Earth Day 2015 – Charity Results!

The results of our annual Earth Day charity drive are in! 1054 TierraCast Tree of Life and Earth charms, pendants, and buttons were purchased in our Earth Day charity drive, which means that we were able to make a $1054 donation to the National Wildlife Federation!

As in nature, we have strength in numbers. For over 75 years, the National Wildlife Federation has worked closely with those who span the social and political spectrum, but who are connected by a common commitment to conservation. Their ability to meet the needs of wildlife is inextricably linked to the amazing individuals, groups, organizations and corporations they call their supporters. Together, they form a pack, leveraging their influence to safeguard America’s wildlife and wild places. Your generosity and thoughtfulness will truly help make a difference!

If you would like to support the National Wildlife Federation even more you can follow this link!

nwf

Thank you so much from the entire FusionBeads.com family!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210I’ve already shared ways to use old charms, pendants, and bead mixes this April, but what about other supplies? I found plenty of findings while cleaning out my bead stash that I know won’t use up any time soon, especially eye pins and jump rings. If your stash is overflowing with findings, today’s trick will help you reinvent these supplies!

Stringing Jump Rings and Eye Pins

Instead of stringing beads on to my eye pins or making connections with my jump rings, I strung them! Using findings the way you would use beads or charms gives a whole new look to your designs. Strung eye pins create an instant fringe with lots of fun movement and strung jump rings make great, unexpected shapes.

Jump Ring and Eye Pin Jewelry

Do a little maintenance on your findings before stringing them. Straighten out any bent or curved pins with a pair of nylon jaw pliers. And make sure each jump ring and the loop of each eye pin is completely closed so they won’t slip off your stringing material. Keep in mind the openings in these findings are significantly larger than the hole in the average bead, so you’ll need even larger beads to act as stoppers. I used bicones to help fill the extra space in my findings and stabilize my finished designs.

Drop by next week for my final stash-busting tip of the month!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Earth Day Jewelry From Aluminum Cans!

Upcycled Aluminium Can Jewelry

Since Earth Day is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make some jewelry from upcycled materials. I love working with metal, so I thought making something with aluminum cans would be super fun!

I hope you enjoy these projects as much as I do. Don’t be shy – let us know what you came up with!

Tools and Supplies:
All you need to make some upcycled jewelry
There are a variety of tools you can use based on your budget. I showed a couple of the more expensive tools above, but if you keep reading, you’ll see there are other low-cost alternatives that will create pretty much the same effect. For the first few pieces I made I used a disc cutter with a brass hammer (a regular household hammer would work fine), metal hole punch pliers, metal shears and an emery stick. I found some soda cans use in the recycling bin and went looking for additional cans with fun patterns at my local grocery store.

Take a break, have a drink
First, you need to empty out and clean the inside of your can. I drank my mango drink while I was working (it was delicious) and then rinsed the can out with water. I placed the can upside down on a folded piece of paper towel so that any excess liquid could run out. It’s a good idea to get rid of as much moisture as possible, as any liquid could rust your tools!

TIP careful which can you use
Do be careful if you are buying cans from the store! I found this cool grape drink but realized after I got home that the design was a plastic coating and was not printed on the aluminum. Sadly, this won’t work for my project.

punch the can with an awl
Once your can is as dried out as possible, you need to make a hole in the side using an awl. Make sure the hole is high up and not in the middle of any part of the design which you might later want to use. From here on, you want to work slowly and extra carefully as the cut aluminum can get very sharp!

Cut the top off can
Once you’ve made a hole you can enlarge it a little and then get in there with your metal shears (scissors might even work OK too as aluminum is pretty thin). Carefully cut off the top of your can. (I made sure to trim my edges as I went so as to avoid cutting myself).

Cut down the side and cut off the bottom too
Once the top is off, cut down one side, and then cut the bottom off. Again, trim any jagged edges. You could also file them to make sure there is nothing to accidentally cut you.

Flatten out the can
Lay out the piece of aluminum as best you can, wipe it down if you need – some liquid could still have been inside (make sure to wipe your tools too).

Carefully place the sheet in the disc cutter
Now, carefully place the metal into the disc cutter. You can view the sheet from above to choose the layout of the pattern. I did three different sizes of disc for my charm bracelet. For more detailed instructions on using a disc cutter, take a look here.

gently cut out different size circles
Gently cut out the discs using your hammer. Since the aluminum is super thin, you don’t actually need to hit the hammer very hard.

Now you have lots of circles to play with
I cut out as many circles I could from one can of soda. If your edges are too sharp, go ahead and file them with an emery stick.

punch holes in the sheet using metal punch pliers10
To make the discs into charms, I added a little hole at the top of each disc using the metal punch pliers.

Charm bracelet with punched out circles
Here is the first charm bracelet I made with my soda discs. To make this bracelet, I used chain, jump rings and a toggle clasp and this technique.
I think one of the best parts about this bracelet is the tinkling sound it makes when I wear it!

If you find a more unusual can pattern you can choose your cut outs much more carefully
The mango soda I found had such a unique pattern that I ended up being far more particular when choosing the areas I wanted to cut with the disc cutter.

You could try this design if you want a variation on a charm bracleet
For this bracelet I chose the orange, white, and green areas. (This is a great alternative design to a charm bracelet). Again, I used chain, jump rings and a toggle clasp and this technique to make this bracelet.

Earrings work well too, and they are not heavy at all
For the earrings, I tried to match up each disc so the earrings would look almost identical. I love these earrings, since they are so light and such a fun design!

a make a cute heart
I got so into making upcycled aluminum jewelry that I took it to the next level with this little heart necklace!

 You can cut the can with a paper punch
Since I didn’t want to draw a heart freehand, I chose our heart punch to cut out my shape. This is a great inexpensive alternative to the disc cutter! You can see all the different kinds of punches we sell here.

make sure to apply pressure evenly when you punch
When using the paper punches, it is important to get even pressure. If you don’t, the punch won’t punch properly.

the punch can make really cute shapes
Look at that perfect heart shape. I couldn’t cut it out like that if I tried!

Punch out a lot of hearts
I ended up punching out 6 hearts. Since the aluminum is so thin, I thought stacking them would give the pendant more weight.

Cut out a long strip of metal
To make the banner that runs across the front of the heart, you want to start with one straight strip of metal.

bend one corner
Place the strip metal side up and fold one corner backwards and downwards.

bend the end of that piece up
Fold that same end upwards to the right.

cut out a triangle shape from the end
Cut out a small triangle at the end of the fold.

squeeze with pliers
To make them straight and clean, squeeze over your folds with a pair of chain nose pliers.

Repeat on the other side, and rotate
Repeat those folds and cuts in the same way on the other side of the sheet and rotate 180°. Look at that cute banner!

place the banner over the heart and mark spot for the hole
Now you want to get your spacing right. Place the banner over the heart and figure out the exact position you would like it to be in. Using the awl (or a pen) mark where you want your first set of holes to go.

punch your holes
Using the marks you made, punch your holes using the riveting and piercing system.

Gently stamp your word
Once you’ve punched your holes you can stamp in any text or message. I used a metal alphabet stamp and the same hammer I used with the disc cutting. To learn more about metal stamping, click here. Make sure you stamp softly as the aluminum is very thin and you could easily stamp all the way through.

color the word with sharpie
To make the words stand out, I used a Sharpie marker to fill them in.

polish with a pro polish pad
I then polished up the banner with pro polish pads.

look how cute it looks
It’s starting to take shape!

use the banner as a template
Now, place the banner over the heart you want to use on top. Measure out the second round of holes. (You can always avoid making holes with the punch pliers and not use rivets at all. Instead, you could use glue to secure the sheet to itself).

Stack and layer your heart
Gather all the layers of the heart and line them up with each other.

Punch and add the rivets
Using the riveting and piercing system, punch out the two holes while going through all 6 hearts at one time. Add the banner to the stack and rivet the eyelets through the two holes you just made. To learn more about riveting, click here.

mark where you want the other rivers
You still need a couple more eyelets to connect your chain to and stabilize all the sheet you have used.

add rivets
Add your final three eyelets – two on the top and one at the bottom of the heart.

Love Pendant Made From Old Soda Can
You can attach chain and a toggle using jump rings to the two open eyelets at the top of the heart, and voilà! You have an adorable handmade upcycled soda can pendant!

IMG_5364

I really love how these pieces turned out and I hope you do too!

Happy Earth Day! – Sam
Sam

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210I’m finding new ways to use old supplies this April and my goal is to make more space in my craft room by reinventing and re-homing neglected supplies. Today’s tip is will show you how to use old bead mixes in a fresh way!

I found more than a few outdated mixes while going through my stash of seed beads. While I still like these blends of colors, shapes, and finishes, I wasn’t excited about making jewelry that used these beads randomly. Instead I got inspired by our Spiral of Color and Meadow Dreams Bracelet Inspiration Projects. Both of these bracelets use large sections of the same bead to create color blocks. Depending on how many coils you make your bracelet, you can use up a big bead mix in no time!

New way to use seed bead mixes

It’s easy to pick the color you want directly from the mix if the beads are distinctly different from each other. If the beads are very similar you may want to separate them into piles to make your stringing go faster. I like separating my beads with the corner of a triangle tool under a bright light. The light helps pick up differences between the beads and it’s easier to pull out specific beads with the sharp point of the triangle instead of your fingers.

Decide how large you want your sections of color to be. You can make your blocks all the same length to create a regular pattern or vary the lengths to add interest. It’s easy to test out an idea on memory wire without making a whole bracelet. Just string a coil or two of beads to see what your design looks like. If you want to try something else simply slide the beads back off and start over!

Memory Wire Bead Mix Bracelets

Check back next week to get more stash-busting ideas!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210While Spring Cleaning my craft room this year I found a lot of beading supplies I’ve had forever, but still haven’t used. Although it’s a good idea to keep a stock of basic supplies on hand, a giant stash can be hard to store and overwhelming when it’s time to actually make a project. This month I’ll share the tricks I’ve learned to clear out your beading stash by reinventing and re-homing neglected supplies!

One of the biggest traps I fall into is purchasing supplies without having a specific project in mind. I’m a sucker for charms and pendants in particular and have collected a lot of pieces that I can’t bear to part with. Fortunately, even if you don’t want to wear a favorite charm as jewelry, you can still sport it on your purse!

supplies for purse charmsThe only other supplies you’ll need are jump rings and small scraps of chain. Choose where on the bag you want to add your charm and measure your chain so the charm hangs where you want it to. I added my charms where the strap connects to the side of the bag, but they can go just about anywhere!  Some bags have hardware that’s easy to slip a chain through, while for others you can just loop your chain around the strap. Add the charm to your chain and use a jump ring to fasten the ends of the chain securely together. You can even make your purse charms interchangeable by using a lobster clasp instead of a jump ring!

Make purse charms with your favorite pendantsDon’t forget to come back next week for more stash-busting ideas!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

 

April’s Color of the Month: Custard

For our April Color of the Month challenge, we celebrate Custard! This is a warm and sunny color that is perfect for welcoming the spring season.

PANTONE-CUSTARD

Designer Nanette Lepore paired Custard with Lucite Green and Scuba Blue in her dress design below, while designer Nicole Miller chose to pair Custard with Strawberry Ice and Lucite Green in her bold design.

Capture dresses Source: Pantone

Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director at the Pantone Color Institute®, says, “Just as the name implies, PANTONE 13-0720 Custard is a delicious and delectable yellow. Sweet and sunny, Custard is a cheering tone that brings thoughts of pleasant relaxation and comfort food. Engaging with its soft and mellow warmth and full of good feelings, subtle Custard has an affable and easy disposition.”

This old house 2

Source: This Old House

yellow living room

Source: Traditional Home

this old house

Source: This Old House

Custard cody

Source:  The Galley Gourmet, Etsy, Fashionising, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Harpers Bazaar, The Lacquerlog, P.S I Made This, Cedarwood Weddings

Our Inspiration Gallery has a great selection of designs that feature creamy Custard hues! Check out a few of my favorite designs below and how we incorporated Custard into them!

GA5009

Custard Necklace

GA4050

 Victory Earrings

GA2699

Playing for Keeps Bracelet

GA1297

Get Me To The Church on Time Earrings

GA0517

Golden Noir Earrings

GA3965-S

Summer Goldenrod Bracelet

GA4048

Fresh Bracelet

GA3250

Oh Bluebird Necklace

Happy Beading! – Lindsay and Cody

LindsayCody