Thursday, March 27, 2014

Resin and Glitter Don't Always Make for a Good Combination

Have you ever had that uneasy feeling when you realise you've taken on more projects than you can comfortably juggle?

I have so many projects on the go in the studio at the moment that my workspace is overflowing with works in progress. And some of these projects just shouldn't be worked on at the same time. I mean, glitter and resin are normally a great combination but when you are making man cave resin coasters, hot pink glitter is not the choice material to have floating around the studio!

Of course, it isn't helping that I'm flitting backwards and forwards between the girly project in one corner of my studio and the mancave project in the other. But I'm on a very tight time frame to meet a commission deadline and have to squeeze it all in so I am painstakingly removing these pesky specks one by one. What was I thinking working on these two projects at the same time?

The good news is that apart from the stray glitter, the man cave project is going really well!

Here's a peek at the resin process.

I forgot to take photos of the first resin pour but here you can see that the first layer of resin is already poured and cured. I've placed the sealed image face down in another layer of resin and left it to cure overnight.

Colouring the pigment for the third layer of resin came next.

Each batch of resin has to have the same intensity so the coasters are consistent in colour.

Once the pigment is thoroughly mixed, it's time to pour.

And finally, after another 24 hours of curing, it's time for the big reveal!

Well, you didn't think I was actually going to show you the finished coasters, did you? That will have to wait for another day because the customer wants to surprise her partner with them so I can't spill the beans. But I can say that they look pretty good!

Once all six of these are finished, I'll be moving back to the girly project where I can glitter away to my heart's content without fear of turning someone's man cave into a glitter palace!

'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, March 24, 2014

A French Affaire - Pearls for the Girls!

Over the next month I'll be working with glass pearls a lot. You see, my youngest sister will soon be celebrating a milestone birthday and I'm so excited to be organising her party. She dreams of one day travelling to Paris but as that's not on the cards just at the moment, we will be bringing France to her! To help make it an affair to remember, there will be a handmade pearl bracelet for every female who is attending, made by moi!

So here's the first one, classic black and white:

Ideally, I'd be using 1mm stretch elastic to string the glass pearls for this bracelet but because there is only a single hole on the back of the rose and I'm stringing a double stranded bracelet, I'm using 0.5mm.

Finished size: Internal diameter 65mm (2 5/8") approximately

So here's what you'll need:

Cut two 20cm (8") lengths of elastic and pre-stretch them to minimise overstretching from wear. Place both cords in the bead stopper and then thread them through the rose. String one 4mm pearl on both cords. Separate the cords and thread a 4mm pearl on each one.

String a 6mm pearl on each cord followed by three 8mm pearls and then thread each cord through a hole in the spacer. String four 8mm pearls on each cord and a spacer, then string five 8mm pearls on each cord and the spacer. Finish stringing the bracelet by reversing the stringing order: four 8mm pearls and a spacer, three 8mm pearls, two 6mm pearls and two 4mm pearls. Bring the cords back together and string one 4mm pearl.

Remove the bead stopper and tie the four cords together using a surgeon's knot. Tighten the knot by pulling both the knot and the cord. Secure the knot with your choice of adhesive. Once it's dry, trim the ends and slide the knot inside the rose.

This is a generously sized bracelet so to make it smaller, just adjust the number of pearls between each spacer.

I'll share some more pearl bracelets with you over the coming weeks. Please stop by and see what other designs I make!

 '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 12, 2014

Resin Floral Bracelet - a Simple but Timeless Design

I've been playing around with dried flowers and resin in the studio lately and one of the pieces I made is the pretty floral focal in the bracelet below. You can learn how to make pieces like this in the Resin Jewellery Workshop (held monthly in my studio).

The flower-on-flower look is rather sweet and it only needs a simple stringing design to highlight how pretty it is. I chose watermelon pink glass pearls and just a hint of green to play up the floral nature of the bead.

Whilst you most likely don't have a similar resin component on hand, don't let that stop you from recreating this simple design - just choose a focal bead with WOW! factor and beads that complement it. Here's what you'll need:
  • a knockout focal bead of your choice
  • 6 coordinating 8mm beads (I used 4 rounds and 2 bicones from Cousin Corp) 
  • 14 #8 seed beads
  • 68 4mm glass pearls 
  • 2 3mm metal spacer beads. 

You'll also need:
  • 7 eye pins
  • 2 #2 crimp tubes
  • 2 crimp covers
  • 2 wire guardians
  • 0.012" beading wire
  • 2 split rings
  • a magnetic clasp

Start by threading an eye pin through the focal bead and bending the pin at a 90° angle right above the hole.

Then trim it to about 1cm (3/8") and turn a simple loop.

On another eye pin, string two seed beads, an 8mm round, and two more seed beads. Turn a simple loop and then make a second component to match. Create two more components consisting of one seed bead, a bicone and another seed bead. And finally, make two components using just a round.

Cut two 30cm (12") pieces of 0.012 beading wire (you need to use fine beading wire in order to pass both wires through the wire guardian). Place the ends together and thread them through a crimp tube. Thread the wires through one side of the wire guardian and then the other. Thread the wires back through the crimp tube making sure they do not cross over each other and then crimp securely in place.

Cover the crimp tube with a crimp cover and use a Mighty Crimper to carefully close the cover around the crimp tube.

Keep the two short wires together with one of the long wires and string a 3mm spacer bead and a seed bead. Repeat on the other long wire.

String eight 4mm glass pearls on each strand. Thread the wires through the eye loops of a short "round" component. String two more pearls on each strand followed by the bicone component, two pearls and the long round component. String five pearls and then the eye loops of the resin focal. String the other side of the bracelet to match and finish the stringing with a crimp and wire guardian.

Use split ring pliers to open a split ring.....

.....and attach one half of a magnetic heart-shaped clasp to one end. Repeat for the other end of the bracelet and you're finished!

The secret to making a stunning focal bead like this work is to make sure you don't have other beads competing with it. Keeping the design simple and highlighting an attribute of the bead is what makes the bead shine. In this case the green in the coordinating beads almost behaves like leaves around the flower.

So keep this design principle in mind the next time a stunning bead crosses your jewelry making table - let the focal bead do the talking and the coordinating beads be the support act!

'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