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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Magic Of Metallic Finishes

Metallic finish beads have been used for many, many types of beading, so when I decided to highlight this in my Blog today, I didn't want this to sound like totally 'new news'.

Working in a two dimensional form, as bead looming creates, I tend to look for ways to create my patterns using the slightest difference in color hues. This would normally create a three dimensional look to the subject of the pattern. Flower petals and butterfly wings are just two of the examples, we try to shade for a more dimensional perspective. Think about this: "Using just a metallic finish bead, in one color, creates the 'natural dimension' we strive to create when we shade with various bead colors."

I am looming continually, thinking I have it all worked out in my head....already loomed and worn three or four times. Basically, planning far ahead, as we all do when we design a pattern using new and different techniques. In my zest and enjoyment of seeing progress, I forgot to 'shade' the beads along the straps I am creating, on my recent looming. Just short of removing these beads, I decided to go onward and so glad I did. Notice in the pictures below how the light source creates a natural shading. These metallic finish beads were a perfect choice, after all. No need to use more then one color and create something that is available naturally.

The picture above shows the highlight variance between the two straps, even though they were loomed with exactly the same metallic bead color.

Here below, you get the idea of how the hump of this strap offers even a darker shade of the same metallic bead color, giving more dimension.

I've taught myself a new lesson and will keep this in mind the next time I am designing a pattern and think how I may be able to use metallic finish beads instead of buying many more colors.

So, consider the movement of your completed looming. Think about how this will be worn, flat or wrapped around a wrist. Consider the idea of using metallic finish beads, especially with all of the bead suppliers racing to offer more and more 'permanent finish' beads.


  1. Who knew! I've always shy'd away from metallic beads thinking they wouldn't last or wear well. My bead embroidery work on my quilts are hung in walls; placed on canvas and hung or in page/binders. You are enticing me to want to work in layers after only making one loom piece!! This is a post I will book mark for sure!! Thanks (as always!), Erin!

  2. You've given me a new reason to love metallic finished beads. I use them all the time. They're my favorite. Great photos and explanation of what you noticed in them.

  3. Erin, hope you are just busy working on that book!! I did finish my cuff on the loom and so excited! I think I should make one more piece using someone's pattern then think about making up my own! Hope all is well!

  4. Ooo, I want to see your cuff! It makes me feel so good to know you are excited enough to want to make more. I think you should consider your own patterns too, but it is also good to try out pattern for a good learning curve.

    I am so very busy trying to keep focused on new patterns and ideas. It is so hard not to share, but also best this way :) You will see what I have been up to in due time!