Friday, December 14, 2012

BookLoop Variations

This past weekend I worked on some new ideas I had for my BookLoops (my reinvention of the bookmark; see my original concept post here) and came up with a couple of interesting variations I wanted to share.

I'm still testing different types of ribbon and other materials for the loop, and have one more to add to the list: silk. The latest trend of big statement beads in the craft stores also caught my eye, and I bought some strands of those along with some different style pendants:

Darice has reasonably-priced strands of glass and shell statement beads that are fun to play with; they range in price from $2.99 to 6.99 depending on the style. Laliberi, which sells a line of metal jewelry-making components, has some interesting connectors that come with jump rings already attached; I picked up a pair regularly priced at $5.99. Blue Moon, one of my favorite bead sources, had some fun metal pendants in pairs and quads at the same sale price, and Plaid's pendant duos were even cheaper, on sale for $2.39. Tori Spelling's Styled jewelry-making line has pieces that are mainly too big for use as anchors, but I found one onyx and crystal piece that I liked for $5.99. I also picked a couple of 1/4" ribbon spools out of a bargain bin at 2 for $1.00. All my savings convinced me to splurge a little on some 15 yard spools of 1/4" silver organdy ribbon for $2.49. All of the above were purchased at my local JoAnn's (and because I shopped during a sale I got everything 40% off.)

I used the Plaid pendant duos and a couple of Blue Moon silver Buddhas to make some double-anchor BookLoops. These are made in the same way as the original design except that you put matching or complimentary anchors on either end. It adds a bit more weight to the loop but gives it a more finished look when it's in place in the book. I also liked that I could drape the piece over my neck like a scarf while I was reading versus wearing it like a necklace. This variation would be fun if you want a ying/yang-themed BookLoop or have connecting pieces you can use on either end.

Once I'd done a few double-anchor loops, I stopped knotting the beads in place on one end to see if I could make it adjustable to accommodate the bigger-style paperbacks as well as the standards. It worked great. To make this type, cut your loop material to the length you need for your largest book, add only a bottom knot to keep the anchor you want to adjust from sliding off. Once you've cinched the loop, slide the beads that aren't knotted in place up or down to accommodate the size of your book. This also helps make the loop a little more secure when it's in the book.

I'm working on another project with hand-dyed silk ribbon, and stole a couple lengths of that to see how it would work as a loop. I'll warn you upfront; once you use real silk ribbon for a BookLoop you'll never want to go back to organdy. It's thin enough to be threaded directly through the beads with a tapestry needle, has almost no weight at all and sings through your fingers like a whisper. Real silk is also sturdy enough to hold the weight of your anchors. The only drawback to using silk ribbon is that it snags easily, so you do have to be careful when you're pulling it through your anchors. Silk does wrinkle like crazy, too, but I actually like the vintage look a little crumpling gives it. The textile artist who dyed my ribbons no longer sells them, but you can make do with any narrow embroidery-type silk.

My next experiments will be with sewing on anchors to make them double-sided and hide the end knot of the loop. I'm also fiddling with thread and wire wrapping to hold them in place. For the benefit of any new visitors, if this is the first time you've seen this idea, please note that I am fine with anyone using the BookLoop design for whatever they want. Feel free to make your own, improve on it, make them into holiday gifts, promo items for your books, hand them out, sell them, whatever you like. I always love to hear what you're doing with them, too, so if you come up with an interesting variation of your own let me know.


  1. It is also VERY easy to dye your own silk ribbons using kool aid (or any acid based dye) and heat.
    or even food coloring and vinegar. And fun too!
    It has to be silk (or another protein-based fiber) but it is fun, easy, safe and quick :-}

  2. Anne V.7:11 PM

    Have you tried crimp covers over the knots? They're like a round bead that is cut up one side and then you fold it over the crimp/knot you want to hide. It ends up looking like just another bead when you're done. I think they make them large enough for cord/leather.

  3. These are so pretty. I've avoided the bead aisle in my local hobby store much for the same reason I keep away from anything scrapbook related as if it were poison - I know that if I indulge myself with all of the amazing choices out there, I'd go completely overboard. But these are a good way to allow myself to select pretty beads with a specific use in mind.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.