I started out using only long (5cm) dress makers pins but the trouble is as you practise and become less of a novice, you want to put on more beads and before you know it, the pins are much too short. So I searched the web for the best prices, as I wanted to buy a minimum of 250 pins. In the end I actually bought from a few different suppliers to test the quality and styling.
The longest pins that I found and my favourite, come with beads already on the head. I don't like them, personally, so I just cut through the beads using good wire cutters to remove them. Then I am left with just a 9cm steel pin. (No.1)
For this pin you have to prepare it by gluing a top bead on the pin and waiting for it to dry overnight before starting the actual decoration of your pins. If you don't want to do that then you can buy three other types of pins.
The first one is a pearl topped pin that is 7cm long and often can be found in different colours but I find white or ivory the best as they can be used with any other colour beads (though I usually cut them off too). (No.2)
A second alternative is to buy Decorative head pins from craft suppliers and just glue on extras to your liking. I will put a link to Sam's shop in the 'Places to shop' list below. (No.3)
The third alternative, is an actual jewellery making head pin that has been sharpened. Now these are wonderful as they have the flattened end to stop the top bead falling off. This means you can decorate immediately, HOWEVER they are not steel pins, they bend very easily and they are the most expensive. They come in both gold and silver finish and with protectors (if required) and in different lengths. (No.4)
For those of you who want protectors for your pins, you can buy earring backs (dome style) and they work perfectly, the proper protectors are very expensive (can be as much as 20/30p (USA 32/48c each). I tend to put all my pins into the adhesive of any flowers or ribbon on my card or even into the card of a matt/layer. I only use protectors if the pin is the embellishment itself.
Waste piece of acetate, old saucer or small tile........A few cocktail sticks...........E6000 glue............... Cotton cloth (eg; torn up tea towel) or kitchen roll-wiping up any glue.....Beads/Pins of your choice.
Drying your pin is best done with them upside down:- I use a couple of mini bulldog clips, a box with no lid, funky foam about 3in deep and as long as the box. Clip the foam to the outside of the box, and carefully slide the wet pins into the foam upside down as you make them, until the bottom bead touches the foam. This will help to keep the beads close together as they dry.
If you cannot find anything to pin them into upside down, then you can lay them out flat on an old cotton tea towel (do not move until they are dry or you may end up with gaps between the beads!)
Steal Pins:- Decide which bead you want as the top bead, this is better with a very small bead (seed bead or tiny pearl) or a bead with a small hole. Using the glue as described below, just glue on the one bead so that it covers the top of the pin (not the sharp end), slide the pins sideways into the foam to keep them flat as the bead dries. Leave untouched overnight to harden or at least 4-6hours. Do a batch of these ahead of time so you can get straight into the Decorating next time.
1. Prepare you foam or other drying equipment.
2. Design your bead on the pin without any glue. Then rest pin down while you get glue ready.
3. On a piece of acetate or old tile, squirt out about a petite pois pea size amount of E6000 (do not be tempted to put out more, it will start to dry quicker than you can finish your pin!)
4. With your left thumb at the end of the pin, slide the beads down to the bottom, out of the way (you can remove them all if you prefer and slide them on as you need them). Using the cocktail stick pick up a tiny amount of glue and wipe it around the area where the first bead will sit. Push the first bead up on over the glue. If a little seeps over, gently use a clean stick to wipe excess away or pull bead back down a little and replace by twisting to get the glue 'under' the bead. Now decide whether you want to glue every bead or perhaps every two or three beads. (I do all except any metal shaped beads- like wings etc). For each bead after the first, you can help create a stronger bond by putting a little of the glue onto the part of the bead that will attach to the previous one or where it will be hidden by a bead cap or spacer. You need to ensure you have glue on the pin and on the end of the bead that touches the next bead. Any 'strings' of glue are easily pulled away before or after drying so don't worry.
5. Continue gluing until all beads are in place then carefully keep the beads pushed together with your fingers and place into the drying position chosen.
6. Leave to dry overnight, without moving, or for at least 10-12hours to ensure a firm hold.
No.1 Pins Amazon.(My favourite and by far the cheapest)
No.2 Pins Amazon. (My second favourite)
No.3 Pins Creative studios (Sam Poole's shop has the Pins that Sue uses- shorter pins)
N0.4 Pins Sparkles (Easy to use, but bendy and a bit expensive)
No.5 Pins I have just found another site that sells 65mm pins with a pearl head click HERE to see what they have in stock.
Glue No.1 (E6000) EBay (Always use a cocktail stick with this so you control the amount and can easily twist to remove any stringy bits. This one is my favourite as it's a thicker consistency and rubs off easily. The downside with this is that it does have an odour, but it doesn't bother me, so up to you)
Glue No.2 EBay, (A very good glue with no odour, but runny and sometimes you need alot to make a good strong bond on larger beads)
Spacer beads 3/4/5mm metal round silver or gold beads & metal filigree beads
Spacers 4mm or 6mm round flower decorative flat spacers are lovely though diamante rondells are lovely too.
Bead Caps/Cones 4mmx7mm cones for use with 6mm beads - 6/7/8mm caps to match size of beads you use.
Beads, Spacers, spacer beads and bead caps/cones are cheapest on eBay but alot of craft shops on line also sell them so have a look around and compare prices. I must be honest I buy bits and pieces from different shops within EBay and also from lots of on line shops like Beads Direct, Aldridge Crafts, Cuddly Buddly, Craftbag.co.uk, Beads Unlimited etc. etc.
Here are a few links to get you going, but please, please look around a bit; Ebay may be the cheapest but lots of craft shops have other wonderful alternatives too:-
Filigree Metal beads - Tebitan Silver wings (beads) - 4mm Silver Metal spacer beads - Silver & Black Rondell Spacers - Gold and Crystal Rondell Spacers - 7mm Silver Beadcaps - 5mm wide Silver Filigree Bead Cones (can be opened slightly for larger beads with plier-but be gentle. The bead only needs to sit 1-2mm inside it).
Last important note:- Try your first pin using inexpensive beads (esp glass ones, so you learn to glue heavier beads) and just four or five will do to get you used to the amount of glue needed and drying times etc. Like every other craft, it's about practice. You will eventually be able to use just about any bead and make something truly beautiful.
My next venture is 6inch pins for focal borders. Watch this space.
DECORATIVE PINS STARTER KIT
If anyone wants to try this craft, but doesn't want to buy the bulk packs of everything, contact me on the email below as I have starter packs that you may prefer to begin with. Then if you don't like it you haven't wasted a fortune. The kit will include everything to make a variety of pins, including some of the more expensive beads and metal hearts, connectors etc to give you a good idea of what making them will be like. All you need to invest in is glue. To start off you can always use Glossy accents as your glue (or jewellery glue if you have it) but I think the E6000 is the best investment if you are going to do more. (Please remember, glossy accents is very runny and so keep the pins pushed into something, hanging upside down, to let them dry or the beads will move).
If I can help with anything else, please don't be afraid to email me and I will see what I can do.
I hope today finds you well. I'll be back later with something a bit different.
Regards Linda x