May 152015
 

friday findings-wire gauge.jpg

In today’s video I explain the basics of wire gauge. It’s fairly easy to understand once you get used to it. 馃檪

This Jewelers Wire Gauge is similar to the measuring tool I show in the video. It measures from 0 to 36 gauge.

Also, here are links to the wires I use most often:

I like to use the bare copper wire so it will get a dark patina. Then when you polish up the high points the details really show. If you prefer to keep a bright, shiny look, then be sure to get one of the tarnish resistant wires, like this one: Tarnish Resistant Copper Wire 24 Gauge

Here’s the chart I promised in the video. I keep mine with all my wires for easy reference.

wire gauge chart.jpg

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the聽Friday Findings-Wire Gauge video over at YouTube.

May 142015
 

My dragon for this week is a character in a favorite book series of mine. Meet聽L贸ng奴n, the star dragon. (His name is pronounced “long-g铆n.”)

Check out聽this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on聽why聽I鈥檝e challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #18 Longun 1.JPG

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

If you’ve read the third book in the Tiger’s Curse series,聽Tiger鈥檚 Voyage, you’ll remember he is the first one encountered on the voyage.

dragon #18 Longun 2.JPG

Here are the descriptions from the book:

  • looks more like a Chinese serpent with a聽long sinuous body
  • four short limbs with taloned feet
  • red, black underbelly,聽top is streaked with vermilion
  • seems to glow with red light
  • long black and red tendrils trailing from black bearded cheeks
  • shiny scales
  • long lashed eyes,聽red irises & black pupils
  • long red tongue
  • pointed black tufted ears
  • two reddish black spikes, more like horns protruding from back of the head
  • spikes are covered with black velvet like new antlers and are soft & rounded at the tips
  • coming through the sky like a sidewinder

dragon #18 Longun 3.JPG

It was kind of fun making a sculpture to match聽a particular description. I also tried to show some of聽L贸ng奴n’s personality, although he’s got the least strong personality of all five of the dragons. I’m looking forward to doing some of the others even more.

dragon #18 Longun 4.JPG

If you鈥檇 like to see my other dragon creations so far, I鈥檝e made a Thursday鈥檚 Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

May 122015
 

Happy What鈥檚 on Your Workdesk Wednesday聽everyone!

2015 05 13 woyww  dragon #18.JPG

Today’s desk finds me working on dragon #18 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. This week I’m attempting to create a dragon who is a character in聽favorite book series of mine.

If any of you have read Tiger’s Voyage , you’ll know聽from the colors on the table which of the five dragons I’m working on.聽馃槈

(And if you have read the books, feel free to check back tomorrow and let me know what you think of my representation of him.)

The book on the left is one I use for inspiration, DragonWorld. It’s full of dragon art by a slew of different artists. I don’t try to copy any of them, but look for interesting details, expressions, poses, etc. that I can draw from.

Also in the shot are more faux glass eyes that I needed to聽make. I LOVE how much more life聽they give to the dragons, like in Wen.

And there’s my trusty mp3 player, don’t know what I’d do without it. I wear this Sansa Clip聽all the time to make聽tedious work (you know, like dishes or cleaning or weeding the garden) go by faster. Just finished listening to the sixth Outlander book. Are any of you following the TV series? It’s wonderful!

If you鈥檙e wondering why I鈥檓 sharing photos of my desk, well, it鈥檚 What鈥檚 on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all get together at聽Julia鈥檚聽and take a peek at each other鈥檚 creative goings on. It鈥檚 always fun and often inspiring. Join us if you have a the time.

May 112015
 

swoosh dangle earrings

These earrings get their unique shape from an unexpected jewelry supply: Memory Wire.

I think just a couple sparkly Swarovski bicones on each “swoosh” is quite elegant, but as I mention in the video, you could fill them up with beads if you like, or use any type of bead you want. Keep in mind that if the beads are heavy they may pull the wire out of shape.

Be sure to use special memory wire pliers, or use old junky pliers like I do. Don’t use 聽your nice wire cutters on memory wire or they聽won’t be nice any more.

Feel free to share photos of earrings you’ve made with this tutorial on Keepsake Crafts’聽Facebook page聽in the “Your Creations” album.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the聽Swoosh Dangle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools:

  • memory wire specific wire cutters
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers

Use round nose pliers to make a loop on one end of each memory wire piece. Slide a 4mm and a 6mm crystal onto each wire.聽Use round nose pliers to make a loop on remaining聽end of each memory wire piece.

Open a jump ring and slide on one loop of a 3-inch, a 2.5-inch and a 2-inch聽memory wire piece, making sure curves are all facing in the same direction. Also slide on the loop of an ear wire. Close jump ring securely to complete earring and repeat to make second earring.

May 082015
 

friday findings-wrapped loops.JPG

Wrapped loops are a staple of jewelry making. They are perfect to use when your wire is finer than 22 gauge as anything less than that will not make a strong simple loop.

I love wrapped loops not only for their strength but聽also for the aesthetics, especially messy wraps.

In the video I show you how to make a neatly wrapped loop and also one way to conserve wire while making messy wraps.

Happy creating and enjoy the video!

You can watch the聽Friday Findings-Wrapped Loops video over at YouTube.

May 072015
 

Hi everyone! Sorry I missed last Thursday’s Dragon last week, but I was SO sick. I’m much better now, and trying to get caught up. One of these weeks we’ll have two dragons to make it up.

Check out聽this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on聽why聽I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #17 Tymon (1).JPG

Meet Tymon, dragon #17 in my year-long series. He is done with a faux raku pottery technique I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #17 Tymon (2).JPG

I saw Tim Holtz demonstrate the technique about 10 years ago, in his聽 DVD聽The Journey Continues. The raw clay is painted with Micaceous Iron Oxide聽and then baked. After it’s baked mica powders are applied and then rubbed in, which gives that glow of different colors.

dragon #17 Tymon (3).JPG

Tymon is a form of the name “Timothy,” which seemed to fit. 馃檪

The glass-like dots on his wings are done with UV resin,聽Magic Glos. After the holes were cut out and the wings baked, I applied packing tape to the backs of the wings and then added dots of the resin. Then it went into the sun to cure. The packing tape peeled right off, leaving the clear resin in the holes.

The resin can be baked, but it did turn a bit amber in the oven. That was fine for this project, but if I want it to stay clear I’ll have to remember to save the resin as a final step in future.

dragon #17 Tymon (4).JPG

The faux raku pottery is a fun and simple technique and I’m looking forward to using it on other projects.

If you鈥檇 like to see my other dragon creations so far, I鈥檝e made a Thursday鈥檚 Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

May 052015
 

Happy What鈥檚 on Your Workdesk Wednesday聽everyone!

2015 05 06 woyww patinas for garden decor.JPG

Sorry I missed the woyww fun last week, but I’m glad to be feeling much better today.

On my desk are a couple of garden decorations that I’ve had for several years. They’re both resin so the materials will last forever, but the finishes were a mess.

The rock had faded to white and the paint on the butterfly had peeled off, so I decided to see if I could rejuvenate them with some Swelligant metal paints and patinas. I’m rather happy with how they came out.

If you’d like more info on the paint I used, this video is very helpful: How to Use Swelligant with Christi Friesen.

ombre flowers bracelet.jpg

In other news, this week another of my classes at CraftArtEdu was released! This is my Ombr茅 Flowers Bracelet class. (For more info see yesterday’s blog post, Learn a New Technique to Create Gorgeous Color.)

You can see a preview of the class over at CraftArtEdu.com.

That鈥檚 all聽I鈥檝e got for this week. If you wonder why I鈥檓 sharing a photo of my desk, it鈥檚 this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia鈥檚 called What鈥檚 on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Join in, all are welcome!

May 052015
 

I’m excited to announce this聽week another of my classes at CraftArtEdu was released! This is my Ombr茅 Flowers Bracelet class.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

ombre flowers bracelet.jpg

You can see a free preview of the class over at CraftArtEdu.com.

In the class you’ll learn how to:

  • Choose three colors of polymer clay 鈥 I聽demonstrate with the Sunrise/Sunset color blend but give 聽you color recipes for two additional blends.
  • Mix them together in such a way that you have 25 to 30 individual聽colors聽linked聽together in a smooth ombr茅 blend.
  • Turn your colorful blends into flower beads.
  • Incorporate crystals and beads to create your bracelet!

ombre flowers necklace.JPG

In it I show聽you how to take just three colors of polymer clay, blend them to create over 25 colors and use them to make an ombr茅 bracelet that is perfect for summertime. The way the colors transition into each other is simply gorgeous and this is a technique you’ll be able to turn to time and time again, like to make a necklace rather than a bracelet…
ombre flowers earrings.JPG

… or earrings with teeny tiny flowers. It’s a really cool technique.

This class is on sale for $18 instead of $23 through this Friday, May 8.

My Polymer Clay Chocolates class is on sale this week as well, in case you missed it.

Happy creating!

May 042015
 

hammered bangle bracelets
Don’t be intimidated by the heavy gauge wire in these bangle bracelets. It’s not hard to work with, it just may take a little more time to hammer it to the point you聽want.

Which bracelet do you prefer? I like the one with the rhinestone cup chain best. (You can find this lovely, sparkly chain in lots of colors over at Eureka Crystal Beads. The one I used is the 4mm Rose AB.)

The leather sandbag was a gift and I’m glad I finally got around to using it, as it’s quite helpful and the sound dampening while hammering is appreciated by everyone in the house. 馃檪

Since completing the video I’ve discovered a few changes that will make your bracelets come out even better.

  • I used entirely too much heavy gauge wire to begin with. Instead of 10.5-inches, 8.75-inches should be plenty.
  • To be sure of the correct bangle size for you, measure the inside diameter of a bangle you have that fits. Add 3/4 to 1-inch for the loops.
  • To keep the loops together so your bracelet keeps its shape you can either wrap them together聽with wire or connect them with jump rings.
  • I found I preferred the look of a heavier gauge wire for wrapping the decoration to the bracelet. 聽I still used about a yard and wrapped it back and forth a few times.
  • Don’t use super fine gauge wire to string your beads. They get too 聽much wear and tear to hold up for long. Instead use the heaviest gauge wire that will fit through your beads. I used 2o gauge for stringing and wrapping.
  • Adding some beaded dangles to the loops not only adds detail and interest, it weights that side of the bracelet so your beads or cup chain are more likely to stay on top.

hammered bangles redone (2)
Here are my improved bracelets.

hammered bangles redone (3)

They fit much better now and I’m happier with the look.

hammered bangles redone (1)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the聽Hammered Bangle Bracelets Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials for each bracelet:

  • 8.75-inches 12 gauge copper wire
  • 36 inches 20-24聽gauge copper wire
  • 3 inches beads or 3 inches 4mm cup chain (4mm Cup Chain can also be found at Amazon.com)
  • headpins and beads for bead dangles.

Tools:

See video and notes above for directions.

May 012015
 

friday findings-Simple loops.jpg

Simple loops seem like they should be, well… simple, and they are. But if you want your beads and jewelry to hold together securely, there are a few things you need to know, especially how to choose the right wire.

In the video I’ll give details on how to make simple loops two different ways.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the聽Friday Findings-Simple Loops video over at YouTube.