Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

Sometimes you need to know both the inner and outer diameters of a jump ring to pick the right one for your project, especially if you’re working on chain maille! The Fusion Team works hard to make sure the inner and outer diameters of our jump rings are listed on the Product Detail pages of our website. But if you don’t know both diameters of your jump rings, you can use today’s trick to figure it out!
Jump Rings - 10.21.14 (1 of 1)

You’ll need to know one of the diameters of your jump ring and the gauge of the wire to do this trick. You can refer to the handy chart below to figure out what the gauge of your jump ring converts to in millimeters. Once you have these two numbers you’re ready to use a quick math formula!

To find the inner diameter, subtract the gauge of your jump ring in millimeters from the outer diameter of the ring. This new number is the inner diameter! For example, if I have a 5mm jump ring that is made of 20 gauge wire, I would look at the chart below to find out that 20 gauge wire is 0.8mm thick and subtract that from 5mm. The inner diameter of my jump ring is 4.2mm!

To find the outer diameter, add the gauge of your jump ring in millimeters to the inner diameter of the ring. This new number is the outer diameter! For example, if I have a 4mm jump ring that is made of 18 gauge wire, I again check my chart to find out that 18 gauge wire is 1mm thick and then add that to 4mm. The outer diameter of my jump ring is 5mm!

Approximate gauge to metric conversion:
12ga = 2.0mm 14ga = 1.6mm 16ga = 1.3mm 18ga = 1mm 20ga = 0.8mm
22ga = 0.6mm 24ga = 0.5mm 26ga = 0.4mm 28ga = 0.3mm 30ga = 0.25mm

You can find more helpful hints for working with jump rings and making chain maille in our Q&A!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Gretchen

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

As the holidays get closer and the days get shorter, I starting looking for ways to brighten up my projects with more sparkle! I’ve been working with our Metallic Soutache Cords this week noticed my needle was getting stuck every few stitches. You can use today’s tip to work around this problem and still have maximum shine in your projects!

Halloween Soutache

Your needle can get stuck when it bumps against a metallic fiber. These fibers are tougher than the usual cotton, nylon or rayon and your needle won’t pass through them easily. Plus piercing or breaking a metallic fiber can weaken the entire piece of stringing material and, in the case of soutache, cause it to unravel. Instead of muscling your way through, you can go around! Gently wiggle your needle in the cord until it bypasses that metallic fiber and sinks into a softer fiber, then push the needle through completely and continue working. You can repeat this as needed throughout your project.

Metallic Soutache Tip About Fraying

This tip works with any stringing material that has metallic fibers, like our Metallic Beading Thread and Metallic Vintage Hemp Twine. Other than beads, how do you like to add sparkle and shine to your jewelry?

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210The head of most head pins has a diameter of approximately 1-2mm. That diameter is compatible with the majority of beads, but sometimes I’ll find a batch of head pins with a slightly smaller head or I’ll want to use a bead with a larger hole. You can use today’s trick any time a head pin slips all the way through the hole of a bead!

String a smaller bead, like a seed bead or a spacer bead, with a diameter slightly larger than the hole of your main bead on to your head pin first. The smaller bead acts like a plug, keeping a bead with a large hole from sliding off by adding width to the head.

Large hole copper bead earring solution

I usually like matching the color of my plug bead to the color of my head pin. Metal Seed Beads or Round Japanese Seed Beads are perfect for mimicking the look of a ball head pin. Or you can use this opportunity to add a little pop of color to your design!

Large hole red bead earring solution

You can also use O-Beads or Metal Spacer Beads to solve this problem and give your finished piece a slightly different look.

Large hole silver bead earring solution

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

The first netting project I ever tried was our Creepy Crawler Bracelet. I was really excited to make this Halloween piece, but it used all Opaque Black Round Japanese Seed Beads. Because all of my beads were the same color it was very difficult for me to follow the pattern and remember which beads to go back through as I formed my rows! My first attempt at this stitch was a mess, but you can use today’s tip to keep track of your pattern when you’re learning netting!

Using a different color of bead at the intersections of your netting stitch lets you immediately see your pattern. By using a red bead in my project I don’t have to constantly count my beads to know where to go back in with my needle. I love that little pop of color they add and I can’t wait to finish and add my spooky spider charm!

Netting Technique Bead Alternative

Our Basic Netting Technique shows this tip perfectly and you can also see it in our Mint to Be and Aquanet Bracelet Inspiration Projects!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

I hate it when the cords in wrapped cord bracelet cross or bunch, pushing the last few beads in my design out of place. (Especially when I’ve worked really hard to make my wraps perfect!) Instead of using the same number or even the same type of bead at the ends of these projects, I taper the beading in my wrapped cord bracelets to keep the cords aligned.

It’s easy to taper your design when the bracelet has multiple beads per row. For my current project I narrowed the bracelet by reducing the number of cube beads in each row from three to two to one. You can get the same effect by gradually using smaller beads as you approach the ends of the bracelet.  In wrapped cord bracelets designed with Tila or bugle beads I’ve used round seed beads of a similar color to narrow down the ends.

Tapered Wrapped Cord Bracelet

You can see more examples of tapering the ends of wrapped cord bracelets in our Southwestern StarletAmazonia and Winding Road Bracelet Inspiration Projects!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210

Most jewelry tools are made to last. While this durability means you can invest in pliers and cutters that last for years, it also makes protecting your wire and findings from the harder metal of your tools a challenge. With today’s trick you can avoid tool marks quickly and effectively!

Tool Magic is a great way to protect your work from plier marks, but I don’t always want to wait for it to dry. Instead you can wrap the jaws of your pliers in painters tape! The tape provides a layer of protection that’s thin enough not to distort the shape of the jaws, while still cushioning your wire and findings. You can use your taped tools immediately, there’s no wait time, and it’s easy to remove when you’re finished with your project. You can do this trick with other types of tape, but I like painters because it’s designed specifically to peel away easily without leaving any residue behind.

Tool Magic Alternative Using Painters Tape

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen