Nov 142013
 

More often than not we are inspired by materials.  Catalogs and conventions tend to overwhelm with the sheer volume of ideas.  But can’t you usually pick up just a simple component, like a length of chain or some beads and have the beginning of an idea?

urban-girly-bracelet

That’s how this bracelet started, with just the chain.

urban-girly-bracelet-2

Sometimes designing is about asking what if.  What if this edgy, industrial chain had girly pink beads on it?  What if we added LOTS of bead dangles?  What if we had a huge, funky clasp?

urban-girly-bracelet-close-up

Sometimes the answer is, “Nah, don’t bother. Yuck.” And sometimes it comes out pretty cool. 🙂

How about you?  What inspires you and what is your design process?

Watch Urban Girly Bead Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 6.5 inch length of chunky chain for bracelet base, the one I used has 8 large links
  • large lobster claw clasp
  • 40 assorted beads of your choice, I used a combination of pressed glass bicones, lampwork glass, faceted metallics, frosted round glass beads, glass cube beads and white ivory look beads
  • 40 assorted bead caps to fit your beads
  • 40 headpins
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers, optional (for rounding over wire wrapping)

Directions:

1.  Note the thickness of the large links in your bracelet chain.  Find the point on your round nose pliers that will make a loop large enough to fit over the large links. Use a sharpie, if you like, to mark that point on your round nose pliers.

2  Slide a bead and a bead cap onto a headpin. 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 at marked point 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 or crimping pliers to tuck in end.

3. Test to make sure your loop will fit over the chain link, then repeat step 2 for all 40 beads, bead caps and headpins.

4. If some of your beads (like my blue ones) are too big for the head pins, feel free to add a seed bead and/or a spacer bead to hold it in place.

5. Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open a large link of your bracelet chain.  Add five bead dangles to each link, three on one side and two on the other. Repeat to add dangles evenly along entire length of chain.

6.  Attach lobster clasp on one end of bracelet chain.

Aug 182013
 

Have I mentioned how much I love Craftsy classes?

I have?

Oh, well, I have to  mention it again, they are awesome.

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Anyhow, after making these earrings last week I couldn’t stop making those wire wrapped round components. So, I made this necklace.

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It was also an opportunity to use these polymer clay beads that I got on Etsy a while back.

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if you want to try to make those round components yourself (plus many, many other great lessons) check out Craftsy’s Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals and Clusters.

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I’ve made a video for you explaining how to put together the necklace. Happy Creating!

Wire Wrapped Decorative Ring Triple Strand Necklace

Materials:

  • assorted beads of your choice
  • bead stringing wire, 2 yards
  • 6 crimp beads
  • 6 crimp covers
  • 6 wire protectors
  • 2 – 1 inch to 1.5 inch decorative rings for hanging bead strands (see this class for how to make the ones I used)
  • 2 – 8 inch pieces necklace chain
  • 26 gauge wire
  • 4 jump rings
  • clasp

Tools:

  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping tool, if desired
  • bead design board
  • flexible tape measure

Directions:

  1. Arrange beads in your desired design on a bead design board. Working from spool, string center strand of beads onto bead stringing wire.
  2. Slide end of wire through a crimp cover, (if necessary) a crimp bead and through both holes of a wire protector. Slide wire protector over a decorative ring. Slide end of wire back through crimp bead and use chain nose or crimping pliers to flatten crimp bead. Close crimp cover over flattened crimp.
  3. Trim wire off spool, leaving 4 inches extra after last strung bead and repeat step two to attach to other decorative ring. Make sure to leave 1/8 inch slack in wire so beads hang gracefully.
  4. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of upper strand. Working from spool, string upper strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  5. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of lower strand. Working from spool, string lower strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  6. To make a wire wrapped component:
    1. Working from spool of 26 gauge wire use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 inch from end.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  
    2. 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. 
    3. Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
    4. Cut wire off spool, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches.
    5. Thread on a seed bead, an accent bead and another seed bead. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead and bend wire at 90° angle. Repeat step 6.b to make loop. Slide loop onto decorative ring. Repeat step 6.c to finish wire wrapping component.
    6. Repeat to make second wire wrapped component.
  1. Use jump rings to attach open loop of each wire wrapped components to end of an 8 inch length of chain.
  2. To remaining ends of chain, attach a jump ring to one and a clasp to the other.
Mar 272013
 

Those of you who follow my Facebook page may remember a post from last week where I shared a fun use of shrink plastic: Victorian Farmhouse Inspired Shrink Plastic Necklace. Utterly adorable!

steampunk-dragon-necklace-1

With that wonderful inspiration, and these great instructions for sanding shrink plastic I set about making my own version.  (What ever did we do before we the internet? Oh yeah, we had less information, but a lot more time, lol.)

steampunk-dragon-necklace-5

Finding just the right type of image for the shrink charms was key, I discovered.  As I mention in the video, if you want to be able to tell what it is, you need to have an image with a clear silhouette and lots of white space in the background.

steampunk-dragon-necklace-6

If you want images with other stuff in the background, perhaps the white shrink plastic would work better.  If you try it, let me know, I’m curious.

Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

steampunk-dragon-necklace-4

This is going to be a fun one to wear!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.  🙂

Go here to watch it on YouTube: Steampunk Dragon Charm Necklace Video Tutorial

Materials for charms:

To make your shrink plastic charms:

  1. Print your images onto plain white paper, checking that images are complete, the size is about 2 ½ times larger than you want the finished charms to be and there is enough space around each image for cutting out.
  2. Use the 400 grit sandpaper to sand one side of a sheet of shrink plastic, first from top to bottom, then from side to side, creating a cross hatch pattern. Thoroughly wipe off all sanding dust. (If your shrink plastic specifies that it’s for ink jet printing, then you do not need to do the sanding step.)
  3. Print your images on the shrink plastic, making sure to print on the sanded side. Use die cutters or scissors to cut out each image. Use the ¼-inch hole punch to punch a hole for hanging your charms.
  4. To shrink your charms you can, a) use the shrink plastic manufacturer’s instructions to shrink them in your home oven, b) use a heat embossing gun, or c) follow the below instructions for coating with UTEE and shrinking in a melt pot.

To shrink your charms in a melt pot:

  1. Place your melt pot on a non-stick craft sheet and pour in Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel powder. Move the switch to UTEE setting and put on the lid. Once Ultra Thick is melted you can place your shrink plastic into it, pushing to the back of the pot with the cool tool.
  2. Your charms will quickly shrink, first curling up and then flattening out. Use the cool tool to nudge the charm to the front of the pot where you can pick it up with metal tweezers and place it on the craft sheet to cool. Pull the charm slightly along the craft sheet to wipe off excess UTEE. Use an awl to open hole for hanging.
  3. Once all charms are shrunk and coated, peel up cooled bits of UTEE and remelt in the pot. Clean excess UTEE off edges of charms with scissors, being careful not to cut into shrink plastic.

Materials for necklace:

  • 26 inches chain
  • lobster clasp
  • jump rings
  • head pins
  • decorative charms to match your theme
  • beads to match your colors
  • small accent beads
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • crimping pliers (helpful, but optional)

To make necklace:

  1. Arrange your charms in the order you’d like them to be on your necklace. Find the center of the chain and use a jump ring to attach a charm that you’d like on the end 3 inches from the center of the chain. Attach your other end charm 3 inches to the other side of center. Attach your remaining charms evenly spaced between these two.
  2. To make a wire wrapped bead dangle arrange beads in order of your choosing on a headpin. 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.  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. Make as many bead dangles as you like. I used about ten in my necklace.
  4. Use jump rings to fill in the remaining spaces between your charms with decorative charms and bead dangles.
  5. Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one end of the chain.

Enjoy wearing your totally unique new necklace!

Jan 032013
 

A couple weeks ago I shared a video tutorial showing how to make this necklace.

green-and-blue-lampwork-pendant-necklace-still

In the video I promised to show you how to make your very own tangled wire beads.

tangled-wire-bead-earrings-single-still

As promised here they are, made up into earrings.

tangled-wire-bead-earrings-two-still

You can make your wire beads as large or small as you like, in any color wire, with any color or colors of seed beads.  Imagine the possibilities!

Materials:

  • two ear wires
  • two head pins
  • spool of 22-gauge craft wire
  • 24 glass seed beads
  • two shell beads
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Leaving wire on spool, string 12 glass seed beads onto wire. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with end of wire.  Use chain nose pliers to make a bend after loop. Use chain nose pliers to make a 90-degree bend ¼-inch from first bend.
  2. Use your hands to freeform wrap wire around ¼-inch piece, forming core of bead. Continue freeform wrapping, occasionally sliding down a seed bead, until you’ve used all 12 seed beads and wire bead is desired size and shape.
  3. Position wire on side opposite loop. Trim wire to 1 inch long. Use round nose pliers to form another loop, tucking end of wire into bead. Trim excess wire if necessary.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 to make second bead.
  5. To make bead dangle, thread shell bead onto a head pin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead. Bend wire at 90-degree 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. Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop.  Repeat to make dangle with second shell bead.
  6. Open loop of bead dangle and attach loop of a tangled wire bead. Open loop of ear wire and attach other end of tangled wire bead. Repeat to make second earring.

Happy Creating!

Dec 112012
 

Way back in October Lesley Watt offered up the results of a lampworking friend’s destashing. Can you say super-duper generous?  Wow!

Hey, when someone offers free beads, who am I to turn them down?

bead-giveaway

Yup, the bead I got was in this pile.  I’ll let you play Eye-Spy.  😉

The only catch was that we had to promise to make something with our treasures and share them in a blog hop on 12/12/12.  Sounded good to me!

Here’s the necklace I made:

green-and-blue-lampwork-pendant-necklace-still

I don’t think I could have picked a bead I would have liked more from that pile.  Thanks, Lesley!

green-and-blue-lampwork-pendant-necklace-close-up

Here are the other lucky recipients of Lesley’s kindness.  Be sure to check out their creations.

Lesley Watt –thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.co.uk
Cory Tompkins –tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
Rebecca Anderson – songbeads.blogspot.com
Marie Cramp – skyejewels.blogspot.com
Claire Braunbarth – smittenbeads.blogspot.com
Heidi Post – expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com
Tiffany Smith – southerngalsdesign.blogspot.com
Sharyl Macmillan-Nelson – sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Ailsa Cordner – bramalfiebeadsetc.com
Linda Landig –  lindalandig.wordpress.com
Caroline Dewison – blueberribeads.com
Renetha – lamplightcrafts.blogspot.co.uk
Kari Asbury – hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Niky Sayers – silverniknats.blogspot.com
Purple Cobwebs – purplecobwebs.blogspot.co.uk
Cilla Watkins – tellyourgirlfriends.com
Therese Frank – theresestreasures59.blogspot.com
Claire Ennis – clairescrystalclassics.blogspot.com
Emma – apolymerpenchant.blogspot.com
Kathy Lindemer – bay-moon-design.blogspot.com
Alicia – allprettythings.ca
Sandy Huntress – keepsakecrafts.net < You are here. 🙂
Lori Bowring Michaud – artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Amy – copperdiem.blogspot.com
Katherine Gale – terrabeadworks.blogspot.com

Just for fun, here’s a video showing how to make this necklace and some of my thought process in the designing.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • lampwork focal bead
  • 1 decorative head pin
  • 1 crystal bead
  • 3 silver space beads
  • 6 beads of “tangled” wire
  • 2 cube beads
  • 2 eye pins
  • 3 1-inch lengths chain
  • 2 10-inch lengths chain
  • necklace clasp
  • 15 5mm jump rings
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Directions:

  1.  To make bead dangle, slide crystal bead onto decorative head pin. Follow with silver spacer, lampwork bead and 2 more silver spacer beads.  Grasp wire with chain nose pliers where it exits last spacer bead; bend wire into 90° angle.  Grasp angle with round nose pliers and start to form a loop.  Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop.  Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire where wires cross.
  2.  To make bead link, slide a cube bead onto an eye pin.  Grasp wire with chain nose pliers where it exits bead; bend wire into 90° angle.  Grasp angle with round nose pliers and start to form a loop.  Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop.  Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire where wires cross.  Repeat to make second bead link with second cube bead.
  3.  Use 5mm jump rings to connect the elements in the following order:                                                                                                                                                                  10-inch length chain > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > cube bead link > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > cube bead link > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > 10-inch length chain > clasp
  4.  Attach a jump ring to end of chain opposite clasp.
  5.  Use a jump ring to attach lampwork dangle to center link of center 1-inch length of chain.

 

 

 

 

Aug 042012
 

I’m not actually a big fan of orange, but it’s growing on me.  Since Tangerine Tango IS this year’s color, it seemed a good idea to give it a try.

tangerine-tango-triple-chain-necklace-still

There something about the lush look of all these beads clusters that I love.

tangerine-tango-triple-chain-necklace-still-1

It’s full and rich and funky.  Yet, having the other two chain strands, empty, seems to balance it out and keep it elegant.

All the bead wire wrapping is time consuming, but other than that it’s not a complicate necklace to make. (Hooray for messy wraps!)

Materials:

  • 18-inch length chain
  • 16-inch length chain
  • 13-inch length chain
  • two 4-inch lengths chain
  • two 8mm split rings or small soldered rings
  • two jump rings
  • lobster clasp
  • ~25 3-inch head pins
  • ~50 assorted beads
  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • bead design board
tangerine-tango-triple-chain-necklace-still-2

Instructions:

  1. Use heads pins, beads, chain nose pliers, and round nose pliers to make approximately 30 bead dangles. Dangles can consist of one, two, three, or four beads. Attach dangles to center 5 inches of 13-inch piece of chain.
  2. Open end links of each of the 18-, 16- and 13-inch pieces of chain and attach to 8mm split rings.
  3. Attach one end of each 4-inch chain to a split ring. Attach a jump ring to one remaining end of chain. To last end of chain, attach a lobster clasp with a jump ring.

Happy creating!

 

Aug 022012
 

These turquoise nuggets were just begging to be made into a pair of earrings.

chunky-turquoise-dangle-earrings-still

Often turquoise is combined with silver, but I’m loving the look of the coppery twisted wire beads at the top.  The metal beads at the bottom aren’t exactly copper, they’re not quite antique brass either, they just seem to work.

If you’ve never made your own jewelry before, you’ll love the satisfaction you get out of picking exactly the colors you want.  You’d be amazed at how quickly they go together, too.

To make these earrings you’ll need:

  • two turquoise nugget beads
  • two twisted wire beads
  • six round metal beads
  • six seed beads
  • six head pins
  • two eye pins
  • two ear wires
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

The video tutorial shows you how to do the wire work and assemble this fantastic pair. Printed directions are below.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Thread one turquoise nugget and one twisted wire bead onto an eye pin. Use chain nose and round nose pliers to make a loop above the wire bead. Repeat with remaining nugget, wire bead, and eye pin.
  2. Thread one seed bead and one round metal bead onto a head pin. Use chain nose and round nose pliers to make a loop above the metal bead. Repeat with remaining beads and head pins to make a total of six dangles.
  3. Attach three dangles to bottom of each turquoise nugget unit. To complete earrings, attach an ear wire to top of each turquoise nugget unit.

Happy creating!

Jul 302012
 

A reader recently commented on this bracelet I was wearing in a previous video tutorial.

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I made this some time ago and it’s a favorite.  It may look like a series of bangles, but it’s actually one 36-inch length of memory wire, strung with beads.  Super simple.

memory-wire-bracelet-still-blue

This bracelet in shades of blue and green uses the same basic bead pattern. You don’t have to string your beads in a pattern, they could be random, or you could use all the same beads. It just occurred to me that a random assortment of all different metallic beads would look really cool. Hmmmmm… the possibilities.

In the video below I give you some tips on using memory wire, plus some design ideas for your beads.

Happy creating!

Jul 262012
 

My granddaughter’s birthday is coming up soon and I wanted to make her something special.  She’s a real girly-girl, so I knew these colorful flower charms would be a big hit. I decided to go with a charm bracelet and earrings set.

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The main difference when making jewelry for children is size and scale.  Otherwise, all the techniques are the same.

Enjoy the video tutorial!

Jul 252012
 

Today’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday shows me in the middle of making another jewelry video, this time for a necklace.  I usually don’t use this desk for my video tutorials, but I needed the room for the bead design board.

2012-07-25-woyww-making-jewelry-videos

Yes, that white thing on the left IS an embroidery hoop. I stuck a couple layers of white fabric in it and used my favorite two-binder-clip trick to stand it up.  Actually, I think I like it better than the purchased light filter on the right.  Go figure.

There isn’t much else interesting on the desk, unless you count the Trader Joe’s chocolate hiding towards the back.  Which *I* find quite interesting, but it’s mine, all mine, mwuah-haha.  >:)

Anyhow, speaking of jewelry tutorials – I’ll have another one up for you tomorrow, so be watching for it.

Hope you’re having a creative and happy summer!