Continuing in our series on jewelry tools today I’m going to tell you about rawhide mallets. Although not the most glamorous of tools, a rawhide mallet is useful when you need to harden or change the shape of a piece without creating hammer marks.
The rawhide mallet I use is quite small, it’s all I need for jewelry making, but the links below show you several different sizes available.
In fact, Marsali is a companion piece to Fergus. I thought he looked a little lonely up there on my wall and so made him a friend.
Like on Fergus the leaves are bits and pieces of canes I’d made while working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.
For Marsali I also used several different flowers that Christi teaches in her book.
I had fun addding lots of mixed media to this piece, including pearls, seed beads, crystals, wire, broken bits of jewelry and even an amazonite stone. Touches of mica powders and Gilder’s pastes add some final sparkle and shine.
I just love working on pieces like this with lots of texture, colors and so much to look at. There’s something about them that’s very satisfying.
Today’s bracelet goes together very quickly. The pearls are wire wrapped on, but the crystals are attached with jump rings. I got the idea when looking through my stash of Swarovski crystal hearts and realizing I had all the colors of the rainbow, and them some, so I made one!
I didn’t expect to love this bracelet as much as I do. Rainbows aren’t usually my thing but something about all those colors of crystal hearts just makes me happy. 🙂
And there’s the fact that it goes with anything you’re wearing.
The colors the Swarovski colors that I used from the lightest blue around counterclockwise are:
First, count the links on your chain and determine the spacing of your beads. (See the video for how I figured out the spacing on my bracelet.)
Onto each headpin slide a pearl and a bead cap. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap. Bend wire at 90° angle. Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop. Reposition pliers to finish loop. Slightly twist loop open and insert a link of your bracelet chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open each jump ring wide enough to slide on a 10mm Swarovski crystal heart. Slide jump ring onto a link of your bracelet chain and close securely.
You can make a lot of jewelry without any hammers at all, but if you’ve decided you’d like to get into wire working then you’ll definitely want to get yourself a chasing hammer.
In upcoming videos I’ll talk about other hammers that you may want to try, but a chasing hammer is the first you should add your tool kit.
I just love the effects that you can get hammering out wire, changing the shape of the cross-section of the wire, and especially the look of texturing with the rounded end.
In the video I’ll show you the basics. The chasing hammer I use is by Beady Buddy and I got it at my local craft store. Amazon has this chasing hammer, which appears to be the same thing. My next one will be a Fretz Chasing Hammer which is also on Amazon, but currently out of stock.
This week you get to meet Jinsèlóng (pronounced gin-seh-long.)
He’s another one from the Tigers Voyage book, and the fourth dragon they encounter on their trip.
Click on any of the photos for a closer look.
As you may have guessed from his appearance, he is a treasure dragon. As the story goes he’s responsible for the Bermuda triangle and often wrecks ships so he can take for himself the treasure they carry.
variegated in color from bright bullion, Buddha gold, pirate doubloon to copper penny
light colors along belly & darker on its back
four long spikes protruding from back of head
smaller spikes starting at its nose & traveling along spine
long tail ends in a fin
webbing between claws
Whenever I read books I always picture his scales as having the appearance of coins so I tried to get that across.
This was another complex project involving multiple bakings and over 250 individually applied scales. For the scales I used an extruder to make discs that had a variety of metallic clays, including bronze, copper, 18kt gold and antique gold. Then I used a leather stamp on each one to make the impression that makes them look like coins.
It was fun picking out all of the items for his treasure mound. The little pagoda is a piece for fish tank and the mermaid was a figurine that came in a box of tea. She made me think of a statue Jinsèlóng was particularly fond of in the book so I included her.
A couple of quartz crystals and lots of glass glitter give his pile of goodies a decadent look. The final touches of gold on the dragon were done with Golden’s Interference Gold acrylic paint. I just became acquainted with the stuff and LOVE it.
For this week’s jewelry project I show you how to take any two colors of seed beads and blend them together into a beautiful necklace. I’ve been on a turquoise and copper kick lately and I absolutely LOVE how this came out.
If you were to use two colors next to each other on the color wheel (such as blue and green) the effect would be subtle and lovely. Use colors opposite each other (such as purple and yellow) for a dramatic look.
The bead stringing takes a little bit of time, but if you watched my Bead Spinner video last week you’ll know how you can do this much faster.
Here’s the chart that I showed in the video, just help clarify the order of things.
You could do this on a smaller scale for a bracelet, or change any of the section lengths to suit your needs.
And here’s a bonus tip that I discovered. The beaded portion of this necklace is quite long, about 27 inches. If you want to shorten it a bit, a fun way to do that is to tie a loose knot with all the strands. I put mine slightly off center and think I’m going to love wearing it this way.
If you enjoy using small beads in your projects but don’t enjoy all the time it takes to string them, you might want to check out a bead spinner. It’s a rather clever tool based on an old technology and it makes quick work of stringing beads.
In the video I review two different types of bead spinners, a battery operated one and a hand operated one.
Also, the shape of the needle is much more important than you might think! I explain all of that in the video.
This week’s dragon is part of a scene I’ve had in mind for a long time. Actually this project is one of the reasons I started my weekly dragon challenge.
Click on any of the photos for a closer look.
There were always so many ideas in my head but I never seemed to be able to find the time do them. This challenge has certainly taught me a lot about using my time well and just how much there IS time for.
The lady is based on one of the projects in Dawn Schiller’s FaeMaker. I love that all of her clothes are the leftover pieces of fabric from clothing I have made for myself. Perhaps sort of a self-portrait? (Minus the pointy ears, haha.)
The heart brooch is actually an earring that was my grandmother’s. I used to wear them all the time until one got lost. This is a nice use for it. 🙂
The trunk is an inexpensive one I got a craft store and then painted with Swelligant paints and patinas. I love how it came out so old and crusty looking.
I also love how this piece tells a story. Or if not tells the story, at least makes you wonder.
Who are these characters? Just what is in that bottle of glittery stuff? Is she going to heal the dragon’s tattered wing with it? What is their relationship?
I’ll leave it up to your imagination to fill in the details. Feel free to tell me in the comments what you think the story is.
Oh and here’s a little video I did, just showing it from a few angles.
In today’s video I tell you all about a wonderful little tool, my Brass Caliper Gauge. When working in jewelry and the small sizes we use, you need a tool like this. It’s not very expensive and does the job well. Just be sure to watch the video so you’ll know how to use it properly.