How I Design Jewelry from the Bargain Bead Box

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Hey beautiful! In today’s video I will give you a rundown of my design process for creating finished jewelry directly from the contents of the Bargain Bead Box. This video has been requested multiple times over the years, and while it has taken me a while to figure out how to share, and what to say, I hope this video provides you with some tips and tricks, and maybe helps to get you out of a design slump. 

Check out the Bargain Bead Box, and use coupon code OPAL2 for $2 off your first month. Each month, you are guaranteed a value of $50, and at least 12-16 bead and finding selections. Shipping is free in the US, making this subscription only $17.95, shipped!

Steps to Designing with the Bargain Bead Box

Step 1: Empty the contents of the Organza Bag.

Dump the contents of the organza bag onto a bead mat, or a bead tray, where you will be able to look at everything together as a whole.

Step 2: Remove everything from the plastic bags.

Removing all contents, including the findings, from the plastic bags is so important. It may be subtle, but things tend to look much different outside of the bags. 

Step 3: Take the beads off of their strands, and place them into bead trays.

Freeing the beads from their strands, and separating all contents into triangular bead trays is so helpful. Having all of the components free and accessible means you will be more willing to take a few materials from one tray, or another, and begin laying things out to see how they work together. Moving the trays around, and sitting certain items next to each other is also a great way to see how things may look together, before physically stringing anything.

Step 4: Identify the pendants and focals.

We typically receive at least 2 focals in each Bargain Bead Box. It may be one gemstone pendant, and a large metallic focal, or a similar combination. Bring the focals to the center of the mat, and surround them with the other contents, which are in separate bead trays.

Step 5: Identify how you might use the focal(s).

When you’re ready to begin designing, pull a pendant/focal to its own bead mat, or bead tray. Think about things like: what is its size, shape, pattern, or other main visual attributes? Does it have a hole drilled into it, come attached to a bail, have loops to connect to something else, etc? Would you like to wire wrap it, create a beaded bezel, or bail, leave it as plain as possible, etc.? Will this work into a necklace, or something else? How might this be incorporated into a finished piece, and what kind? Narrow down what you would initially like to do with the focal, and how you would like to use it.

Step 6: Begin building a piece of jewelry around a focal

Determine which other beads and findings you think you would like to incorporate with that focal. Pull those triangular trays of materials over to the focal, separating them from the main materials board. Lay out the framework of the design on the bead mat. Move beads around. Decide what you like, and what you don’t, and keep shifting things around until you are reasonably satisfied.

Step 7: Create the first pieces of jewelry.

This is the step where you are actually turning your beads and findings into an actual finished piece. Begin the process of wire-wrapping, stringing, weaving…whatever you have in mind. Also think to yourself (like tip 4 states below), can you make a jewelry set, instead of just one piece? Do you have left over materials that coordinate, and could create a matching pair of earrings?

teal quartz and copper pendant necklace and earrings

antique copper and aqua agate chandelier necklace and earrings

Step 8: Clean up, and add the leftover components back to the group of contents.

Are you satisfied with your finished piece(s)?

No?  It happens! Feel free to take it apart, and turn it into something else. They’re just beads, after all.

Yes? Great! Clean up your workspace, if possible. You’ve probably made a mess, if you’re like me, and you will thank me later. 🙂 Return any unused beads and findings back to the triangular trays, and add them back to the main bead tray of supplies. 

Step 9: Look at all of the remaining beads and findings as a whole new bead box.

Who doesn’t love a fresh start? Now that your initial piece, or pieces, have been created, pat yourself on the back! Enjoy the sense of accomplishment, and look at the beads and findings that remain, as a whole. These items essentially make up their own new, paired down, bead box.

Aqua and Teal Leafy Beaded Agate Toggle Pendant Necklace

Step 10: Repeat steps 4-9.

With a fresh set of eyes, look at the contents that remain. Is there anything left that may be turned into a pendant, or star of its own show? Perhaps you have the perfect focal from your stash that would coordinate beautifully with the remaining contents. You don’t have to use up everything now. You can always use the remaining materials in other future finished pieces.

Additional Designing Tips

Tip 1: Don’t rush the process. Inspiration often comes unexpectedly.

Tip 2: Understand that your plan may change… sometimes completely.

Tip 3: Findings can be used in many different ways. A toggle clasp doesn’t have to be just a clasp.

Tip 4: Try to think in terms of making jewelry sets, where possible, instead of just a single piece.

Tip 5: Ask yourself – Are there any items from your stash that you might like to combine with the box contents?

Tip 6: Don’t stress. Have fun!

Recent Bargain Bead Box Themes:

While you're here, check out more finished pieces:

This post may contain affiliate links, which may provide me with a small amount of commission at no cost to you; however, the thoughts/opinions I have expressed are 100% my own.


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Instant Download Beading Patterns:

Find the growing collection of instant download beading patterns for my original beaded jewelry designs. All patterns are accompanied by a corresponding, free beading tutorial video in case you would like to refer to video instruction while you bead. 

Simply purchase a pattern, and after checkout the link to download the PDF document instantly will be available.

You may easily search the Orchid and Opal Design Index for the name of the pattern you have purchased, and follow the linked image to find the blog post that contains the video. 

Beaded Jewelry Inspiration:

The jewelry in this category may be sold, but I am usually able to recreate similar designs, upon request. Viewing out of stock jewelry pieces also provides a helpful archive of beading inspiration, and a way to see past jewelry creations that have travelled to new homes. Many pieces include materials from past bead subscription boxes that I have unboxed on my YouTube channel.

I am humbled to say that the pieces found in this category have been shipped to satisfied customers in practically many corners of the world! 

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