Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review - Great Designs for Shaped Beads

By on Thursday, September 20, 2012 2 Comments

I really liked Anna Elizabeth Draeger's Crystal Brilliance book where she introduced delightful Swarovski crystal designs.  But bead work can really shine without the bling factor especially if one were to explore the increasingly diverse types of beads.  It's not all about seed beads either.

Her latest book Great Designs for Shaped Beads: Tilas, Peanuts, and Daggers which I received for review, encourages beaders of all levels to try those new shapes. None of the projects are particularly time consuming. The title is misleading because she also uses lentil drops, magatama fringe beads, tear drops and petal shaped ones too.

The projects are not complicated so beginners need not be intimidated. More experienced beaders are inspired to think about geometric shapes and combining these beads for new designs. There are necklace, bracelet, rings and earring projects.

St Pete Meets Tila
Tila beads from Miyuki and Czech two hole beads are different. Tila beads are flatter while the Czech ones are more rounded.  Most of the two hole bead designs can accommodate either but the designer specifies only one make if that works better for a particular project.

Zig Zag Trellis

I didn't realize there were so many alternative names for farfalle beads - peanut, bowtie, dogbone, butterfly, bubble or double bubble beads!  Like the two hole beads, there are differences depending on which manufacturer it is. It is okay to mix them but the designer does recommend beaders don't.

I particularly enjoyed seeing designs where dagger beads were used to create 3-dimensional designs like the Drop Dead Daggers bracelet below and the layered dagger pendant shown in the top right picture on the cover.  I also liked her Cubic Cuties (not shown) which she used tila beads to create cubes.

All in all, a great book for easy yet satisfying projects. If you've used just seed beads before and want to explore the world of  tila, daggers and farfalle, then try this book!


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  1. Oh my gosh - another marvelous book to add to my (already overly long) wish list. :D

    I should jack this book up to the top of my list as I have not yet made anything with those adorable little Tila beads (yes shame on me). I also have a number of dagger beads and have no idea what to do with them, besides using them in a fan type necklace center, not at all original or clever. This book could certainly help give me some ideas.

  2. Dagger beads are probably one of the more underused beads. Yes, the ideas for such beads in this book were really great!