Monday, November 4, 2019

DIY Trend Alert! Geometric Leather Earrings That You'll Want to Wear

This post is sponsored by Realeather®
Brown and black geometric earrings blog post header

It's hard to miss the surge in popularity of the leather leaf earrings that Joanna Gaines sported in Fixer Upper. It’s made leather earrings HOT, HOT, HOT and they’re now a staple in any savvy fashionista’s jewellery collection.

Then there’s the geometric trend - the trend that never really goes away. It's simple, classic and timeless. And right now, geometric earrings are popping up everywhere and in such a diverse range of materials like polymer clay, wood and resin. So it stands to reason that if you were to marry leather with geometric shapes that they would be a match made in heaven!

Read on and I'll show you how to take these two on-trend elements and turn them into a pair of bold but classy statement earrings that will glam up any outfit instantly and that you'll LOVE wearing again and again. As you can see below, my daughter loves them so much she has already snagged them!
The most essential ingredient of these earrings is without doubt, the Realeather® Round Shapes.
Realeather Round Jewelry Shapes in packaging
These new leather jewellery shapes come in a range of different colour combinations and finishes. But for this project, I've chosen the Black and Medium Brown combination pack, C4809-28.

Here's a shopping list to help you gather all the materials you need: 
(You can find all these supplies at Hobby Lobby.)

  • Realeather Circle Shapes C4809-28
  • 1-1/2” black tassels
  • 4mm (outer diameter) gold eyelets
  • 6mm gold jump rings
  • Fine necklace chain
  • 20gauge non-tarnish wire
  • Gold earring wires
You'll also need some tools to help you make this project: 
  • Combination eyelet setting pliers and hole punch
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flush cutters
  • Nylon jaw pliers

So let's get started!

Prepare the Leather Circles

These circles already come with a hole punched in them but this project calls for two holes, so fold the brown suede circle in half with the hole centred.
Brown suede circle folded in half

Line up the punch with the hole. The top edge of the punch should be positioned at the top of the existing hole. This will give you the perfect distance from the edge to attach the 6mm jump ring that will connect the next piece in the design. Punch through both layers.
Punching a hole through both sides of the folded brown suede circle
Brown suede circle with holes punched on opposite sides

With the circle folded, align the holes and insert an eyelet through both layers. Position the circle on the eyelet setting platform and squeeze the handles to set it. You may need to give it another squeeze to make sure that the eyelet has gone through both layers but try not to over squeeze it or it will distort the eyelet.
Setting the eyelet through both layers of the brown circle
Brown suedehalf circle folded with eyelet set in position

Repunch the hole on the black circle so that it fits an eyelet shaft and then punch a hole on the opposite side of the circle.
Black suede circle being punched in hole punch

Place an eyelet in one of the holes and position it on the setting platform. Squeeze the handles to set it. Set an eyelet in the hole on the other side too.
Leather circle with holes punched on opposite sides

Put the leather pieces aside for the time being whilst you work on the triangle charm.

Make the Spiral Triangle

Cut an 8” piece of wire from the spool and then run it through the nylon jaw pliers a few times to straighten out the curves.

Place the end of the wire in the middle of the tip of the flat nose pliers and bend the wire at a 60° angle.
End of the wire positioned in the flat nose pliers

Switch to chain nose pliers to make the rest of the bends. Make another bend in the wire so that the first two sides are about the same length.
Forming the third side of the triangle

Bend the wire again to make the third side of the triangle.
Beginning to form the second triangle layer.

Once you’ve made the base triangle, continue making bends in the wire so that each successive triangle is larger than the one inside it.
Using chain nose pliers to bend the wire at a 60° angle.

Keep going until the triangle measures about 7/8” wide.

Grip the wire above the last point of the triangle and bend it sideways.
Using flat nose pliers to bend the wire sideways

Trim the end to about 3/8” (10mm) with flush cutters.
Using flush cutters to trim the wire to 10mm

Switch to round nose pliers and turn a simple loop.
Using round nose pliers to turn a loop

Make a second triangle using the first one as a guide for shape and size. Keep checking it as you go along.
Lining up the two triangles as they are being made to check for size and shape.

It's OK if the triangles are a little different - it won't be noticeable when they're on opposite sides of your face!
Two wire spiral triangles, approximately the same shape and size.

Assemble the Earrings

Open a jump ring and hook on the black circle and the tassel and then close the jump ring again.
Closing the jump ring connecting the black tassel and the leather circle ith pliers

Open another jump ring and hook on the top hole of the circle, the wire triangle and the folded brown circle.
Hooking the wire spiral triangle onto the two leather circle pieces

Then close the jump ring to secure all the pieces together.
Closing the jump ring with two pairs of chain nose pliers

Drop the chain through the folded circle and pull it through the other side.
Feeding the necklace chain through the folded circle

Then hook a jump ring through the end link. Pull the chain up to remove the slack and then hook it through one of the links of the chain. It should form a very shallow triangle.
Using pliers to closing the jump ring with the chain connected

Add the earring wire and close the jump ring.
Closing the jump ring

Carefully cut away the excess chain with wire cutters. Then, make up the second earring.
Using flush cutters to trim away the excess chain

Whether you need to dress up a plain "T", add a touch of drama to your business wear or sophistication to a dinner date outfit, your geometric leather earrings are the perfect accent for your outfit. So wear them.... and show them off!

And then make yourself some more fabulous leather earrings using the other new shapes in the Realeather Jewelry Shape range. See the Realeather website for more tutorials.

Pin this Project!
DIY Geometric Leather Earrings Inspiration Sheet

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, October 4, 2019

How to Separate Chain Links

Sometimes, jewellery instructions call for you to cut a length of chain. It's a simple thing to do: all you need is a pair of wire/side/flush cutters to cut through the link.

If you're working with a soldered chain like this one, cutting them is the only way you can separate the chain links.

But if it's not a soldered chain, then you don't have to CUT the chain. You can often separate the chain by opening and closing the links, much in the same way you would a jump ring.

This is especially useful when your design includes a fancy chain like this crystal channel chain.
Crystal channel chain with oval jump rings connecting the crystals

Or if you have a fancy chain with a repeating pattern like this one, and you need to keep every link so the pattern is preserved.
Fancy chain with repeating pattern

Although the links in the pattern set of this fancy chain are soldered, the sets are connected together with oval jump rings that can be opened, so whole sets can be removed to lengthen or shorten the chain whilst preserving the pattern.

Other reasons you might choose to open and close chain links rather than cut them are because you're short of chain and need every link or if you need to add some links to a chain to make it longer but you want the chain to look continuous.

How to Open and Close Chain Links

So to open and close chain links, you'll need two pairs of chain nose pliers.

With a pair of pliers in your dominant hand, grip one side of the chain at about 3 o'clock.

Grip the opposite side of the link with a second pair of pliers in your other hand.

Pull your dominant hand towards you and your other hand away from you until the link opens. Moving the two sides of the link in this direction will maintain the shape of the link so it doesn't become distorted.

Remove the length of chain you require.

Now, close the link by doing the opposite - pull your non-dominant hand towards you and your dominant hand away from you.

Move the two pliers back and forth past centre until the cut edges align in the middle and there is no gap.

So next time you need to join chain links together, give this a try rather than connecting lengths of chain together with a jump ring.
Pin this Tip!
How to separate chain links tip sheet

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, August 23, 2019

Lustrous Pearl and Crystal Earrings

A sparkly necklace can make your special occasion outfit look stunning. But when you add some coordinating earrings, it can bring your whole look together! These elegant pearl and crystal earrings go perfectly with the sophisticated and sparkly Mother of the Bride Necklace. The lustre of both the real and the faux pearls plays beautifully against the sparkle of the crystal. These are truly elegant earrings, perfect for any Mother of the Bride or Groom. And with their neutral tones, they could easily be worn at less formal occasions.
Silver, crystal and pearl drop earrings in neutral shades of grey and cream.

But not all is as it seems to be: there's something a little bit unusual about these earrings. The flower component with the inset crystal is actually a box clasp! With one loop at the top and one loop at the bottom of the clasp, it is ready-made to be connected to the other components. I just love it when components can be used in different ways!
Box clasp earrings inspiration sheet.

But back to the jewellery. This is the coordinating set: sparkly, elegant and perfect for Mother of the Bride or Groom. With its subtle colour, this set would even be lovely for a bride.
Pearl drop and crystal necklace and earrings set in neutral tones of grey.

How to Make the Lustrous Pearl and Crystal Earrings

Here's what you'll need to recreate these easy earrings:
2 11x8mm Lt Grey Swarovski glass pearl teardrops
4 5mm white Keshi pearls - centre drilled
2 Clear 8mm Swarovski crystal rondelles
2 10-12mm Flower-shaped silver box clasps with inset crystal (these are similar)
2 Crystal encrusted silver earring wires
2 Beadalon silver plated ball head pins

Tools: flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flush cutters.

String a teardrop, rondelle and two Keshi pearls on a head pin.
Head pin strung with teardrop pearl, rondelle and Keshi pearls

Bend the head pin just above the pearls using flat nose pliers.
Bending the head pin at a 90° angle above the pearls.

Trim the head pin to 8mm (5/16").
Trimming the excess head pin with flush cutters.

Turn a simple loop with round nose pliers.
A simple loop turned on the round nose pliers.

Open the loop sideways with chain nose pliers and hook on the box clasp. Close the loop.
Hooking the box clasp onto the loop of the beaded component

If your earring wire has a closed loop, use flush cutters to cut the loop of the earring wire open.
Using flush cutters to cut open the loop of the earring wire.

Open the loop sideways and hook on the other end of the box clasp.
Hooking the earring wire loop through the loop of the box clasp.

Close it again with chain nose pliers.
Closing the loop of the earring wire with chain nose pliers.

 Now make a matching earring with the remaining components.

As you can see, this is a quick design to put together, and yet the end result is a stunning pair of earrings that will add a touch of glamour to any special occasion. But why not also make the coordinating and very glamourous crystal and pearl necklace? It's an absolute show-stopper!

Pin this Project!
Pearl and Crystal drop earrings inspiration sheet

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, August 16, 2019

Coloured Pencil Resin Stretch Bracelet

Do you love to colour within the lines? Or are you one of those carefree souls who likes to colour wildly, taking no care about the lines? No matter which you are, this quirky coloured pencil and resin bracelet would make a fun accessory for anyone who is into adult colouring.
Colourful pencils embedded in a resin bracelet

This stretch bracelet would make an A+ gift for a teacher too! It's a great way to use up your child's coloured pencil stubs at the end of the school year. Or you can just buy a cheap set of children's  pencils from the dollar store.

You'll need two pencils for each bar of the bracelet. I made eight bars for this one, which makes a small bangle when strung with 5mm beads. For a larger bracelet, make extra bars or add more beads in between. If you only have one of these jewellery moulds, you'll need to make the bars over several days. But if you're impatient like me, buy some extra moulds so you can make all of them at once!

Here's what you'll need to make the Coloured Pencil Resin Bracelet:

Castin'Craft EasyCast Epoxy resin
Castin'Craft Mold Release and Conditioner
ETI Plastic Jewelry Mold - 11 shapes (buy extra moulds to make casting faster!)
Coloured Pencils
BBQ torch
Drill with 1mm drill bit
Coping Saw
Utility knife
Pencil sharpener (to sharpen pre-loved pencils)
Graduated plastic measuring cups
Wooden stir sticks
Disposable gloves
Permanent marker
Adhesive tape

You'll also need:
1mm Stretch Magic Beading Elastic
Coloured beads of your choice (1mm hole or larger)
G-S Hypo Cement
Scissors or wire cutters

Prepare the Pencils and the Mould

Place a mark on each of the coloured pencils 1-5/8" from the tip. Tape the two pencils together with their marks lined up.
Pro tip: Centre the mark you made on the pencils on the tape. This will help prevent the pencils from chipping or splintering as you cut them.
Placing a mark on the pencil for cutting.

Cut them on the line with the coping saw. Take your time and cut through them slowly.
Using the coping saw to cut through the pencils.

Pro Tip: Place the pencils on a block of wood with a non-slip shelf liner underneath them. This will help stabilise them so they don't roll around as you cut them. 

Pencils sitting on a non slip shelf liner so they don't move around whilst cutting.

Spray the mould with Mold Release. I like to give it a much heavier spray than what is suggested on the bottle and I use a tissue to mop up the excess liquid and then wipe that all the way around the inside of the cavity. I really want to make sure these pop out easily. And then leave the mold to dry completely.
Spraying the mould with Mold Release.

Mixing and Pouring the Resin

Measure out equal quantities of the resin in one cup. (I used 7.5mls (1/4oz) of each part for the first layer of resin.)
Measuring the resin.

Mix the resin following the instructions included in the package for the best results.
Mixing the resin.

Then spoon enough resin into the bar cavities to just cover the bottom of the mould. This layer will stop the pencils from sitting right on the front of the mould.
Spooning the resin into the mould.

Pop the bubbles and leave the resin to cure overnight.
Using a flame to pop the bubbles in the resin.

Mix another small batch of resin and half fill each cavity. Insert the pencils into the resin. Check for bubbles trapped under the pencils by lifting up the mold. If there are any, carefully pry them out and pop them. Leave the resin to cure several hours.
Placing the blue pencils into the resin.

Mix another batch of resin and cover the pencils completely. Try not to over fill the mould so you won't have too much finishing to do.
Filling the moulds with resin.

Pop the bubbles and then leave the resin to cure for 24 hours.
Passing a BBQ lighter across the surface of the resin.

Making the Bracelet

Once it's fully cured, you should be able to pop them out by pressing on the back of the cavity or giving it a little twist.
Pushing the cured resin pieces out of the mould.

If you've overfilled your mould like I did with this yellow pencil, you'll need to trim away the edges to make them flush with the bar.
Trimming the sharp edges of the resin with a utility knife.

Place a mark 15mm (5/8") from the top and the bottom of each piece. You need to do this on both sides of the bars.
Marking the position of the holes with a permanent marker.

Now it's time to drill the holes. If you have a drill press and a long enough drill bit, this will be easy. But if you don't, drilling the hole is a bit tricky. You have to do it from both sides of each piece so the holes join up in the middle. This is why you've marked the bars on both sides - it will give you something to aim at as you drill!

N.B. Take extreme care when drilling without a drill press.... Keep your fingers well away from the drill.

With the bar on its long side, hold both the bar and the drill vertically and align them so you can see both the top and the bottom holes. Now drill through to the centre. It's a good idea to stop and check from both above and side on that you are drilling straight. Take the drill bit out and drill the other side in the same way. If you've aligned your drill holes properly, they will meet in the middle.
Drilling holes in the resin cabochon.

Once you've drilled all the resin, cut two 30cm (12") lengths of Stretch Magic. It's a good idea to pre-stretch the elastic so that the bracelet doesn't become overstretched with wear.
Pre-stretching the beading elastic.

String the bars on one length of elastic at a time with your chosen beads in between.
Stringing the resin bars onto the beading elastic through the top row of holes.

Once you've strung the top holes, string all the pieces through the bottom holes.
Beading elastic strung through the top and bottom holes of the resin and colourful spacer beads.

To tie the bracelet off, cross both ends of one elastic over each other in a half knot.
Tying a half knot in the elastic.

Now tie a surgeon's knot. That is, cross them over each other but before pulling the knot up tightly, cross them over again. It will look like the photo below. Pull up the knot, then pull on both the cords before the knot and both cords after the knot to tighten it.
Tying a surgeon's knot in the beading elastic.

For an extra secure bracelet, apply a dab of G-S Hypo Cement on each knot.
Applying adhesive to the knots.

On the adhesive is dry, trim both cords to 6mm (1/4"). If the holes in your beads are large enough, then slide the knot inside the bead.
Trimming away the excess beading elastic.

Give this fun piece of jewellery to your adult colouring book lovers and attach a note: "In case of emergency, break glass". I'm sure they'll love it!

Pin this Project!
Coloured Pencil and resin bracelet inspiration sheet.

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs