When you think of acrylic beads, theres a reasonable chance youre thinking of something that seems cheaply and shoddily made a plastic knock-off of a higher-quality and more expensive bead made from a different material. Thats a shame, because acrylic beads can actually be an art form in their own right you just have to look for beads that have been made from acrylic because that is the best material to use for them, rather than because its cheaper than a perhaps better-suited alternative. There are a lot of things that fall into this CatID, so weve put together a quick guide to some of our favorites.
CHUNKY VINTAGE ACRYLIC BEADS
Theres always something sort of effortlessly chic about vintage, and vintage acrylic is no different. These beads tend to be big and bold, may be made out of Lucite as well as true acrylic, have very satisfying finishes and are perfect for re-purposing into jewelry that fits with the modern aesthetic while still retaining a retro feel. Theyre probably best used for long feature necklaces and lariats be careful when using vintage acrylic for earrings, as most people these days like their dangles to be a little smaller and lighter!
ETCHED AND FOILED ACRYLIC BEADS
Some of the most beautiful acrylic beads are those that have been delicately etched with the grooves foiled over in a metallic finish. These beads look a great deal more expensive than they actually are, and add gorgeous charm to a finished piece without a lot of weight. They come in all kinds of color combinations, and are a lovely way to make delicate, vintage-styled pieces. Acrylic is an ideal choice for them, because it is simply so versatile.
PLATED ACRYLIC BEADS
Metal beads are great, but they tend to add a great deal of weight to a piece and may have other problems many contain nickel, for example, which is problematic for a lot of wearers. By using plated or coated acrylic beads, you can have all the benefits of metal a shiny finish, a great deal of versatility, ease of matching with findings and pendants with very few of the drawbacks. Just be careful not to use them in a way that makes it look like youve chosen the beads for their price rather than for their quality.
FILIGREE ACRYLIC BEADS
Acrylic is a wonderfully versatile material, and one that takes engraving very well indeed. Acrylic beads can be made into the most gorgeous filigree pieces, and these are fantastic choices for pendants, earring drops and feature beads. The beauty of this approach is that you can shape acrylic far more delicately than you can other materials wood is too brittle to take much latticing, other kinds of plastic wont hold the sort of fine detail you can get on tiny individual points of a pendant, and metal is difficult to work with and gets very heavy very fast. Acrylic filigree really is the best example of its kind, and that means that having used acrylic looks utterly intentional and not at all â€˜cheap or â€˜knockoff which is exactly what you need to go for when using this material.
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