If you’ve been watching my Friday findings videos for any time at all you’ve probably realized that I love not only discovering new jewelry findings that I haven’t used before, but also figuring out unique and different ways of using them.
I love the sleek look of these magnetic clasps, and I also love the fact that they are easy to fasten because of the magnetic closure, but secure because of the design. These findings were designed to accept the cut ends of leather cording, making what could be rather masculine bracelets, certainly on trend with all of the dyed and interesting different types of leather cord available now.
I decided to try something different with these and used multiple lengths of hemp cord. Stringing a few small beads onto several of the cords adds a decorative touch without being overwhelming.
Probably the trickiest part of this project is getting the cords glued neatly into the findings. I tried a couple different ways and in the video I show you what worked best for me.
This is a fun project because it only uses three jewelry components: the clasp, the cord and the beads. For tools all you need are glue, a toothpick and some scissors.
I call the bracelet “Storms and Sunshine” because the gray & blue cords make me think of stormy skies, but the brass beads are bright and sunny. Perhaps a bit too poetic? But better than “Magnetic Clasp Bracelet With Multiple Strands of Hemp Cord and Brass Beads,” methinks. 🙂
One of my viewers commented on another YouTube video with a question about how to get bracelets to fit correctly. Since this is an issue I often encounter: sometimes they’re too small, sometimes they’re too big, and sometimes, only sometimes, they are just right, I thought we probably aren’t the only ones with this difficulty.
In today’s video I’ll give you some tips for things to watch out for in sizing bracelets, explain a few steps to take when making bracelets for customers or commissions and show why every well-fitting bracelet is not exactly the same length!
Several of the bracelets I show in the video are from previous tutorials. Here are links to them in case you missed them or would like to watch again.
In last week’s video I showed you how to make two of the focal beads for this half-and-half bracelet. The other half consists of strung beads, which, as I mentioned in the video, it’s a good idea to choose first. It’s easier to choose your purchased beads or from among your stash and then match the polymer clay beads to those rather than the other way around.
In this week’s video I will show you how to make a really pretty decorative copper hook clasp and then how to use waxed linen twine to string your whole bracelet together.
This is a nice project for using up small amounts of special beads, as each of our four strands is only about 3 to 3 1/2 inches long. You do have to make sure, though, that the beads you choose will allow a strand of waxed linen to go through them.
The more art I make the more I understand why artists often work in series. Although I’m a “dabbler” at heart, I love to try All. The. Things, there are some times when I just want to stay put on an idea and really explore it.
Bead weaving is not my main thing and I don’t expect that it will ever be, but it’s one of those crafts that I like to return to every so often. As I explain in the video, buying the wrong beads to create a necklace chain set me off this time. I don’t know what it was, but I found myself driven to try many different patterns, especially using the super duos that I’ve been talking about so much lately.
And then suddenly one day, as I knew would happen, I suddenly was over it. Done for now. But I thought you would like to see some of the jewelry that I completed as I shared some of the process on my Instagram feed.
Here is another one I made, it was a gift for a friend so I didn’t have it when I made the video, but took the opportunity to snap a photo when she gave it back to me to add the safety chain. The pattern is the Elinor bracelet from Linda’s Crafty Inspirations, this link will bring you to where you can see other color combinations and download the free pattern.
Below are links to patterns, designs or tutorials for each of the projects shown in the video. Some of the designs are free online and some of the designers are charging a few dollars for their patterns. I can assure you the paid patterns are well worth it, as these designers put a lot of time, expertise and trial and error into working out these projects for you.
If you plan to make these projects to sell be sure to check each designer’s policies regarding that (most don’t allow you to teach them, btw.) Also, give them credit for their designs when sharing them online.
In my year-in-review post a couple weeks ago I alluded to the possibility of doing another personal polymer clay challenge for 2017. As I was disappointed in several of the things I didn’t get done in 2016 I’ve decided that this needs to happen.
My dragon challenge of 2015 was a success, but oh-so-much work! And it took oh-so-much time. Since I’ve got more going on these days this year’s challenge will be a little less demanding. 🙂
My goal this year is to make two polymer clay figures each month. I’ll share the results on or around the 15th and 30th of every month. As you can see from the photo and video, I’ve already completed the first of 24 sculptures.
I was really pleased with the more relaxed pace of working on this piece over the course of two weeks. I could do a little bit here, a little bit there and was able to take the time to add things or make changes as I liked, rather than being constrained by a strict deadline.
I named this sculpture “Make a Joyful Noise,” and the boy’s name is Phillip. I know there are many, many things that could be improved, but I’m still happy with him and his flock of singing friends. Phillip is based on Studious Stan from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
For me the trickiest part of making this was the hands, they just gave me a terrible time. But I’ve found a really nice YouTube channel with lots of sculpting help and this video: Tips on Sculpting Tiny Fairy Hands. I’m excited to try her tips on my next sculpture!
I’ve always been a fan of these half and half style bracelets. Perhaps it’s because you can cram so much into one small piece of jewelry: multiple strands of beads, interesting and artistic focals, and even a fancy hand forged clasp.
In today’s video I will show you how to make the faux ceramic bead and the textured round bead. If you are intrigued by the faux ceramic look it may be worth your while to do some experimenting with other liquid polymers and other coloring media such as oil paints.
In this video I don’t show you how to make the swirly lentil bead, because that’s truly a project in and of itself. But here are a few tutorials, some basic and some quite detailed, that show you how you can make your own. If you don’t want to bother just find a lovely purchased bead or one from your stash.
Over the years I have lost a lot of jewelry, sometimes it was due to faulty catches, but more often to my own carelessness. So it is an understatement to say that I am deeply suspicious of magnetic catches that pull apart too easily.
However, recently I took another look at magnetic clasps and realized that they have a lot of redeeming features, such as being easier for those with hand difficulties to use, and that there are magnetic clasp designs that are more secure than others.
In today’s video I will show you several different styles of catches, explain a few things to look for in a magnetic catch and also show you a way to make the worst of the lot far more secure.
Be sure to watch to the end of the video to learn about a time my mom lost a very nice piece of jewelry, although it was certainly not her fault nor that of the catch!
Here are links to a few of the clasps (and others like them) that I show in the video:
Today I have for you the opening of yet another jewelry supplies order from ArtBeads.com. You all seem to enjoy these videos so I’ll keep making them, but if you’re getting tired of them let me know and I’ll stop. 🙂
I also got some bails to finish a second superduo donut pendant, which if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me working on. For this one I made the two sides completely different color schemes, which made it a little tricky to choose a bail that went with both sides. (See the video for a look at the second beaded donut.)
The tila beads are to make this wiggle bracelet, I love the movement! I haven’t seen any patterns, but it seems fairly straightforward if you study the photo. If you don’t feel like making your own, click on the link to buy Cindy’s, her prices are quite reasonable. She has lots of other lovely designs in her shop.
The rest of the supplies are either things that I have in mind for specific future projects and videos, or just random things that I really don’t remember why I got them, but you can be certain one day I’ll find a great use for them!
Here are links to several of these products and ones like them:
I’m still currently in love with super duo designs. If you follow my Pinterest boards you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been pinning a lot of these designs. I’ve made a bunch of bracelets, too. Some I’ve taken apart because I wasn’t thrilled with them and a couple I’m really happy with.
a few of the superduo projects I’ve made recently
I think the fascination is because of the multitude of possibilities in the way they fit together, it makes sense if you know that I also was very much into pieced quilting designs for quite a few years. But now my house is full of quilts and it takes too long to finish one so I only make them for special occasion gifts.
This bracelet will take you a LOT less time to make than a quilt, even with making several samples to decide which colors. When you watch the video you may notice that even though I made all those samples I still did end up trying out a different color, not liking it, pulling out a whole bunch of bead weaving and redoing it.
That’s what I get for being picky!
One thing I did not show you in the video, (because I was so disgusted with myself and just wanted to get the recording done) was that one of my superduo beads had a clogged hole. It was one of the last ones, I was nearly finished with the bracelet and when I went to clear it out with an awl the bead broke. Grrrrrrr….
second hole was clogged, this will be taken apart entirely
In order to finish the video I actually glued the thread across the tip of the bead and kept it face down so you couldn’t see the broken bead for the rest of the video. But now I’m coming clean. ?
Here’s a short little video I made for you looking back on all of the tutorials I’ve created in 2016. It’s kind of amazing to think that it’s been a year since I finished my dragon challenge, as the habits I developed over that year I have served me well this year. I learned to be more disciplined, to work at my art whether I feel like it or not, and to make it a priority.
I really love making polymer clay tutorial videos for you all! As I mentioned in the video, I added a third weekly video to my YouTube channel in February. What I didn’t mention was that in August I realized making three a week was just too much. So now I’m back down to two per week, alternating weeks (more or less) with polymer clay and jewelry videos, but always with a Friday Findings video every week.
One hundred thirty seven videos is a LOT and I hope you all have enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if there are any that stand out to you as particular favorites.
I also created one class for CraftArtEdu.com this year, my Gradient Swirly Lentils Necklace class. This is a fun polymer technique that can be quite addictive. I strongly suggest if you enjoy polymer clay tutorials that you get on CraftArtEdu.com’s email newsletter list as they regularly send out coupon codes for 30, 40 and sometimes 50% off their classes.
Another thing I was really pleased to do this year was create tutorials for fairy garden accessories for Polymer Café magazine.
They kicked off my series with the March/April issue in which my fairy garden birdbath was featured on the cover! That was quite a thrill.
I then went on to make five other fairy garden accessory tutorials, concluding with the fairy garden bridge in the January/February 2017 issue. If you’d like to learn how to make these but don’t have a subscription to Polymer Café or can’t get the back issues, keep an eye out because I will be releasing them as individual downloadable PDF tutorials, once the rights revert back to me (about 18 months after publication.)
Dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters, cat-because he’s a cat
One thing I put in my 2015 looking back and looking ahead article a year ago was that I wanted to do more figure sculpting. Sadly I have only managed to do a grand total of ONE figure this year, this little dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
I really have a strong desire to do figures expressing relationships, emotion and interactions and have been studying the work of other artists to see what resonates with me.