Posts filed under ‘Useful Info’

Removing Lacquer from Metal Jewelry

Sometimes you come across a piece of jewelry or a finding which has been lacquered, but maybe some of the lacquer has chipped, permitting oxidation on part of the piece. Now you are in the position of having to remove all of the lacquer without hurting the beads or stones.

An easy, organic way to accomplish this is to place the object in a boiling solution of baking soda and water.  After a while the lacquer will lift off.  You need to know whether your piece contains any heat-sensitive stones or glue, as this method would cause damage.

Another way to go is lacquer thinner.  Just soak the object in a jar with enough lacquer thinner to cover the piece.  You can re-use the thinner but keep the jar well-sealed or it will evaporate.  Make sure, when using lacquer thinner, that you are in a well-ventilated area away from heat.

After soaking for a day or more, remove the item and wipe the piece with a soft cloth that has been dipped in clean lacquer thinner.

Lacquer thinner is safe for use on metal, glass or stone, but it will dissolve paint and glue.

Lacquer thinner is available in most hardware stores.
Now…if you want to protect metal from oxidizing without using lacquer, try wax!


August 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

Swarovski Crystal Birthstone Equivalent Chart

Let’s face it – you can’t ALWAYS use diamonds in your work, but you want to do something with a birthstone theme. Here is a chart of Austrian crystal equivalents to use in place of real gemstones.

January – Garnet

February – Amethyst

March – Aqua

April – Clear Crystal

May – Emerald

June – Light Amethyst

July – Ruby

August – Peridot

September – Sapphire

October – Rose

November – Topaz

December – Blue Zircon or Light Sapphire or Montana

Swarovski Crystals

February 10, 2009 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

How Many Beads Are In That Tube?

So…your directions say, “approximately 1500 size 11 seed beads.” But your bead store sells them by the tube, and can’t tell you how many are in the there – what now? This handy dandy list will help you find the right number of beads.

In a 6″ tube:
Size 8/0 – approximately 1120
Size 6/0 – approximately 315
Size 11/0 – approximately 3080
Size 10/0 Twisted Hex Cut – approximately 2319
#1 Bugles – approximately 2500
#2 Bugles – approximately 1000
10/0 Triangles – approximately 1680
8/0 Triangles – approximately 1100
5/0 Triangles – approximately 390
11/0 triangles – apprx 29.5 grams (about 2105 beads)
8/0 triangles – apprx 28.0 grams (about 714 beads)
4mm Cubes – approximately 336
3mm Cubes – approximately 440
Magatamas – approximately 308
Mini Fringe Drops – approximately 560

3 inch tube:
15/0 approximately 3500

10 Gram Tube:
11/0 Delicas – approximately 1900 delica beads in a 10 gram tube.

October 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

What Size Should I make it?

I live near many senior communities, and usually have older people in my classes.  Quite often, they want to make jewelry for their granddaughters.  But what size bracelet do you make for  9 year old? What should the necklace length be?   Here is a useful chart for determining your necklace and bracelet lengths, for adults as well as children.





3-1/4 inches

6-1/2 inches


3-1/2 inches

7 inches

3-6 months

4 inches

8 inches

6-12 months

4-1/2 inches

9 inches

12-24 months

5 inches

10 inches

2-5 years

5-1/2 inches

11 inches

6-8 years

6 inches

12 inches

9-13 years

6-1/2 inches

13 inches

Adult Small

7 inches

14 inches

Adult Medium

7-1/2 inches

15 inches

Adult Large

8 inches

16 inches

Adult X-Large

8-1/2 inches

17 inches

May 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm 2 comments

What’s an “E Bead?”

Larger seed beads, such as 6/os and 5/os are often referred to as “E” Beads. An E Bead is approximately 4mm in size.


March 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Tool Time: Drill Bit Sizes

I often need to use a micro drill bit set like the one shown below. The main thing I use it for is to open the holes in pearls a little bit. Pearls have such tiny holes, and sometimes even a 24 gauge headpin will not go through. By starting with the smallest bit in a micro drill bit set, I can gradually work my way up to a larger size bit and enlarge the hole very easily.

The drill bit sets such as this and the 20 piece replacement set have confusing numbers – the 12 drill bits in the set are sizes “52 – 74”. Some sets say, “.0635 – 0225.”   But what does that mean to you?

There is a very handy website at

This is a drill bit size chart – and it will tell you in millimeters, inches, and the number designation, as well as a few suggestions as to how to use different drill bit sizes. I have found this extremely useful!


March 14, 2008 at 3:32 pm 2 comments


One thing you might like to know about me and my beading habits is that knotting is my specialty.  I learned to bead from Henrietta Verchick, author of Pearl and Beadstringing with Henrietta, so the first technique I ever learned was knotting between the beads.  I still teach knotting lessons using Henrietta’s techniques, and one of the questions I am asked most often in these classes is, how do you know when to knot, and why do you knot?

The only real hard and fast rule is that you ALWAYS knot good pearls.  The reason is two-fold:  The first is, if the strand breaks, you won’t lose your pearls.  Secondly, the substance that makes pearls so beautiful is the nacre, the beautiful coating on the pearls.  If your pearls rub together (or against another bead,) the nacre will wear off and your pearls will lose their value and their luster.  The organic nature of pearls is also why we use silk to knot pearls – you want the natural pearl against the natural silk, not a synthetic.   That being said, I don’t always knot the more inexpensive freshwater pearls.

Another reason to knot is that knotting gives a soft, drapey look to your necklace that you will not get with straight stringing.

I also like to knot because silk comes in an amazing array of colors that can enhance the look of your necklace.   Because the knots show, you have the opportunity to use the beautiful colors of the silk thread to add to your design.  For instance, you can use a soft green with Fancy Jasper, and it will just fade into the background, which is fine.  But if you choose a lilac or tanzanite-colored silk you will see the lovely lavender colors of the stone “pop.”  You can even use two colors of silk for extra zing – I once used an olive-green thread and a peach thread when I was knotting Unakite beads.  Fantastic!


March 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

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