Saturday, October 8, 2011

Playing with Beadalon Rubber Tube

For my Oct 6th appearance on Jewelry Television, Beadalon asked me to design using their 1.7mm rubber tubing, in both black and frost colors. Slender as a flower stem but very durable, the tubing is hollow which means WooHoo! You can thread through it with beading wire or Artistic Wire (less than 20g) and it cuts like buttah with a scissors, snips or craft knife. Was I a happy camper! (Y'all know I love the look of rubber in jewelry designs!)

Since lots of people ask about how ideas come about for my finished work, I'm sharing some of the constructions I played using the tubing. 

My first idea was to cut black and frost tubes into pieces and string them with 4mm round Swarovski Siam crystals, for one of my fave combos of  red and black and white. I curled .015 beading wire (same way you do with curling ribbon) to give the strands movement and more body. This necklace is unfinished. I think it will succeed if there are tons more strands for a more substantial presence, and, having (for the moment!) a limited supply of the tubing, I moved on to a new direction.
Having a pile of cut pieces of tube leftover, I took beading wire--not curled--and crisscrossed through the tubes and crystals in a traditional netting stitch. The only diff here between beadwork netting and this is that I strung the pieces of tubes instead of beads between the junction crystals. I'm not quite sure yet how to give this a polished finish as a piece of jewelry but it sure looks unique around a glass holiday ball or votive.
Here I strung doubled over lengths of the frost and the black tubing through a pendant bail, which I taped to a table on a wire. I strung one of the new Swarovski silver lined big holed beads intending eventually to do some sort of weaving with the tubes, as in those lanyards we all made as kids. (With gimp, remember?) I still need to work out that process.
Grabbing a handful of the tubing inspired me to work with it in bunches. I cut pieces into varied lengths, strung them with beading wire, and crimped more Siam crystal rounds on each wire end. I simply took Beadalon crimp beads (not tubes) and squashed them flat with a chain nose pliers. The crimp beads are small enough to be innocuous yet add a touch of silver.

Here's how I wired the crystal-tipped tubes together so I could hang them from a pendant bail. Totally easy!
More multiples of tubes, wired with beading wire and crimped onto a slide multi-strand clasp. I attached a pendant bail at the center of the tubes.

Here's the finished pendant, using stacked turquoise donuts and a whirl of tubing wired with Artistic Wire.

Using the frost color tubing seemed perfect with Beadalon's SP Quick Links and chain. I strung short lengths of the tube on eye pins with Swarovski Comet Argent Light 4mm bicones, and used simple wire wrapped loops to space the embellished eye pins along a lovely rolo chain. This necklace sparkles big time! So – the discovery I made in this play time with rubber tubing was that it can look dazzling and elegant, as well as industrially chic.
Do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I think they're going to be wowed with those Leslie! I especially like the red siam with the black tubing. The netting is unusual and eye catching. I think everyone will love the last one for the casual elegance and glitter. Great pieces!