Friday, July 19, 2013

What is that Finding?

Whilst I was picking up some of the beads and findings that had scattered across the studio floor today, I spotted a strange piece of metal catching the light. At first I thought it was just an offcut of twisted wire but as I got closer to it, I realised it was a wire guardian - those strange little horse shoe shaped findings.

It's been a while since I took a look at an unusual shaped finding so this is a perfect opportunity to see just what a wire guardian is and more importantly, how you use it.

Wire guardians are used at the beginning and end of bracelets and necklaces to help protect the beading wire from abrasion by your clasp, especially in bracelet designs which can take a bit of knocking about as you wear them.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to use them:

String a crimp tube on the end of your beading wire.

Thread the wire up through one arm of the wire guardian.....
 and down through the other arm.

String the clasp (or split ring, or whatever finding your design calls for) onto the wire and into the loop of the wire guardian.

Thread the wire back through the crimp.....

and crimp it securely in place.

And here's what it looks like - it's really neat and tidy, the clasp has some wriggle room and the wire guardian stops the beading wire from being worn away by the movement of the clasp.

Wire guardians are relatively new to the jewellery making scene but you should be able to pick them up at bead stores stocking Beadalon products.

'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, July 12, 2013

How to Replace the Jaws on Nylon Jawed Pliers

My book deadline is inching closer every day and it's time to begin photography of the step-by-steps. I've done the test photos to make sure the lighting is good and I've got all the settings right on my camera and my publisher has approved them. But it's amazing what detail the macro lens picks up.

Apart from my hands being under the microscope (I see a manicure in the very near future!), so are my tools. And it's quite apparent that I have loved them almost to death. Take a look at my nylon jaw pliers to see what I mean....
Nylon jaw pliers with hacked up nylon sleeves

Luckily, just like my hands and nails, my nylon jaw pliers too can have a makeover! Here's how you do it.

Just undo the screw with a screwdriver
Unscrewing the screw with a screwdriver

Replace the old nylon sleeve with a new one .....
Sliding the nylon sleeve onto the pliers

 and screw it back in with a bit of pressure so that the screw penetrates the nylon.
Using a screwdriver to replace the new nylon sleeve onto the pliers

And that's all there is to it - brand new pliers to straighten out all my kinked wire!
The nylon jaw pliers with the replaced nylon tips.

Want to see this in action? Watch the video below:

Now, next makeover on the agenda is my hands. It's time to book that manicure!
Pin this Tip!
Nylon Jaw Pliers Tip Replacement 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

Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest Blog Post for Cousin - Elfin Earring Wires Tutorial

I'm the guest blogger over at Cousin Corp this week.  I hope you'll wander over to take a look at my post on how to make elfin or almond-shaped earring wires.

If you're a regular reader of my blog or if you've ever bought one of my tutorials, you'll know that I like to give you LOTS of step-by-step photos so that you can see exactly how to create the project at hand. So I've included another couple of design ideas below which didn't quite fit the space constraints of the blog post.

These pearl earrings are referred to as "ear wires 5" in the article. The bead is threaded on to the head pin before being turned into an earing wire. It's such a sleek but elegant look without a loop on the earring!

And these are referred to as "ear wires 2" - they have a longer tail and a shorter loop section so the point of the earring wire won't poke you in the neck.

Cousin are currently hosting a series of guest blog posts from jewellery makers around the world so don't forget to check out their blog each Friday for a new dose of inspiration.

P.S. I would appreciate it if you left a comment on the post :)

'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, July 3, 2013

Boho Style - Recipe for how to make a Successful Bangle Stack

Bracelet and bangle stacks are a huge trend in the fashion world at the moment and if you're a jewellery maker then this is a very easy look for you to achieve. It's an "anything goes" look but if you follow the recipe below, you'll nail this trend.

  • colour - monochromatic or complementary
  • a variety of widths 
  • texture 
Start with one statement piece and then use a stack of simple bracelets to build around it.

  1. Choose a monochromatic colour scheme to be on the safe side or add some pop with a complementary colour - it will turn your bangle stack into an eyestopper.
  2. Start with one wide bangle as the base for your bangle stack. Select several narrower bangles and bracelets in varying widths
  3. Include texture to add interest to your bangle stack - use organic materials like leather/suede-lace, textured or smooth metals, glossy or matt glass, natural or stained wood, resin/acrylics - think about using a variety of materials. The elements can be carved, woven, strung or braided. Remember, anything goes!
This stack consists of a woven suede-lace bangle (see the technique here), shiny glass donuts, blingy Shamballa beads, Deerskin lace and hammered gold rings - lots of textures and finishes but it all works well together.
Bangle stack of 4 bangles and bracelets including gold rings woven with tan lace, shamballa beads and twine, orange peel domed woven leather bangle and transparent glass donut beads on woven beading cord.

Here's the list of the materials used:

The bangle is woven from Realeather Sof-Suede lace
Czech glass donuts (Fire Mountain Gems)
Shamballa beads (Just Bead It! available from Spotlight)
Realeather Deer Skin lace
Hammered gold rings (Michaels Craft Stores)

Give this look a try - it's fun to mix and match your pieces together. Don't be afraid to add some inexpensive discount store pieces too - it will all add to the overall look!

Check out these related posts:
Domed Woven Leather Bangle
Woven Leather Ring

'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