Soft Flex, Soft Touch and Econoflex Beading Wire: How Are They Different? by Sara Oehler

SKU VID-1329
Designer: Sara Oehler
Skill Level: Any Level
In this video, Sara Oehler of Soft Flex explains the differences between several Soft Flex beading wires, including Soft Flex Metallics, Soft Touch, and Econoflex. These beading wires come in a variety of colors and diameters, with differing flexibility. Learn which one is right for your beading project, and get tons of project inspiration and tips!
Audio Transcript
Note: This audio transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate.
hello my name is Sara eller and I am the sales and marketing manager for soft flex company today I have the good fortune of being in the beadaholique design studio and get to share with you some great information about soft flex company products so to get started I wanted to talk about some of the different brands but soft flex offers I know that it can be a little confusing at times to try to figure out what's the right brand for you so I'm just going to kind of run through all of the different options that you have available from beadaholique first and foremost we have our basic soft flex when it first came out in the 1990s it was only in a satin silver color which looks very similar to this soft touch it runs in three different diameters which we'll talk about a little bit later but it was our very first option and what our company is named after so soft luxe beading wire is our original brand and then we came out with soft touch which is very similar to soft flex in the way it appears but it's actually much more flexible you'll even see that the package reads 50% softer and more flexible so when you're doing things like pearls and seed beads and you need just that extra added flexibility soft touch is going to be the brand for you and we have a very loyal following for soft touch when people love soft touch they often will not use anything else we also have what we call our metallics line metallics are very similar to basic soft flex but they come in a copper color and then we also have a beautiful antique brass color and they kind of go hand in hand with all the soft flex colors which we'll talk about a little bit later in the video as well so the color is actually in the nylon coating all of the products that I've talked about so far have a stainless steel core either 721 or 49 strands of stainless steel just itty-bitty strands of Steel braided together with a nylon coating and the color is actually right in that nylon so it's never going to change colors or lose that beautiful copper brass color that you're going to see in you know the original product we love the copper in the brass so much that we gave it its own name metallics but it's really the same thing as a basic color in our original soft flex brand and just to be clear soft luxe comes in lots of different colors other than that original satins or satin silver or steel tone and it comes in blacks and whites and in all sorts of colors and you can find quite a few of those right through beadaholique we also have a brand named extreme' and it comes in three different colors and here in front of me I've got two of those but basically this isn't a steel based product it's a copper alloy product it's a 1 by 19 strand and again those are braided together and then this particular one is plated in 24 karat gold with a clear nylon coating and that gives you that bright gold beautiful tone the sterling silver is similar in construction it just has a sexual sterling silver plating and then we have a third color called our champagne and that's just a copper alloy with a clear nylon coating over the top finally the last brand that we offer that beadaholique is carrying is the Cano flex econo flex is for a crafter so it's only a 1 by 7 strand stainless steel product it comes in a bunch of different colors including the steel gray color but it is going to be great for things like beaded curtains beaded lampshades things that just need a lot of wire but they don't necessarily a lot of flexibility so it's going to be our most inexpensive brand but great for someone that's doing more of a craft project so now that I've gone over all the brands I think we'll go ahead and talk about the different diameters that are available so I'm going to start with our very fine it is our seven strand variety and soft touch and soft wax and we created point zero one zero inch in order to do things like embellishing weaving and crocheting and anytime you want to figure out what any of our diameters are for if you look just underneath where it so it's very fine fine medium or heavy you're going to see a small list for what that particular diameter is typically used for so very fine is embellishing weaving crocheting this is actually knitted on a knitting spool very fine soft touch comes in black and white so this is two colors knitted together in the the Verisign and then this particular project here is a free project idea on the saw flex website and it uses the black soft touch o no.2 weave together some beads into this cute little bracelet another great use for point zero one zero is really tiny gemstones sometimes you know diamonds or sapphires or rubies will have such small holes they won't fit on a thicker diameter and so that's why we actually carry this in a white and a black is for diamond dealers in Asia who use this particular diameter for diamonds because they have such little holes the next diameter that I want to talk about is our fine diameter and in this case and of basic soft wax or soft touch it's a twenty-one strand variety and so it'll be three bundles of seven braided together and it comes in just some basic colors it comes in white it comes in black brass copper some of the more metallic II and basic colors and this particular diameter is used for seed beads and freshwater pearls I created this necklace just to show how soft and supple the soft touches it really is very soft and it's a great opportunity whenever you're doing something like pearls or seed beads to add just that extra bit of luxury you would want to use soft touch you can also use it for doing tubular weaving these are both a Russian spiral weave that I teach on a pretty regular basis one is just using bugle beads whereas one is using some smaller seed beads in place of the bugle beads but the one for wire is actually spiraling around weaving this whole bracelet together and what's nice about using a wire is it's going to really give you some body in shape whereas if you were to use thread this is more likely to collapse and not quite have that big beautiful shape that this has and then this is another design where I knitted using a knitting spool this is using two colors in our softflex and it's using one of the metallic colors antique brass and then it's using our black in basic soft wax and it is knitted on a knitting spool using what we call knitting style three and you can see it just lends itself really well to a project like that although you can use any of our diameters on a knitting spool you're going to get different outputs depending on the diameter you choose and the sinner diameters are going to be a little softer and spongier than the sticker diameters which are going to have a little more structure to them okay so next we move on to my very favorite diameter which is medium this is the one that I use the most often and I'll probably have the most samples here to show you again it comes in a huge array of colors 25 different colors and basic soft wax and then it's also got some further colors if you look into the Econo flex and the extreme varieties as well so here's another extreme and I like this particular diameter because it sort of does it all it says it right on the label all-purpose glass mineral and metal beads it'll fit a really small hole but it can handle things that are more abrasive as well it also comes in the largest color assortment so that's really fun and if you like to use you know all the fun different colors that are out there as part of your design this is definitely going to be the diameter for you this particular design is from my first book show your colors that came out about five years ago and it uses the mystical trio which has our purple amethyst I think it has spinel and then it has our pink tourmaline colors the trails are really fun because they give you an opportunity to play around with multiple colors you get a package of three ten-foot spools 30 feet total but a little bit in three different colors so you can intermix them or use them separately they're a lot of fun so that's one design if you're doing something where you want like a floating necklace here's kind of another version of that where the wire has been wrapped around the bead with just a few seed beads to hold the bead in place I think that one's really cool too it's a nice way to get that illusion style necklace showcase the wire color but you don't see use like a lot of crimps or any sort of metal to keep the beads in place on the wire I really love braiding softflex and I do that in all four of our diameters but medium and heavy I think are the best for braiding because it just really creates sort SiC chain and that's really beautiful to work with so in this case I crimped using a mighty crimp at the bottom and then braided the soft wax at the back just adding seed beads throughout the design the thicker the wire you know the more kink resistant it's going to be and so a lot of the medium designs that you'll see are going to have sort of free-floating wire and I don't have to worry about that wire becoming kinked or breaking one of the nice things about soft flex is you know not only is it kink resistant if it did happen to kink it's not going to work harden and break where it kinks it's very strong and very flexible here's an example of a design using the medium in the 24 karat gold this was on the cover of Beach Style magazine and is still one of my very favorite design where you can actually just use the wire to make fringe and just do little crimp at the very bottom to hold beads in place and I'll show you just one or two more in this diameter and then we'll move on to our oat ooh four so there's just so many fun things you can do when you start thinking about the colored beading wire as part of the design rather than just a supply that you string on whether you're using it on a loom or your freely knotting it because it can be knotted or crimping it into really unusual cool shapes there's just a lot of different things you can explore with medium specifically because it does have so many cool colors and then last let's talk about heavy heavy is probably one of the most under appreciated diameters because it is thick and people tend to think you know if I get too thick of a wire I'm going to lose my flexibility and that's really not the case especially if you're using soft touch heavy soft touch is very flexible but still has this amazing strength it says on the label it's a forty pound test strength but I've seen reports where it goes up to sixty to sixty-five pounds and by tough strength I mean it's tested as a weight that is moving so it would be like if you were fishing and there was a forty pound fish running down river it would possibly snap this wire so in beating this wire is just incredibly strong but what's most important about it it's 49 strands just like the medium soft lacks and soft touch but what's most important it has this really thick nylon coating and that is great when you're doing designs that are going to have some really abrasive edges like large gemstones these pieces of metal African trade beads big lampwork beads anything that's going to be really hard on the wire you want to make sure that you're getting a really thick wire underneath your design I always say the best rule of thumb for any design is to use the thickest wire that you can under underneath your design sometimes it will only be medium because you want it in a certain color and we don't offer that in heavy and that's fine mediums really strong too but you definitely want to focus on getting the strongest beading wire you can under your design so that it's going to last a really long time so I certainly hope that you are able to learn a few things about our different brands and diameters of soft wax today I'm so glad that I got this opportunity to spend time at beadaholique and I hope that you'll check out all of our products on their website thank you you

You recently viewed

Clear recently viewed