Friday, October 31, 2014

Black Cat's Eye Pendant - Bewitching!

Need a last minute jewellery project for Halloween? How about this glowing black cat's eye pendant made with EnviroTex Jewelry Resin! No need to save it just for Halloween though - it will be perfect for Friday the 13th too!

I played around in Photoshop and created a few different eyes (different colours, different pupil shapes) but I picked the second eye for this Halloween project.
Click here to get the file, print it and cut the eyes out. They are sized to fit a 1" bezel when printed on A4 (you may need to make adjustments if you print on Letter size paper). If you colour copy them (with a laser printer) onto transparency film you won't have to seal them but if you print them onto paper, make sure you seal them thoroughly with Mod Podge and allow the sealant to dry completely before proceeding.

Mix the resin according to the instructions and spoon a small amount into the bezel with a wooden stir stick. You need just enough so that you can spread it out to the edges evenly. If you have any bubbles in the resin, pop them by blowing on them through a straw.

Place the edge of the eye under the surface of the resin and slide it into position.

Sometimes, you still get a big bubble underneath.
Large bubble trapped in the resin under the transparency

If that happens, place the wooden stir stick behind the bubble and push it to the edge of the bezel. If you place the stir stick in the middle of the bubble, you'll break it up into lots of smaller bubbles that are much harder to remove.

Pop the bubbles and then spoon more resin over the top of the eye, spreading it out to the edges.
Using a wooden stir stick to expel the air bubble trapped under the transparency.

Top up the resin until it's a nice dome shape and then set the bezel aside to cure. Then all you need do is string the eye pendant onto a silicone cord or chain and you're all set for the bewitching hour!

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Resin Cat's Eye Pendant 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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fabulous Jewelry from Findings is here! And Your Chance to Win a Copy.

I love it when unexpected deliveries arrive at my door! This week, I got a surprise delivery - one which made my day. I had hoped it might arrive before Christmas, but here we are in October and the advance copy of my new book "Fabulous Jewelry from Findings: Chic Designs using Spacers, Caps, Clasps, and More" arrived by courier, all the way from the US. This book has been three years in the making and to see it finally come to fruition is a dream come true. To say I'm excited would be an understatement!

Fabulous Jewelry from Findings is a jewellery making book with a difference - there are no beads, no embellishments and no crystals. Instead, the projects in this book show you how to make chic and elegant jewellery using nothing but jewellery findings: where clasps become necklaces, bead caps become rings and spacers become bracelets. You'll do a double take as you realise what these jewellery pieces are made of!

These innovative designs will have you looking at jewellery findings in a whole new light! But don't just take my word for it: read what Molly Fletcher from AllFreeJewelryMaking has to say about Fabulous Jewelry from Findings. And whilst you're there, you can enter the giveaway for your chance to win an advance copy of the book.

Fabulous Jewelry from Findings is scheduled for release on 1 December 2014 but you can get your copy now by clicking here and it will take you to Amazon. Or if you're in Australia, you can order from my website and get a signed copy.

I hope you'll be inspired!

'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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knot-a-Bead Tool - How to Knot Pearls and Beads Perfectly!

Knotted pink bead necklace and earrings set

Earlier this year I saw Beadalon's cool new Knot-A-Bead Tool in action at CHA. It made quick work of knotting strands of beads and the demonstrator made it look SO EASY. But if you've ever watched a product demo at a craft show, you'll know that it looked much easier when the demonstrator did it than when you tried to do it at home. But I'm happy to say that this is NOT one of those occasions.... this tool is every bit as easy to use as it looks and I'm pretty impressed with how well it works. It's definitely a tool worth adding to my collection!

So let's take a look at the knotting process.

You'll need:
Beadalon Knot-a-Bead tool
Silk thread
Clam shell bead tips (aka calottes)
G-S Hypo Cement
Needle Tool
Beads or pearls of your choice

I'm working with silk thread which comes with a needle already attached. It even has a knotted end (so it won't fray) so I've just threaded on a calotte (from the inside of the hole).
Silk thread knot inside a clam shell

Next, string your beading pattern onto the thread. I like to place a bead stopper on the thread to keep the beads from slipping off the needle again. Slide the first bead down to the calotte and place the calotte and bead over the metal spindle.
Placing the silk cord over the shaft of the bead knotting tool

Pick up the bead in your right hand and tie an overhand knot around the thread in your left hand
Forming a half knot around the spindle of the bead knotting tool

Pull the knot up so that the bead sits next to the spindle
Pulling up the knot against the spindle

Then pull the thread UPWARDS. This makes sure that the knot is right up alongside the bead. This next bit is important.... push the bead over the spindle, towards the back of the tool so that the thread is in front.
Pulling the knot tightly up against the bead

Now slide the bead to the right of the spindle and place the thread through the hook. You'll need to do this with your right hand but I'm doing it with my left hand because I'm holding the camera with my right. With your left hand, slide the button to the left whilst pulling the cord with your right hand. I found that I could work the knot right up to the bead by doing this slowly.
Releasing the knotted bead from the spindle.

Keep sliding the beads along the thread, and knotting them one at a time until all the beads are knotted. To finish off a strand, string on another calotte (from the outside of the hole) and create the knot as before.
Adding a calotte and a knot to finish the beaded strand.

To secure the knots so they won't unravel, place a dab of GS-Hypo Cement or nail polish on the knot. When it's dry, trim away the excess thread and close the calotte over the knot.
Knotted end with a dab of G-S Hypo cement added

How to Fix Mistakes

This is such an easy way to string a necklace and a great alternative to using eye pins to connect components together. But sometimes, you get it wrong and forget to place a knot in the right place..... oops!
Knotted bead strand with missing knot inbetween the last two beads.

It's easy to fix if you notice it straight away. Use a needle tool to loosen the knot, undo it and then continue on your way. As long as your design doesn't have lengths of unbeaded cord in between your beading pattern, any kinks in the stringing material should be hidden.
Loosening the knot with a needle tool

I have to say, that the instructions that come with the Knot-A-Bead Tool are pretty clear once you understand them but if you can't make heads or tails of them, then check out Beadalon's YouTube video and watch the tool in action - all of a sudden, those written instructions will become crystal clear!

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Pearl knotting inspiration sheet

Happy knotting!

'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