Mirrored Splash Pillboxes

Splash Pillboxes

Water marbling lately has been intriguing me, as I could imagine its use on the glass tops of my decorative multi-day pillboxes. The above eight 7- and 14-dose pillboxes are the result of my experimentation, which I will detail in this post.

Traditional water marbling on paper is typically done by creating a gel layer, dripping colored ink or paint onto it, swirling the colors to mix them, dipping paper onto the surface of the liquid, and letting the paper dry.

Other methods employing plain water, instead of the gel, came to my attention via various YouTube videos and other sources. The first method I noticed was floating nail polish on water and dipping fingernails into the paint to color them with marbled effects. I have a ton of various color nail polishes in my stash, so I tried this first.

For my test surfaces, I cut eight mirrored tops for two sizes of pillboxes. I was worried that the paint might fully cover the mirrored surface, so I cut circles, ovals, and rectangles out of clear adhesive-backed shelf liner and stuck them onto the mirrors to mask out areas of the mirrors. I also adhered long strips of clear packing tape lengthwise to the back sides of the mirrors and folded over the ends of the tape to use as handles during the dipping process.

I thought it would be easiest to submerge two of the mirrors in a basin of 3-inch deep water, float the paint on top of the water, and then simply lift the mirrors up to adhere the paint design to them. Unfortunately, while I was floating the nail polish on top of the water, the shelf liner masks detached from the mirrors and floated to the top of the water. Also, some of the drops of nail polish sank like bullets, rather than float. When I finally got some nail polish to float on the surface and pulled the mirrors upward with their tape handles, the nail polish stuck great to the handles, but almost entirely slid off the surface of the mirrors. I gave up on the nail polish idea at this point and cleaned up the mess I’d made!

Next, I tried diluting acrylic paints to float on the water surface, but they didn’t float. More cleanup ensued.

Undaunted, I decided to try my Pebeo Fantasy enamels. I used a pipette to apply the paint to the water surface. These paints did float, but they came out of the pipette in spaghetti-like strings. Some stayed in string-like form, and some spread over the water’s surface. I used three different colors (black, silver, and gold) and stirred them a bit with a wooden skewer, but held off on the stirring when I noticed the paint was covering most of the water’s surface.

I proceeded to dip the mirrors face down into the water. The paint stuck to the mirrors and dragged most of the rest of the paint down with them as the mirrors were submerged fully and then quickly pulled vertically out of the water by one of their two handles. The design was captured on the mirrored surface, but the paint had wrapped around to the mirrors’ backsides, and many water droplets still sat on top of the design. I set the pieces aside to dry on silicone racks. I was afraid to touch the mirrors when the paints were still wet.

After cleaning up the basin’s water and stirring together three more paint colors (black, silver, and blue) on the water’s surface, I dipped three more mirrors in the same manner as before, adding more paint between dippings.

I repeated this process using three different colors together (black, silver, and pinkish red)  on three more mirrors and set all the tops out on silicone drying mats to dry over night.

The next morning, I discovered what I had left to do with these creations. Some of the adhesive masks had curled upward on one edge during the dipping process, so when I pulled them off the glass, one edge of the masked area did not have a clean edge. I pulled the packing tape cleanly off the backs of the mirrors and wished I had used that type of tape for my other masks. The enamel had dried in drips on the back side of the mirrors, so I scraped off the high points with an Exacto knife. Then I cleaned off all the edges of the mirrors, right down to the glass.

Next, I tackled the mirrored surfaces of each piece. I used the Exacto knife and mineral spirits on a Q-tip to clean up the ragged edges and centers of the masked areas. The silver enamel, which I had used on all the mirrors, had spread to leave a thin film on most of the other parts of the mirrors, so I used the Exacto knife and mineral spirits to painstakingly clean off many of the larger areas of thin silver paint to expose the mirrored surface. This was fairly time consuming!

When this work was done, the pieces looked much better, but they still lacked the “wow” factor I strive for in my works. I set them aside to cure for several days while I found and glued on dichoric glass or resin cabochons to enhance each design.

After that glue had cured for a day or so, I strategically added complementary colored glitter to the surface of each mirror and topped that off with a layer of self-doming clear jewelry-quality resin. That layer was needed to float the glitter, protect the enamel layer, and add considerable depth and sparkle to each piece.

When the resin had cured for a few days, I glued the mirrors onto their pillbox bases and let the glue cure for 24 hours. The results had the dazzling beauty I was hoping for, especially when viewed in direct sunlight.

Cross Mirrored Splash Pillbox

I’ve posted these “splash” pillboxes for sale on my website. Just put “splash” in the website’s search box, and you’ll see them all. Given the above-described considerable effort put into their creation, their prices are a real bargain!

I learned a lot via these experiments. I’ll definitely be applying what I’ve learned to future experiments with water marbling, so be on the lookout for more works along these lines. Please leave a comment to tell me what you think of these.

10 New Protestant Prayer Beads

10 Prayer Beads

Ten new sets of Anglican prayer beads are now available on my website. Two of these Protestant prayer beads are necklace length, and four feature agate pendants from China. From left to right, here are links to more info on their respective product pages:

23 Decorative Pillboxes Showcase New Techniques

23 New Pillboxes

I went hog wild recently increasing my inventory of mirrored and aurora pillboxes in a variety of configurations. My small and large septagon pillboxes are especially in demand, as are my enameled and mirrored pillboxes and my new 7- and 8-dose rectangular pillboxes. I therefore created 23 new pillboxes now for sale on my website.

New embellishment techniques abound in this batch of creations. A  square piece of mirror containing a daub of enamel with a dichroic glass cabochon in its center was coated in a layer of clear resin to form an eye-like embellishment in the Aqua Eye Large 7-dose Strip Pillbox below. I also made the two clear resin cabochons containing aqua glitter and stars.

Aqua Eye Pillbox

I embedded a Zentangle-like purple tissue doily (cut from a bouquet wrapper) in clear resin on the blue stained glass top of the Blue Buttercup Large Septagon Pillbox shown below. I also created its central resin cabochon containing seed beads and a bit of blue acrylic paint stretched with toothpicks into a free-form star shape.

Blue Buttercup Pillbox

I resin coated a glittered fabric peacock feather (cut from a piece of wired ribbon) to embellish the green Peacock 7-dose Rectangle Pillbox shown below. The peacock feather required several layers of resin on both sides, with painstaking drip trimming in between, but the result is fabulous in hand. I have two more of these lovely transparent peacock feather embellishments in production, so watch for them to appear on future pillboxes.

Peacock Pillbox

I was able to salvage the glitter-filled cross embellishment on the Brown Sparkle Cross 8-dose Pillbox below, but it was one of my “interesting idea, but I’ll never try that again” experiments. It was created by outlining the cross shape with silicone caulk on clear acetate, letting it cure, and then filling the resultant mold with resin and adding glitter and spangles. Unfortunately, when I unmolded the resin, the edges of the resin cross were rough, because the resin seeped into the rounded edges of the caulk. I was able to trim the edges of the resin with an Exacto knife to salvage the piece, but they are still a little rough. I like the contrast in textures on this creation, though.

Brown Sparkle Cross Pillbox

I achieved a far more successful molding technique for the embellished top of the Aqua Lilac Spatter Small Septagon Pillbox below. I used two-part Epoxy molding compound to create a mold in the septagonal shape required for the pillbox top. I then filled the mold with clear resin and added the glittery fiber- and sequin-like embellishments to the resin. Easy peasy! I will be reusing this mold for future pillbox tops in a variety of designs. I especially like that the embellishments are viewable in the box’s central well when the box is turned over for use.

Aqua Lilac Spatter Small Septagon Pillbox

The Mirrored Aqua Planet Large Septagon Pillbox pictured below features an enameled mirror top. I used a toothpick to draw the enamel toward its central glass cabochon, enhancing the 3D look of the “planet.” I enameled the back side of the glass cabochon before gluing it to the mirror to achieve the central swirled enamel effect. The cabochon was then firmly seated in a protective layer of clear resin, to which I added purple and aqua glitter. The mirrored area is very hard to photograph effectively, but this pillbox is exceptionally dazzling in hand. The central well on the underside of the box contains one of my aqua heart-and-glitter-filled domed resin cabochons for a surprise when the box is turned over for use.

Mirored Aqua Planet Large Septagon Pillbox

I created five more of my Aurora small septagon pillbox tops in this batch. (Aurora tops are cut from rainbow-effect DVDs as explained in my previous blog post on The Best Way to Cut a CD or DVD.) Unfortunately, I did not cut two of these perfectly enough, which I did not discover until I tried to glue the embellished tops to their base boxes. The tops were warped on one corner because I impatiently tried to cut the DVDs when they were too cool to cut smoothly. I tried adding a layer of resin to the back sides of these tops in the hope that the resin’s self-leveling quality would result in a flat surface. No such luck. The two otherwise beautiful creations pictured below are now destined to become awesome Christmas ornaments for my upcoming ornament exchanges. I’ve heard that a true artist can always find ways to solve artistic problems!

Aurora Ornaments

If you would like one or both of these absolutely dazzling ornaments for your tree or your own ornament exchanges this December, contact me. I’d be willing to part with them for $5.00 each plus $7.00 for USPS Priority Mail shipping of one or both of these little treasures. (Free delivery to my local customers.) The flower in the upper ornament is iridescent dichroic glass, and you can see daylight through its resin-filled center hole. The rhinestoned 3D metal filigreed cabochon in the center of the lower aqua ornament appears to be floating in air, suspended at its base in the clear resin. The back sides are resin-coated rainbowed silver, as shown below. I’ll be drilling a small hole in each of them and attaching a monofilament hanging loop.

Ornament Backs

I predict that the pillboxes in this batch will sell quickly, so if any of them appeal to you, head over to my website pronto and snap them up!




The Best Way to Cut a CD or DVD

160119 Blue Aurora Dicro CD S Sept

To use compact disks (CDs) or DVDs as tops on my “aurora” decorative pill organizers, as shown above, I had to experiment with various ways to cut the CDs to shape. Internet research suggested:

  • Scoring them with an Exacto knife and then bending them to crack along the score line
  • Cutting them with Dremel tools (recommended for intricate shapes)
  • Cutting them with a belt saw using a special plastic-cutting saw blade
  • Using a hot knife to cut them
  • Heating them in boiling water or an oven or using a heat gun, and then cutting them with scissors

I tried using a jig saw, but the resultant cracking and crazing badly damaged the CD.  It was too hard to use a Dremel tool to cut straight lines. Scoring the CDs didn’t work at all and greatly dulled my Exacto knife blades. I even tried smoothing the cut edges using my glass grinder, but that was an epic fail.

After considerable trial and error, I’ve decided that the best method of cutting CDs (for my purposes), is to heat portions of them with a heat gun and then cut them with a scissors. I’ll detail that process here.


To begin, I created an appropriately sized 7-sided template on my computer and included on it a circle the same diameter as the center hole in a CD or DVD. I printed the template on white card stock and cut out the shape shown at left.

I then centered the template on the printed side of the CD by lining up the circle on the template with the hole of the CD. I then used a silver leafing marker to trace around the edge of the template onto the printed side of the CD. You could use a Sharpie marker if you don’t care what the printed side of the CD looks like for your project.

To keep my hands clean and heat safe, I donned nitrile gloves and a hot mitt on my left hand. My left hand got the most heat, but my right hand still needed a bit of protection from the heat, as I used it to rotate the disk held in my mitted hand.

Heating 1

I positioned my heat gun on its stand on a heat-safe silicone mat, pointing to my left. Then, holding the CD in my hot-mitted left hand, I waved in front of the heat gun the printed side of the area of the CD to be cut. Five to six seconds is a good time to start with. If you overheat the sidk, it can begin to delaminate, so caution is advised.

Using a titanium bladed scissors, I made my first cut, making sure to cut just inside of my marked line. (Any sharp scissors will probably work.) If the CD becomes hard to cut, stop cutting, reheat the area, and begin cutting again. When the CD is the right temperature, the scissors will easily cut it. If the CD is too cool when you are cutting it, the cut edge can become curled or dented, so take your time with this step, and be careful as you cut.

Cut 1  Cut 2

I then heated the next section, cut that piece off of the CD, and continued in that manner around the 7-sided shape.Cut 3

I was using Memorex DVDs in the pictures above, which have a silver printed side to better suit my purposes. My pillbox base boxes are transparent, so the printed side of a CD top will show through the bottoms of the pillbox compartments. Therefore, I needed to make sure the printed (and subsequently glued) side of the CD is devoid of distracting printed words or colors. To achieve that end, I used the silver leafing pen to color over any printing or colors on the printed sides of my trimmed CDs, as shown below.

Touch Up

The Memorex DVDs did unexpectedly delaminate, which I discovered when I looked closely at the pieces I had cut off of the DVDs, as shown below.


Sometimes the rainbow film stuck to one side, and other times it tore and stuck to both sides, as in the two pieces shown lower right in the above picture. Fortunately, the pieces I plan to use for my pillbox tops incorporate the center hole of the CD, which clamps the top and bottom plastic layers of the CD together well, so delamination hopefully will not be an issue. Some other brands of CDs/DVDs do not delaminate like this, especially those that have color printing on them, so experimentation will offer solutions to this potential problem.

You can see traces of my silver leafing pen markings on the clear plastic pieces above. The silver leafing pen marks remove easily with an alcohol swab.

I made some of these cut-off pieces into lovely earrings by adding resin to both sides. I hope to incorporate some of these pieces into future creations, as well, as this process is quickly creating a surplus of cut-off pieces that are beautiful in their own right.

Cutting the CD to shape and covering any printing on the printed side with silver leafing ink are just the first two steps in creating an aurora pillbox like the one shown in the first picture of this blog post. I typically next add Pebeo Fantasy enamels as desired to parts of the rainbow side of the pillbox top and let them cure. I particularly need to do this to cover any manufacturer marks or wording near the center hole of the CD, if present. If possible, I like to retain the clear central portion of the CD so I can “float” cabochons on the top and bottom of the CD, back to back.

But before I can do that, I need to put clear shipping tape over the hole on the printed side of the CD, position a cabochon on the tape in the center hole, and pour a layer of jewelry quality resin (adding glitter or other occlusions to the resin, as desired) over the full surface of the rainbow side of the CD. This protects the enamel and rainbow layers and also firmly seats the cabochon in the hole. After the resin has cured, I’ll remove the tape and glue a cabochon to the underside of the cabochon that already in the center hole. I’ll then glue the printed side of the CD to the plastic pillbox base box and let the glue cure. Then I’ll turn the pillbox over and pour resin into the central well, surrounding the base of the second cabochon to firmly seat it.

Given all these steps, my aurora pillboxes are priced a bit higher than my other small septagon pillboxes. However, I think you’ll agree that their sublime dazzle is worth the extra effort it takes to make them. If any currently are available, you can check them out on my website.

The five new aurora small septagon pillboxe tops shown in this tutorial are currently in production, and I expect the completed pillboxes to be available in a few weeks, along with several other new pillbox creations. To be notified of my future pillbox creations, sign up for my new product emails and indicate your interest in my pillboxes.

10 Protestant Prayer Beads

10 Prayer Beads Photo

God called on me to create ten new sets of Anglican (Protestant) prayer beads, and I said to myself, “Amen!” My subsequent creations, pictured above, feature a variety of colors and components. Two have lovely agate pendants, and four are necklace length. Three sets have the ever-popular blue and white colors, one is all white, one is all black, and one combines lovely red jasper with healing hematite.

Inspiration Prayer Beads Photo

Of special note is the unique necklace-length inspirational set shown above that has meaningful words printed on both sides of its brass Week beads. Each of the four sets of seven Week beads features one of these words: Lead, Inspire, Power, and Change. The Resurrection/Listening bead says “Inspire.” This format may be useful to those who, like me, use each set of Week beads for a different type of prayer.

The spacer beads are bone-shaped amethyst, which is traditionally worn to guard against drunkenness, fears, and self-deception. This “power stone” is used to increase positive spiritual feelings, overcome fears and cravings, relieve headaches, and focus energy during the healing process. Thus, in this prayer bead necklace, amethyst is the perfect stone to combine with the inspirational Week beads’ words.

I have enough of these inspirational word beads left to make one similar set of prayer beads, so if you’d like these beads combined into a custom set of prayer beads for your personal use, contact me.

I’ve posted all of the above prayer beads on my website, so if any of them appeal to you, snap them up soon!

Flaming Blue Moon Weekly Pill Organizer

Flaming Blue Moon Pillbox

I recently received a custom order for an enameled and resined mirrored 7-dose rectangular pillbox, so I made up two for the customer to choose from. The enamel paints are so difficult to control, that this is my typical practice for this type of custom pillbox order. The customer was very happy with her choice, so I’ve added the second Flaming Blue Moon pillbox to my readymade pillbox inventory on my website. Note the beautiful dichroic glass cabochon and the mirrored background peeking out on the corners of this box for bits of extra bling. See the picture below for the configuration of the pill compartments on the underside of this beautiful box.

Transparent Orange 7-dose

Patriotic Rhythm Beads

Patriotic Rhythm Beads

Just in time for Independence Day, I created the above three sets of SteedBeads™ Rhythm Beads to add to the readymade SteedBeads section of my website. The faux leather tassels add a showy flair, and the “FAITH” and “TRUST” dangles on the more neutral set reflect a heartfelt love of our country and horses. The picture below shows full views of these special creations. All feature faceted transparent acrylic tube beads and my new larger extra-loud chromed brass bells. Snap one of these up today, and it will be in your hands in time for that July 4th parade. You can also order a custom set of SteedBeads Rhythm Beads to suit your personal needs. I typically can complete a custom set in just a day or two. And don’t forget to add Mane and Saddle Dangles to complement your look and add a bit of extra jingle.

160623 3 RB

Etsy Anglican Prayer Bead Vendor Comparison (Part 3)

Ten Etsy.com Anglican prayer bead (APB) vendors (of the 75 vendors researched for this 3-part series) offer more than 25 full-size APBs in their Etsy shops. (See Part 1 and Part 2 to view the earlier posts in this series.) This blog post offers May 2016 statistics about these 10 top-producing vendors who represent 13% of the researched group. The vendors are listed in order based on the most to the least number of APBs offered for sale.

  • TwoOddSisters–This vendor offers 159 APBs and a total of 414 products. Other products include jewelry, purses, key rings, wine glass rings, zipper pulls, and knitting markers. Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries or other types of prayer beads). APB prices range from $25-35 and include a crocheted storage bag. APBs do not have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with wire loop connectors or silver lame thread. The vendor joined Etsy in 2012 and has made 91 sales. Shipping is $3 to US addresses only. Thirty nine people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 9.75 favorites/year. Shop owners Irene and Elaine are based in Greenville, NC. They offer a nice variety of APB components and crosses.
  • EveryBlessedBead–This vendor offers 57 APBs and a total of 78 products. Other products include APB key fobs, chaplets, and bracelets. Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries or other types of prayer beads). APB prices range from $27-38 and include a velveteen storage bag, a 90-day free restringing guarantee, and an informational brochure with suggested prayers. APBs do not have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with 49 strand .24mm AccuFlex beading wire, crimps, and crimp covers. Shipping to US addresses is free via USPS Priority Mail. Shipping to other countries is available for $10 flat rate. Twenty six people have designated this a favorite shop. The vendor joined Etsy in 2015 and has made 56 sales. All proceeds from this vendor’s Etsy sales are donated to Zion Episcopal Church in Dobbs Ferry, NY. The APBs are made by a variety of church members.
  • UnspokenElements–This vendor offers 54 APBs and a total of 63 products. Other products include one-decade chaplets and bracelets. Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries or other types of prayer beads). APB prices range from $24-28 and include a drawstring pouch, gift box, prayer guide, and 90-day free restringing guarantee. APBs have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with  beading wire and metal crimps. APBs include seed bead spacer beads or no spacers at all.  They feature genuine gemstones and wood components. Shipping to US addresses is $3.50 via USPS. Shipping t0 Canada is $10 and $14 to other countries via USPS First Class International. The vendor joined Etsy in 2012 and has made 969 sales. Five hundred and twenty six people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 131.5 favorites/year. The shop owner, Heather, has a Facebook page and another Etsy shop that sells Malas and yoga-inspired jewelry.
  • JoyfulEarthDesigns–This vendor offered 50 APBs in May 2016, but the store’s entire stock was removed shortly thereafter. The vendor says she will be adding more APBs to her shop soon. Other products include pocket prayer beads and worry beads. Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries). APB prices range from $31-68 and include an organza pouch and an explanation sheet with sample prayer. APBs have no Resurrection bead. They are constructed using  beading wire and metal crimps. APBs include seed bead spacer beads, lampworked beads, and semi-precious stones.  Shipping to US addresses is $2.50 via USPS. The vendor joined Etsy in 2014 and has made 59 sales. Fifty two people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 26 favorites/year. The shop owner, Mary Lindridge, lives in Cottage Grove, MN.
  • SweetChildJewelry–This vendor offers 41 APBs and a total of 296 products. Other products include polymer clay pins, jewelry, house blessing cases, and beads. Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries or other types of prayer beads). APB prices range from $33-56 and include a storage pouch, gift wrap, and a brochure with APB history, use, and sample prayers. APBs have no Resurrection bead. They are constructed with  steel beading wire, silver- or gold-plated extra-long crimp beads, and seed bead spacer beads. APBs feature polymer clay beads and crosses. All products feature polymer clay. Shipping to US addresses is $3.85 via USPS. Shipping t0 Canada is $10.28 and $14.31 to other countries. The vendor joined Etsy in 2008 and has made 470 sales. Two thousand six hundred and seventy six people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 334.5 favorites/year. The shop owner, Virginia Soskin from Orlando, FL, sells her products on Amazon.com and has a Facebook page and Pinterest presence, in addition to her Etsy shop. She is an avid polymer clay artist.
  • KristiLynGlass–This vendor is the author of this series of articles. Her Etsy shop offers 36 APBs and a total of 100 products. Other products include jewelry, glass-topped decorative multi-day pillboxes, and SteedBeads (TM) (jingling beaded necklaces for horses). Only APBs are offered (no Catholic rosaries or other types of prayer beads). APB prices are $32 and include a drawstring velveteen pouch, lifetime restringing guarantee, and a 16-page full-color booklet containing the history and use of APBs and many sample prayers. APBs have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with 49-strand (softest drape) professional quality coated stainless steel beading wire and super-secure gold- or silver-plated Magic Findings instead of crimps. APBs feature glass, metal, and stone components, and each set is unique. Some of the crosses or other components were created or commissioned by the artist. Some APBs are long enough to be worn as necklaces. Shipping to US addresses is $7 via USPS Priority Mail. Shipping t0 Canada is $12 and $14 to other countries via USPS First Class Package International. The vendor joined Etsy in 2006 and has made 143 sales. One hundred and forty three people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 14.3 favorites/year. The shop owner, Kristi Lyn Glass, is located in Elko, NV. She also has a personal website, and blog. She calls herself The Full Spectrum Artist, because, in addition to her various Etsy offerings, she also creates fine art in a wide variety of media.
  • TeresaLouiseDesign–This vendor offers 36 APBs and a total of 166 products. Other products include jewelry, rosaries, bookmarks, and rosary bracelets. APB prices range from $14.22-23.55 and include a gift box and free shipping to US addresses (ships to US only). APBs have no Resurrection bead. They are constructed with  beading wire and metal crimps and have either seed spacer beads or no spacer beads. The vendor joined Etsy in 2012 and has made 171 sales. Sixty people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 15 favorites/year. The hobbyist shop owner, Teresa Ackerly, lives in Monroe, NC, and likes to work with glass beads.
  • KristansCross–This vendor offers 30 APBs and a total of 110 products. Other products include rosaries, necklaces, bracelets, and destash beads. APB are $20 each and include lifetime free repair and return shipping if you pay to send the broken item to the vendor. APBs do not have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with beading wire and metal crimps. Most sets have crosses constructed from silver-plated wire wrapped into a cross shape. A variety of mixed bead sizes/shapes is sometimes used in an irregular manner. Shipping to US addresses is $3.45 via USPS First Class Mail. Shipping to Canada is $10.03 and $13+ to other countries. The vendor joined Etsy in 2010 and has made 116 sales. Sixty people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 10 favorites/year. The vendor, Kristan Payne, lives in Columbus, OH, and focuses her life of God through her art. She also has a blog, an Ebay shop, and Twitter and Pinterest accounts.
  • LavenderDove7–This vendor offers 30 APBs and a total of 45 products. Other products include rosaries and jewelry. APB prices range from $18-45 and include a velour pouch and free US shipping. APBs have no Resurrection bead. They are constructed with  either wire loops or beading wire and metal crimps with crimp covers. APBs feature crosses or other pendants, such as doves or angels. Vendor offers option of inserting clasp into wire loop APBs so they may be worn as a necklace. Shipping to US addresses is free via USPS. Shipping t0 Canada is $8 and $12 to other countries via USPS. The vendor joined Etsy in 2015 and has made 15 sales. Thirty three people have designated this a favorite shop. The shop owner, Cindy Cima Edwards, lives in Heber Springs, AR. She has a blog, website, and another Etsy shop to sell her jewelry, as jewelry design is her primary passion. She has had her jewelry creations mentioned and published in many online and print media outlets.
  • AbabeadsKC–This vendor offers 26 APBs and a total of 460 products. Other products include rosaries and jewelry. APB prices range from $15-30. APBs do not have a Resurrection bead. They are constructed with either wire loops or beading wire and metal crimps. Many crosses are crucifixes. Custom sets are offered. Shipping to US addresses is $3 via USPS Priority Mail. Shipping via USPS to Canada is $4.50 and $10 to other countries. Three hundred eighty two people have designated this a favorite shop for an average of 63.7 favorites per year. The vendor, Beth Ann Ridenour, is from Kansas City, MO. She joined Etsy in 2010 as a jewelry artist and has made 1066 sales. She especially likes to make custom orders and offers many options for this type of APB at very reasonable prices.

Of the 75 Etsy APB vendors researched for this series, a few others that offer 25 or fewer APBs in their shops are worth a mention.

  • VowanGems–This vendor offers 25 APBs and a total of 351 products. Other products include a variety of jewelry. This vendor is most noted for using 14K gold-filled crimps, gemstone beads, and sterling silver crosses, bringing the price range for APBs up to $38-64.
  • KippysKreations–This vendor offers 24 APBs and a total of 1689 products. Other products include jewelry, pet prodocts, hair accessories, rosaries, and chaplets. Since 2008, 1375 people have favorited this shop. This vendor is most noted for its large number of products, its APB construction using 49-strand (softest drape) coated stainless steel wire or wire loop connectors, and its use of gemstone and crystal beads.
  • PraiseBead–This New Zealand vendor offers 23 APBs and a total of 205 products. Other products include chaplets, Christian bracelets, jewelry, and 12-step beads. Since 2008, this shop has been favorited by 959 people. Two women support themselves and their families through their shop sales.
  • PrayerWorksStudio–This vendor is Kristen Vincent, author of A Bead and a Prayer. She offers only 17 APBs and a total of 78 products, but her shop has made 5016 sales since it opened in 2009. She has written other APB books, and she speaks and conducts APB-making workshops around the country. She also sells chaplets, prayer strands, APB kits, prayer cards, rosaries, and her books through her Etsy shop.
  • WildflowerAdornments–This vendor offers 16 APBs and 89 total products. She offers regular APBs as well as jewelry and APB necklaces using wire wrapped or wire loop connections, Swarovski components, gemstone beads, and artistic designs.
  • SwanCollection–This Swiss vendor offers 16 APBs and 360 total products. Other products include rosaries, jewelry, antiques, and Greek Kombolois. The vendor is most noted for its APBs’ semi-precious gemstones, solid silver or gold findings, and free shipping worldwide. APB prices start at $79.95 and top at $675. If you’re looking for an heirloom-quality set of APBs, this could be your source.
  • SusanLloyd–This vendor offers only 10 APBs, but has 589 total products and 4,609 sales since she joined Etsy in 2009. She also sells Lutheran prayer beads (different pattern than APBs or rosaries), rosaries, malas, pater nosters, jewelry, key rings, bolo ties, tie bars, and hair accessories. She specializes in gemstone beads and enjoys the folklore related to them. She offers a lifetime APB restringing guarantee.

If this series of posts has been useful to you, if I have missed any significant Etsy APB vendors, or if any of the information in this series is inaccurate, please leave a comment on this post. Please keep in mind that the statistics offered were accurate as of May 2016. See Part 1 and Part 2 of this series for more information about my Anglican prayer bead market research.

Etsy Anglican Prayer Bead Vendor Comparison (Part 2)

In May 2016, I conducted extensive market research of other Etsy.com Anglican (Protestant) prayer bead vendors in anticipation of adding Anglican prayer bead (APB) chaplets to my product line. Compared to the results of my similar 2013 market research (described in Part 1 of this series of blog posts), what I learned was both startling and enlightening.

In just three years, the number of Anglican prayer beads available on Etsy.com has jumped from 148 to over 1050, and the number of APB vendors has increased from 7 to over 75! Granted, 64% of the current vendors were offering 10 or fewer sets of APBs in their shops in May 2016; 23% were offering 11-25 APBs; and only 10 (13%) were offering over 26 APBs. I was among the latter and also among the 31% who exclusively create Anglican Prayer Beads (no Catholic rosaries, malas, etc).

Inspired, as I was, by Kimberly Winston’s 2008 APB primer Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer Beads and Kristen E. Vincent’s similar 2013 book A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads, 21% of the current Etsy APB vendors are creating APBs with a Resurrection bead between the Invitatory and first Cruciform beads. I call this a “listening bead,” when exiting the bead pattern back to the cross, as I think it is important to listen for God’s guidance during one’s prayer time. The balance of Etsy APB vendors (79%) are creating APBs in the traditional pattern, omitting the Resurrection bead.

Due to the increased competition among APB vendors, it is not surprising that the average price of a set of APBs has come down a bit. In 2013, the average price per set was $10-40; in 2016, APBs sell for an average of $26-43/set. Given vendors’ desires to appeal to all pocketbooks, you can buy a set of APBs on Etsy for $4-6 or a set with crystals, precious gemstones, and/or solid sterling silver components for $95 or more. However, as I conveniently price all my sets at $32, I was more interested in the average price per set. Given the superior quality of my APBs and my included storage pouch, 16-page full-color instruction/prayer booklet, and lifetime restringing guarantee, I was gratified to find that my pricing is still very competitive.

This led me to consider what my competitors are including with the purchase of a set of APBs. Forty percent are providing a storage pouch, 45% are providing some sort of instructions, but only 27% are providing both. In many cases, instructions provided are just a single sheet, a bead diagram, or a single sample prayer. Only two other APB vendors offer a lifetime restringing guarantee, like I do.

Next, I researched the quality and type of construction of APBs available on Etsy. The traditional rosary-like construction (using eye pins or wire wrapping to create wire loop links) is offered by 23% of the APB vendors. Sixty percent construct their APBs using beading wire and metal crimps, and 5% offer both types of APB construction. Twelve percent use likely less durable construction materials, such as elastic cord, nylon twine, fabric cord, string, and silk lame thread. No one seems to be using the super-secure Magic Connectors (instead of metal crimps) that I use on my APBs. (See Part 1 of this series for details about Magic Connectors.) Only four other Etsy APB vendors specify that they use the softest drape (non-kinking) coated 49-strand stainless steel beading wire that I use on my APBs.

Of the 75 Etsy APB vendors researched, only 8 (11%) have a website outside of Etsy, as I do (KristiLynGlass.com). Seventeen (23%) have a Facebook presence, and 12 (16%) have an alternate web presence, such as Pinterest, Amazon, or a personal blog. Only 13 (17%) have more than one web presence outside of Etsy, as I do.

No other researched Etsy APB vendor has had an Etsy shop as long as I have. I started my Etsy shop back in 2006, although I didn’t start selling APBs until early 2013. Twenty four of my researched Etsy APB vendors opened their shops between 2007 and 2011. The biggest influx of APB vendors (50) opened Etsy shops within the past 5 years. There is no data indicating specifically when Etsy APB vendors started offering APBs for sale in their Etsy shops, but the growth in the number of APBs available on Etsy from 148 to over 1050 over the past three years strongly suggests that APB popularity is definitely on the rise and sparking intense competition.

When someone searches Etsy.com for “Anglican prayer beads”, well over 1300 results appear. When sorted by relevance, these results seem to display one product from each of the 50+ APB vendors, and then repeat that process over and over. While this is fair to the APB vendors, it makes a potential APB buyer’s search process particularly difficult. It would take someone over 12 hours to just gather all of the information I’ve presented in this series. It would take even more time to evaluate the gathered data to narrow down a search for the perfect set of Anglican prayer beads.

To begin such a search with the APB vendors who produce the most APBs, I would recommend sorting by relevancy and then begin viewing products starting with the last page of the search, instead of the first page.

To further facilitate this type of search, I offer a comparison study of the top 10 Etsy APB vendors in Part 3 of this series. To compare the above statistics with my APB market research done in 2013, see Part 1 of this series.



Etsy Anglican Prayer Bead Vendor Comparison (Part 1)

Before I started creating Anglican prayer beads (APB) back in 2013, I conducted market research on the existing Etsy.com Protestant prayer bead vendors. I had been an Etsy.com artisan since 2006, so that seemed a good place to start.

In 2013, I found only 7 Etsy vendors selling a total of 160 sets of Anglican (Protestant) prayer beads. Three vendors were offering less than 20 APB in their Etsy shops. Most of the APBs offered were very traditionally designed. Some were not very imaginative or well made or were made using eye pins (wire loops), rather than the beading wire and metal crimps I planned to use. Several of these vendors primarily focused on jewelry or Catholic rosaries, with APBs as a spin-off product line.

God’s urging and the scarcity of serious APB vendors on Etsy  (and elsewhere on the internet) led me to jump into the APB market in early 2013. I was sure I could strongly compete by producing Anglican prayer beads that were not only functional, but also beautiful and well made.

I began by creating a 16-page full-color Anglican Prayer Beads booklet containing APB history, pictures, instructions, and sample prayers.

Prayer Beads Booklet

The next step was to determine my pricing. Back in 2013, Etsy APB artisans were charging $10-40 for a set. Rather than following my competitors’ typical practice of pricing APBs based on component costs, I decided to choose components that would be profitable at a flat $32/set, including my APB booklet and a velveteen pouch. To further set my products uniquely above my competitors, I also included a lifetime restringing guarantee and made my APB booklet available for $2 via digital download.

Since my initial foray into the APB market, I have further improved my APBs by using professional quality non-kinking (softest drape) 49-strand color- or clear-coated stainless steel beading wire. Beading wire with fewer strands may irreparably kink.

I also am now the only APB vendor I know of who uses silver- or gold-plated Magic Findings, instead of less reliable and much cheaper metal crimps, to secure APB beading wire. Patented Magic Findings not only create a much sturdier bond, they also look like a round silver or gold bead, enhancing the APB design.

Magic Finding

When joining two ends of beading wire, I thread each end through a Magic Finding and back through it again, utilizing four of the Magic finding’s seven holes.

Magic Finding Pliers

Then I use the Magic Finding pliers to crimp the Magic Finding into a round bead shape. This creates a study and beautiful bond.

(Images courtesy of Fire Mountain Gems.)

In addition to these competitive advantages of my APBs, each set of my Anglican prayer beads is unique. I typically use glass or gemstone beads and a variety of crosses or other symbolic pendants. I sometimes create my own crosses and pendants using molds, bezels, and resin. I have also commissioned a glass artisan to make colorful dichroic glass crosses for some of my APB. Inspired by the desire to make some of my APB multi-functional, I am one of only a couple Etsy vendors who make Anglican prayer bead necklaces.

I have been successfully selling my Anglican prayer beads through both my Etsy shop and my personal website for over three years now. In anticipation of adding APB chaplets to my product line, I again conducted extensive market research in May 2016 regarding other Etsy Anglican prayer bead vendors. To learn the surprising and enlightening results of this research, see Part 2  and Part 3 of this series.