Saw the family for ThanksGiving and ate like a horse. Two plates, twice the size of me ended with a helping of the Cherry pie too.... makes for no eating at all yesterday. Dad cooked an outstanding turkey, Geo made outstanding, all the rest of the food. ;) and all the brothers, uncles and related kids were there. Fun to watch them... they grow like weeds. I love my family. :)
Dad took up the carpet and found perfect hardwood floors under it. So that was fun for him to show off too - the house looks great! They're off up the mountain next weekend to cut our Xmas trees. I like natural fresh trees during the holiday... nothing wrong with farmed or artificial either but I dig the smell in the house. mmmm....
Anyway... So yesterday I hung out with just me and gave my numbers the day. Made charts, read up on this thing called the Electro Magnetic Coupling Constant and something else on Notable Properties of Numbers... saw some friends for holiday hugs and kisses and then overfed the animals since it's an eating kind of holiday. :) We're all enjoying.... besides, they were making fun of me again. I busted them mid-mischievous tho, so they get no more turkey. You can witness the whole thing here...
Those little dragons, I made a while ago and have given them all away but for the couple I kept for ME. They're super easy to make and so I think they might be a Sunday project or something I save for next week. These are great fun, very easy and here's all you need to do:
Make a 6 inch weeny rope of clay, one side narrowed to a point. Get the lump of clay into a nice round ball and then begin to roll it out with your hands.
Use the end of a small straw to poke crescents into your roll of clay. Try to alternate them like you would lay bricks. This makes them appear more 'scale-ish'. lol.
Use the end of a small paint brush and stick it up the nose to make nose holes. :)
Gently push a couple of hematite beads into the eye sockets. For these, I used 5mm beads.
Add some other beads as decorations around the head if you like. Be creative with seed beads, 1mm silver or gold beads, use wire wrapped beads or coils.... You can add more clay for 'ears', lumps, wings, legs, what ever you imagine your dragon to be.
Coil the tail end in a creative way as a 'pose' and cook your creation in 275 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Polymer clay cooks through 1/4 inch in about 15 or 20 minutes, so because these are thicker then that, I added an additional 20 minutes. If the clay isn't fully cooked, it can be weak and brittle. After a thorough baking, the clay becomes a very hard and durable plastic. You can sand, paint, spray with a glossy or matte finish....
The tail needs to either be coiled to hold the incense stick so remember this when creating the pose for your little dragon. You can optionally put a lump of clay as a 'rock' base and poke holes appropriate for the sticks. I did this in a few of them and it provides you the place to add more wire and/or beads, small twigs or moss... many things.
I added some amethyst stones on a few of them and just love the look. I used rough Aquamarine on a few, rough Kyanite (which was really cool) on one I kept and a few have various quartz crystals.
Have fun! I'll post new images when I get some more made.
Click that image for a super close up so you can get details. After they're cooked and hardened, I spray some with a matte finish. I tried glossy but I'm not sure I like it as much as the matte. Both are fun for variety and everyone loved them.
Well ladies and gents, I'm off to be with my morning coffee and wake up reading. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
((((Squeeeeeze)))) my big mushy hug to you. I'm gone to the bead table!
I love this detailed wire wrapping but wow does it take time. I'm using 26 gauge square wire here for the wrap rather than round wire and I'm finding that I enjoy using the square wire more. I think I have more control over the bands and they lay flatter... personal pref on that, but for those new to wire, you'll discover that round wire is great for some applications and square wire for others. There are various gauges and colors and metal types to choose from and you will soon come to find your preferences of wire for the various projects you make. I like to use 18g round wire as frame wire. I normally hammer the wire frame to add strength and I like to use 26g as the banding wire and like I said earlier, the wire used here is square. The silver accent beads are 1mm sterling silver as are the earring hooks.
Tiny wires, many hours... These are deceptive in their simplicity for they took a very long time. I found that when wrapping the frames, it was easier for me to make a few wraps, then take my flat nose pliers and do just a quick 'tap' to make sure they stayed flat and tight.
The center stones are Russian Charoite and the color is natural. Can you believe??? I love this rock and have made many wonderful pieces using it.
Click the image to enlarge and get a close look. The tops of the frames are wrapped in a 'cap' style because I felt it gave a nice look and also provides a place to tuck in the back wires neatly.
When building your jewelry, I always like to advise that you give some visualization to how you might 'finish' ends or where you are going to tuck the ends of wire. If you are working from a tutorial, then this becomes less important and you can make note of how the tutorial finishes the ends. But when making pieces of our own design, I sometimes forget to give thought to this because my eyes are so full the bead candy that I didn't normally give much thought to the finish. Over time, I've learned that it's just as important as the focal point. I've been training myself to think of the findings as part of the whole design and it's become much more now then to just 'add a hook'. I've found that I enjoy creating new ways to close up my pieces and I really like challenging myself to find 'neat' ways to tuck away the wire. It adds a stamp of quality to your project and your piece of wire jewelry, when you or your customer can wear it, without feeling the 'scratch' of a loose end!
This one is really fun and very easy to do. They are completely decorative so don't expect them to actually hold any hair. These add decoration to the hair, a little sparkle, a little pearl, a little crystal... great for party hair or wedding hair or just fun to make with the girls. You wear them by 'twisting' them into a lock of hair. This is an amazing look to decorate an 'up'-do for a wedding or night out. These are small, so you wear several of them, strategically placed for desired hair blinging. Great to sparkle up braids also. Enjoy!
It's a basic, very wide spiral, using a thick gauge wire and adding some fun beads. Click the images to enlarge.
1. Round nose pliers
2. Flat nose
5. 4 inch long, round, 18 gauge, soft wire. (hard is fine too)
***You'll need one wire per each of these you want to make.
6. 1 foot of 26g, sterling, round, soft wire.
7. 1 foot of 28g, sterling, round, soft wire.
8. A bunch of small, fave beads, 3 to 5mm.
1. After you cut your wires, be sure to file the ends to get the rough edges off.
2. Then using your round nose plier, create a loop at one end.
Preview: You can create the spiral first and then attach the beads, or you can leave the wire straight and create the spiral as you go. Take a look at the images ahead and get an idea of what will work best for your design.
In this project, I am coiling around the gold, so this for me, is easier to do before I spiral the gold.
4. After creating the first loop, anchor a 6mm Swarovski crystal (or your fave bead) to it using the 26g silver wire.
For something that's going to be in hair, something that catches the light and gives a little sparkle is nice. Wrapping the gold fill wire with silver adds to this also.
5. To anchor the bead: Make a bend in your 26g sterling wire, one inch from the end, bringing the short end together with the long end. Thread the entire wire through the center of the bead. The loop made by the wires coming together will form a 'kink' at the end of the bead and keep it from passing through. Anchor it to the gold loop by wrapping with the short end of the silver wire.
6. Using the long end of the wire, coil around the gold in a consistent and even wrap. Stay close and tight to the gold and coil until you are about 2 inches from the other end. Make sure to tap the end of the silver wrap with a flat nose so that it's not sticking out. Taking a minute to tuck the ends in, makes always for a nicer project.
7. Using the 28g sterling wire now, anchor it to gold loop under your bead. Make a couple of tight wraps and then add a 1mm silver bead. Make a couple of tight wraps, moving 'forward' and add another bead. Work like this until you add as many as you like. In this case, I added 11 of the 1mm sterling beads.
8. Thread a 4mm crystal bead and begin to move in the opposite direction, back toward the spiral center. Add another 4mm crystal, wrapping around the main wire to anchor each time.
9. Add a couple of pearls or some other silver beads or some seed beads... have fun with it.
10. I added two small freshwater pears and then finished it up by anchoring the end of the wrap wire under the main center bead. Neat and clean.
11. Take your round nose and create a loop at the unfinished end of the wire. Gently 'pull' and create a spiral by moving around the center cluster. Adjust with your hands until you get a neat spiral.
12. Push the bead cluster forward just slightly from the end. The next image shows the finished project.
That's it... Twist into a lock of hair and be beautiful. :) Make many of these in fun ways using many types of wire and beads. I used gold and silver but you can use craft wires and copper for more casual hair wear.
Enjoy! Thanks for visiting here.
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing!
I apparently have spiral@itis this weekend. ~Crosses eyes ;)
Ohhh... ps... speaking of spiral@-I-tis
I just put out some new digital wallpaper. Have I mentioned I'm working on rebuilding the Uni-verse? ;) Click here to my photo Share blog.
Click the images to enlarge. I give these away, so enjoy it on your desktop! Or if it works for you, feel free to use it as a backdrop to your jewelry photos. Kinda funky but fun.
~Does Electricity have a voice Mr. E?
The finished project are the wire spirals in that photo. Useful for earrings of many fun kinds!
Click on any of the images to enlarge.
1. Round nose pliers
2. Flat nose
5. 2 Gold Fill ear hooks
6. 2, 18 gauge, soft, round, gold fill wires, cut to 6 inches each.
1. After your wires are cut from the spool, get them as straight as you can by rubbing them once or twice. This will also add a bit of tension to the wire.
2. File the ends a time or two to smooth the cut end.
3. Take the round nose pliers and create a bend about 1.5 inches down one side of the wire.
4. Then using your round nose plier, grab the end of the wire and create a tight spiral, moving in the opposite direction as your first bend. Pause and see the next image.
5. This is what you should have. Creating your spiral in this direction creates a nice natural soft "S" shape to the wire. You will create about 2 full turns. This will be tightened up later so don't sweat it.
6. Remove the pliers from the loop and grab the loose end of the wire about 3/4 inches down from the loop intersection.
7. Grab the wire with the 'small' end of the plier and create a tight loop, over lapping the wire on the 'top'. Click that image to enlarge and get a good look. Bring the wire around, the best that you can. This is where you might have to muscle it a bit. You are going to create another spiral above the 3/4 inch straight part. This requires that you wrap this wire above it. Once you get the first bend around the center loop, it will be easier to get your flat nose pliers and continue the spiral. See the next image for a glance ahead.
8. Continue to spiral three complete turns and the spiral will grow to almost meet the first one.
9. Once the second spiral is created, take the round nose pliers and grab the top of the loose end. You're about to make the final spiral.
10. Create this spiral moving in the opposite direction as the second one. You are creating the shape of an "S" in between them. Use your flat nose pliers and gently continue that spiral until you meet the intersection of the first two. This will require a little muscle also and patience. You need a firm grip, but gentle enough to not scratch your wire. Take your time and manage control over the shape. Adjust your loop and first spiral as you go. the goal is to create a 'threesome' as evenly as you can.
11. This will be the finished set. Here's a word of forward thinking... when making earrings, and especially so with wire spirals... keep in mind that one earring goes in 'one direction' and the bends of the other, go in the other direction.
It's not harmful if you make two pair the same, or if the spirals are a little off...it's the charm of handmade... but it is something to be aware of.
Now, I didn't 'finish' these because I wanted you to see how many things are possible with this simple design. Click to enlarge that image. I show the backside on the left and the front of the earring is the one on the right. You have a small intersection where you can attach all kinds of fun beads.
You can put a small chain of three or four links on these, string up a number of these beads and create a few different looks. You can also use this technique by using longer wire and adding a couple more turns in the spirals, to create a pendant to match the earrings. Adding a couple more turns will create a slightly larger version of these earrings. Nice for a matched set. Remember that you have that 'straight spine to the back of the earring to attach anything you need. I made these loops at the earring tops larger because I like to wrap with a silver half round wire, but you can optionally make that loop smaller, the spirals larger... have fun with it and try different things for your own look. I'm hoping that this simple multi-spiral project will give you something versatile to play with!
I'll post mine when I get them done. This looks great in silver wire also! Something I like to do with earrings lately is mix the metals. I think the larger gold wire accented with silver half round is cool look. I think that's what I'm going to do...
Have fun and thanks for visiting here! Now I have to remove my beast and finish my earrings. You see why I can be so disorganized? Half my beads leave the table in between her toe nails.... sheesh!
~ Okay, here are my finished pair. I added some half round silver wire in 21 gauge to the top to give some substance and shine there. Then using the back spine and some thin silver wire, attached these two AAA 8mm, Iolite, briolette beads.... ooolala! I hope this project gives you some wonderful ideas!
~ Polish off the paw prints, put into a cute white bowl (yes that's what my 'background' is), get some photos ... and poof! Another wonderful pair of earrings ready for holidays or any daze! ;)
Enjoy and have fun with these.
'Swan Earrings' - This will be the finished project. It'll take you about 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Once you get the hang of this, it'll take you way less. You can make many pair of these in a very short time.
Click any of these images to enlarge.
1. Round nose pliers
2. Flat nose
5. Two beads with holes drilled 18 or larger gauge (sometimes a visual will tell you if your wire will fit that hole).
6. Two gold filled, round, soft, 18 gauge wire, cut to 4 inches each.
1. Take the end of a wire with the round nose pliers. Get a firm grip about one quarter inch down the nose of the pliers.
2. Roll the pliers toward you as close against the wire as you can. You want as 'round' a center bend as you can get. But don't sweat it if it's not 'perfect'. That's the charm of hand made jewelry. Just try to be careful not to 'nick' the end.
3. Once you have a nice bend and center loop, gently turn the pliers to create a spiral. Once the first turn is made, it will be easier to get the flat nose pliers and continue the bend.
4. With your flat nose pliers, take the wire firmly but careful not to scratch. Hold onto the loose end close to the plier to maintain control and continue to roll the spiral (about 2 complete turns).
5. In this earring, we are leaving a small 'air space' in between the spiraled wire. This makes room for the earring hook to attach later. It also is a nice affect. In some cases, to add strength, we might have used a hammer to flatten the wire a bit, but in this case, the beads are not heavy and the wire is thicker. These will hold their shape without worry.
6. Once the spiral is complete, thread the bead. You are going to bend the spiral end 'up' to rest on the center of the bead. With your eye, gauge the appropriate distance. Normally, this is just a smidge shorter then the length of the bead. Remember, you can always tighten up that spiral a bit if you need.
7. Hold onto the bead with one hand and at the same the lose end of the wire. Take the spiral with the other hand and push it up and tight against the side of the bead. As an option, you can do this bend using the round nose plier to make the initial curve. I just find that if you can bend around the bead, it makes for a more natural line in the wire, in the part I call the 'neck' of the Swan.
8. Now here before you cut to shorten the end, keep in mind that you have some creative room. In this example, we're just going to make a simple single turn loop to close up and add a small spiral. You can optionally leave that wire longer and create a tight, larger spiral to cover the bead center if you like that look.
9. Using the round nose pliers, put a spiral into the unfinished end. Use the steps above to remember how to spiral. ;)
10. Leave a small amount of 'bending' room in the wire. Bend the spiral up and onto the bead. Do you see how this makes either side of the earrings 'wearable'? If you get the type of ear wires that allow for an open 'S' curve in the end (or you make some), then you have a 'two for one' pair of earrings.
11. Add your ear wires, rub off your finger prints and enjoy!
Thanks for visiting! IzzyzGumbo@gmail.com
Have you ever had one of those days when your hands just want to bend wire without the plan part? So then your eyes conspire and you sit in a total blank gaze, staring at the stones wondering why you can't figure out a design today...
Then all of a sudden... the roll of a dice! Your hands begin to move, the wire is being cut in some kind of furious whirl, beads are being pulled out of bins, 1/2 round is being cut without measure, scotch tape is everywhere....
Yep, that's what just happened to me again over the past few hours. I twisted up two pendants and mangled another piece that I have sitting in that pile of 'projects on hold'.
These two are what I managed to finish. The images below show front and 'back sides'.
Wire can be a very deceptive thing. You wouldn't think there is over 4 feet of wire in each of these, but there is! I used 21g sterling silver square wire with 21g 1/2 round for binding. Those gauges are within the 'normal' when wrapping med to larger sized cabochon. The banded agate pendant (purple) is approx 2 inches long and just over 4mm in width. The other geode is approx 1.5 inches at it's widest point and it's approx 10mm in depth. With the bails, the length on each is increased about half an inch. My bails, I like to make closed, but large enough that most chains can fit through. I don't make an open bail unless I need to hook the pendant over beads. I'll have to share a nifty trick I learned from Preston ( http://www.wire-sculpture.com). He makes the most wonderful little pendant hooks that easily slip through a closed bail, which you can then hook around a string of beads. BRILLIANT way to use those 2 inch to 4 inch wire scraps you sometimes get when trimming ends.
Overall, chaos no plan times are fun. You never know what will come out of your brain. One of a kind designs for sure... I ended up totally loving these even though I didn't mean to create them today and had no plan when the wire went on.
Sighs... as much fun as that is, please take note when I say, it can be a very expensive indulgence of creative spirit also. I've mangled, had to cut away and wasted many feet of wire over time doing this. It's best to have a game plan when cutting your wire and starting your project. But, sometimes it's just amazing to explore what you don't know is up there. Try it... you might dig it. :)
I hope you like these. They are now listed in my Etsy store! Please see the side panel for a quick link to the listings!
When things start to look like this... it's time to get organized!
Inspiration and maniac wire bending can be so much fun that I move from one project to the next... never mind cleaning up until my creative mood has had it's fill of creating!
But when it's time....
Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to get organized....
- What to do with tools? Use something handy to store them for quick 'grabbing'. Some wire benders have found very creative ways to handle tool storage without spending oodles of money. What I use are those little wire racks from the local 'Walmart' store. They're the snap together storage shelving. The units are usually less then $20.00 and not only hold the tools, but also make great shelving for beads and what-nots. Tool storage is essential to the well keeping of your investments also. Notice how I praise and how I use, Lindstrom RX tools? Well, they're a decent penny when you start collecting them so... storage always keeps tools, not only handy, but in good shape.
- What about storage and easy access to 'wire' or ribbons or ropes or other 'string' type materials? Well, if they come on a spool... then normally I use a dowel, slip it through one of the metal storage units and store the spools there. Those wire storage units are great for all kinds of things and a dowel at the local hardware or hobby store is just about a buck or two.
- Hanging almost finished project pieces (like earrings...?) WIRE STORAGE UNITS. Great for slipping tools into, great for slipping dowels into and great for hanging earrings all over also! And if your necklaces or bracelets have a hook for a clasp, then these are great for hanging those on also. Just because those wire squares come designed to 'snap together' into a shelf doesn't mean you HAVE to use it that way. Get a few extra, get some coffee hooks (if you're a true DIY personality, your walls have holes). Screw the coffee hooks into the wall, use one of the wire squares to hang on it and then hang your finished or mid project jewelry there for temp storage.
- And what about bead project management? Well, see that wooden tray? I get those from the local hobby shops. I find them on sale and have purchased them for less then $3.00 each. I also pick up some really inexpensive felt which I cut to fit the inside of the treys. This way, I can lay out the beads for any given project and they don't slip away all over the place. This also makes for really quick clean up. When company comes I can easily and quickly just grab the tray, the beading board and dash them off into the studio closet. My beads, tools and project wires are all 'right there'. I get tons of these and keep larger or more complicated beading projects on them. This way, I can also just as easily grab the project I want with all things ready and go to town.
- Certainly you'll use beading boards when laying out a design (for length and organization). These also are not that expensive and can be found either online or at the local hobby stores. I get a few of these also because if you are in love with jewelry making... you have more then one project going on at a time. It sucks to remove beads from the board, layout another design, etc. Just get a few (at least a couple).
- The other thing I love using for bead management are those wonderful little compartmentalized plastic bead or project boxes. Sometimes, you can find those at a local hardware store for less than the hobby stores. They can be used to hold all kinds of small goodies like beads, findings, wire... anything. The limitation is that normally, the compartments are small so while they're great for BEADS BEADS AND MORE BEADS... some beads are too big. So, for those, I spend an extra buck and get the version of storage box that allows for adjustable compartments.
- Need a 'table space' to declare as your workbench? For this one, I say 'know thyself'... I'm one who doesn't always clean up project after project and who works on more then one project at a time. So I use banquet tables. Yep... those 6 to 8 feet long, plane, no frills, no drawers, banquet tables. You can find these anywhere... Home Depot for example. They range from $40 to $80 bucks, are wide, long and durable, not to mention, easy to move around for when you're ready to reorganize again and add to your creative space!
I decided to write this short article on some simple reminders about body and posture while at the jewelry table. We all know that eventually, the joy and passion of jewelry creation will work it's way from the beading table over to the computer desk. We love to share, blog, learn more and then sell our work which means you can bet on it, that you will be here too.
I bring this topic up because I found I had some aches and pains after long projects.
Time to change some things up and not let that get out of control.
1. When working with wire wrapping, you will find that your hands and wrists fatigue. It's logical if you think about the motion of hands and wrists while using pliers, holding wire firm, pulling wire, etc. If your arms are not conditioned, you may ache in the forearms, back and shoulders as though you've played tennis the day before.
- Make sure to plan your projects in such a way that you have time in between to rest and stretch your hands, legs, back, arms...
- Use helpful techniques to assist you in keeping wire together to relieve some hand tension. Use tape, banding wires, twist ties, clamps, etc. where you can and where appropriate for your project.
- If IT HURTS or is an unnatural body motion when you are wrapping your wire, chances are you are making it harder on yourself then it should be. Don't take unnatural bends or motions into your posture. Set your piece down. Pick it up in such a way that you can make the bends and wraps without contorting yourself. I mention this because in the beginning, I found I didn't want to 'let the wire go' for fear I would lose control over it. Learn to put it down if you feel aching in your movements or if your movements are unnatural.
- Stop and stretch. Most if the time, just being aware to do that will keep you well and muscle knot free.
- Make sure you are sitting in a proper chair that gives you back and even arm rest support and that is appropriate height for your table or desk. Use what is comfortable for you, but don't sit for hours making jewelry on things such as a tall stool. This might bring you higher above the table than you should be and cause you to bend forward farther than is good for your back.
- Replacing your chair with a body ball appropriate to your weight and height might be a way to strengthen back and lower back muscles and posture. Certainly check with your doc or health person to ensure it's right for you, but it's something I did long ago. Body balls are about $40.00 at the local sports shop.
4. Give your eyes a break and treat them well... work in proper light, work at appropriate distances to your projects, use magnifier, jewelry lamps for really small wire. Or just in general. There are some 'head lamps' that might be useful to you.
5. VENTILATE yourself properly if you are working with products such as Liver of Sulpher, adhesives, stains, etc...
Be well in your Art and enjoy!
In Gauges, the SMALLER the number, the thicker the wire.
The 'LARGER' the number, the thinner the wire.
Keep that in your perfectly twisted memory. :))
MM and gemstone sizes do not work this way. The larger the number, the larger the size.
- Wire comes as 'Dead Soft', 'Half Hard' and 'Hard'.
- Use Dead Soft wires for wire wrapping. Wire hardens as you work with it. Use Half hard or Hard wires for things such as findings or jump rings where more strength is needed in a single bend or loop.
- Wire also comes round, half round, square, twisted, imprinted with design.
- Wire also comes 'bare' (no anti-tarnish coating), or comes coated to prevent the development of a patina. Bare wire, can be oxidized (antiqued) but coated wire will not take to oxidation.
~click the images to enlarge
Chart from rings-things.com
How does one measure a MM? I would recommend that you get the inexpensive, no frills, uncomplicated brass Caliper. They are about $6 or $10 from the local hobby/jewelry store or online.
These are what I use for measure in addition to standard rulers, over the counter grid paper and my eyeballs.
Enjoy - I hope this helps.
Wire Jewelry Patterns, Information and Tutorials