Friday, November 23, 2012

Neat Finishes for Leather Bracelet Ends

I've been making leather jewellery over the last couple of days. It's fun to work with but it requires a totally different approach when it comes to finishing your design. So today I have a couple of tips to share with you.

How to Clamp Multiple Strands of Suede Lace

The first one is for when you are working with multiple strands of suede lace. The easiest way to finish the ends of the lace is to use a ribbon clamp but it can sometimes be a bit difficult to keep multiple strands of lace together whilst you feed them into the clamp to close it.
5 pieces of suede lace with their ends aligned, ready to be inserted into a ribbon crimp.

The solution: Lay a piece of tape on your workspace and place each lace in position. Make sure to leave enough space to attach the clamp without securing the tape as well!
Keeping the aligned ends of the suede lace in place with adhesive tape

Slide on the clamp and press it closed with flat nose pliers to secure all the pieces of lace perfectly in position.
With the ends of the suede lace aligned, the ribbon crimp can be positioned over the ends.

Once you've clamped it, you can gently peel away the tape making sure you don't pull out the pieces of lace.Then just attach a jump ring and a clasp to the ribbon clamp and you have a neat and secure finish on your bracelet.

How to Set Press Studs and Snap Closures

Press studs are another really neat way to finish a design. They are strong and secure and give your bracelet a really professional finish. For this technique, I'm using Realeather's Snap Setter Kit which comes with a metal setter, metal anvil and 20 snaps. You'll also need a hole punch and a hammer.

The studs come in 4 pieces: two for the top stud and two for the base.

Work out where you want the stud to be and punch a hole at each end of the bracelet. For a wide bracelet, two press studs will help the bracelet sit better.
Placing the hole punch in the end of the leather strip and hammering it.

Place the cap of the stud on the base of the anvil, place the hole over the shank and then the stud over the top. Line the setter up in the stud and hammer it to flatten the shank.
Setting the press stud in the punched hole with the setting tool

At the other end of the bracelet, you need to do the same thing with the base components of the stud but make sure that you have the components facing the right way so that the bracelet will snap closed.
Setting the other half of the press stud snap closure into position at the other end of the leather bracelet

Simple, uncomplicated and secure. And the second press stud makes the closure sit nicely as well as making it really comfortable to wear.

A double press stud closure on the leather bracelet.

Here's a gorgeous leather cuff that uses press studs for the closure:
Bejewelled Leather Cuff

I hope these two tips will encourage you to consider including leather and suede in your jewellery making. It adds a lovely organic touch to your designs and it feels wonderful against your skin.

'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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Snowflakes and Crystals - an Icy Combination

Here's a sparkly jewellery set that is perfect not only for Christmas, but also the wintery weather beyond.

Of course, in the southern hemisphere, we enjoy Christmas in the middle of Summer but that's no reason why we can't chill a little with the cool and icy combination of blue and silver. You'll find the full article in the December 2012 issue of Crafts 'n Things.

'Til next time....

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Table Covers for the Studio

It's just over 3 years since I took up residence in my new studio. It seems as if it was only a few months ago.... how quickly time flies!

The biggest evidence of how long it's been is the protective plastic cover on the workshop tables. They've been subjected to dozens of resin workshops, hundreds of papercraft and jewellery projects and a fair bit of gift wrapping in that time. They've taken abuse from heat guns, resin spills, attacks by scissors and pliers and just general day-to-day wear and tear.

This is just a small section and although it isn't clear in the photo, all those pretty spots of colour are lumpy bumpy spots of resin..... it was becoming difficult to find a level area to work on.

So today, it's out with the old and in with the new. 

It's lovely to have a nice clean, level surface to work on again.

But now it's time to set up for the next resin workshop so we can Christen it! FUN!

'Til next time.....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crafts n' things Weekly - fruit of the vine necklace

Today's post is just short and sweet... a free jewellery project thanks to the folks at Crafts 'n Things. But hurry, the link is only live for a week. After that it will still be available in the archives to subscribers. Crafts n' things Weekly - fruit of the vine necklace


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jewellery Wire Organisation

All crafters seem to struggle with storage and organisation, especially as our collection of crafting materials grows. No matter how well you organise, you inevitably have to revisit your storage solutions from time to time. Right now, I'm finding my wire drawer troublesome and it takes too long to find the colour/gauge of wire that I'm looking for underneath all those spools.

This drawer neads taming!

My wire is stored in a drawer in my BEST Craft Organizer and it's handy so I want to keep it there. I was so pleased when I realised that the insert which fits the deep drawers fits 4 spools of Artistic Wire in each cavity perfectly. This looks so pretty.... and definitely organised.
But could organising be this easy?

Unfortunately, no! The new larger, flatter shaped spools of Artistic Wire won't fit in the drawers unless they're stacked on top of one other. It's tidy, but you can't see the wire colour. These new spools really need to stand on their sides but the diameter of the spools is too high for the depth of the drawer. How disappointing!

But I am determined to use my BEST Craft Organizer to store my wire so I've come up with a compromise. This deep drawer will have to take up 3 shelf spaces instead of two shelves of the system. To make it work, I'm going to need a dividing system to keep everything in place.

I've shown you snap and fit type drawer dividers before. You just snap to the length you want and then slot the pieces together in a grid.
Spotlight version on the left, Howards Storage World version on the right.

My local Spotlight store no longer stocks them but luckily, Howards Storage World does! And in different depths for different sized drawers.

So after a little fiddling around with how things would fit, this is what I've ended up with.

This should keep that wire organised for a while longer.... at least until I add to the collection again. Luckily, it can be reconfigured as the collection grows!

'Til next time....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Faux Barbed Wire Wrap Bracelet

Here's the second of the two new classes in this month's workshop lineup.

This one is for the fashionista who likes to walk on the wild side!

Let me show you how to make your own faux barbed wire wrap bracelet using readily available materials. It will certainly draw some interesting comments. 

Made from jewellery cord and paint, the barbs are actually quite soft and won't scratch your skin at all, yet it gives a realistic look of barbed wire. Teamed with some glass hearts and silver filigree balls, this goth style bracelet will suit anyone with a little rebel in them.
And it's versatile too: not only can it be worn as a wrap bracelet, but it does double duty as a single strand necklace. Please email me to make a booking.

'Til next time.....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wire Bird's Nest Bracelet Class

I've added two new jewellery classes to this month's teaching schedule. The first one is working with coloured wire to make a sweet little bird's nest with a clutch of pearl eggs. And the second one I'll tell you about next week.

If you've ever had the experience of store bought jewellery falling apart on you, then this class is perfect for you. You will learn how to make wrapped loops at each end of every bead so that your jewellery never falls apart!

You get to choose the colour of the wire to make your nest with and select coordinating beads from my extensive collection. There are some really pretty beads to choose from so designing your own bracelet will be half the fun of this class.

More details can be found on the Current Class Schedule page at Mill Lane Studio.  Bookings can be made by emailing me.

'Til next time....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sweet Resin Candy Treats

Today's post is short and sweet!

Here's a little bit of candy (or should I say, resin candy) for your Halloween enjoyment.

In Australia we call these "100s and 1000s" and one of our favourite ways of serving them is to sprinkle them on buttered white bread which we then call Fairy Bread. Cut it into triangles, serve at children's birthday parties and watch it disappear... yumm. What a lovely sweet treat!

Happy Halloween to all my northern hemisphere friends!

'Til next time....