Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lovin' Me Some Bead Soup (Tutorial)

Making Bead Soup

I love the term bead soup, because it just exactly describes what we beaders do. We throw in different sizes, shapes, and colors of beads until they become the right mixture for the project at hand. 

It’s not simple, though; you have to have “highlights” and “shadows” just as if you were painting a picture. That goes double if you have an item in mind you want to bead around.

Here’s mine

You generally want about 3 colors in your soup, and then several variations of each color. Here's what I had to start with. The light green beads are size 11 matte seed beads. The darker ones are also 11s, and the aqua beads with the clear around them are called color-lined, so they'd be something like "aqua-lined crystal size 8".

Below are some other beads (they are in the box, but I pulled them out so you could see). These are all larger than seed beads, maybe 6 mm for the sandstone and 8 for the unakite. The shiny polished stones are aventurine, and I don't know what the others are!

Below are more seed beads that went into the mix. I thought that a burnt umber or rootbeer shade would match the "tree" in the center of my focal bead. (Doesn't it look like a tree?)

All 3 of the beads to the left are called rootbeer color, but the styles are different so I wanted you to see them. The leftmost box is size 6 "transparent rainbow matte rootbeer." The next box is called glass transparent rootbeer. They're straight-up brown, no rainbow coating. The 3rd box is silver-lined and they're size 8. The box on the right is size 15, teeny tiny beads. They have a metallic coating. 

As you can tell, Root Beer is a color I use a lot! It goes easily with greens, coral/orange, or pretty much anything on the warm side of the color  wheel.

 I chose dark green, brown/red, and lighter green as my main colors. Sometimes you need to add the color that's across the color wheel from the main color; that will help create the right soup.

And here’s the bead soup as I made it:

Think of your main color as the medium shade. You want some lighter ones for highlights, and some darker shadow colors. You'll also like it better with different textures, shapes, etc.
I'm feeling a little limited because I made a resolution this year to use what I already have. 

See the strand of light (almost lime) green beads off to the right? They, and the bigger beads the same color that are already in the soup, are too light.

Above: I tried adding more dark beads to offset the light color, but it still wasn't working.

You wouldn't think gray could work, but it looks like a neutral against the darker beaded cabochon. I put those in.  Finally I removed the bigger green ones, must've been after the photo shoot.

Here’s the final outcome of the soup:

Those unakite beads are just right with this mix! So glad I had them!

And I’ll post the finished project….errr…..soon! Sometimes I make up the mix but it takes me ages to get the whole thing completed. 
Enjoy making your own bead soup. 

The TN Beader is now happily ensconced in Florida, but somehow the FL Beader just doesn't have the same ring. 

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating breakdown! It's really best to be able to inspect jewelry this precisely and closely, so you'll have a strong sense of aesthetic and structure, which are the most basic indicators of whether a piece of jewelry is worth buying. Of course, nothing beats seeing it first-hand. But with the age of online shopping, a good picture can show a lot of things. Thanks for sharing!

    Verna Ford @ Jacobs