I wanted to share with you today, one of the newest trends in beading- the use of popsockets or phone grips. A pop socket/phone grip is a circular disc attached to the back of a cell phone with a flexible, accordion-like stem that pops out and allows the user to hold the phone more easily or prop it up to watch videos. The "Popsocket" is a name brand of a higher end quality plastic, other brands such as dollar store brands have a less durable harder plastic base. I got some tips to share with you through extensive research with my own flat stitch beading pop sockets and talking amongst my customers about their experiences. If you got some tips/hacks to try share, feel free to comment/share/tag a friend.
Pop Socket Tips- Beading Hacks
To ensure your beaded piece fits over a PopSockets plastic top called “pop top” you need a beadwork that larger than 1.56" inches or 4 cm circle. 25mm gems are great to use as you only need to bead 3-4 rows to create a large enough diameter to fit over a pop-socket plastic pop top.
Put something sturdy between the backing and beadwork, as the pull/push of the pop socket tends to make the beadwork curl over time. The solution to this problem can be solved in sandwiching a thin piece of plastic between your beadwork and backing. For example I would use lacy stiff stuff- thin plastic - pig skin leather or leatherette to create a firm base before edging. Having a finished beadwork piece allows you the freedom to remove if the pop socket breaks and create a necklace or reattach to new pop socket. Additionally using flimsy material like regular felt will cause the beadwork to curl more over time as it does not handle moisture or repeated pull/push very well.
Use a sturdy backing material to attach to the plastic pop top, I prefer leather or leatherette verses iron on patch/cloth. Attach the vinyl/leatherette with glue and then edge your beadwork because then the tension of using the pop socket does not affect your thread tension on beadwork. In the long term, think how the back of your beadwork project would be affected by the pushing and pulling action. Also creates an "easy to clean" surface if your pop-socket ever got dirty verses leaving the beadwork foundation/felt/pellon exposed on the back of your pop-socket. Also by covering the beadwork stitching, the push/pull action will not affect your stitches/thread that could loosen over time.
These are examples of problems with beading a pop socket with poor quality backing. The edging being push/pull action made the edging fray the iron on patch used for backing, until the beadwork detached from the backing and the pop socket.
In the second picture, this is a problem with using "cheap imitation" pop sockets, as the plastic is harder and less durable. This imitation pop socket lasted only 90 days of use before breaking at the base. The plastic is also harder between the fingers which is less comfortable than the "pop socket" brand which is considerably more expensive averaging around $10-15 than the $1-2 versions. I would recommend using best quality you can afford to keep your customer happy in the long run and to have your beautiful beadwork showcased.
Use E6000 or Gorilla Glue to attach the finished piece roughly 1.5” inches to secure fit over the hard plastic “pop top”. However try to first use a medium grit nail file to scratch the smooth picture/surface of the pop socket for a better hold to the glue and the finished beaded piece.
Velcro rounds, may be a fun choice instead of gluing as you can create interchangeable pop tops. One for each outfit or make with matching earrings, and it will be sure to be a hit on the powwow trail!
Consider your gem type carefully, for example, a shiny AB glass gem may get scratched as phones are toss in purses with keys/etc. The phone will be used frequently and exposed to hand sweat/exposed to chemicals in the environment. A druzy gem may be pretty but if the phone should get exposed to food/drinks would be hard to clean off without destroying the finishes on gems/beads. I would recommend using round resin gems in 25mm or 35mm size for the best durability.
Phone are typically next to people at all times, so hair spray/hand sanitizers/lotions/sunblock can also play a factor in types of beads you would choose. Non-duracoated metallic beads will be the first to be affected and will start to rub off. Try to avoid any bead with a coating which would be categorized as “Chalk” or “Metallic”, and stick to more durable beads with words like “Opaque”, “Silverlined”, and “Duracoat”.
Consider using rhinestone banding, as metal rhinestone banding will not endure as long as plastic rhinestone banding. With the repeated use of the push/pull motion of the pop socket, the metal rhinestone banding can run the risk of having the tiny individual rhinestone gems pop out of the enclosed claw of the banding, leaving the metal encasing which can scratch your customer clothing/hair/body. I would highly recommend plastic banding, as it is more durable against weather/lotions/sunblock/etc and the sparkle of the AB will not be easily scratched from laying the pop socket on rough surfaces like metal banding. If you choose to use metal rhinestone banding, try using larger beads next to it, that would be higher than the height of the rhinestone banding so it cushions any falls or table surface. I would recommend a 2*3mm rondelle/bicone next to a Ss4 or Ss6 metal rhinestone banding to protect the rhinestones longevity.
I hope these tips/hacks help you long your beadwork journey, and have fun trying new trends like the pop-socket. Do you have a Pop socket trick you can share... the please write in our blog comments/facebook page to keep the beading community informed.
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