Saturday, 5 April 2014

Which Ink Pad Do I Choose?

Dedicated Crafter: Tips & Techniques - Paper Crafting:

Following on from our recent post regarding the sizing of seed beads and wire this one is for the paper crafters out there especially if you are into card making or scrapbooking, although ink can be used in a multitude of other ways.


There are so many different types and brands of ink pads on the market and we often get asked which ones to use for which project, especially from new crafters who are faced with a multitude of choices and can easily choose the wrong one. Many times people have told us that they can't get on with stamping and this may be due to simply using the wrong ink. Here is a rough guide but feel free to ask questions and either myself or one of the other forum members will surely be able to help.

1. Dye based inks - These are a fast drying easy pad to start with if you want to simply stamp an image and can also be a very versatile choice for a few different techniques. If you want to shade an image in one colour these are perfect as the ink can be pulled in from the image and acts like a watercolour paint giving more depth than basic stamping without having to invest in colouring pens. The thicker the line or detail on the image, the more ink will be released when you add water using a paintbrush or water brush. They can also be used for brayering on glossy card and creating shade around a topper using a sponge or brush. Also perfect with alcohol markers.

2. Pigment inks - These are the ink pads you need to heat emboss with as they stay wetter longer and allow the embossing powder to stick to the image. They can also be used for basic stamping but are not suitable for the watercolour effect.

3. Permanent inks - These ink pads are recommended for watercolouring where you want to keep the outside line, for instance if you have stamped in black and wish to colour in with non-permanent markers or watercolour paints. They are useful when stamping on tricky surfaces other than regular card. Do not use with alcohol markers as the line will bleed and ruin your pens. Staz-on is the best ink pad for stamping on acetate and if you turn over your acetate so the ink is underneath you can then colour with permanent markers.

There are many more variations but this will get you started.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Guide to seed beads and wire sizes

Dedicated Crafter: Tips & Techniques - Jewellery Making:

Have you ever been confused about the sizing of seed beads and wire? That is because a different sizing system is in operation in different parts of the world.

For instance in America they refer to seed beads as 11/0, 8/0 etc., the higher the number the smaller the bead. They can also be referred to as E beads or rocailles. Below is a go to guide to the most popular sizes and their conversions.


Sometimes seed beads are sized in millimeters and sometimes in gauges and can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. Here is a quick guide to the sizing of the most popular ones.

Size 11/0 - approx. 2mm - 5g would give you 580'ish beads - 80cm in length.

Size 8/0 - approx. 3mm - 5g would give you 220'ish beads - 40cm in length.

Size 6/0 - approx. 3.7mm - you would get approx. 7 beads per inch.

Larger seed beads are often referred to as E beads.

The same rule applies with wire which in America is measured by gauge, the higher the gauge the thinner the wire. The opposite to what you might imagine.


As with seed beads these can be described by gauge or in millimetres and here is a rough conversion guide.

16 gauge - 1.2mm - used for structure

18 gauge - 1.0mm - used for structure (i.e shapes or ring shanks)

20 gauge - 0.8mm - the most useful to start with, can be used for structure and to make findings.

22 gauge - 0.6mm - another very popular size with many uses including tiaras and rings.

26 gauge - 0.4mm - commonly used for wrapping such as in tiara making.

32 gauge - 0.2mm - also known as lacemakers wire, can be almost like thread with seed beads for brooches and fine work.

There are of course other in between sizes but these would be the most commonly used.

I hope you find this useful, any questions please leave a comment below or email us

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring Craft & Gift Fair

Hello everyone, hope you are well. Don't forget our Spring Craft & Gift Fair is on tomorrow, Sunday 30th, in the beautiful Cavan Crystal Hotel. We will be there with our handmade greeting cards and jewellery plus a selection of our paper crafting and jewellery making supplies. Of course it wouldn't be a fair with just Downland Crafts so joining us will be some of your favourite regulars as well as some new faces taking a table with us for the first time.
There will be 31 exhibitors offering handmade items and giftware including wood crafts (bowls, clocks, chopping boards, plaques, toys), greeting cards, artwork, jewellery, glassware (handpainted glasses, tiffany glass), mosaic, knitting & crochet (toys & clothes), soaps, candles, furniture, leathercraft, skincare, pottery, craft supplies (paper crafts, jewellery making & knitting), blankets, incense, fabric crafts (toys, tablecloths & runners, aprons, bags, shawls), jam, eyewear, incense sticks & accessories and face painting. Plenty of choice for everyone I'm sure you'll agree. A full list of exhibitors and their products can be found on our website by clicking here.
This fair is the perfect place to pick up a last minute gift for your Mum or why not bring her along for a great day out and perhaps treat her to something special, she could even choose her own present.
There will also be lots of items suitable for first communion and confirmation, plus many exhibitors will happily take commissions, simply tell them what you are looking for and they will do their best to assist you.
Admittance is FREE so no nasty shocks at the door if you want to bring the whole family or come as a group with your friends.
The Cavan Crystal are also offering a fantastic four course lunch on the day including a glass of wine for only €25 per adult in their award winning restaurant Opus One, so you can enjoy a meal while you are there.
We do hope you will join us and if you have any questions don't hesitate to give us a call on 087 189 6229.
See you there!

Friday, 21 March 2014

What's new

We are well into 2014 now and I am wondering if anyone has managed to keep their new years resolutions? As you can see my own resolution to blog at least once a month has been an epic fail. Oh well apart from the fact that I could possibly be the worst blogger in history a lot has been happening at Downland Crafts and it's been a very exciting time for myself and Tom.

Anyone who knows me will probably know that I am a huge fan of Kanban and was very sad to see them go and ecstatic to hear they were coming back. What fun I had going through their product list and doing a bit of retail therapy, for you all of course, and ok for myself as well. I hope you like the toppers I chose for our first lot of stock, if you have any favourites let me know and I'll see if we can get them for you.

Check out our current range by clicking here
As in previous years we are planning to host some craft & gift fairs and our first is at the end of the month. There will be over 30 exhibitors at the spring craft & gift fair on Mother's Day in the beautiful Cavan Crystal Hotel offering handmade items and giftware including wood crafts, greeting cards, artwork, jewellery, glassware, knitting & crochet, soaps, candles, furniture, skincare, craft supplies, incense, fabric crafts and face painting. Pick up a last minute gift for your Mum or bring her along for a great day out and perhaps treat her to something special. There will also be lots of items suitable for first communion and confirmation, plus many exhibitors will happily take commissions. Admittance is FREE and the Cavan Crystal are also offering a fantastic four course lunch including a glass of wine for only €25 per adult in their award winning restaurant Opus One.

Full details and exhibitor list available on our website by clicking here
There are lots of plans for this year to add some projects both card making and jewellery making to this blog and so far I have the menu done...well at least that's a start. I am always impressed by the fantastic blogs that seem to have no end of inspiration on a regular basis and I promise I will try to make this one a great place to visit. We've done a lot of work on the website improving and upgrading, now we need to focus our attention on the blog. I will admit to spending far more time on Facebook than I should but it is great to chat to all the lovely crafters and share ideas and tips, the problem is when I start chatting I find it hard to stop. If you fancy a chat it's the best place to find me so why not stop by our page and say hi.
Until next time...and I promise it won't be so long...happy crafting!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Craft & Gift Fair

Not long to go now! The signs, posters and flyers have been distributed, the spaces have all been filled, new stock has been made and we are telling anyone who will listen.

For the perfect place to find lots of Christmas gift ideas come to the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan this Sunday, 60 stands with a wide variety of handmade goods and giftware, plus a school fundraising raffle to win tickets to see One Direction.

For a full list of exhibitors visit our website

Friday, 4 October 2013