Saturday, October 15, 2016

Words to Live By for Jewellery Makers

Whether a jewellery maker likes to dabble on the fringes of fashion, is right up there with the latest trend or has a style that is uniquely their own, there's one surefire thing that identifies us as a tribe: it's our love of colourful and sparkly things.

In honour of that, I've gathered together a few thoughts and quotes that have resonated with me lately and teamed them with some pretty jewellery - I hope you enjoy the quotes and eye candy too!

Be classy and be fabulous... Coco says so!

Cake is just not the same without the icing on top!

Need I say more!

Live life to the full!

Be your sparkliest self!

'Til next time......

Monday, October 10, 2016

Marble-ous Resin - How to Create a Faux Marble Finish

My niece recently celebrated her 30th birthday and as the family crafter, I scored all of the wooden numbers that decorated the tables that night. What a treasure for a compulsive crafter! As a thank you, I promised to make one specially decorated "30" for the birthday girl to keep as a memento of the occasion. She left it in my hands to decorate it in any style I wanted but she did stipulate one thing.... that it be in her favourite colour - PINK! I knew immediately what I wanted to do - give the numbers a faux marble finish using resin. Marble is all the rage at the moment and achieving this look with resin is much easier than you might think!
Wooden numerals (30) marbled with pink, silver and white resin for a 30th birthday.

This faux marble technique was developed by the clever folks at ETI more than 20 years ago and I promise you that it is super easy and gives marble-ous results!

Here's what you'll need:

Can you Colour Epoxy Resin with Acrylic Paint?

A selection of different brands of acrylic paints
The short answer is, YES, you can. But....
Not all acrylic paints work well in epoxy resins. Each resin has it's own formulation, as does each acrylic paint and they're sometimes not compatible. But the large colour range available makes it worth trying them out. Before colouring all the resin you've mixed, test your chosen colours in  a small amount of resin first. If any of the paints don't mix into the resin properly and you get granules of undissolved pigment through the resin, then make a note (keep a journal of what you've tried). It doesn't necessarily mean that those paints don't work in epoxy, it just means that they didn't work in the brand of epoxy that you used. Keep in mind that those same paints might work marvellously in a different brand of epoxy. In general, I've found that the more expensive artist quality paints have worked really well in epoxy resin but I've also had success with some, but not all, of the cheaper craft paint brands.

Prepping the Surface

Before starting, cover your work space with the painter's drop sheet.

Apply a coat of paint to the front and side edges of the numbers to seal the wood. Choose a colour that will work with the colours you've chosen for the marbling. This base colour will give the marbling colours a little more oomph!

Tip: After creating a few projects with this technique, I found that there was a much easier way to clean up the drips that collect on the back of the project than babysitting the resin and brushing them away as they form. Instead, tear short strips of painter's tape and apply to the edges of the back of the number before you mix the resin.....
Short strips of masking tape being applied to the outer edge of the number zero

And then, trim the tape as close as you can to the edge. Now continue on with the tutorial. 
Trimming the overhanging tape around the edge of the painted wooden number.

Once the resin has completely cured, you can carefully remove the tape and then apply a coat of paint to the back for a really neat finish. 
Removing the tape and the resin drips from the back of the wooden number.

Number 30 marbled with purple, silver and white resin
Now.... back to the nitty gritty of the tutorial.

Elevate the numbers on the Painter's Pyramids.
Painted wooden numbers elevated on painter's pyramids

Mixing and Colouring the Resin

From here on in, you'll need to wear gloves. Measure out the two parts of resin in equal quantities. You'll need approximately 90ml (3oz) of mixed resin for numbers of this size. It might seem like a lot of resin for a small project but to achieve the marble finish, you need twice as much resin as you'd normally use.
Pouring out the resxin into a graduated measuring cup.

The mixing instructions in the kit are really good and for best results, you should follow them to the letter. But basically, mix the two parts together for two full minutes, scraping any unmixed resin off the sides of the cup a couple of times.
Stirring the resin to mix it thoroughly.

Transfer the resin to a second cup.
Pouring the partially mixed resin into a second mixing cup to complete the mixing process.

And then mix for a further minute. This double mixing method gives reliable results so it's worth the extra effort.
Stirring the resin until it is thoroughly mixed.

Before adding colour to the resin, make sure you read the note about using acrylic paints in resin at the beginning of the tutorial.
Pour 7.5mls (1/4 oz) of mixed resin into a small cup and 15mls (1/2 oz) into each of the other two small cups. Add a small squirt (just a few drops) of colour into each one. Only use as much paint as it takes to make the resin opaque. If you over-do the paint, the resin will not cure properly.
Adding drops of acrylic paint into each cup of resin.

Mix the paint into each cup of resin thoroughly.
Stirring the silver acrylic paint into mixed resin.

You can see that the colour in these four pots is only just opaque. You don't want to add any more paint than is necessary. But if you're colours aren't quite opaque enough, just add a little more, one drop at a time.
Four cups of coloured resin: white, silver, light pink and dark pink.

Creating the Faux Marble Effect

Pour the base colour across the numbers. You want the resin to flow over the sides.
White resin drizzled diagonally across the pink painted number 3

Drizzle the main feature colour across the numbers at an angle.
Drizzling the light pink resin diagonally across the number 3

Use a wooden stir stick to drizzle thin strands of the two highlight colours across the numbers diagonally.
Drizzling the dark pink resin across the number three with a wooden stir stick.

Very lightly draw the brush across the surface of the resin randomly. This will open up and soften the marble patterns in the next step.
Drawing a disposable acid brush lightly through the resin on the number 3.

Now comes the best part - creating the marbling. It's messy.... but fun!

Pick up the numbers and tip them sideways so the colours begin to run into each other and drip off the edge. Tilt the number in a different direction to give the marbled pattern more movement. You can continue tilting the number in any number of directions until you are happy with the look. I only tilted the numbers in two directions. If you don't like the look you've achieved, you can start again by adding more of each of the colours.
Picking up and tilting the number 3 with gloved hands to allow the resin to flow over the edge, creating the marbled effect.

Use the paint brush to wipe away the drips underneath. Use the excess to paint resin onto the sides and underneath.
Brushing away the resin that has dripped underneath the number 3 with a disposable acid brush.

Spritz the surface lightly with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that have surfaced. If using a gas torch, pass the flame briefly across the surface of the resin until the bubbles pop.
Spritzing tne surface of the marbled resin with rubbing alcohol to pop the bubbles.

You will need to keep wiping the drips away for a couple of hours if you didn't tape the back of the numbers. If your numbers will also be seen from the back, whilst still wearing gloves, pick the numbers up carefully by the edges and spread the resin across the back to smooth it out. Place them back onto the Painter's Pyramids. Dispose of the brush.

Then set the numbers aside in a dust free area to cure for several hours. The manufacturer's directions tell you how long it will take according to the temperature in your work space.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is absolutely marble-ous!
Glossy, marbled resin in shades of pink, silver and white on wooden numbers, 3 and zero.

Like this technique? Pin it!
Wooden number marble with purple acrylic paint mixed into epoxy resin.

Pink marbling how to 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 6, 2016

Houndstooth, Chevron Stripes and Polka Dot Bracelet

If you want to make a statement with your jewellery, you can't go past this combination of bold graphic patterns in black and white. Houndstooth, chevron stripes, polka dots and a pop of red are eye-catching together in this chunky design. With it's simple design and easy to do up magnetic clasp, it will become one of your go-to bracelets when you need to dress up a casual outfit.
Black and white bracelet featuring Houndstooth, Chevron and Polka Dot beads interspersed with red crystal beads.

Here's what you'll need:

Black and white puffy beads, red crystals and stringing materials for Houndstooth bracelet.
Black/white graphic puffy bead strand (Metal Gallery - Hobby Lobby)
Eight 6mm Light Siam Swarovski bicones
7-Strand Black Beading Wire (softer, more flexible beading wires will be difficult to thread through the hollow beads)
Silver Crimp Tubes
Silver Wire Guardians
Silver Magnetic Tube Clasp

Tools: Wire cutters, Euro Tool Crimping Pliers

Cut a 30-35cm (12-14") of beading wire and string on a crimp tube and one arm of the wire guardian.
String a crimp tube and wire guardian on the wire

Thread the beading wire through the other side of the wire guardian, leaving a tail of at least 2.5cm (1").
String a wire guardian onto the beading wire to protect it from wear and tear and to provide a neat and professional finish to your bracelet.

Thread the tail of the wire through the loop of the magnetic clasp. Pull it up onto the wire guardian.
Slide a magnetic clasp onto the beading wire.

Insert the tail back through the crimp.
String the beading wire back through the crimp tube and then slide it up to the clasp before crimping.

Slide the crimp tube up to the wire guardian and make sure the beading wire is sitting snuggly inside the wire guardian.
Slide the crimp tube up to the wire guardian and then crimp securely in place.

Place the crimp tube into the middle hole of the crimping pliers, making sure that the two wires are not crossing over inside the tube. Crimp the tube so that you have a wing on either side of the channel with a wire in each side. Test that it's secure. If not, crimp again.
Place the crimp tube into the crimping pliers and press down firmly to create to wings, each with a wire in it.

Place the crimp sideways into the top hole of the crimping pliers with the wings facing towards the handle.
Place the crimp sideways into the top hole of the crimping pliers with the wings facing towards the handle.

String a bicone, a daisy spacer, a puffy bead and another daisy spacer. Slide these beads up over both of the wires and then trim away the short one close to the daisy spacer.
String a bicone, a daisy spacer, a puffy bead and another daisy spacer.

Continue stringing in this pattern until you reach the desired length for your bracelet. I've strung seven puffy beads and my bracelet fits an average wrist with a bit of play (with the clasp included). Adjust the number of beads to suit your wrist size.
Continue stringing the pattern until you reach the desired length for your bracelet.

String another bicone, a crimp tube and one side of a wire guardian.
String another bicone, a crimp tube and one side of a wire guardian.

String the other side of the wire guardian and slide on the other half of the magnetic clasp. Pull up the slack in the wire and crimp it as before.
String the other side of the wire guardian and slide on the other half of the magnetic clasp.

Thread the beading wire back through the last bicone and then trim away the excess.
Trim away the excess beading wire with flush cutters.

Now you're ready to show off your hip new bracelet. Team it with your favourite T-shirt and jeans and have fun!
Black and white polkadots, houndstooth and chevrons combine to make a playful bracelet perfect for dressing up a T-shirt and jeans.

'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