Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top Ten Jewelry Making Tutorials





This week I thought I would share some of my favorite jewelry making tutorials. These are tutorials I have collected from all over the internet.

I'm sharing ten of my favorites here, but here's a link to my Jewelry Tutorial board on Pinterest - this is where I keep links to all my favorite tutorials.

Okay, here are my top ten:

1.  Wire Wrapping Cord Ends & Hook'N Eye Closures at lythastudios.com.  This tutorial is great for making your own cord ends - perfect when you don't have the right size end for your leather or rattail cord.

2.  Wire Clasp Tutorials at handmade-jewelry-club.com.  This article has links to several tutorials for making different types of wire clasps.

3.  Make a Wire-Wrapped Heart at studiodax.wordpress.com.  I love making heart jewelry and this is a great tutorial on how to make your own free form wire heart for a pendant or earrings.

4.  How to Make a Caged Bead by beadaholique.com.  I love this tutorial.  I have made several caged beads and it is really not that hard and is a great way to make a focal piece really stand out.

5.  How to Wire-Wrap a Briolette also by beadaholique.com.  This is a basic wire-wrapping technique but can be very tricky - this tutorial gives some great tips on how to make a wire-wrapped briolette look great!

6.  How to Make Cluster Earrings by Rings & Things (rings-things.com.)

7.  How To Make a Wire-Wrapped Stone Setting - another great tutorial by beadaholique.com. This is a wonderfully easy to follow youtube tutorial for wire wrapping a gemstone cabochon.

8.  How to Make Your Own Headpins by silverniknats.  Making your own headpins means you never have to worry about having enough of these basic jewelry making supplies.  All you need is wire and a couple of tools.

9.  Pearl Knotting Tutorial at making-beaded-jewelry.com.  Pearl knotting is a necessary skill when pearl strand necklaces.

10.  DIY Wire-Wrapped Pearl Post Earrings - this tutorial is by Yours Truly - one of my own tutorials.  I love making these earrings!  It puts an interesting spin on the classic pearl earring posts.

I also have a number of tutorials I have written right here on my Blog. Check them out here!

Do you have a tutorial of your own you would like to share?  Or a link to someone else's you have found particularly helpful?  If so contact me - I would love to share the post!



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Five Ways to Celebrate July 4th



It's that time of year when we celebrate the U.S. birthday - the 4th of July.  I thought I would share some ideas on ways to celebrate.


  1. Fly the flag.  If you don't have a genuine large U.S. flag, find a small one and place it in your yard or mailbox.
  2. Host a potluck picnic or have a block party.  No one has to spend a lot of money - everyone just brings something.
  3. Go to a parade or fireworks display - there are lots of free activities out there.
  4. Shop - its a great way to help the economy.  There are lots of 4th of July sales out there.
  5. Volunteer or do community service.  This one should probably be first instead of last.  It's something we don't usually think of for this Holiday.
Acknowledgement:  The 4th of July clipart at the top of this post is from thegraphicsfairy.com.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tutorial: DIY Wire Wrap Pearl Post Earrings

Lately I have been working on more and more wire-wrapped jewelry designs.  On my previous post Wire-wrapped Gemstone Pendants I showed you blue apatite gemstones that I wire-wrapped.  And if you read my More Wire-wrapped Jewelry post you saw some briolettes and earrings that I wire-wrapped.

This week I decided to try making wire post and pearl stud earrings.  I don't make many post style earrings, I guess because I find that fish-hook earrings seem to be overall more popular.  But then there is nothing more classic than a simple pearl post earring.  Now these earrings have a slight twist to the simple classic stud earring.  A long strand of wire is used to make the post and is then wire-wrapped around the pearl so as to frame it.

After I made a few of these I decided to share a tutorial on how I made them.  But first I should share some tutorials written by others that helped show me how to make this design:



Okay, let's make a pair of earrings!

1.  First gather your tools and supplies:

  • Flat nose pliers.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Bead reamer (in case you need to enlarge the bead hole.)
  • Jewelry file.
  • Ruler.
  • Rubber mallet.
  • Bench block and sandbag.







  • Two pearls (or beads of your choice) - I used 8mm Swarovski crystal pearls.
  • Sterling silver dead soft wire 20 gauge - or wire of your choosing.



 I have found that I like dead soft wire better for this technique but you can also use half hard.  The dead soft is much easier to work with but it will require a bit more "work hardening" with the hammer - which will be shown later in this post.

2.  Next see if your wire will pass through the hole in your bead.  If it will not use your bead reamer to open the hole up a bit.


3.  Now use your wire cutters to cut two 4-inch lengths of wire.



Be sure to use the flush cutters for cutting the end of wire that will be used for the post.  My wire cutters have one side that is for flush cutting and one side that is for side cutting.  For the longest time I did not understand the difference in the two types of cuts, so let me explain it in case you are in the same boat as I was.

Flush cutters will cut the wire so that there is a flat edge on the tip of the wire.  Side cutters will make an angled point.  The pictures below shows both sides of my wire cutter.  The first picture shows the flush cutting side - you can see it has a flat edge.  The second photo shows the angle or side cutter side.

Flush cutter

Side or angle cutter
Here is a side by side comparison of two wires - one cut with the flush cutter and the other with the side/angle cutter.  See how flat the one on the left is - it was cut with the flush cutter.  And the one on the right is pointed because it was cut with the side cutter.  You want to use the flush cutter to make a flat edge on the post that will be going through your ear so as not to tear the skin.


4.  Next you will want to file the flush cut ends with your jewelry file to smooth off the edges.  I like to smooth it even more by pushing it back and forth a few times through a piece of steel wool.  In the pictures below, I am filing and smoothing both pieces of wire at the same time for my pair of earrings - this just saves time.  Again you are filing and smoothing the flush cut ends of your wire.

File your flush cut ends with a jewelry file

Push the wire through steel wool a few times for extra smoothness

5.  Next you will want to bend your wire at a 90 degree angle using your flat nose pliers - do this about 3/4 to one inch from the end of your flush cut end - this is going to become your post.




I go ahead and do this for both pieces of wire so I have two pieces of wire like this:



6.  Now thread your bead onto the longer side of your wire.



7.  Then take the short end of your wire and and bend it over the bead:


7.  Using your flat nose pliers, grasp the short end of the wire about the middle of the bead, then bend the wire at a 90 degree angle away from the bead:





Here is what your wire and bead should now look like:


8.  Next you take the long end of your wire and wrap it around the bead two times - some people wrap up to three times - it is a matter of personal preference - just be sure to cut a longer piece of wire if you want more wraps.



9.  To finish your earring use your rubber mallet and bench block, hammer the post part of the wire to harden it and make it less malleable.



Do this for both earrings, and voila ... here is your finished pair of pearl stud earrings!





And here is another pair I made with 14K rose gold wire and Swarovski crystal pearls also in Rose Gold:


I hope this tutorial has been helpful.  I would love to share some of your designs.  Submit them to me at irene@djajewels.com along with your name, email and a link to your website if you like.  I will be happy to share them!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Update On My Favorite Jewelry Supply Shops


Recently I have noticed a lot of visits to one of my old posts:  What Are Your Favorite Jewelry Supply Shops? 

This post was done in April 2011, so I decided to go back and update it.  I have added a few vendors and updated information on some of the ones already listed.

Click to here to read the update.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sneak Peek: New Rose Gold Jewelry Collection


Here's a sneak peek at my newest collection of Rose Gold Jewelry.  I've only recently begun to experiment with this beautiful metal but have really fallen in love with it!

Rose gold, also known as pink or red gold, has a warm rosy hue.  Rose gold jewelry was first popularized in the 1920's and is now making somewhat of a "comeback" in the worlds of both fashion and fine jewelry.

I think people are rediscovering rose gold because of its vintage appeal.  Having its initial debut in the art deco era, this blush hued metal gives jewelry an antiqued heirloom like quality.

Rose gold is available in various levels of purity.  Gold jewelry, in whatever color, is never 100% gold because it would be too soft.  So it is mixed with other alloys such as silver, copper, nickel and zinc.  Rose gold is made by mixing gold with a higher ratio of copper than yellow gold or white gold.  

For my Rose Gold Jewelry, I am using 14K rose gold filled wire for items such as earring wires.  For my wire-wrapping I am using a combintation of rose gold filled and plated wire. The color seems to go exceptionally well with pearls.  And I also like making mixed metal designs by using it together with sterling silver.  

Here are a few of my newest items:

Rose Gold Crystal Pearl Necklace




Rose Gold & Swarovski Crystal Pearl Earrings


Rose Gold & Swarovski Crystal Teardrop Pearl Earrings

Rose Gold Swarovski Crystal Pearl Earrings



Pink & Rose Gold Wire Wrapped Earrings




Pink Opal & Rose Gold Wire Wrapped Earrings

Wire-Wrapped Heart Earrings in 14K Rose Gold or Bright Gold

As always, thanks so much for visiting!  

If you want to see more of my jewelry be sure to visit my Etsy shop!

Acknowledgement:  The vintage lady photo used in photographing some of my designs is from thegraphicsfairy.com - as always I love that site!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Mom and Handmade Baby Dress

Last year after my Mom passed away I went through her belongings and helped my Dad sort through what to keep and what to give or throw away.  Well, I found this baby dress that my Grandmother had made for my Mother back in 1932.  So I took it and had it framed so that we could keep it as an heirloom.

Well, recently my brother painstakingly went through hundreds of old photos from my family and our mother's family.  He found this photo of my Mom around age 3 wearing this same dress.  Wow!




My Mom's Baby Dress - Handmade by her mother around 1932


My Mom wearing the same dress age 3 years old

I love being able to keep this little piece of history from our family!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY Tutorial: Wire-Wrap Hearts

I have always loved hearts and often incorporate them into my jewelry designs.  My newest designs have been these wire hearts.  I have had such fun making these hearts I thought I would share how I did it.

Now let me first say I looked at several on-line tutorials to learn how to do these.  And I would advise looking at several because I found helpful hints in all of them.

Here are two tutorials I found very helpful:
OneVeryHappyBird
Craftsy.com's blog

Here is my DIY tutorial on how I made these hearts.

1.  Gather your supplies:
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose and/or bent nose pliers
  • Nylon jaw pliers (optional)
  • Wire cutters
  • Your choice of wire - I am using rose colored craft wire for this project


Supplies and Tools

2.  Using your wire cutters, cut your wire to the desired length - I cut about 6 inches which allowed me to make a heart about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.


3.  Straighten your wire using your fingers and/or your nylon jaw pliers.  I find using the nylon jaw pliers makes it a bit easier to hold the wire and get all the kinks out.  The reason for using nylon jaw pliers instead of your metal pliers is to prevent marring your wire.



4.  Using your round nose pliers grasp the wire at the midpoint, then bend the wire in half.  The round nose pliers give a nice rounded bottom for your heart.




Here is what your wire will look like after bending it - it should be u-shaped sort of like a bobby pin:


5.  Now you need to make your looped coils.  Using your round nose pliers, make a loop by rolling the end of one of your wires away from your u-shaped "bobby pin."



Next continue forming the loop into a coil.  Here I found that using bent nose pliers was easier for me than plain chain nose pliers - but either type can be used.  Hold the wire firmly with one hand, then use your pliers to roll the beginning loop into a coil.  This takes a bit of practice, but is not all that hard.  The wire is very forgiving and can be molded and re-molded fairly easily if you make mistakes.




Here is what the first coil looks like:

Now repeat on the other side to make a matching looped coil:


6.  Next you want to pull the wires across each other.  This will form a loop at the bottom and you can already see it looks sort of like a heart:


Then using your fingers, mold each side of the heart inward to the desired shape.  You can make your heart plump and fat or tall and skinny.

Here is what my finished heart looks like:

7.  One more final step is to hammer your heart.  This will harden the wire so that it retains its shape.  You will need a leather sandbag and bench block on which to hammer.  You can use either a metal chasing hammer or rubber mallet.  The metal chasing hammer will flatten your wire as well as harden it, whereas the rubber mallet will harden without flattening the wire.  It is really a matter of personal choice which look you like.


Place the heart on the bench block and sand bag.  I used a metal chasing hammer to harden and flatten my wire heart.

Here is what the heart now looks like.  And you will find the wire is now stiffer and less likely to get bent out of shape with use and wear.

I made several of these hearts using both the rose colored wire as well as some antique white wire.  Wouldn't the antique white hearts be great to use as wedding favors or decorations!  Of course you can use sterling silver wire or gold filled wire if you want to use these for jewelry designs such as earrings or pendants.


I will be making more of these hearts using various materials and incorporating them into my jewelry designs.  Find them soon in my Etsy shop!