Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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Kumihimo techniques are wonderfully meditative and I often find myself almost hypnotized as I move the cords around my braiding disk. But an interruption in the middle of a flow like that can seriously derail a project. Keeping track of which cords you move means the difference between making a beautiful braid or completely starting over, so you can use today’s tips to keep your next kumihimo project smooth and successful!

You want to move your cords around the braiding disk in the same order and rotate the disk in the same direction throughout the course of your project. If you need a reminder of which way you’re rotating you can draw helpful arrows directly on the disk!  I usually like moving my disk counterclockwise as I work, so I drew my arrows in that direction as a reminder. If you prefer to switch directions for between projects you can draw counterclockwise arrows on the front of your disk and clockwise on the back!

Draw direction arrows on your Kumihimo disc

Picking up your braid exactly where you left off is also very important. Keep your place by leaving 3 cords at the top of your disk any time you need to pause your project. Stopping with 3 cords at the top lets you know not only how the disk was oriented when you stopped, but it tells you exactly which cord you need to move next!

Leave three cords at the top of the Kumihimo disc to keep track of your place

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210Last week I shared a tip for designing on memory wire and this week I’m finishing my bracelets! I’ve finished a lot of my previous memory wire bracelets by turning a small loop at each end of the coil. These loops come in handy if you want to add charms to your bracelet, but are tough to make in hardened steel wire. Instead you can use today’s tips to finish your bracelets with memory wire end caps!

Attaching memory wire end caps to a braceletMemory wire end caps are half-drilled metal balls that fit on to the end of your memory wire, completely covering the tip. 5 Minute Epoxy is a great adhesive to use for this type of project, but you can use any glue that’s designed for bonding metal to metal. Leave yourself some room to work on first end of your memory wire. Remember you can always add more beads before you add the second end cap! Use a toothpick or a handy piece of scrap wire to make sure the adhesive gets all the way into the hole of the cap. Hold the cap in place on one end of your memory wire for a few minutes to help the glue set. Clean off any excess adhesive that squished out and then let your adhesive cure fully on the first side.

Before applying your second end cap, gently work your beads away from the unfinished end and add enough beads to fill in any extra space. Apply your second end cap the same way as the first and don’t forget to let the adhesive cure completely before wearing your fabulous new bracelet!

Finished bracelet with memory wire end capsHappy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

My Favorite Bead Cap!

TierraCast has been making my favorite bead cap for as long as I can remember. Though it is only 3mm x 5mm, this tiny leaf bead cap makes a big design impact. The size does not restrict the beads I can combine it with. It can easily be added to a 6mm bead or a 14mm bead. And the little leaf pattern adds a feminine feel to each of your jewelry designs. Though it is made of pewter, it comes plated in several different finishes leaving the possibilities endless.

bead cap

Also, if you are in need of a bead cap that is just a little bit bigger, try the larger version of this cap. It is 4mm x 7.5mm.

Check out these cute Pretty Belle Earrings that use these caps.

Give these a try – I think you’ll find that they will quickly become a must have in your bead stash.

Sparkle! – Lindsay
Lindsay
 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210I can be a little indecisive when it comes to jewelry designs. For a stringing project I might change the order or even type of beads I use 3-4 times before I find a pattern I like. Beading boards are an excellent way to see what a necklace or bracelet looks like without stringing your beads. But for memory wire bracelets I find myself stuck stringing most or all of my beads to see what they look like with the coils stacked.
To make this design process as painless as possible, I keep both ends of my memory wire coil free to add or take away beads. And I use plastic earring backs to prevent my beads from accidentally slipping off while I work! These earring backs are easy to take on and off, keeping design changes a little bit easier until you’re ready to finish it permanently!
Use earring backs to hold the beads in place while designing your memory wire braceletCheck back next week for tips on how to finish your memory wire bracelets!
Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Stacked Rhinestone Cup Chain Rings!

Rhinestone Rings

I am totally in love with the new Preciosa Czech Crystal Rhinestone Chain we just launched! As we worked on our inspiration using the new rhinestone cup chain, I noticed we had several little sections of chain left over, so I thought they would make cute ring embellishments!

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First, I gathered the tools and supplies I would need to make the rings.

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To start, I cut approximately 6 inches of 18 gauge wire to make the ring base. I wrapped the wire around a ring mandrel at the size I wanted my rings to be. Then, I trimmed the wire ends, leaving about an inch where the wires overlap. I then took a plastic mallet and tapped the ring base to shape and work harden the wire.

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I had the base ready, and now it was time to add a little sparkle!

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I cut approximately 16 inches of 26 gauge wire and anchored it to the ring base by wrapping it around where the two base wires start to overlap.

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Then, using the same length of wire, I wrapped a segment of cup chain 6 prongs long onto the ring base by wrapping the wire in between the crystals on the cup chain.

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I continued wrapping until I reached the last space on on the cup chain. To complete the ring, I wrapped the wire around the thicker overlapped wires of the ring base, matching the beginning wraps at the other end of the ring, and trimmed off the excess wire.  Then add a small drop of Hypo Tube Cement to the ends of the wire and let dry completely. This will help prevent the ends of the wires from snagging.

Once I started making these rings, I couldn’t stop myself  – they were so fast and easy to whip up! You can have your fingers full of stacked, sparkling rings before you know it!

Happy Beading! – Cody

Cody

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

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For my first project of the New Year I wanted to make a right angle weave pearl collar that would lay with the contours of my neck, without being a choker. I thought this would be a challenge, until I realized I could make it using the trick for creating peyote stitch bezels! Peyote stitch bezels grab a cabochon by changing from larger to smaller beads in the last row, cinching the bail tight around the stone. This switch to smaller beads shortens the last row, drawing in the bead weaving to create a curve.

Change your bead size and change your shape

 

Keeping this trick in mind, I started my first row of right angle weave with 5mm Swarovski crystal pearls and then switched to 6mm pearls for my lower rows. Just like with the peyote stitch bail, this change in size means the top of my necklace will be shorter than the bottom, creating a curved shape. I want my curve to be subtle, but for a more extreme curve you could use a larger range of sizes, for example starting with 3mm beads at the top and then transitioning to 4mm, 5mm, and final 6mm beads.

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen