Have you every tried your hand at making bead soup? Now, this isn’t the kind of soup you eat. No! Rather, bead soup is a collection of beads usually consisting of a focal bead, a nice clasp and several other coordinating elements. The term was made popular by Lori Anderson, who wrote the book Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash. For several years she hosted a Bead Soup Blog Party where participants would receive a random mixture of beads and then have to create something wonderful. While there will be no swapping supplies here today, you can still get down on a little bead soup action.
First and foremost, when putting together a delicious bead soup, is choosing the right focal bead. The focal bead is the most important ingredient in your soup. All of the other beads and components are built around this one little bead. I chose to use a Swarovski BeCharmed Medley Pave bead in Pink Dream. The BeCharmed Medley Pave beads are a great choice because they contain many different colors and textures and make it really easy to coordinate your different elements. Since my focal had both pinks and yellows, I decided to use those as the base of my palate. Mixing the pastels with the dark pearls gives it an unexpected edge.After selecting a variety of crystal and pearl beads in my chosen color palate, hot pink, burgundy, pastel pink, pastel yellow, butter yellow, and rose pink, I tossed them all into a small dish together. I used similar shades in both the crystals and the pearls for more variation and texture. I then included some hammered silver-finish components by TierraCast and threw in some of the skull beads and charms for a little something fun. I love adding skulls to feminine jewelry for the contrast of sweet and tough, though the flowers on the skulls make them a little more delicate.
Swarovski BeCharmed Medley Pave Bead
TierraCast Floral Toggle Clasp
TierraCast Skull Rose, Horizontal Hole
TierraCast Skull Rose, Vertical Hole
TierraCast Skull Charm
TierraCast 13mm Hammered Ring
TierraCast 19mm Hammered Ring
TierraCast Rivoli Setting
TierraCast Turkish Heishi
TierraCast Daisy Spacer
TierraCast Jump Rings
TierraCast Crimp Beads
TierraCast Crimp Covers
Softflex Original Silver .019 49-strand
Silver Ball End Headpins
E-6000 Multi-Purpose Adhesive
Swarovski Hot Pink Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Pastel Rose Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Pastel Yellow Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Blackberry Crystal Pearl
Swarovski Crystal Jonquil
Swarovski Crystal Light Topaz
Swarovski Crystal Rose
Swarovski Crystal Fuchsia
Swarovski Diamond Mix Pink Passion
Swarovski Powder Finish Rivoli
1) Cut 12 inches of beading wire and string on a crimp bead. String thorough the 19mm hammered ring and back through your crimp bead. Use a pair of crimp bead pliers to secure the crimp bead in place. Repeat 3-5 times depending on how many strands you want your finished bracelet to have. (Images 1-3)
2) String the BeCharmed Medley Pave bead onto all of the strands, hiding the crimp beads inside. (Image 4)
3) String beads randomly or in patterns. The beaded section should be 7 inches in length when finished. (Image 5)
4) After adding the desired amount of beads to the string, finish by stringing a crimp bead. Pass through the 13mm hammered ring and back through the crimp bead. Secure with crimp bead pliers and cover with a crimp cover. (Images 5-7)
5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining strands of beading wire.
6) Use two jump rings to attach the toggle clasp to the hammered rings. Attach the bar end to the 13mm ring and the loop end to the 19mm ring. (Images 8-9)
7) To create dangles, stack beads onto headpins and create a wrapped loop. Connect charms to the 19mm hammered ring with jump rings. If using a rivoli crystal charm, affix the crystal into the setting with adhesive 24 hours prior to use. (Images 10-12)The larger hammered ring can accommodate quite a few charms and beaded dangles, so use as many or as few as you like. I tried to incorporate an element from each color used in the bracelet to create my little baubles. I love the powder-finish rivoli crystals by Swarovski and had to use both the pink and yellow styles on this bracelet. Adding different sizes and textures of dangles can add interest to the finished piece. Also, try layering the dangling elements to create a waterfall effect.
I used the leftover beads to create a single strand bracelet but did not use a focal bead. I still like the color palate but it feels much more random without that focal to tie everything together. Single strand designs are easily worn together with other bracelets for a fun and flirty stack. Try pairing a beaded bracelet with some made of chain, leather or fiber for a stylish combination.
Another great way to use bead soup is to combine everything into a charm bracelet. For this design, I started off using a BeCharmed Medley Pave bead as my main focal. I used orange and yellow freshwater pearls combined with some crystals and cute NEW TierraCast charms. Simply stack the beads onto headpins and create wrapped loops. Then, add the beaded dangles and charms to chain with jump rings. Connect a clasp to the chain with jump rings and your bracelet is finished. The best thing about charm bracelets like this is how few elements are needed to create a stunning piece of jewelry. You can find the supply list to create your own charm bracelet HERE.
Have you ever tried making bead soup before? Stop by our website today and you can save 20% on your web order with our Red Hot Summer Sale. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up all the ingredients for your very own tasty bead soup! But don’t wait long because the sale ends today!