craft awards

Craft awards don't come easily to the shops that receive them.

They are earned by the hard work of the craft shop owners who provide their customers with great service and products.

Last year Mandy Shedden of Keep On Crafting in Bury St Edmunds was given an award. When we spoke to Mandy this week about her hopes for this year she said:

"Thanks to the support of our loyal customers in 2015, we won the Silver Award in the International Craft Awards Best Independent Retailer in the South East"

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paper bead workshop

This week, I ran a paper bead workshop at a popular West Suffolk craft shop. 

Thanks to the artistic skills and dexterity of Mandy, Beryl, Sonia, Clarissa and Alison, the workshop ran really smoothly and was good fun.

They were a brilliant group who picked everything up really swiftly; that meant there was plenty of time for a tea break and time to set the world to rights!

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Paper Bead Cuff

Paper bead cuffs are my way of using my own art to create pieces of jewellery.

To create the paper bead cuffs, I do an abstract painting in acrylics on a sheet of paper slightly bigger than A4 (US letter size roughly).

The paper I use is usually quite thick and sturdy to create chunkier beads.

To find out more about making paper beads and the tool I use, click here to see a previous post that explains the process.

To create my paper bead cuffs, I do an abstract painting in acrylics on a sheet of paper slightly… Click To Tweet

 

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Make beautiful 'Moon Glow' alcohol ink pendants using kitchen tin foil.

Alcohol ink pendants are my latest arty happening!

After seeing someone online doing crafty things with ordinary tin foil, I thought it would be fun to try and make some jewellery using that technique.

My previous post was also about using alcohol inks - you can find it by clicking here.

I have been making bottle cap necklaces for years and so I was inspired to use the bottle caps I have in my stash of resources to create some alcohol ink pendants.

Alcohol ink pendants - so easy to make and sell at craft fairs. Click To Tweet

To help you create your own alcohol ink pendants, I have made a YouTube video.

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Alcohol Inks - My Latest Happy Discovery

alcohol inks

Alcohol inks - oh my goodness - you know when something really sets you on fire and you don't want to sleep?

Well this is it for me! It's all Mandy Shedden's fault - since I went to visit her fantastic little craft supplies store in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, I have not been the same.

The store, Keep On Crafting is an absolute Aladdin's cave of art and craft goodies. I seriously didn't know which way to turn.

 

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Beautiful Paper Saucer Beads

Saucer Beads

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when you first get into making paper beads.

I tried all sorts of ways but then I found the best way to make saucer beads of all different sizes is to use the layering process.This works best of all for me.

To make the necklace you see above, I used an old 12 x 12 inch sheet of scrapbooking paper I had laying around. I cut it into quarter inch tapered strips and then layered them to get a variety of shapes and sizes.

Saucer beads can be quite tricky to master when first making paper beads. Click To Tweet

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Paper pendants made from discarded cereal box cardboard are super easy to make!

Add your own abstract artwork - as I have done with the ones pictured above - and you have exciting, bold and beautiful one-off pieces of jewellery to wear, sell sort give away as presents.

These paper pendants were all made by me, using a discarded cereal box to create the jewellery form that I mounted my artwork on.

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fun with art

Having fun with art is not just for children!

Fun with art - my three favourite words! As adults, we are easily capable of getting a huge amount of fun out of art and craft - if we allow ourselves. Somehow, somewhere along the road of growing up, we stop 'doing art' because we can't do it 'properly'. As children, until we reach a certain age, we do not care whether we are 'good' or 'bad' at art. If you watch children at play, having fun with art comes naturally. It was through my creative  work with children that I began to think about art and craft in a different way. Children simply create and often forget about their 'art' once the crayons and paints are put away; their joy is in the doing.

As children, until we reach a certain age, we do not care whether we are 'good' or 'bad' at art. Click To Tweet

 

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Make Paper Beads the Easy Beady Way


Making paper beads from junk  is one of my favourite crafts. I love transforming mundane pieces of paper into beautiful jewellery. I also love creating my own artwork to use.

But my enjoyment was spoilt by not being able to find the perfect bead rolling tool. I wanted something that gripped the paper well enough to get the bead started easily.

I also wanted something that would allow me to slide the finished bead off quickly, smoothly and without pulling the middle out of it.

There are many bead rollers for sale but most of them are made out of bamboo that has been split into two and then bound with paper to make a handle.

easy beady tool

They were ok and I made quite a few of my own. The problem that I found was the bamboo could sometimes snag the paper making beads hard to slide off.

For the last 18 months, I have been hard at work trying to create a bead rolling tool that is as near to perfect as I can get.

Learn to Make Gorgeous Paper Beads In Minutes!


Once you have the tool and have practiced on a few strips of paper, making beautiful beads is really easy.

Instead of being annoyed at all the junk mail coming through your door, you will be saying thank you for all the wonderful free paper you are getting. 

And think of the thrill when you make a really beautiful bracelet out of something that used to annoy you! Make unique presents that have cost you next to nothing.

Or create your own art work and make some really colourful beads that are truly unique and cannot be copied.

easy beady tool

The possibilities for creating paper beads of all different shapes and sizes is endless. I really enjoy colouring designs on plain paper and then making beads from it. If you add several coats of glaze, they look so amazing, no one guesses they are made from paper.

After experimenting with lots of different materials, I have come up with a tool that I absolutely love using. It is simple in design and very easy to use. It rolls nice tight beads that are easy to slide off - what more could you ask for? Have a look at the demo video I made to show what the tools look like and how to use them. I make them all to order and they are available on eBay. Click here to be taken to eBay. They are available in 3mm or 5mm. The 3mm size allows you to make beads with a smaller core for threading on finer stringing material up to 2.5mm thick.  The 5mm size allows you to make beads with a larger core for threading on thicker stringing materials such as leather or Pandora style bracelets. They can be bought individually or as a duo pack.

Find Out About My Bead Strip Templates To Make Cutting Easier

For easy cutting of paper bead strips without all the hassle of measuring and drawing lines, I have designed some templates you can download from my etsy shop. 

They are very easy to use. Click here to find out how you can use my templates to cut quick, easy strips and then use the template paper to make more beads so there is no waste! You can also use the templates in image editing software such as Photoshop to overlay onto printable  designs. 

easy beady
easy beady tool

Here you can see two ways to use the downloadable templates. You can print the template, fix it to your chosen bead paper with removable adhesive tape and cut your strips along the lines with ruler and craft knife.

The picture above shows strips cut with that method. As you can see, this gives you the strips cut in your chosen paper and the left-over template strips. You can hand colour those with Sharpies and make more beads. No waste!

Or you can overlay the png file onto an image on screen (see right), print it and cut along the printed lines with ruler and craft knife or a guillotine. Visit my etsy shop today to get your downloadable templates.

easy beady tool