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 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 Friday Findings-Wrapped Loops video over at YouTube.

Apr 242015
 

friday findings-wrapped top drilled.jpg

Top drilled beads add a lot of interest to a piece because they aren’t necessarily so perfectly symmetrical as center drilled beads. Also, all those wire wraps give great opportunity to make nice neat coils or add lots of fun messy wraps.

I love the way the wire wraps above the purple pearl and the amber chips act as funky bead caps.

If you are wrapping with a fine wire (24 gauge or smaller) I would suggest you leave the shorter wire long enough to make the loop as well (treating both wires as one.) Then you can do your wraps with both wires, tucking in the shorter one when it runs out. This will ensure that that short wire doesn’t pull out from under the wraps. (Try it and you’ll see what I mean.)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wire Wrapping Top Drilled Beads video over at YouTube.

Apr 062015
 

rings & crystals dangle earrings still (2)

These sweet earrings are SO easy to make. All you need to make are 12 wrapped loops and two ear wire inserts. Boom, done!

rings & crystals dangle earrings still (1)

It’s the size and type of rings you choose, plus the colors and finishes of the beads that will make your earrings your unique creation. Picture huge hoops with chunky bead dangles, and you have a completely different look than these dainty twisted wire hoops with delicate faceted crystals.

These would be a lovely gift for a special someone, Mother’s Day perhaps?

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Rings & Crystals Dangle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 10mm metal rings, soldered closed
  • 2 8mm x 6mm facted crystals
  • 10 3mm frosted glass beads
  • 10 head pins
  • 2 decorative head pins
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slide an 8mm x 6mm faceted crystal bead onto a decorative head pin.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead.  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 10mm metal ring. 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 or crimping pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Slide a 3mm frosted glass bead onto a headpin. Repeat step 2 to wire wrap this unit onto same 10mm metal ring as 8mm x 6mm faceted crystal. Repeat to add a total of 5 3mm frosted glass beads to metal ring.
  4. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of an ear wire. Slide metal ring into ear wire, having 3 frosted glass beads on one side and two on the other side of faceted crystal.
  5. Close ear wire loop securely. Repeat all steps to make second earring.
Mar 232015
 

Gold n Pearls Bracelet

We’ve made strung jewelry and we’ve made wire wrapped jewelry. How about combining the two by adding wire wrapped dangles to a strung bead bracelet?

These mother of pearl leaf dangles add some great movement and the simple color scheme keeps it elegant.  Want it even less busy? I think 4 or 6mm Swarovski crystals would be lovely as well.

Enjoy the video and Happy creating!

You can watch the Gold ‘n’ Pearls Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 5 8mm pearls (House of Gems)
  • 4 12mm crackle glass lentil beads
  • 10 5mm antique gold plated fluted spacer beads
  • 5 4mm antique gold finish spacer beads
  • 5 15mm x 20mm mother of pearl leaves
  • 5 head pins
  • 2 crimps
  • 2 crimp covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • 11 inches bead stringing wire
  • toggle clasp

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers

1.  Slide a 15mm x 20mm leaf onto a head pin, followed by a 4mm spacer. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits spacer bead.  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. 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.

Repeat to make five dangles with 15mm x 20mm leaves.

2.  Onto one end of bead stringing wire slide a crimp, then slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other. Add one end of your clasp to the wire protector. Slide the wire end back through the crimp and bring crimp to within 1/8-inch of wire protector. Flatten crimp and squeeze ends of wire protector together. Trim excess wire. Cover crimp with a crimp cover by picking up with crimping pliers, sliding over flattened crimp and gently squeezing pliers. Use crimping pliers to shape cover into a round bead shape if necessary.

3.  String onto the wire the antique gold plated spacers, 8mm pearls, wire wrapped leaves and glass lentils in the following pattern:

spacer > pearl >wire wrapped leaf > spacer > lentil >

Repeat until you have four pearls and four lentils strung, then finish with a spacer, a pearl, a wire wrapped leaf and another spacer.

4. Repeat step 2 to add remaining piece of toggle clasp to other end of bracelet.

 

Mar 092015
 

spring green dangle earrings still 1

A baker’s dozen bead dangles on each earring gives a lush, full feel to this pair.

Since we’re making so many bead dangles, I kept it easy with just simple loops, rather than wrapped loops.

spring green dangle earrings still 2

I mixed metals with abandon in these earrings, using gold plated, brass and a variety of gold tone base metals.  This adds to the richness of the look.

Choosing several different shapes and textures of beads keeps it interesting. I love these blue/green lumpy dyed pearl beads, but you make sure to start your design with a pair of focals that speak to YOU. Then you’re sure to love the end result. 🙂

Happy creating!  Enjoy the video.

You can watch the Spring Greens Dangle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 10mm fused wire rings
  • 2 17mm pearl beads
  • 8 4mm cube beads
  • 8 3mmx4mm freshwater pearl beads
  • 8 4mm clear crystal beads
  • 8-12 4mm daisy spacers
  • 8-12 2mm brass beads
  • 2 decorative head pins
  • 24 head pins

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • ruler

Directions:

  1. Slide focal beads onto decorative head pins. Slide remaining beads, along with any spacers desired, onto head pins.
  2. Use flush cut wire cutters to cut all head pins to 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch above last bead strung.  (Practice and experience will help you determine the best wire length and loop size for you.)
  3. Use round nose pliers to make a simple loop on each head pin.
  4. Open loops and add half of bead dangles onto each 10mm fused wire ring. Add loop of a focal bead to each fused 10mm wire ring.
  5. Center focal beads between smaller bead dangles and attach an ear wire to empty space on each 10mm fused wire ring to complete earrings.
Sep 012014
 

I’m always amazed at how much a little bit of wire wrapping can dress up beads and jewelry.  The ceramic beads in this bracelet were just kinda “meh” by themselves, but look quite nice wrapped in little wire cages.

caged-beads-bracelet-still-3

In this project you’ll learn how easy it is to make caged beads.  These can be used for any kind of project where you use beads: earrings, necklaces or home dec.  Also, if you want more wraps around the beads, just cut your wire a bit longer to begin with.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Caged in Copper Bead Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 7 – 10mm x 15mm oval beads
  • 10 – 6mm bicone beads
  • 28 inches 20 gauge dead soft wire, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • toggle clasp
  • 2 crimp beads
  • 10 inches bead stringing wire

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Use chain nose pliers to make a loop in the end of a 4-inch piece of wire.  Continue looping wire loosely around making a spiral until 2-inches of wire remains.
  2. Make a loop on other end of wire and make a spiral as in step one. This spiral should face in the opposite direction so when the spirals meet in the center you have an “S” shape.
  3. Use pliers to gently pull out both spirals into a cone shape. Fold entire unit in half to make a wire cage.
  4. Slide a bead into cage, lining up loops with ends of bead holes.  Use your fingers to shape cage to bead.
  5. Repeat to make a cage for each of the seven beads.
  6. Slide a crimp bead onto 10-inch bead stringing wire. Slide wire through round part of toggle clasp and back through clasp. Flatten crimp with chain nose pliers.  Trim excess wire with wire cutters.
  7. Slide on a 6mm bicone and a caged bead, making sure wire goes through loops of 20 gauge wire, then through the bead and back out through other  loop of 20 gauge wire.
  8. Repeat step 7 to add all caged beads to bracelet. Slide on last three bicones, a crimp and bar of toggle clasp. Slide bead stringing wire back through crimp, flatten with chain nose pliers and trim excess wire.

 

Jul 072014
 

Here’s a different twist on wire wrapping beads to a frame. Instead of center drilled beads today I used top drilled teardrops and wrapped the wire around the tips between each wrap. The wire adds interest & texture and the spiky look of the beads sticking out from the frame is kinda cool.

Summer Skies Crystal Earrings

You don’t have to use all the same beads, either. How about graduating them in size from larger in the center to smaller on the sides? Or, you can place the bead ends pointing inside the wire ring, rather than outside.

This is a great design to use your imagination and come up with your own variations.

By the way, I’m trying something different in my videos, speeding up the action and doing a voice over. It makes the videos shorter, but perhaps the steps are more difficult to follow?

Let me know in the comments which way you prefer.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Materials:

  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 1 1/8-inch diameter wine glass charm hoops
  • 10 13mm x 6mm top drilled teardrop crystals
  • 2 20-inch pieces 24 gauge wire

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Leaving a 1/2-inch tail, tightly wrap one piece of wire around a hoop four times, keeping the wraps close together.
  2. String on a crystal bead and hold the tip against the hoop. Wrap the wire one time around the hoop, then wrap four or five times around the hole area of the bead.
  3. Wrap wire four times around the hoop, again keeping the wraps close together.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 four more times. Trim excess wire at both ends.
  5. Center beads on hoop if necessary.
  6. Bend down straight end of hoop approximately 1/8-inch and tuck into loop.
  7. Open loop of an ear wire and attach to loop of hoop. Close securely.
  8. Repeat all steps for second earring.
Jun 162014
 

teardrop dangle earrings still (1)

I know I keep saying it, but don’t you just love how with a little wire, a few tools and some know-how you can make your own custom findings for jewelry?

In today’s video I show you how to make the above ear wires with attached loops for dangling beads.

teardrop dangle earrings still (2)

Make as many or few small dangles as you like. A whole bunch will give a rich, full look, but just a couple will have a sleek, elegant feel.

You’ll also learn how to wire wrap top drilled drop beads. The blue focals in these earrings look like turquoise but are actually some kind of enameled ceramic.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!


Materials:

  • 2 – 17x10mm top drilled tear drop beads
  • 4 – 5mm top drilled tear drop beads
  • 12 – assorted 2-4mm beads
  • 12 – 3mm silver plated round beads
  • 12 headpins
  • 20 gauge sterling silver filled wire – half hard, 8 inches
  • 26 gauge sterling silver filled wire – dead soft, 30-34 inches

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers (optional)
  • bail making pliers with 7mm and 10mm jaws
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • cup burr or file
  • ruler

See the video for all the directions!

 

Jan 272014
 

I’ve been asked to teach jewelry making classes at my local Joanne’s and decided to start with the basics.

wire-wrap-class-necklace

Our first project is all about wire wrapping.  With 13 links (that’s 26 wraps) you’ll be a wrapped loop expert by the time you’re done. 🙂

wire-wrap-class-necklace-close-up

A well-formed wrapped loop is actually a nice design element. One thing I love about this style is that you can add any amount of chain around the back & make it exactly the length you want.

I’ll have a video for the matching earrings up in a few days.

Watch Wire Wrapping 101 – Bead Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!

Materials:

For necklace:

  • 7” strand 10mm-15mm assorted beads of your choice (16-18 beads)
  • an assortment of large seed beads to coordinate with 7” strand
  • 20 or 22 gauge craft wire in color of your choice
  • chain to match craft wire
  • lobster clasp to match craft wire
  • 6mm or 7mm jump rings to match craft wire

 Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters (flush cut are best)
  • bead design board
  • tape measure 

To make necklace:

  1. Open assorted bead strand onto bead design board. If desired, choose 2 matching pairs of beads to use in earrings. Set aside. (Earring video to come later.)
  2. Open one strand of large seed bead into a compartment in bead design board.
  3. Use wire cutters to cut an approximately 8-inch piece of craft wire.
  4. Make a wrapped loop:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 1/2 inches from one end.  
    • 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. 
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end. 
  1. Slide on an arrangement of one of your focal beads with one or two large seed beads on either side.
  2. Begin (but don’t complete) second wrapped loop to make a bead link:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  
    • 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.  
  1. Repeat to make bead links with all remaining focal beads.
  2. Arrange bead links in an order you find pleasing.
  3. Connect all bead links together by:
    • Slightly open unwrapped loop and slip on wrapped loop of link next to it.
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim excess wire.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end of wire.
  1. Use a tape measure to measure your neckline and determine desired length of necklace.
  2. Measure length of completed bead links and subtract from desired necklace length.
  3. Cut a piece of chain this length and cut into two equal pieces.
  4. Use jump rings to attach a length of chain to each end of bead links.
  5. Attach a jump ring to one end of chain, and use a jump ring to attach a lobster clasp to other end of chain.
Jan 182014
 

Hi all!  I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  I’ve been having fun trying out a technique I learned in a Craftsy class I bought a while back, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters.

(Click on any of the photos for a closer look.)

craftsy-wire-pendant-before-liver-of-sulfur

I just finished this pendant. It’s not exactly anything that was taught in the class, but she showed us the concept of twisting two wires together with a power drill, hammering the twisted wires flat until spaces open and then using the resulting piece as a frame for other wire work.

It was my idea to wire wrap the scrolls, pearls and crystals inside the frame.  I used 20 gauge silver filled wire for the frame and 26 gauge silver filled for the wrapping.

earrings-from-craftsy-class

The class  instructor made two pairs of frames and wrapped beads in between to make a pair of earrings.

twisted-wire-frame-ring

This style of earring isn’t exactly “me,” but I went ahead and made one, just to try the technique. Don’t know what I’m going to do with this, it’s too small to be a ring for the finger. Maybe someday I’ll make it part of something else.

wire-wrapped-bangle-from-craftsy-class

You might remember that I made this bracelet a couple months ago. If you’re going to use copper wire for a bracelet I’d suggest a heavier gauge than the 20 that I used. Probably 16 gauge would be best, so it’s nice and firm. Mine’s kind of squishy and flops about.

craftsy-wire-pendant-after-liver-of-sulfur

Just before Christmas I picked up some liver of sulfur to add patinas to my wire work.  I finally got to play with it this week. (I had to wait for the weather to warm up so I could do it outside as the family strongly objected to the stench of rotten eggs in the house. Huh.)

Here’s the first pendant I showed you after 20 minutes in the Liver of Sulfur and then polished a bit with a Pro-Polish Pad. I need to shine it up a bit more so the darkened areas in the crevices will really contrast.  Kinda looks like an antique piece of jewelry, eh?

Btw, Craftsy is having a flash sale this weekend. Craftsy Flash Sale 1/18-1/19 For the next 48 hours, choose from over 50 classes in 14 categories that are up to 50% off.

So, if you want to learn this twisted wire frame technique, and many others check out the class, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, it’s one of the ones on sale this weekend.

wire-wrap-class-jpg

Of course, if you want to learn something else, they’ve got classes in cooking, photography, sewing, quilting, fine art, knitting and more.

Have fun and Happy creating!