Monday, March 30, 2009

Multi-layered Bead Cap Beads

Friendly Plastic twist bead bracelet with multi-layered bead cap beads.

I've been working on Friendly Plastic beads over the weekend - gorgeous colours..... blue, turquoise and gold - colours that work so well together. But when I came to assemble the beads into a bracelet, I had nothing in my stash that worked - my gold beads were too bright and brassy looking and my blues were all the wrong shade. So it was time to get creative and think outside the square.
And this is what I came up with: use the beadcaps I'd used on the Friendly Plastic beads to create my own matching, multi-layered gold beads. Here's what I did.

Ornate gold "bead cap bead" made up of several layers of bead caps

I gathered a variety of bead caps, beads and of course, eye pins. An inexpensive way to get a selection of bead caps is with one of these bulk mixes that contain an assortment of sizes, shapes and textures.

Selection of gold textured bead caps and jewellery findings

I decided on this combination - a smooth gold metal spacer bead, a pointed bead cap to give some height, and a filigree bead for texture and visual interest. The red bed is simply to keep the two filigree bead caps in place. It's slightly visible when the bead is assembled so you'll need to coordinate it with the beads you're using.

A selection of gold bead caps arranged in order from small to large to small

Assemble the beads and caps in the order shown and then reverse the order for the other end.
Stringing the beads and bead caps from smallest to largest for the first half of the bead cap bead

Hold the eye pin in your flat nosed pliers close to the end of the last bead and bend it at a 90° angle.......
Starting to form the simple loop above the last bead of the bead cap bead

then turn a loop using round nosed pliers.
Forming a simple loop with round nose pliers above the last bead on the eye pin.

And voilà, a very unique, one of a kind bead that matches the bracelet perfectly!
The completed bead cap bead ready for including in a handmade jewellery design


If you find your bead isn't sitting quite right, add a few dabs of a metal jewellery adhesive to the bead caps - something like Beadalon's Bead Fix Gel or Beacon's Glass, Metal & More will do the trick!

Pin this for later!
Make your own ornate bead cap beads 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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Safari! (More Friendly Plastic Jewellery Tiles)

This week the wilds of Africa have been calling and I've been exploring some other design ideas for Friendly Plastic tile jewellery ..... this time, dramatic black and white.
My black and MOP sticks are still on the endangered list so I'm preserving my dwindling stocks of them. No worries! I've improvised and used the black and white backs of coloured sticks as the front again. This is a great way to use up surplus colours but just make sure that you sand away the metallic finish so that the plastic is exposed - it will give you much stronger bond when attaching one layer to another.

To create the pattern, I heated each 3" stick with the heatgun until softened and then pressed an uninked stamp into it. Next, I plunge the stamp and plastic straight into cool water for about 30 seconds so that the stamp releases easily from the plastic (make sure your stamp is unmounted if you're placing it in water).

I used Pinata inks to paint the depressions because they have both a black and a fantastic white - yes, white alcohol ink - in their colour range. So the black tile is painted with white and the white tile is painted with black and then I cut and assembled the pieces together checkerboard style. Doesn't it look like a zebra print?

The background of this piece has been impressed with a Cuttlebug embossing folder which I then highlighted with Silver Rub 'n Buff to bring out the texture.

For the next piece I cut some trapezoid shapes from both the black-on-white and white-on-black sticks and I attached these to a 7" black stick and shaped it into a cuff - I really love the contrast of this piece!

I'm still so amazed by how economical Friendly Plastic is - these two pieces of jewellery are all made from just three 3" stick and one 7" black stick (which is the base for the cuff) and there were leftover pieces large enough for another pendant which I haven't completed yet, but that's a project for another day!

Don't forget to check out my 100th post - I'm Celebrating! - for your chance to win some blog candy - the draw closes on Sunday 30th March.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Celebrating!

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Mill Lane Studio blog. I also reach another milestone - my 100th post!

So I'm celebrating..... it's time to give a way some blog candy - this gorgeous, handmade resin bangle and ring set. If you'd like to win it, then read on.....
'fetti bangle and ring

As I sat here at this time last year pondering what to write about on this blog I had absolutely no idea what I was going to share with you....... I wasn't sure that anyone was even going to be reading! So I decided to dive in head first and post whatever I was working on at the time.

Along the way I played with a wide variety of media and amongst my favourites have been Krafty Lady Art Moulds, Friendly Plastic, Lumiere paint and resin. I also posted about alcohol inks, the Cuttlebug (just love this tool), Core'dinations cardstock and even some storage ideas. I had a lot of fun working on the 12 days of Christmas challenge (a very popular project with readers). And jewellery has featured very prominently amongst the projects I've worked on. There have been a few tutorials peppered amongst the posts too.

But even now, I'm not always sure if you like what I post about so I figure that the best way to find out what you like to read and learn about is to ask you. So, leave your comments at the bottom of this post and you'll be in the draw to win. Not in Australia? No worries - I will post the prize anywhere in the world. Don't forget to leave me your details so that I can contact you if you're the winner. I'll keep the draw open until 8.00pm (AEST), Sunday 30 March 2009 and I'll use a random number generator to draw the winner. The winner will be announced shortly after and will have 3 days to claim their prize.

So if you'd like to be in the draw, please leave your comment about what you like to read.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friendly Plastic Tile Jewellery

Wow, Friendly Plastic's fun!! Is there no end to the ways this incredible material can be used?!!

If you've been following my blog you'll have noticed quite a few posts about Friendly Plastic recently. (And if you haven't been following my blog, then click on the Friendly Plastic label in my index to see what I've been up to.)

I've used it on card fronts, in jewellery pieces and also to cover pens. I've had a play with Jana Ewy's Fracture and Fusion technique, I've made beads using a couple of different bead making techniques, I've moulded it and I've marbled it. So this week I set out to use it differently yet again and I've gone in another direction altogether.

This technique works best with light coloured Friendly Plastic sticks, as in the sample above. To create this piece I used a white-backed stick as the front of the tiles because I was running low on MOP and didn't want to use it up on an experimental piece (the coloured side of the stick is sandwiched inside).

And it turned out rather nicely. I simply impressed a stamp into the softened plastic and painted in the detail with Pinata alcohol inks.

So I figured it would also work really well on silver.....And the results are pretty eye catching.

Friendly Plastic is such an economical product. Each of these pieces of jewellery is made using just two 3" sticks - one for the front and the other as the backing to secure the findings in place. With the addition of a few metal findings, my plastic tiles have been turned into really unique, designer pieces of jewellery that look like they've come from an exclusive (and expensive) boutique.

What a versatile product Friendly Plastic is!

Stay tuned for further instalments on this technique as I have more ideas floating around in my head. Hopefully they will make it onto my blog soon...... maybe some time next week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friendly Plastic Pen Fever

I've continued playing with this fun idea over the last few days and have to confess that I'm totally addicted. I've laid claim to every pen that I could get my hands on and no pen has been spared from receiving a Friendly Plastic makeover. The transformation from plain and utilitarian to designer writing implement is amazing!

The results speak for themselves and after some fine tuning, I'm pleased to say that I've been able to simplify the process so that it can be completed in a workshop. So if you're interested in learning how to create this pen then keep an eye out for it as a class later in the year. I promise you, you won't be disappointed!

A word of caution.... some people will find this class highly addictive and no responsibility can be taken for the onset of Friendly Plastic Pen Fever. Should symptoms persist, ensure you have an adequate supply of pens for the duration of the fever and seek further stocks of Friendly Plastic from your local craft store.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brisbane Paper Crafts Festival Workshop Update

Dekoda Marketing (the new owners of the show) have just updated their website with the latest show details including the exhibitors and workshop information.
If you'd like to take a class with me and learn how to create the textured backgrounds on these two cards, then give Dekoda a call (02 9674 4488) to register for the workshops. On the left is From Trash to Treasure (a really interesting technique if you're into recycling!) and on the right is Bubbled Tyvek - a project working with an interesting paper called Tyvek and Lumiere paints. My workshops are being sponsored by Stamp Antics and class numbers are limited so be sure to book early.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Designer Friendly Plastic Pen

I've been playing around with Jana Ewy's fracture and fusion technique over the last couple of weeks and have produced some lovely multi-coloured strips of Friendly Plastic. Her technique is featured in the Winter 2009 issue of Belle Armoire and she produces the most amazing bangles and jewellery pieces with it - you really should check it out.

So, armed with all these lovely coloured strips I decided it was time to create something with them. And it suddenly occurred to me how beautiful this technique would be on a pen. And that's how I used it. Not too bad for a first attempt! Of course, I'm only showing you the best side..... it is a prototype after all. But the experiment worked and that was the important thing here. And now my head is spinning with more ideas and I'm going to claim every pen I can lay my hands on to try some other things out. I can see some wonderful possibilities with Friendly Plastic and pens.

This one will need a coating of resin to make it more durable and then it should stand up to the rigours of daily use - not sure that I'd leave it on the dashboard of the car though but I guess that's an experiment for another day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Newsflash! Brisbane Paper Crafts Festival is on!

Newsflash...... Newsflash...... Newsflash!!!

You may not have heard yet, but it's back on!

Yes, that's right... Brisbane Paper Crafts Festival is now being run by Dekota Marketing who are breathing new life into the event with the intention of returning the show to its former glory. And it's less than two weeks away, from 13-15 March 2009!

With such a short lead up to the event, I've been working overtime to get class samples ready and I've designed a couple of cards with very interesting, textured backgrounds.

At this stage they're not yet listed on the official website so I've included the details below. Once booking information is available I'll post it here, so check back again later or check the show website.

Friday Morning Class (repeated Saturday afternoon)
From Trash to Treasure!

Recycle, Re-use and Repurpose is the motto of this class. We will take an ordinary cardboard box, paper scraps and Lumiere paints and turn them into a card which is a work of art! Using an unusual household product we’ll create a wonderfully textured background ready for painting. And to complete your masterpiece, you’ll learn the secrets of successful casting with Krafty Lady Art Moulds.
Tools required:
Craft mat, craft knife, White glue (such as Mod Podge), ruler, pencil, old paintbrush for applying glue, small flat or round paintbrush, Pritt Power Gel and double sided tape.
Friday Afternoon Class (repeated Saturday morning)
Bubbled Tyvek - Flower Power
Learn a new technique using an unusual paper called Tyvek, an ultra strong, heat sensitive paper. We'll use its heat sensitive nature to our advantage as we create an interesting, bubbly background painted with Lumiere paint. You'll learn how to apply paint to the Tyvek so that one colour merges seamlessly into the next to create a blended effect and also learn how to cast your own embllishments using Krafty Lady Art Moulds.
Tools required:
Craft mat, scissors, Helmar Silicone adhesive (or other strong glue), Pritt Power Gel, small flat paintbrush, double sided tape, ruler, craft knife and pencil.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bead making with Friendly Plastic and AMACO Bead Rollers

In my last post I mentioned that I've been preparing a project sheet for AMACO on how to roll beads from Friendly Plastic Designer Sticks using AMACO's bead rollers. And I'm pleased to announce that the project sheet has now been uploaded to their website.

You might wonder how on earth you can turn these pretty metallic sticks into unique, one of a kind beads. It would seem rather impossible, but you know, it really can be done and the project sheet shows you the method I use to heat and roll the plastic to produce some really individual beads.

So, pop on over to AMACO to check out the project sheet, grab some Friendly Plastic, a bead roller and have fun making your own beads. And once you've got the hang of the basics, why not try adding some extra colours and create your own original, one of a kind beads.