Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Tips on Designing Clusters

[For the Wrapped, Stacked, and Layered Challenge post, click HERE

It's such a deliciously gray day today. And made even more wonderful by the fact that I slept for 5 hours straight last night. You have no idea how wonderful it is for me to sleep through the night. And right now, I'm enjoying a huge cup of coffee and a cheese danish. My hope is that I will stay awake all day and tire myself out so that when it's time for bed, I'll have another restful night. 

But now I'm rambling. This post is supposed to be about clusters!

After my day-trip on Monday with the boyfriend, we settled into Starbucks and proceeded to use up the stores of inspiration we gathered on our adventure. I sketched out and made the earrings above and while making these earrings, my brain came up with some design tips I'd like to share with you.

1) Using balled headpins for your clusters adds a lot of depth to your clusters. Sometimes, clusters can look flat. By bringing in the color of the metal you are using into your clusters, it can break up the clumps of colors and give it depth.

2) Different shapes make your clusters interesting! Experiment with different size beads. Use rondelles and cubes with your rounds. Bring a few 4mm beads to play with your larger ones. Try some bicones!

3) Decide on a dominant color for your cluster. Play with that color by adding beads in different shades.

 4) When I find a color I like, I try to pick 2 or 3 "pop colors," as I like to call them. These are colors that go well with the dominant color but just POP in the cluster. Colors can help determine the "feel" of your piece- Is it "elegant?" "Hippie?" "Casual?"

5) Don't be afraid of texture. Mix wood and gemstones. Add some fiber beads. Depending on how much you play with texture will also help give your piece a certain "feel."

Bonus Color Notes!
 -If you don't have balled head pins or want to try something different, add seed beads to the ends of your head pins. This can add tons of fun interest.
-I LOVE Czech glass beads. Some fire polished beads can come in more than one color. Using these can open up so many exciting doors with color play.

I have another little tip about putting together these fun little clusters, but I'll wait until tomorrow. For now, I'll leave you with some lovely examples of clusters (with one of my own in as well :P).


  1. Oooo...I love the honeydew design!

    I have yet to make even a single cluster! Need to learn, they look so pretty!

  2. What a great post! Super helpful design tips :)