Feb 282017
 

I’ve seen lots of different versions of these rolled polymer clay beads around the Internet. They are basically a take off on the rolled paper beads that folks make.

I never was really impressed with the paper beads, but did see some that were very nicely done at a bead show a while back. They were coated with enough layers of varnish that you had to look twice to realize they were made of paper, which I suppose is why I liked them. 😉

simple rolled beads cover

These polymer clay rolled beads can be used in so many different ways. I’ve seen them used as simple strung beads, as focals and even as toggle bars. As I mentioned in the video, it’s a great way to make coordinating beads for pendants made out of polymer clay technique sheets, such as mokume gane.

My favorite way is to first add a lot of texture to the cut triangles, roll them up, bake them and then add some dark brown paint to antique and really bring out all the texture. I know I’ve only touched on a few of the possibilities in the video, there’s so much more that we could explore.

Hopefully you are inspired to give it a try and come up with your own versions.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Simple Rolled Beads-Polymer Clay Technique Tutorial video at YouTube.

Feb 242017
 

If you’ve been watching my videos for any time now you know that I love the versatility and control we get when we make our own jewelry components. It can be so frustrating and annoying to finish off a project and then find that we don’t have a fitting clasp for it.

ff hook & loop closure

In today’s video I’ll show you a quick and easy way to make a simple hook and loop for a necklace closure. If you modify the hook section so it’s more secure you could use it for a bracelet as well.

I also give you a couple tips for making this closure more decorative and at the same time making the wraps a little easier to manage.

You can make this hook and loop out of any kind of wire you’d like: craft wire, copper wire, sterling silver or silver filled wire. Customize it to suit your project perfectly!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Make Hook & Loop Clasp-Friday Findings Jewelry Tutorial at YouTube.

Feb 212017
 

tasseled bar necklace cover

In last week’s video I showed you how to make cute little hemp cord tassels. Today we’ll put them to good use by dangling them from the ends of this very simple but on-trend beaded bar necklace.

The sky is the limit as far as choosing beads for your necklace, smaller ones seem to work better than huge, even teeny tiny seed beads look great in this design, but use whatever looks good to you.

As I mention in the video, the trickiest part of putting this necklace together is keeping the loops of the eye pins oriented in the correct direction so your necklace chain doesn’t get twisted up. Other than that it’s super quick and easy!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Tasseled Bar Necklace-Jewelry Tutorial at YouTube.

Feb 172017
 

In this week’s Friday Findings I’m working with GS Hypo Cement glue. I chose it to try out because many crafters and jewelers seem to enjoy using it, especially to finish off knots in bead weaving bracelets.

ff GS hypo cement

I tested the glue on a variety of surfaces including polymer clay, metal, beads and glass. I did my best to follow the directions carefully, but as you’ll see in the video I was mostly disappointed in the results.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is not a good glue, as the places where it held it held very well. It’s quite possible that there’s some operator error involved, either using too much or too little glue, or perhaps incorrect surface preparation. I strongly suggest if you want to use this glue that you do your own testing and experiments. Please be sure to share your results with us!

I’ll also show you in the video how to deal with the constant ooze that is a problem with the very fine precision tip, and how to get that rascally needle back into that tiny, tiny tip!

Here are a few of the different types of glues they make. I’ve only tried the one I show in the video (first on the list.)

Btw, I forgot the bring the glass votive to check it on camera after two weeks. That piece of polymer popped off the glass just as readily as the metal pieces came apart. 🙁

Hope the video is helpful. Happy creating!

Watch the GS Hypo Cement Glue Review and How To Use-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Feb 162017
 

#3 James cover

Today I have for you my third polymer clay sculpted figure of 2017. Meet James. Isn’t he sweet little boy? If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may recognize the butterfly as the same one I made several of to send to the Into the Forest art installation.

That’s the fun thing about caning: you can make them in whatever size you need.

James is the fourth project in Maureen Carlson’s neighborhood kids series in her book, How to Make Clay Characters. Her little guy is named playful Pete and he is holding marbles in his hand. I’m trying to make sure my figures are different from Maureen’s creations, even if just a little bit.

I have discovered that I love doing the details on the clothes, shoes, the hair and the props, but find doing the hands and faces more difficult. Probably because they are fiddly and require precision, lol.

#3 James back

I’ve also discovered that I can be quite the expert at finding anything else to do when it comes time to working on the hands and faces! However once I plunged in and made myself do them I was pleased to find that they all came out just a little bit better than on the previous figures. In fact I didn’t squish up and re-roll James’ face once! (Something I did several times on all of the other characters.) So that’s encouraging, I slowly seem to be getting the hang of this. Which, of course, is the whole point of practice.

If you would like to make the butterfly cane that I used you will find a free tutorial for it by Claire Wallis at CraftArtEdu.

Hope you have a creative day!

Watch the James-Looking on in Wonder-2017 Polymer Clay Figure Challenge #3 360° video at YouTube.

Feb 142017
 

how to make tassels cover

Tassels are all the rage right now, in fact I’ve made quite a few videos using tassels (links below) and I love all the different things that you can use to make them. I’ve made tassels using leather, chain, strands of beads, and of course, different types of cording.

In today’s video I’ll show you how to make a cute and simple tassel using cord. I bound mine with wire but you could use the same cord, strips of leather or anything else you can think of that would do the job.

You can hang your tassels from key chains, zipper pulls, the end of a bracelet or any place you want just a little bit of dangle.

Next week I’ll have a video showing you how you can use your tassels to make a quick and easy but very, very trendy necklace.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Make Tassels-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Feb 102017
 

ff custom wire bails cover

Sometimes drilling a hole to hang a polymer clay pendant or dangle is the easy and obvious solution, but it isn’t always the most appropriate or fitting for your piece.

I’ve done videos on several different types of purchased bails…

… but what if you don’t have one on hand that will work? And what if you don’t want to wait to go shopping or order one online?

In today’s video I’ll show you how you can quickly and easily make your own custom bails for polymer clay and other jewelry pieces; and use only a few inches of wire.

Choose thick or thin wire, neat coils or messy wraps, and either bare wire or add a patina to get a unique look that perfectly suits your project.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How To Make Custom Wire Bails for Polymer Jewelry-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Feb 072017
 

sweet spring tulip bracelet cover

This project is yet another one that was inspired by the materials. The soft pink and green pressed glass beads along with the frosted white crackle beads make for a delicate and feminine bracelet. 

Although stringing beads is fairly simple, it can take some time to plan the arrangement so it suits your particular aesthetic.

In the video there are several screen shots taken with my phone showing the stages of planning this design. I share with you my thinking on each one and why I did it the way I did.

If you have a smart phone it really is a great tool for helping you figure layouts, remember what you decided and then reference the photos when it’s time to put it together.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Sweet Spring Tulip Bracelet-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Feb 042017
 

ff french wire cover

French wire is one of those jewelry findings I had seen mentioned on occasion, but never had the opportunity to try. It’s not something your local craft store usually carries in their jewelry making section, but eventually I was intrigued enough to order some online.

After having a chance to play and experiment a little bit I have to say that French wire is my kind of product: one with a terrific intended use, but unlimited potential for other possibilities. Oh yes, I do love possibilities. 🙂

In today’s video I’ll show you how to use French wire with bead weaving wire and with beading thread, plus give you lots of ideas and suggestions for different ways you can use French wire in your jewelry and other creations.

French wire comes in a few basic finishes. Be sure to double check the diameter size your are getting based on what you plan to use it for.

If you’d like a wider selection, Fire Mountain Gems has French wire in copper, black and even with fancy twists.

Btw, I mention at 1:30 in the video that I have a Friday Findings video on wire protectors, but it appears that I never made one, except perhaps in my mind! I was certain that I had. Weird. 

Guess I know what I’ll be recording next week. 😀

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Use French Wire In Your Jewelry-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Feb 012017
 

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Patricia. She is the second in my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge. She is the third of the neighborhood kids projects in Maureen Carlson’s book, How to Make Clay Characters.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl

I had it in my mind to give Patricia something other than a football to hold as I had given the other two projects pets/animals. The little girl had a kitty cat on her lap and Philip, the first of my challenge figures for this year, had birds singing along with him.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 2

But then I realized that the Patriots would be playing in the AFC championship game and if they won that they’d be going on to the Super Bowl, which as you know, indeed they are! So I decided to keep the football and turned my attention to making a Patriots logo on Patricia’s shirt.

patriots logo stencils

This involved finding the logo online, printing it out at 1 inch wide and then cutting the tiniest five-part stencil I have ever seen! I’m quite pleased with how it came out. For a while there I was afraid it would be a total mess. But it’s just a matter of practicing controlling the consistency & amount of paint.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 3

As with Philip, there are a million and one things wrong with this figure. But I am happy that her hands are marginally better than his, even though very far from perfect, and her face is marginally better, although there are many improvements that could be made. I really enjoyed doing details like her shoe laces and the curly hair.

And if the patriots do win the Super Bowl this Sunday I will definitely be making a championship banner for Patricia to hold!

For a 360° view of Patricia, check out her video on YouTube.