Wednesday, 18 October 2017

HALLOWEEN INSPIRATION






















Celebrated each year at the very end of this month,
October, Halloween has evolved into a day of activities
that kids really enjoy: such as trick-or-treating, carving
a pumpkin into a lantern as well as ghosts, witches and
ghouls costume parties!























If you're looking for design inspiration to create your own home
decorations and gifts out of wire and beads (plus spider charms),
there are plenty to find online and below are a few tutorials that
I have taught over the years that I thought I would share with you ...














So, without further ado ... BOO!

Enjoy my HALLOWEEN DESIGN GALLERY!

Bat Pendants



















Cobweb Pendant






























Dead Tree of Life Pendant










































Bad Nightmare Dreamcatcher Pendant


























Spooky Spider









































Must speed off on my broomstick now ... !!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

'DOODLE' CHARM BRACELET

The wearing of charms began as a form of talisman,
to ward off evil spirits, or bad fortune.  Like lucky
mascots, medieval knights were said to have worn
charms for their protection before going into battle.
















However the popularity of charm bracelets, as we
know them today, began in the 1950's, as gifts for
a girl's 16th or 18th birthday. The nature of these
bracelets, meant that new charms could be collected
and added and old ones could be removed and kept.
This meant that women could change and adapt their
bracelets on a daily basis to express their own mood
and thoughts for that day.  That, and the fact that
you can personalise each piece, has retained their
immense popularity over the years!

You can of course, purchase beautiful cast charms from bead
suppliers, but you can also doodle with your wire to create your
own shapes and squiggles to make unique jewellery. If you have
any cut offs of 0.8mm wire, don't throw them away! Spiral, or
bend them into new forms, then tap them with a hammer on your
block and 'hey presto!' you've made your own unique
DOODLE CHARM!
















Above, are a few I made earlier! All of these shapes are between
1cm-2cm, they need to be small and compact, so that they don't
fall apart, or catch on clothing when worn.

For the bracelet, you can use ready made chain, or you can create
your own figure of '8' chain links:

















Stepped pliers are ideal for helping ensure that the links stay a
similar size.  Then make some jump rings from the same wire spool.

Once you have created enough chain links, hammer them on your
block to work harden them.


















Now, you're ready to connect the 'figure of 8' links to the jump
rings, alternating them as you go.  Create this chain about one
inch (2.5cm) shorter than the overall length required (to allow
for the clasp).



















You can create a 'T' bar clasp with the 0.8mm wire, the top being
a central cross-over link with spirals on each side, attached to a
short, straight, stem link. The 'eye' of the clasp is a wrapped loop.




















Then it's just a question of attaching and suspending your
hand made 'doodle'charms and some beads from the handmade
chain...






















One simple charm on a threaded bead nugget bracelet, can
also be very effective. (Above, you can see another Whammered
style "T-bar"clasp I often like to create for bracelets).























If you enjoy braiding and Kumihimo, attach your own doodle
charm through the cord. Here, I wanted to show how you could
accessories your wire charms by glueing a small cabochon stone,
(or flat-backed crystal).




















And don't feel you have to stop at bracelets! Why not create wire
doodle charm necklaces? Here's my 'Belly Dancer' Necklace design!

GO ON ...
Get your pliers, some wire and 
get DOODLING!








Friday, 8 September 2017

SEPTEMBER SAPPHIRE

SAPPHIRE is the September birthstone and
known as the gem of Autumn.

If like me, your budget doesn't stretch to
be able to purchase the real stone, just find
a blue bead that matches!

In this month's project, I want to illustrate
how one simple bead can become a beautiful
focal piece for a necklace, with the addition
of a little bit of wire tweaking!























The materials you will need are: 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire, one
'sapphire' coloured bead and if desired, a few matching beads for
the chain and dangle drop (which is an optional extra!).

STEP 1




















So, assemble: your bead, some wire and your usual tool kit ...

STEP 2


















Start by threading your bead with wire and using your round
nosed pliers, create a double link at each end.

STEP 3


















Cut a generous length of 0.8mm wire and secure this to one of
the double links.

STEP 4

















Begin feeding the wire around the bead through the double loops,
leaving a slight gap (halo) around the bead.

STEP 5

















Circumnavigate the wire around the bead about 3 times
(or more, if you feel so inclined!) and leave about 2"
(5cm) projecting at the end.

STEP 6















Place your round nosed pliers on the projecting wire (just by
the top of the bead) and form a top suspension loop.

STEP 7





















Once the top loop is formed, spiral the remaining wire and
flatten against the top of the bead, just under the loop.

STEP 8




















Now, the fun begins! Use the tips of your chain nosed pliers to
twist (tweak) the edges of the wires around the bead. You don't
need to go tweakingly mad, just 2 tweaks on either side will most
probably be enough!

STEP 9













Place any of the exposed wires at the edge of the frame on the
corner of your steel block and attempt to flatten and spread.
But, do not hammer any wires that cross over each other, that will
only weaken them ... And do watch your fingers! Ouch!!!

STEP 10




















Once you're happy with the results, you can choose to suspend
with a 'dangle', a spiral, a tassel ... or, just leave it as it is ...

STEP 11















For an original handmade 'Stick Twist' chain, cut lengths of
0.8mm wire. Form small centered links with your round nosed pliers
at each end. Place each length on your block, and trying to
avoid your fingers (again!), as well as the links at each end, Whammer
WHACK-hammer the centre of each unit, to spread and flatten.

STEP 12
















To form a twist in each of the units, hold each (link) end in your
flat nosed and chain nosed (or, 2 flat nosed pliers if you have them!).
TWIST a couple times whilst pulling! (Don't over twist, or you will
weaken the links).























And 'voila'! Assemble your stick-like Twist Links with some
chosen matching beads, together with jump rings to form a
pretty necklace chain.























Why not also create a pair of matching dangly earrings
using the Twist Links and some beads?






















Experiment with other beads for different pendant designs!




















Have fun with your wirey experimentations 
and if you have any requests for specific 
project tutorials, or techniques and would 
like advice on your jewellery journeys ... 
please feel to free to ask!
That's what this forum is for!









Friday, 25 August 2017

DROP (dead gorgeous!) EARRINGS























I have always loved earrings, and in my youth, I could
not even leave the house, without wearing a pair! I felt
naked without them!!
Way before I started my jewellery-making career, I was
fiddling with beads, headpins and ear hooks, creating my
own customised, colourful, statement ear decorations to
appease my creative soul!

About 8 years ago, I brought out a book packed with
earring designs, so if you ever need creative inspiration,
this is the perfect instructional handbook for those lobe designs:

CREATING BEADED AND WIRE EARRINGS
The book is available on 'amazon'
ISBN: 978-1-907563-23-2

Here's a sneak peak at some of my designs:







































 
I just love the speed, whereby a spool of wire, a selection of beads, 
plus a couple of pliers, can help you to produce such decorative pieces!

I have chosen the 'TEARDROP' EARRING project to share with you, 
which is a very adaptable, versatile and elegant. I do hope you like it too!





































For obvious copyright reasons, I can't use the image steps from my
book, so I have made a new version. But before you start thinking that
you need strong glasses, or that there's something wrong with your
eyesight ... I have to apologise for the quality of step images ... my
camera focus was out on some shots and I just didn't have time to 'shoot' 
the whole project over again!

STEP 1





















Begin by cutting 2 x 5" (12.5cm) lengths of 0.8mm wire.
Wrap the wires around a circular mandrel to create the
'teardrop' frames.

STEP 2
























Using the tips of your chain nosed pliers, straighten one of the
extending wires to form the stem and wrap the other wire around
to secure. Cut off any excess and neaten the ends.

STEP 3























Cut 2 x 5" (12.5cm) of 0.8mm wire and thread each one with a
bead of your choice. Using your round nosed pliers to initially
form a loop at each end, grip the ends in your flat nosed
pliers, to create spirals, curling out in opposite directions.

STEP 4





















Create 2 x jump rings out of 0.8mm wire.

STEP 5

















Cut approximately 3" (7.5cm) of 0.4mm wire and secure
the top of the spiral into the centre space and top of the
'teardrop' frame. Then, continue wrapping the wire to
incorporate one of the jump rings. Use your flat nosed
pliers to flatten the wires down as you bind, so that they
don't bunch up. Repeat for the second earring.

STEP 6

(Do not adjust your set! Or, buy new glasses! Apologies
for the picture quality!). What I wanted to show you is
that you also need to bind the opposite end of the spiral
on each side of the frame.

STEP 7























Speeding fast forward ... Use the tips of your round nosed pliers,
to create small links at the end of the 'teardrop' frames. You can
suspend beads, or small wire spirals as extra, decorative dangles!

STEP 8



















To create the EAR-HOOKS, cut 3.5" (9cm) of 0.8mm wire and
form small tight, centralised spirals at each end.

STEP 9


















Place the tips of your round nosed pliers just by the
spirals and bend the wires back, in the opposite direction.

STEP 10



















Using a pen or pencil as a circular mandrel, shape the
wire around to create the curved hook of the ear wire.

STEP 11













If the wire ends are slightly too long, or different lengths,
just trim with your wire cutters, then curve the ends outwards.
If the ends of the wires are rough, use a cup burr attached
to a pin vice, to smooth out and finish.

STEP 12























And finally ... you are ready to assemble! Thread the
ends of the ear hooks through the top suspension link
of your earrings ... and they are now ready to be publicly
aired and admired!





















Feel free to experiment with this technique and style, to come up
with more variations and styles!

HAPPY WIRE WORKING!