Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How To Make An Adjustable Eyeglass Loop



Recently I sold a leather eyeglass leash to a customer who contacted me after receiving it saying the ends of her eyeglasses kept slipping out of the rubber eyeglass loops. Apparently her eyeglass ends were quite thin.  She liked the leash but needed some sort of revision to the rubber loops to better hold her eyeglasses.  And so I asked her to send it back to me and let me work on a solution.

Here is a picture of the type of loop I am talking about - it is a black rubber loop with a gold coil which is able to be slid up and down the loop to accommodate different size eyeglass ends.  The problem is that the coil is not all that tight, so if your eyeglass ends are thin like my customer's, they will keep slipping out.


Initially I tried to just make my own wire wrapping and make it more snug, but I really wasn't all that happy with the end result:


What I eventually came up with was using a large hole bead to act as the "stopper" for holding the ends of my customer's eyeglasses.  Here is what it ended up looking like:


Much better I think!  Now it took a little work figuring out how to get the bead onto the loop.  So I am going to share with you how to do this on your own.


1.  First remove the coil from the rubber loop.



2.  Select your bead - make sure to use a "large hole" bead - this one has a 2mm hole which was perfect.  Most beads have a hole about 1mm but that is too small to accommodate the rubber loop.     (This is a time my "bead addiction" came in handy - I have lots of beads in my studio and I do mean lots - so I was able to find just the right bead!)

3.  Now how to place the bead onto the rubber loop.  This was a bit tricky so I experimented to find the right way to accomplish this.

I used a piece of spare wire that I had lying around - I found that 22 gauge wire works the best.  Make a small "hook" on the end.  To do this, I used my round nose pliers and just bent the end of the wire to form the hook.  Make it small enough to get through the hole of your bead.  The good thing about 22 gauge wire is that it is easy to bend and mold if you need to adjust the size of your hook.  Don't worry about the spiral on the other end of the wire pictured - as I said this was a piece of spare wire I had lying around from when I had been experimenting on making spiral loops.

Slip the "hooked" end of the wire through the bead as pictured:

4.  Then place the hook around part of the rubber loop and pull it through the hole of the bead:




5.  Here is what your new beaded loop looks like:



And here is what the new loops look like on my customer's leather eyeglass leash:


The great thing about these altered eyeglass loops is that the beads are just snug enough to stay put but can be slid up and down the rubber loop so as to accommodate just about any size of eyeglass ends.  I really like the look of these loops too, so am looking at offering this as an option for all my eyeglass leashes.

I sell my eyeglass leashes and chains in one of my two Etsy shops:
EyeglassChainsEtc.etsy.com

So hop on over and take a visit!

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!