Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Materials

 I have been working on my Beadsmith competition piece and part of the rules is that I am not allowed to share pictures of it till reveal day. It's going to be big and very fishy. That's all I got to say.
But for now, I was thinking I should still keep on blogging, if not about new pieces, then maybe issues like basic materials we beaders all use.

A very nice artist, who is new to bead embroidery contacted me on Etsy a week ago asking for my honest opinion of her work. I thought her work showed great promise, the only constructive criticism I could give her was to use Fireline instead of Nymo.

Yupp, we are back to that debate.

The picture above shows a few of my early pieces, (here is a link about the bracelet on the right, that's not my design.)
 Anyhow, these pieces were made between 2007 and 2009 with Nymo, and they are fraying and falling apart now.
 Some more then others, the two bracelets need constant fixing the necklace has fared  better.
I loved using Nymo because it's soft, you can get the color that matches your backing and beads, and it's just like thread. But you need to wax it, and the wax weakens the thread further.
So I say Fireline is the way to go. 6 pound test goodness in both smoke and crystal color.

I buy it by a 300 yard spool, and the best place to get this Cabela's.
It's about $30 for this much, and it lasts a long time.
 The grey matches most things, for lighter colors I use the crystal.
Don't waste your money on the braided variety, unless you are buying it specifically for long fringes on a collar. It feels more thread like, but much harder to put it through a size 12 needle's eye...
And it is too expensive for regular stuff. Fused original or fused crystal is the best way to go, as pictured above.
Compared to other beading threads it is quite an investment, but it really is the foundation of everything else. Doesn't matter how much money you splurge on beautiful cabochons and beads, if they all fall off  of your  creations like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall.

There are many glues out there...
I bathed in glue for years to find what works best.
E6000 is my choice. It stinks to high heavens, and the smell takes quite a while to air out , but it works so well. It is toluene free now, (toluene is a a solvent that's carcinogenic), so supposedly safer to use.

If you find  anything else, that's clear, dries quick, remains flexible, is capable of bonding porous to nonporous surfaces and smells better, let me know.
Until then, it's E6000 for me.

There are times when you need a teentsy bit of super glue, I usually use it to seal things that I am afraid would unwind. When that happens, normally one gets covered in super glue from ear to ear, no great wonder since super glue was developed by the army as a field dressing, so it bonds skin really well.

Also, it dries out after one use, since it's mostly packaged in little aluminum tubes.

Not this little guy with its  pointy tip and a long cover over it that keeps it from drying out.
Also it contains more glue then the normal packaging, and with the precise tip you only get it to where you need it, so glue away, you will no longer be stuck to your beadwork.

This product is made by Loctite, and I buy it at my regular hardware store for about $3.50.
I bet it's available at other hardware stores too. Here is a link to a picture to show you what it looks like in it's package.

It took me years to figure out that I needed a thread burner.
 This little device gets really close to loose threads on your beadwork, and just burns all the little tails off. Gets to places no tiny scissors can get, and makes things nice and smooth.... My first one came from Joanne's, and it had a thick plastic housing and was flimsy as they get, and when the tip burned out, there was no replacement available.

This one , Thread Zap II is from the Beadsmith, and it has a metal housing, feels much nicer in the hand too because it's the size of a fat sharpie. The tip is replaceable, and it takes one AA battery that seems to last a long time.

It's predecessor ( Thread Zap) was more expensive, bigger and clunkier, so if you are in the market for one of these, get the new version.

Well, I hope this post will help someone who is struggling with choices in clouds of glue fumes and fishing lines.
 I am off to work on the Fishies....