Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Inspiration Tip: Pin Ups

There are so many things around us to inspire colorful and interesting beadwork, but sometimes the beads themselves are all we need to create eye-catching designs.

This brightly colored spiral rope necklace was born when I stacked my seed bead trays in the wrong order one day. The bright blue beads were directly above the orange beads, and I was blown away by how well they contrasted. The combination reminded me of color trends in plastics several years ago. Every beach bag, juice jug and table cloth on sale came in green, blue or orange.

Immediately I pulled out my bead trays and put together a palette to use in a spiral rope. Unfortunately, I was already working on two projects, and my latest inspiration would have to wait. I decided to take the color combination I had created and put a pin in it. Literally.

When experimenting with colors, or planning variations for future beading projects, a great way to remember palettes is to string a few beads on a sewing pin and stick it to a pin cushion for later.

Rather than just setting aside a bag or bowl of beads, you can use this method to set color ratios, too. You can remind yourself to use more of that dark green and less of the pale green, or to alternate between your primary colors and black or white, by stringing on beads in the right proportions.

I didn’t have an extra pincushion lying around, so I put a glob of soft modeling clay from the craft cupboard onto a dish and used it to hold my bead pins. Whenever I think of an interesting color combination, I pin it up to provide ideas when I’m stumped for what to create next.


  1. I love the necklace and the tip about using the sewing pins. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome! I find myself going back to the pins again and again when I need some inspiration. Even if I don't use the exact palettes, I always come away with new ideas.


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