Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make Spiral Bead Caps



This week I have a nice little tutorial on how to make your own spiral bead caps. This post is part of my "Test This Tutorial" series in which I find a tutorial on Pinterest and try it out for myself.

I found this tutorial at LisaYangJewelry.com. In Lisa's tutorial, she shows how she makes these bead caps, and she references a tutorial from JewelryMakingJewelry.com written by Rena Klingenberg. I urge you to check out both of these sites as each one puts a slightly different twist on the tutorial. I think it's always good to see how different people approach a project design because we all find our own little unique ways of doing things.

To make these DIY bead caps you will need the following items:

  • Wire - I used 20 gauge silver tone Zebra wire
  • Beads - either 8mm or 10mm - I used an 8mm round glass bead
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jewelry file
  • A round or dome shaped object for forming the dome of your bead cap - I used a small dapping punch - but I found the end of a pen also works quite well



Cut a 2 1/2 inch piece of wire. I actually make these in pairs, so I go ahead and cut two pieces of wire.

File the ends of each piece of wire using the jewelry file. This makes the ends nice and smooth so they will not catch on clothing or skin.

Now use your round nose pliers to begin a simple loop at one end of the wire.




Next use your flat nose pliers to grasp the loop and begin making your coil.  Use your fingers to shape the wire into a spiral.





Now here I did something not mentioned in Lisa's and Rena's tutorials. I found I had a little piece of wire sticking out from the coil - see it in the last picture above?  I used my round nose pliers to "tuck" it in just beside the last coil.


Much better!

Now it is time to dome your bead cap so that it fits nicely over a round bead. In Rena's tutorial, she places the spiral through the end of her round nose pliers and pushes the edges down to make the dome. Lisa used a different technique - she used a steel doming block to form the dome.

I took Lisa's suggestion and used a dapping punch to form the dome. I simply placed the bead cap over the top of the dome and pushed downward - and it worked great. 



Now because I know everybody doesn't have dapping punches, I also tried it using the tip of a medium sized pen - and it really worked quite well. You can really use your imagination and use whatever is handy in your home.


And finally, here are my bead caps!


And here is what they look like on a bead:


These were so much fun to make, I made a whole bunch of them. This time I used silver plated craft wire - and they look beautiful!



Now I can't wait to use them in some pretty jewelry designs!

I hope you will try making some of these bead caps yourself. If you do, I would love to see them!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Test This Tutorial: Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace

This week I am starting a new series of posts called "Test This Tutorial." For each post I will find a DIY tutorial on Pinterest and test it out. I will describe and photograph my DIY attempts as I follow the tutorial. And hopefully I will be able to replicate the item - with my own twist of course.

I will naturally link back to the original source of each tutorial, giving credit to the original author.

With Valentine's Day approaching, I chose this Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace Tutorial. Find the Pinterest pin here or go to my Jewelry Tutorial Board. The original tutorial can be found at Happy Hour Projects.  This site has some nice jewelry and craft tutorials as well as some great recipes.

Here's a screenshot from my computer of the post from Happy Hour Projects. The screenshot shows what the necklace should look like and also shows a picture of Adrianne - the artist and designer who authors Happy Hour Projects.



What I like about this tutorial is that is simple with good photographs to follow along the way. You will need to have some basic wire-wrapping skills - specifically wire-wrapping a simple wire loop.

I will not be showing you the details on how to make this pendant. Be sure to visit Happy Hour Projects' original post for detailed instructions and photos.

For this project you need:

  • 18 gauge wire - about 5 inches
  • One 10mm bead
  • Round nose and flat nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional 6mm jump ring
I'll start by showing you my finished pendant:


Not perfect, but not too bad. But let me also share some of my first attempts. Now Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects used silver plated copper wire for her project. But I started out using some black gunmetal wire because it is inexpensive, and I knew (correctly so) that I would likely have to start over a few times.

Here's my first attempt - I have no idea how I mangled the wire so badly!


Here's my second attempt - barely better than my first!



Three's the charm - well almost. I got the shape right but marred the wire with my pliers.

Finally I gave up on the gunmetal wire. It is really quite stiff and not very malleable. I found some 18 gauge brown parawire - it really looks like antique copper and is a great deal easier to manipulate than the gunmetal.

Of course you can use any type of wire - Adrianne used silver plated copper wire in her original tutorial at Happy Hour Projects.

Here is my final attempt using the brown parawire  and a 10mm red glass bead:




I chose not to use a jump ring for attaching the pendant to the chain as was in the original tutorial. I simply slid one side of the heart onto the chain.

I think I will likely have to make a few more of these pendants before I make them as perfectly as found at Happy Hour Projects. Still, all in all I am pleased with my pendant.

Till next time!
Irene


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Design Your Own Caged Pearl Earrings

 This week I have made a new listing in my Etsy shop where you Design Your Own Caged Pearl Earrings. That's right - you design them! In your choice of pearl colors and wire wrapping.

These earrings are so pretty - and they are such fun to make! If you are a DIY person, you can read my previous tutorial on how to make them yourself here.

For these pearl beauties, I use genuine Swarovski crystal pearls in a variety of colors. You choose both the pearl color and the wire-wrapping. Choose sterling silver, silver filled, 14K gold fill, 14K rose gold fill, bronze, or gunmetal wire wrapping.

These earrings are perfect for brides and bridesmaids, but they are simple and classic enough for everyday wear as well.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Irene


Pinterest.com/DJAjewels
Facebook.com/DJAjewels

DJAjewels.etsy.com
EyeglassChainsEtc.etsy.com

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sun Catchers and Sun Prisms - A Bit Of Winter Therapy!

My family and I made a wonderful trip to Key West over the Holidays, and we had a marvelous time. The temperatures were in the high 70's and 80's - balmy and absolutely perfect!  It was so awesome to get away in the middle of winter to a little bit of what I would call paradise. In fact, I'm ready to go back!

Here's a few shots of us living the good life in sunny Key West:

Hubby & me enjoying a Mimosa on the covered porch of our condo.
Here we are getting ready to enjoy lunch at the Southern Most Cafe.

I just had to take a shot of this charming shop decorated for Christmas.
It sure didn't feel like Christmas though!

We spent four great days there. And then we came back home to reality.  We got on the plane to come home from Florida wearing shorts and flip flops on a balmy 85 degree day. We exited the plane in Charlotte to 40 degree rainy and cold weather.

And then it got worse - the temperatures have dropped to the 20's and 30's. I know I shouldn't complain - here in South Carolina our winters are mild compared to the northern states. But nonetheless, I am ready for spring!

So now that we are firmly in the grasp of winter, I have been searching for a way to connect back to the sun again. And I did what I often do - retreat to my jewelry and beading room. And in my quest for the sun, I made sun catchers. And then I kept making sun catchers. I started out just planning to make one. But one just wasn't enough - I kept going.  After all, maybe sun catchers are therapeutic - watching the sun reflect and dance through them is actually uplifting. And so I thought I would share the results of my sun catching therapy here with you:


"Jewels in Flight" Sun Catcher
Large round disc crystal prism, crystal beaded chain with hummingbird

Celestial Moon & Stars SunCatcher
Large baroque prism with moon & stars etchings

Close-up view of Celestial Moon & Stars Sun Catcher

"Queen of the Sun" Large Crystal Sun Prism.
Large crystal disc and beaded chain


Multi-Color Deco Sun Catcher.
Large crystal ball suspended on multi-color jeweled chain

Full View of Multi-Color Deco Sun Catcher
And I made a few rear view mirror sun catcher charms too:

Swarovski Crystal Heart Rear View Mirror Sun Catcher Charm.
Interchangeable heart charms
I made the crystal heart charms a couple of weeks ago - you can find a tutorial on how to make these in my earlier post DIY Tutorial Wire-Wrapped Heart Pendant.

So now you know how I created a little bit of sunshine for myself!

To see all of my sun catchers be sure to visit me on Etsy at DJAjewels.etsy.com!  You can find all of these designs and more here in my Sun Catchers section.

Till next time!

Irene

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Most Versatile Lanyard Ever

Are you looking for a cool and pretty way to keep up with your eyeglasses and/or ID-Badge? Well, I know I have looked long and hard for just the right lanyard in the past. And that is why I started making eyeglass chains and lanyards. I sell these designs in one of my three Etsy shops: EyeglassChainsEtc.etsy.com.

Today I thought I would share one of my more popular designs. I make this lanyard in both silver and gold.




I use a pretty large link etched chain in bright rhodium plated silver and a soft matte gold. I place three matching large round links in the chain for visual interest and to function as eyeglass loops.

I added a detachable swivel clasp for use as an ID-Badge holder.  To use it as an eyeglass necklace, simply hang your glasses through one of the three large rings.  Of course, it also makes a very pretty long necklace if you don't need to use it for your glasses or ID-Badge.

Here are some examples of different ways to wear this pretty chain:



You can find this chain in my Etsy shop EyeglassChainsEtc.etsy.com.

I have listings there for both the Silver Lanyard and the Gold Lanyard.

Thanks for stopping by!  Till next time ...

Irene






Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Tutorial Wire-Wrapped Heart Pendant

Have you ever wanted to use a unique way of attaching a focal drop or pendant to a jewelry or craft design?  Well I found some pretty Swarovski crystal hearts in my great stash of beads and jewelry supplies.  Amazingly I had never used them for anything and they were just sitting in a little plastic bin - all lonely and just waiting to be put into some pretty design.

Now usually, I just slip a large jump ring through the hole at the top of beads like these, but I really was yearning for a more interesting and unique way to showcase these beauties.  So here is what I came up with using a bit of wire and an extra round bead to accent the heart.  Here is a picture of a finished focal piece with an emerald green heart and round bead:


This technique should work fine for any drop pendant or focal piece that has a top drilled hole from front to back.  Ready to get started?  Here's what you'll need:

Supplies needed:
  • Focal pendant - I used a 14x14mm size Swarovski crystal heart.
  • Round bead - I used a 6mm round faceted Swarovski crystal bead.
  • Round jump ring - I used an 8mm size closed jump ring - but you could also use an open jump ring if you prefer.
  • 10 inch piece of 24 gauge wire.
Tools needed:
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nose pliers and/or needle nose pliers - you can get by with either one of these, but I find I like to use both.
  • Round nose pliers


Now for a quick look at how to make this pendant, here is a photo collage tutorial.  For more detailed instructions, scroll down below the photo collage.


Instructions:

1.  Slide your heart or other focal piece onto the wire about mid way.  Then pinch the wire together just above the top of the piece to form a little triangle.




2.  Now slide your round bead through BOTH pieces of wire down to the top of the little triangle part of the wire.  This is why you need 24 gauge wire which is small enough to accommodate two strands of wire.



3.  Next you need to make a simple wire-wire wrapped loop above your bead.  This is a basic jewelry making technique that many of you might already know how to do, but I will review it here:

Grab the wire just above the bead with your round nose pliers.

Bend the wire away from you over the top piece of your pliers.


Reposition your pliers so that you can begin looping the wire over the BOTTOM of your pliers.

Begin forming your loop by wrapping the two pieces of wire around the bottom portion of your pliers.
Now if you don't want to add a jump ring - or if you plan to use an open jump ring instead of a closed one - you could finish the loop by just wrapping your wire down to the round bead.  But I like the stability of a closed jump ring so this is where I added one.

Slide your closed jump ring through the loop - you might have to open your loop a bit to accommodate it.  I find it helpful to use my needle nose pliers to pull the loop through - but you can just use your fingers.

Grab your loop of wire just below your jump ring using your flat nose or needle nose pliers.

Wrap the two pieces of wire around the "stem" of wire from below your jump ring down to your round bead.

Snip off the extra wire with your wire cutters.  After cutting the wire, remember to "flatten" the ends down using your flat nose or needle nose pliers - I did not take a picture of this but you should do it to make the piece more finished.

If your loop is crooked - which it often will be - use your flat nose or needle nose pliers to straighten it.

And here is what your finished piece should look like.


I liked this design so much I made two more in different colors:





You can use these as necklace charms, key charms - or in my case - I used mine for rear view mirror car charms.




I hope you found this tutorial helpful.  If you make something using this tutorial and want me to showcase it here, contact me and send me a picture!

Happy beading!

Irene