Bead Mixes – Designer Challenge

Please scroll through this wonderful post.  It highlights twelve designers and the unique bead mixes created by John Bead that they were challenged to work with.


Nancy Donaldson Fur Necklace:  Dreamy Snowflake

Nancy Donaldson explored two fabulous techniques when she received her mixed bead box which resulted in two very different projects.  (And no, she did not have more than one box!)

Her fur necklace was a first time experiment to incorporate fur with soutache.  I think we can all agree her project is a dreamy success.  Also, the matching earrings are simply lovely.


Nancy Donaldson Wire Necklace:  Northern Lights

Nancy teaches her wire working techniques, so it is no surprise to see such a stunning statement necklace featuring wire with the beads.  The wire wrapping placed the beads in spots along the curved edges that creates a stained glass effect.


The earrings are showstoppers.


Nancy’s collection was the most difficult to photograph given how many white beads there are to feature.  I think she did an amazing job!


Nancy had the Dazzling Sidewalk Mixed Beads collection.



Missy Faul – Complete Jewelry Set

Christmas came early this year! The Santorini Coast pallet was filled with shades of blues and greens with just a touch of copper. As soon as I saw the unique shapes I knew I needed to create something that would highlight their individual beauty. Immediately I could envision a wire frame bead cuff. The only question was silver or brown wire. In the end I chose brown! I have always loved the contrast between blues and browns!



It was easy to fill up the 1” wire frame cuff giving each beauty its own place of honor! All that I added from my personal stash were Tierracast daisy spacers, and Swarovski crystals. There were plenty of beads left over to make a “bead soup” wire crochet necklace and matching earrings!



Missy Faul – Missy Faul Jewelry Designs

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The Santorini Coast Mixed Bead collection.


Jeweley Set – Erin Prais-Hintz

Erin wrote:  “I had the Sunset in Venice bead mix with a bright dose of oranges, reds and yellows. For such a small box there were a lot of beads crammed into every little partition! I still have at least half the box left even after making two pairs of earrings, three necklaces and a multi-strand necklace! I especially loved the different finishes, shapes and textures that were included in this curated mix. My favorite by far were the matte frosted beads with the silvered lining. They just seem to glow from within!”


“I warmed up by creating two different pairs of earrings. The oval orange beads reminded me of amber. I thought they looked really elegant dangled in a line with a Vintaj brass swirl at the base. The other pair is a more everyday look that features polymer clay disk beads from my one of my favorite bead artists Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I like how the swirls in the larger lentil beads pick up the swirls in the Humblebeads.”2

“Since there were so many different beads, I wanted to showcase the variety in the bracelet stackers. Simple patterning of the beads in two bracelets, but the third has a bit more flair. Those pennant shaped beads were quite intriguing. I used a double strand and wove the tiny frosted seed beads over the top for an added texture.”

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“My favorite piece has to be the IONU Owl necklace. Recently I started making these IONU Owl pendants as a way to raise awareness and funds. For the sale of each IONU Owl on my website ( I am donating 80% of the price (=$20 US dollars) to the Southern Poverty Law Center. They exist to fight hate, teach tolerance and seek justice, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our society. I thought that the fiery oranges, reds and yellows would be the perfect complement to this whimsical little owl. These owls bring me great joy to make them (no two are alike!) and it makes my heart glad that people will wear them as a symbol of goodness and watching out for each other. Because that is what we need more of right now.”

Thank you for the opportunity to design for John Bead Corporation! Enjoy the day!

Sunset in Venice

Erin had the Sunset in Venice Mixed Bead box.

Carmi Cimicata for John Bead

Necklace and Earrings – Carmi Cimicata

I am featuring my own project today!  The Gold Gravel box was my favorite and I used my insider access as the challenge coordinator to select it for myself!  This is the second time I have created a set of jewelry with it.

The first design I made has been submitted to Perles Et Cetera magazine and I am hoping to wear both at the same time.  Hence, my desire to work with the collection a second time. This longer strung project showcases the numerous beautiful beads in this Czech glass bead box.


It also features a resin filled bezel with encased dried flowers I created for my blog  I could have also made a half dozen or more earrings…there are still so many beads left in my box!


Gold Gravel Mixed Beads


Sarah Millsop – Wired Necklace

Sarah was one of the first designers I wanted to include.  She lives in Britain and is a well known on-air personality in the jewelry industry.  Her beads actually arrived quicker by mail then some of my designers in the USA!  Like almost everyone in the challenge, she created something I did not expect at all!  In her words “It was just lovely to have a project to do for myself.”  I can see her wearing this necklace over the holidays and she mentioned it looked wonderful with a plain round neck t-shirt.  Like Sarah’s Facebook page to learn more about her some of her instructional DVDs.



Sarah received the Ma Vie En Rose Mixed Bead box.



Complete Jewelry Set by Laurie Poirier

Laurie’s submission proved that our mixed bead boxes can create a gorgeous set of jewelry and you’ll still have leftovers!  Her necklace, bracelet and earrings are detailed and you might think she received several boxes to work with.  She did not – this one box exploded into finished jewelry!


“I just loved the shapes and colours of this set. It inspired me to create something that would challenge my creativity.”


Laurie received the Dark Starnight Mixed Bead box.


Paint The Town Red Necklace by Suze Weinberg

Suze sent a fabulous note with her project:

I’m calling it “Paint the Town Red!”   As soon as I opened the container and saw red and gold tone beads I was in heaven!  I loved how all the various shades and textures of red blended so well together.  

I individually wired each bead and then jump ringed them to one another which took a long time but, in the end, was so rewarding because I’m gonna wear it everywhere !!!! It looks equally as striking on black, red and copper colored shirts.  The clasp was something I picked up on a trip to Amsterdam many years ago and saved for just such a great project as this was.


Suze received the Bologna City Bead Mix.


Complete Jewelry Set by Karen Arts

Karen was the first person to submit her finished designs to our challenge.  We were amazed at how much she was able to create with her mixed bead box.  Karen said “it is a bronze frame with festive golden, copper and bronze beads, just in time for Christmas!”


Once the necklace was completed…she just kept making more….


The Topaz Pizzazz mix clearly inspired her!

Topaz Pizzazz


“Floral Fantasy” by Melanie Ferguson

“When I received the package of “Soft Glow” beads, I was inspired by their pastel hues. The colours reminded me of Spring flowers, and so I planned a design that would resemble flowers on a vine. As a bonus, the selection included flower and leaf shaped beads. I used a beadweaving technique to create the design, and finished it with a simple flower-shaped toggle clasp.  Thank you for inviting me to participate in this challenge!”



Bracelet Set by Lisa Kettell

“I loved this challenge and working with pieces from John Beads. I was given the Capeverdi Sunset box. This set was a mix of amber, orange, yellow and sandy tones.  As a November baby these are my birth month colors. They are warm and glowing which is perfect for me. The result are these pieces.”

Capeverdi Mix 4

Happy Wishes (bracelet and earring set) by Lisa as well.

2016 John Bead Necklace3

Brazilian Fiesta – By Jamie North

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in your 12 Days of Christmas project! It pushed me out of my comfort zone in both colors and shapes – it was fun to play with some yellow and butterflies too. The colors in the collection I receive remind me of the Brazilian flag and since they were selected by Fernando DaSilva, who is from Brazil, it seemed appropriate.”

2016 John Bead Bracelet2

Jamie also made this bracelet with the leftovers in her bead mix box.


Jamie’s projects feature – Citrus Sparkles Bead Mix


Wired Floral Necklace by Lena Gillespie

Lena Gillespie necklace featuring:  Day of Joy Mixed Bead Box

About The Bead Mix Box Challenge
Each designer received one mixed bead box and almost all of them have reported that they still have so many left over after completing their projects.
We have designers participating from Canada, The USA and the UK.
Our Facebook page will have giveaways featuring these mixes so Like our page for details.



Snowflake Frame Ideas

This snowflake ornament is made up of broken jewelry components.

Most of us have a few old and broken pieces of jewelry somewhere in our drawers or jewelry box.  A few of those pieces may even have sentimental value. I am taking those old pieces and turning them into ornaments I can enjoy and showcase.  All I need to do is cut the string for this old pearl necklace and I have plenty of beads to work with.  Once I add in the old wood bead necklace, I also have some interesting focal beads.

Instead of using a plier to twist each strung wire closed, they pushed an earring back into place.  These hold all my beads beautifully and create a professional looking finish.  I could permanently glue them, or leave them as is so I can reuse the beads in another project later.

The more you play with these snowflake frames the more ideas you will have.

Snowflake frames are available in three sizes.

Snowflakes with Czech Fire Polished Flat Oval Beads and Cloisonne Beads

Our Dazzle-it Snowflake frame is the ideal project for anyone with a collection of interesting beads.

For this project, Czech fire polished flat oval beads and cloisonne beads combine to create a gorgeous ornament.

You have millions of options to make your own one of a kind snowflake.

Our snowflake frames are available in three sizes.

The Not So Creepy Crystal Spiderwed

The spiderweb is so easy to make, but it is hard to create a creepy spiderweb for halloween when you use beautiful glass Ori beads for your project.

I have been making some gorgeous ornaments with my beads and the Dazzle-it Snowflake frame.  The frames are available in three sizes and today’s spiderweb is a medium sized frame.

I had just the right amount of black crystals for my project.

Once all my prongs were filled I started to add my webbing.  A simple twist of a wire was all I needed to hold the beads in place.

I tried to make it less perfect by adding one less bead here and there.

I was starting to get nervous that I would run out of beads.  Luckily I had a third strand of these smaller black beads.  In the end, I used three 8 inch strands of small beads and one and a half strands of the larger bead.

I am very pleased with the final webbing.  Now I am on the hunt for an actual spider to attach to it.

Snowflake Frames

These snowflakes are a gorgeous addition to any decorating projects.  Naturally, they are associated with Christmas, but by selecting different colours, they could be showcased year round in windows and in other home dec designs.

They are a simple concept with unlimited possibilities for ornamentation.  Frames are available in three sizes.

When I want to create a snowflake I usually pre select the beads to see if I can create an interesting pattern.  The wire will even accept 4mm Swarovski bicone beads, so I can use almost any bead in my collection.

The wire is silver plated and is very strong.  I would not recommend shaping the prong ends or cutting it with my good jewelry making tools.  I have been using an older set of tools and a pair of pliers from my regular tool box to finish my snowflakes.  This is not intended for children.  If you want to have children participate, have them design their snowflake, but adults should finish the prong ends if the wire is being manipulated.

You also want to remind yourself to leave about 1/2 inch of wire if you plan to bend the prong ends.

If you don’t leave enough wire, this will happen.  It might hold your beads, but it does not look finished and may catch on clothes or curtains.

I have strong hands, so I am able to make a rounded edge.

Since you have to do this six times, you’ll find that you will get better and better at leaving just the right amount of wire on each snowflake prong.

I have also discovered that making a flatter prong end with regular pliers looks just a pretty.

You just want to be sure to close this gap to keep your snowflake perfect.

You could also use a combination of glued ends with bent wire ends.

For this snowflake I glued small beads to 5 of 6 prong ends.  I only bent one of the prong wire ends so I could hang my ornament with wire or ribbon.

The classic tree ornament hook can be used to display these pretty snowflakes.

When you design your snowflakes, you’ll find that by changing the centre beads, you can get a tighter grouping.  Mixing and matching makes this enjoyable.

I used chiffon ribbon to finish these.  You could also use rattail, satin ribbons, cotton cords and even a thinner leather cord.

Day of The Dead Ornament

Okay, not every ornament has to have a traditional white, green and red Christmas theme.  Many people use ornaments at different times of the year and I could not help but think that this one would be a fun one for anyone celebrating Day of the Dead…or perhaps you just has a good sense of humour.

What makes these ornaments so easy to craft are the snowflake frames in the John Bead catalog.  I used our semi precious skull beads 10mm with some brightly coloured wood beads.  The yellow tassel was just the perfect finishing touch!

All you have to do is load your beads in a pleasing arrangement and twist the end of your wire frame to keep them in place.

It looks just beautiful on my tree!

Crystal Snowflake Ornaments

I don’t think there is a jewelry maker or beader on the planet that would not want a beaded snowflake.

The idea is so simple!  This wire frame is the perfect design to showcase a great collection of crystals or other beads.

Tools are minimal.  It is a good idea to have a round nose plier handy.

Once you have added beads to a section, a twist with your plier keeps them in place.

These are classic colours for a snowflake.

The rondells were a great way to keep my centre balanced.

The snowflakes are packaged in three sizes.

3.75 inch – 8 pieces,  6 inches – 5 peices and 9 inches – 5 peices

Snowflakes You Will Want to See!

Yesterday on the Dazzle-it blog I showed off the first snowflake I made with glass beads and the snowflake frames that are on sale right now.  Yesterday’s snowflake was pink and a very retro Christmas colour.  Today I am showing you my class Christmas colour scheme.

The red ornament was made with the smallest frame: 3.7 inches wide.

 The beads featured are red coroline bronze donuts.

This is the nine inch frame.  I thought this turned out beautiful!

1.  Fire polished emerald beads.  2.  Glass Fancy oval bead. 3.  Green Wavy Icy glass beads.

My green snowflake with the pink one from yesterday’s post.  They look great stacked!