Creating Beauty Out Of Your Unusable Bead Stash

Posted by: Handmade by Erica

Have you ever looked through your bead stash searching for inspiration for a new project only to become disheartened because most of what is there is old, damaged, or not enough for what you had in mind? Or maybe you planned out a project, ordered the materials, and on delivery day, what you expected was not what you recieved? We have all been there.

Recently, I ordered several colors of glass pearls for a necklace that has become popular in my shop. Most of the parcels were okay - beautiful in fact. Unfortunately, one set of pearls were blemished and scratched. Not fit for the necklace I have been delivering to my customers. I immediately contacted the distributor, who issued me a refund for the damaged pearls, but I still needed to order more from another company to be able to continue offering the necklace to my waiting customers.

And what about these new undesirable and unwanted pearls I now had? I offered to return them but was politely told it was not needed (Isn't it funny how not even the distributor wants these damaged goods back). I put them aside thinking I'll probably never use them. But why not? Damaged and imperfect does not mean that beauty can not be made.

In the photos here, I have paired blemished and scratched pearls with very organic looking natural shell beads for a necklace, Tiger's Eye, Jasper gemstone chips, and rectangular wood beads for a bracelet and earrings. All of which could proudly be sold to a customer or gifted to a friend or family member. The take away is try to reimagine, repurpose, rethink those beads or findings that end up in the forever forgotten bead stash. Odds are there is something beautiful just waiting to be discovered. 

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Jun 17, 2022 | backyard joules

Thatís very beautiful.

Apr 15, 2021 | Handmade by Erica

Thank You

Apr 12, 2021 | CrazyLilThings

Lovely work.

Mar 12, 2021 | Handmade by Erica

Thank you Sarah. The gold pearls were especially problematic (and they were new right out of the package). I had to buy a new set and alert pending buyers to the delay.

Mar 12, 2021 | Handmade by Erica

I like your ideas about the paper pads. I have, in the past, made handmade cards (just focusing now on jewelry). I'll keep your ideas in mind if I go back to it. I have been selling a lot of beautiful multicolored glass pearl bead necklaces. I hand pick each pearl to make sure of the quality that the buyer is getting. It is hard to see but the gold pearls are especially marred and scratched (brand new from the packaging). I couldn't in good consciousness add these to the necklaces my buyers were waiting for. Imagine spending out $$$ for a necklace that looks so beautiful- even waiting for international shipping which can take up to 23 days. Finally your necklace gets to you and the pearls are all scratched and marred. And if you shared your purchase with friends who are now also waiting for this necklace...... I couldn't do it. As beautiful as the pictures were- that's what the necklace should be. Nothing is perfect but it should be as close as possible. Thank you Fairy Cardmaker for sharing your thoughts and ideas. I'm glad for them.

Mar 7, 2021 | SarahMars

From the photos, it's hard to see what's wrong with the beads. I don't see anything. Would be great if you posted Before and After photos, side by side. Great idea anyway and thanks for sharing!

Mar 7, 2021 | Fairy Cardmaker

Great way to turn the situation around! When I buy paper pads, there's always some patterns I don't love or that are not my thing. I have several ways to use undesirable papers: Use them in small bits so they are less overwhelmingly in your face, tone them down by placing them behind vellum, use them to line envelopes, use the back (if the back is white) as note paper or scratch paper, donate to other crafters or schools, etc.

Would love to hear what other people do with those less-loved supplies!

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Handmade by Erica
New Castle, DE, US

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