Using or creating holes
Watch plates are normally filled with tiny holes that you can pass a needle through. This allows you to add items with a spot stitch, or, if a hole is close to an edge, you can attach a jump ring or split ring to create your connection point.
You can also create your own holes. You can easily drill house keys and other thin objects with a 1⁄16-in. (2 mm) bit. The best thing about drilling your own holes is that you get to choose the exact placement of the holes depending on your design.
Netting or bezeling
You can use different netting techniques to surround just about any object. Right-angle weave netting is especially adaptable to parts that have unusual contours. You can also capture a round item like a watch plate with the same peyote stitch bezeling techniques you would use for a stone cabochon.
Bead embroidery is your fallback technique for including items not easily drilled or captured with netting or bezeling. Use this technique wisely, though, as embroidered components can end up being more prominently beaded than other items and draw the eye first. That said, bead embroidery is a good technique for beading the focal or centerpiece of your work.
In my bead embroidery, I prefer Lacy’s Stiff Stuff, but you can also use Ultrasuede. Finished bead-embroidered components should be backed with Ultrasuede, leather, or a similar fabric to hide all of your thread work. Sew small split rings or soldered jump rings at the edges of your beadwork prior to applying the backing to allow for connection points.
Once you’re ready to attach your components, link them together with jump rings, split rings, or chains, or with strands of accent beads, crystals, pearls, or seed beads. You can also use beaded strips to connect items. Work strips in tubular peyote stitch, herringbone, spiral rope, or bead crochet, and sew them to the edges of the components.
For additional connectors, use pre-made findings or other objects with existing openings. Filigree pieces or metal stampings can serve as connectors, as can nuts from the hardware store, watch gears, or a vintage finger ring or brooch. Break up your beaded components with non-beaded connectors to support your design visually without distracting the viewer.
To connect your components to the clasp, use chain, cord, ribbon, beaded ropes, and strands of beads. Add an element of surprise by incorporating an unexpected component along the length of these materials. Also, a strand of graduated beads adds visual interest, as does mixing several connecting techniques within the same design.
Beadpunk is a new style, so its future is yours to shape. Where will you go with your beadpunk designs? And most importantly, where will they take you?