Archive for September, 2010

Antiquing Mixed Metals

Methods of Adding a Patina to Silver, Copper, and Brass

While there are some craft products a beader can buy to antique her metals, like Liver of Sulfur or antiquing kits, we at the Bead Bazaar are often asked for alternative home remedies. Here’s a couple of the more common ones, but we’ll be continuing next week with a few uncommon ones, so be sure to check back!

Giving a Black Patina to Silver: This method takes a little prep, as it uses a warm boiled egg to naturally produce sulfur. Total time: 6-8 hours

  1. Make sure the silver pieces that you want to antique are clean for optimal results. Excess oils can prevent a patina from taking evenly.
  2. Hard boil an egg (or maybe two, one for a snack!) and peel quickly. Allow the egg to cool until you can safely handle it, but avoid lowering the temperature of the egg beyond that point.
  3. While the egg is still warm, separate the yoke, break it apart, and put it in an airtight container (like a plastic bag) with your silver.
  4. Allow your silver to sit for 6-8 hours, but not much longer beyond this point! Some people find their silver damaged when left for too long. Silver can be left for a shorter period of time if you don’t want the patina to be as dark.
  5. If desired, use a Q-tip or paint-brush with silver polish to gently polish away patina from parts of the silver, leaving only certain parts of it antiqued.
  6. Apply a clear varnish to maintain the patina.

Giving a Blue-Green Patina to Copper: This method uses common household items: Salt, Vinegar, and Water. Total time: 11-16 hours

  1. Soak copper pieces in salt water for 3-4 hours. 3tbsp of salt per 6 oz of water makes an ideal mixture.
  2. Hang the copper pieces over 1/4″ of vinegar in a lidded plastic dish (tupperware would work fine) for 8-12 Hours. For best results, the copper pieces should not touch each other.
  3. A green patina will have formed on your copper. Gently wipe away excess patina with a paper towel or a soft cloth. Allow the pieces to dry.
  4. Coat the copper pieces with a clear spray to keep the patina on the copper.

Applying a Brownish Green Patina to Brass: This method uses ammonia, so be sure to only apply the patina in a well ventilated area, and it is probably best for adults to help children with application. Total time: Varies, anywhere between minutes and 8 hours. See explanation in instructions.

  1. The same process is used as antiquing copper, with a couple of small differences. Don’t treat brass pieces in salt water, but skip directly to hanging them in a plastic container. Container will have a little ammonia at the bottom rather than vinegar.
  2. “Clear Ammonia” is recommended for this antiquing process. This can be found in most grocery stores.
  3. Ammonia can evaporate quickly, leaving only water, so be sure to replace it as needed.
  4. Many factors can affect how quickly ammonia vapors create the patina. Temperature, humidity, and freshness of the ammonia can all speed up or slow down the process, so be sure to check your brass pieces frequently.
  5. Again, please be careful when handling ammonia, making sure to keep your workspace well ventilated.
  6. As with other patinas, be sure to seal this one in with a clear varnish once the piece is dry.

General tips for creating patinas:

  1. Cleaning your metal pieces beforehand ensure an even patina.
  2. Excess patina can be removed with soft cloths or Q-tips
  3. Because patina can be so easily removed, be sure to seal it with a varnish once the process is complete.
  4. Be sure to keep work space well ventilated for your safety. Patinas are created by the chemical reactions of the vapors and the solutions with the metals.
  5. Be sure to check on your patinas to ensure you are achieving the desired results.
  6. Have fun with it! And feel free to comment with your own patina experiences.

~Bead Bazaar


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Colors of Change: Autumn to Winter

With the arrival of fall comes an exciting event for the Bead Bazaar and our community- we’ll be joining Fairhaven for it’s annual Gallery Walk, when the shops of Fairhaven display a marvelous variety local art. Every November, the Gallery Walk allows Fairhaven to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of the people of Bellingham, and you’re invited to revel in their artwork. As a store that encourages creativity, we choose to show off the hard work of our own patrons in the form of a beading contest. 2010 marks our 3rd Annual Beading Contest, and this year we’re doing something different; our contest will have a theme: “Colors of Change: Autumn to Winter”. We welcome any creative use of beads, from jewelry to household decoration. Approved entries will be displayed in our window and showcases from November 26th-30th, and the winner is chosen by our customers. As people peruse the Gallery Walk, they will get to vote for their favorite entries, and the entry with the most votes will win.

A contest isn’t a contest without prizes, and this one is no exception. Our first place contestant will receive a Bead Bazaar gift certificate for $100! Second place will earn a $50 gift certificate, and third place a $25 gift certificate, all to the Bead Bazaar. The winners and their projects will also be featured in our blog the next week.

As with any contest, we also have a list of rules, guidelines for determining which entries qualify:

  1. All entries must consist of beading materials, be it beads, wire, cord, or any combination of supplies. We do accept pieces that have some form of base, such as the beaded leather purse from last year’s contest or a lampshade , as long as the main design comes from beading supplies. Entries may be denied at the discretion of the Bead Bazaar staff.
  2. This contest is not limited to jewelry. Our first winner created a wire tree sculpture; last year’s first prize went to an embroidered quilt. As long as entries are mainly composed of beading supplies, we encourage creative thinking, and will be proud to display it in the contest.
  3. All beading supplies must have been purchased from or carried by the Bead Bazaar over the past year. Unfortunately, this rules out home-made beads and found objects. We are less picky about generic items like basic seedbeads, but anything else must have been able to come from our store. As long as we have had a specific item in stock in the last year, it’s fair game for the contest. If you are unsure whether a particular component qualifies, feel free to ask! We’ll be more than happy to talk about it.
  4. Entries will be accepted on November 20th and 21st, so be sure to bring in your work by the deadline!
  5. Voting will occur from November 26th-30th. Entrants are allowed to vote for their own work and encouraged to get family members and friends to vote for them.
  6. As we like to share our patrons’ incredible skills (ok, we really mean brag) we will be photographing all entries and posting them on our blog with little descriptions. It is understood by entry that we have the artist’s permission to publish their names and images of their work on our blog, especially the work of the three lucky winners.
  7. It is understood that the winners will be determined entirely by the votes of our customers. First place will go to the artist who receives the most votes, second place to the  second most votes, and so on.
  8. Entrants will be contacted after the contest closes to pick up their work. We would appreciate that entries be claimed by December 6th.

If you’re looking for inspiration, just visit our Blog post detailing last year’s lucky winners here. Don’t forget that any creative design is welcome, not just jewelry! Just remember that our theme is “Colors of Change: Autumn to Winter” If you have any questions, our staff would be more than happy to discuss them with you. We look forward to sharing your pieces with Bellingham!

-Bead Bazaar

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Don’t forget to sign up for our fun fall classes! Register before September 30th and receive 25% off of the class price.

This discount is good for any of our classes scheduled through December, 2010. Just make sure to register before the end of September to receive this awesome discount. Sorry, discount does not apply to class supplies. To give you a peek at what the Bead Bazaar has in store, we’re showcasing three fun projects, all happening over the next week!

The bold “Beaded Cuff Bracelet” on September 28th allows you to create a mosaic of large and small beads while showcasing a larger, focal piece. This project is ideal for those who like larger jewelry or for creating a beaded art piece.

Beaded Cuff Bracelet- Click to Enlarge

Make sure to come by on September 29th; our “Framed Gemstone Pendant” gives a touch of simple elegance, showing the more delicate side of beading. This necklace would be perfect for those with a more delicate taste or for showcasing a few fun beads.

Framed Gemstone Pendant- Click to Enlarge

On more of a beginner’s level, the “Anemone Bracelet” on September 30th is a fun and popular project, perfect for the lady who likes a little whimsy in her life.

Anemone Bracelet- Click to Enlarge

Don’t forget, we have many other classes to choose from besides, some of which are listed here. Spruce up the holidays with our seasonal classes: snowflakes and spiders are fun for the kids, and adults can enjoy learning how to make beautiful beaded ornaments. Other projects ideal for gifts can be seen here. Signing children up for classes is also a popular holiday gift, and our new child+adult team classes provide a fun family activity. Don’t forget to stop by before September 30th to take advantage of our great class discount!

~Bead Bazaar

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Receive a FREE sterling-core Troll/Pandora style glass bead (valued at $7.99 each) for every $25 purchased!

Click for Larger Image

With the growing popularity of interchangeable beaded bracelets, we’ve received many requests for a selection of compatible beads. To our delight, we at the Bead Bazaar can now offer over 90 different styles of large-hole glass beads with a sterling core,  compatible with the Troll and Pandora styles. Available in a veritable rainbow of options, our sterling-lined beads cost $7.99 if bought individually, or $5.99 each if purchased in lots of 4 or more. Now through October 4th we are also giving away a FREE sterling-core bead with every $25 purchased! This special stacks, so a $50 purchase will qualify for 2 free beads, $75 will receive 3 free beads, etc.

These sterling-core large-hole beads are designed to fit over chain, creating an interchangeable beaded bracelet. This concept was first developed by the TrollBeads company in 1976, with a focus on metal beads; as these bracelets grew in popularity, the Pandora company introduced large-hole glass beads in 1999. The interchangeable bracelet functions similarly to a charm bracelet, allowing the wearer to add beads as they find them. Having so many colors and designs available make these bracelets highly customizable; our own sterling-core glass beads range in style from earthen to whimsical to bling, jumping out and speaking to just the right person.

Brand name interchangeable beads can run upwards of $50-$100; even designer knock-offs can be as much as $30. With our sterling-core beads priced at a much friendlier $7.99 each (or $5.99 each in lots of 4 or more), you can achieve the look without hurting the bank. We invite you to come by and find a bead that speaks to you!

~Bead Bazaar

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New Baltic Amber Beads

We at the Bead Bazaar are pleased to introduce a new selection of Baltic amber beads! Available single or by the strand, our lovely Baltic amber comes in a wide range of colors; traditional amber tones, cognac amber, dark Baltic Amber (also known as cherry amber), and Baltic green Amber. We also have a selection of Caribbean green Amber beads. While Baltic green amber has a muted yellow tone, Caribbean green is a more vibrant stone. No matter the color you choose, all of our new amber gives off a warm autumn glow.

Baltic amber comes from northern Europe, specifically Lithuania, Denmark, northern Germany, and former Prussia. It’s nicknames are “Prussian Gold” and “Lithuanian Gold”; amber is considered a large contributor to Lithuania’s cultural heritage. Baltic Amber was formed by the fossilization of sap from a large forested region now covered by the Baltic Sea. The original forest existed between 35 and 50 million years ago, and the amber has been hardening ever since then. Each piece of Baltic Amber is truly a piece of history.

New Agate Beads

Also new to our store is a colorful selection of agate beads. We offer the rich tones of fire agate and sardonyx; web agate and blue agate can also be found among our new pieces, including some large, striking blue agate pendants. Web agate is especially appropriate for the upcoming Halloween season, so don’t hesitate to drop by and pick up one of these natural wonders!

-Bead Bazaar

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