ...This means that we need to use the  hot plate, electric skillet, counter top oven, ect to the garage.  

Why not move (or purchase at garage sale) your counter top oven to bake your polymer clay projects?   I'm only just now getting on the claymaking bandwagon ... Hey!  Waitup!  Is that MY song they're playing?  Gotta catch that wagon ....!

Love the daily beading news, please keep at it!  Oh yeah, Love the mags & patterns too! too!  Keep up all the great work U do!