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European beads with their big holes are finding their way into a lot of beaded projects. Getting custom photo beads made can be expensive. For a lot less, you can make them yourself.
The bracelet above was made from a kit. The kit was complete except for a craft knife to cut the photos and a printer to print them. (link at the bottom of the article)
You will need:
Digital photographs or scans. Because of the very small scale, you can get a high resolution image even from a decent photograph.
When you get the kit, one of the things included in it is EZ Photo Resizer Software. It installs very quickly and it's very intuitive to use. It will allow you to choose your media size, 4x6 photo paper or 8x10 photo paper, you also pick the number of cells you want for the photos. The default is 2x2 cells, but since the images are all under 10 mm that leaves a lot of waste. I set mine up for 4x4 cells or 16 images per 4x6 piece of photo paper. Since there are 8 photos in a bracelet, that set up allows you make an extra of each photo in case you make a mistake. You open the photo in the program, and set the shape and size of the finished image in millimeters. The kit comes with a list of the sizes for each piece. Crop the image down to what you want in it. Remember that it's very small so portrait shots or close crops are better. Click crop, and then add it to the document you're working on. After you have all 16 cells filled, you save it to PDF format. It will print with crop marks and each photo perfectly sized for the beads.
While some kits use resin, this kit uses small plastic "bubbles" over the images. Make sure your hands are very clean before starting this part. Starting at one edge (I picked the bottom) cover each image with a plastic bubble. Then use your craft knife to cut them out. Scissors won't get close enough to the edge of the bubble.
The Seal It strips included are how you attach the images in the frames of the photo beads. Peel off the white backing paper and put each image on it, plastic side up. Cut them out with the craft knife, then peel off the colored backing and insert them in the frames on the beads.
After you get the beads done, it's time to string your bracelet. The included starter bracelet has the lobster claw clasp on one end. The chain side of the clasp screws in after you finish stringing it. String on the beads in the order you want them, then screw on the adjustable chain. That chain is long enough to make it nicely adjustable for a wide range of sizes.
If you order one of the kits, and now just want to make more beads, you can order beads that come with Krystal Clear-Itz covers to make more or you can get the other style of beads and pendants to make them. The whole system is well thought out and having the photo resizer software makes it so easy. I'm enthused about using it to create images for bottle cap jewelry as well as using it to make jewelry components based on favorite shows, my Alaskan photographs of birds , wildlife and flowers and of course more with my children.
Check out what's available at Photo Jewelry Making
"-2">Photo Jewelry Making supplied me with the kit at no cost for my review. My opinions are always my own .
Content copyright © 2014 by Shala Kerrigan. All rights reserved.
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