Scaling Pattern Designs for Beads

Creating digital pattern designs is such a fun and versatile way to produce beautiful artwork. The advantages of working digitally are endless, as are the ways in which you can utilize this artwork.

I have tried stationary products, printing on fabric to create sewn products, decoupage, and much more. These have all been very satisfying, and things I return to often. But, my absolute favorite application for my digital artwork, are Paper Beads.

If you are interested in pattern design, and you’re ready to start making things, whether it’s for gifts, or things to sell, your focus must be on the end product.  Therefore, overall size of the end product is the first consideration, which leads to the topic of scale on the digital side.

This demonstrates the difference scale makes, when applied to something so small.

And here, you can get an idea what it looks like on the actual templates. You do not need to have a template, as you can always cut strips afterwards, but I find it helpful to see a preview first.

And, below is a quick tutorial in Adobe Illustrator: Creating a pattern, filling the templates with the pattern, and changing the scale and position.


Coloring Wood Beads with Stamping Ink

I was so excited by the results of adding Stamping Ink colors to plain wooden beads, that it became a major part of my design process.

As creatives, we naturally accumulate many different supplies and materials over time. With each trip to the craft/art store, we get that rush of excitement when we see a product, and start thinking of all the ways we can start experimenting.

I was already making my paper beads, using my digitally printed patterns, and getting satisfying results. Knowing that I wanted to make simple necklaces with these, I needed some additional elements that would add more color and interest to the overall design.

I knew that relying on store bought materials would be a burden for me, and I was frustrated with the lack of control I had. So, I started looking around through some art supplies I had stored away (things I hadn’t used in a while), and got really excited when I saw the stamping inks. For some reason, I never really got into stamping.

Why was this so exciting? The COLORS!!!! So many beautiful colors!

To cut down on cost of new materials, it’s good to know what colors you are interested in first. You can see lots of different brands and colors at the craft stores, and that’s definitely a good start. But, most stores don’t carry the full line of colors for each brand, so below I’ve listed some useful online resources.

Tim Holtz Distress Inks

  • This link is from the Ranger Ink website, where you can download labels of all the colors for Tim Holtz Distress Inks: Ranger Ink Color Labels

Tsukineko’s Memento Inks

Quick note: There are so many brands to choose from, it can be overwhelming, so I just listed two examples. For each brand, just do a search for Color Charts, and you should be able to see the entire line of colors.

Here is another useful resource for working with inks, from one of my favorite websites, Craftsy. It reviews all the different types of inks: dye based, solvent, pigment, etc. This is really helpful to know, if you’re going to glaze the beads, as liquid reacts differently with different types of ink.

For example, the Distress Inks react to water, and take longer to dry, so you can heat set these inks before dipping them in a liquid.

Craftsy link: Craftsy: Stamping 101 Article

One more thing I’ve found very useful when working with lots of different ink brands and colors, is to keep track of my personal favorites. When experimenting, it’s so easy to get lost in the fun trial and error, and then forget what you did.

I just use a very basic template to keep track of my favorite brands and colors, and this really helps when you have lots of colors, and colors from different brands, that are similar.

And here is just a small sample of some of the beads I now have to work with:

I hope I’ve encouraged you to experiment with stamping inks, and find your own favorites!