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Inexpensive project trays

Do you like pringles? Don't throw away the lids! They work great for sorting out beads for a small project. When you're done, just bend the lid, and pour them back into their containers.
You Pay How Much for Costume Jewelry? Make it Instead! PDF  | Print |  E-mail


So I was at a local department store with a girlfriend of mine (I won’t say which one, but it’s typically a classier alternative to Walmart), when we happened into the jewelry aisle. I say jewelry but what I mean is costume jewelry: the large, plastic, glass and metal-beaded bracelets, earrings and necklaces that women buy and then lose, break or forget about in a matter of months.
There’s something about that jewelry that’s addictive. It could be the old-world beauty of turquoise beads and chip mixed with antiqued silver beads, or maybe the warm look of amber roundels mixed with the glass lampwork beads. In any case I know many women who are “hooked.”
Anyway, as we tried on the various baubles and charms, I was shocked to see my friend place a handful in her shopping basket. “You’re not really buying those?” I asked in amazed disbelief.
“Of course, why wouldn’t I? They’re on sale, only 3 for $25.00” She replied.
And such is the problem when looking at costume jewelry: sure it’s trendy and maybe it’s only made to last a little more than a couple of months, but it’s marked up an average of 500%! Even with the “discount” my friend was in great danger of getting royally ripped off.
And I would know, because I’ve been making my own, current and trendy costume jewelry since I was a freshman in high school. My family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom showed me ways to look fabulous on a budget. One of those ways to cruise the expensive department store catalogs (think Neiman Marcus), and then replicate the looks of the jewelry with inexpensive beads from the local bead store.
It’s actually a lot easier, and a lot cheaper, than you would think. Let’s say you want to make an elastic, beaded bracelet, with chunky (and funky), multi-colored glass beads. You start out with a role of elastic bead cord. Because it’s elastic you don’t even need clasps, just tie it in a knot (which will be hidden by a bead). Then, if you’re lucky to have a bead store close by like I do that sells loose beads, go crazy getting all the funky colored, weird-material-made beads you can find.
For my part I’m into making jewelry with an old-world look. I’ll get a few African Trade Beads, that have a cool multi-colored and frosted/beat-up appearance, a few bone beads, some wooden beads and a few antiqued silver beads. Then I just thread them on about 4-5 inches of elastic, tie it off and, done! I’m positive that the bracelet I just made for under about five bucks goes for at least $25.00 or more at the not-to-be-revealed expensive department store we were shopping at.
And it’s not just the price. Because costume jewelry isn’t like fine jewelry: you don’t just buy one piece and wear that one forever. You buy a bunch of pieces to match different outfits, wear them for a few months until they go out of style, and then buy more.
 It’s a never ending cycle of accessorizing! A cycle like that can break a girl. Trust me on this: go out to your local bead store, or find one online, take 10 minutes to pick out a bunch of cool beads, and just make one piece yourself. You’ll be hooked. But at least this time it won’t break you!
To find deals on cool, funky glass, bone and gemstone beads, look online at Western Traders. The money you save will be worth the time it takes!