November 10, 2013

In Pursuit of Suede String & Tassels

As you can see by what I post on this blog, I've recently been making jewelry with tassels.

When I found this picture of suede tassel earrings, the colors appealed to me: thin turquoise suede, ruby red beads and gold fixtures.

Anthropologie faceted fringe drops
As I tried to find materials to make these earrings, I found that the thinness of the suede is a large part of the effect these earrings hold.

So, my first move was to try to cut my thicker strings of suede in half.

I first used an X-Acto knife.. it was very difficult to cut evenly through the suede string with it.

Then I tried using sewing scissor, the sharpest scissors I could imagine.  With much fear for my fingers, I was able to cut the suede string thinner.

...But then the suede string fell apart.

Rather than waste more of the suede string, I just went to the art supplies store and bought thinner suede string.  AND, I also got some thin leather cord - and made two pairs of earrings!

My DIY Earrings.
What you need:
- The thinnest suede or leather cord you can find.
- Very thin wire.
- 2 of the same glass bead.
- 2 head pins with rounded top.
- A pair of earring hooks.
- Round-nose pliers and a wire cutter.

What to do:
1. Place each bead on a separate head pin.
2. Use the round nose pliers to close the head pin into a loop.  Make the loop a bit larger than normal - the suede string needs to go through it.
(The loop you made is pointing downwards)
3. With pliers, add an earring hook to the top of each head pin.
4. Determine the desired length of the tassels for your earrings.  The black pair above are about an inch and a half.  For the tan pair, they are over two inches.
5. Double the length you decide on and cut 3 to 4 pieces.
6. Fold the cut pieces in half and put one end through the loop at the bottom of the bead.
7. Start slowly and tightly wrapping the thin wire around the top of the folded suede.
8. Once you wrap the wire to desired thickness around the suede, cut with the wire cutters, and fold the raw edge in with the pliers.
9. Trim the ends so they are even.

That's all!

November 9, 2013

Girly pink, edgy spikes

On a recent visit home, I got to spend some much needed time with my jewelry supplies.  For months I had saved pictures of jewelry that I liked in anticipation of my reunion to my bead boxes.

A style of necklace that I started to see a lot involved at least 2 rows of chain, lots of head pins, and a repetitive pattern of beads.

Some examples:
Examples of necklaces with the 2+ chain style, from my Pinterest board.

With the second necklace in mind especially, I selected the beads and chains I liked best for my DIY necklace.

My DIY Necklace
What you need:
- A chain with small links
- 14 flat headed head pins in the same color as the chain.
- 4 different types of beads in increasing sizes, 14 of each.
- Spikes or other elongating bead (tear drop, leaf shape, etc), 14 of each.
- Round-nose pliers and wire cutters.
- Clasp and jump rings

1. First, measure out the chain required for each row of the necklace.  I had 14 columns of beads, and I put a space of 3 chain links in between each column.  Therefore, my 3 rows of chains were each 53 links in length.
2. Next, slide one of the smallest beads onto the head pin.
3. Put the head pin with the bead through the first link of the first row.
4. Add the next bead of incremental size onto the head pin and put the head pin through the first link of the second row.
5. Add the 2nd largest bead onto the head pin and put the head pin through the first link of the third row.
6. Add the largest bead onto the bead pin and use the round-nose pliers to close the pin.
7. Add the spiked bead to the end of the closed pin with a jump ring.

Repeat steps 2-7.  For this necklace I did steps 2-7 fourteen times and with 3 links in between each head pin / column.

8. Once the bulk of the necklace has been assembled, add a chain to each end of the top row.  Attach a clasp and jump rings to the end of the chain you just added.

All done!

I made my necklace with light pink, turquoise blue and silver beads, and silver spiked beads.  I like the girly, yet edgy feel of the necklace.  Unlike most DIY creations made from pictures, this necklace sits very well on. And I love finding different outfits to pair it with!

July 6, 2013

Chain of Change

Life is in serious transition mode now.. In all of this change occurring, I am trying to keep in mind the adage,

"Every end is a new beginning."

After a year, I've decided to postpone my return to America and continue living abroad.

Though there are so many changes now, what hasn't changed is my continued search for inspiration and love for DIY :)

I made this jump-ring chain necklace a while ago now and am still waiting for the perfect opportunity to don it.
MariaFrancescaPepe Tubular Chain Bracelet

The inspiration came from a picture I found on Pinterest (of course!) of a MariaFrancescaPepe bracelet.

After studying the picture for awhile to deduce how the jump rings were attached to each other, I set to work.

At its most basic form, all you really need to make this is A LOT of jump rings, pliers (or two pairs to save your fingers!), and a clasp... and patience.

How To:
(I made these pictures in hopes of making the instructions as understandable as possible!)
1. Open a smaller jump ring (or a chain of them or a paper clip) and slide on two jump rings.
2. Open and add two jump rings perpendicularly to the first two grey jump rings.
3. Push the blue jump rings back (so that they are parallel with the smaller jump ring). 
4. Slide the grey jump rings open so they make a 'V' and have the blue jump rings come forward.  Open two more jump rings and attach them to the blue jump rings.
5. Add two more jump rings perpendicular to the green jump rings you just added.  This is the same thing you did in step 2.
6. Push the purple jump rings back (so they are parallel with the blue jump rings.  Again, this is the same as step 3).
7. Slide the green jump rings open so they make a 'V' and have the purple jump rings come forward.
8. Open two more jump rings and attach them to the purple jump rings.

Pretend these two new jump rings are the green jump rings in step 5 and that you now need to add purple jump rings and then light grey jump rings
Keep repeating steps 5-8 until you get to your desired length.  Add a smaller jump ring to the end and a clasp.
A beautiful jump ring chain made (hopefully!) easy!

I decided to make a necklace instead of a bracelet - thoughts?

May 19, 2013

Tri-Color Tassels

Some more tassel earrings! Hurray!

These are super simple DIY earrings made from string and 3 colors of seed beads.
my DIY earrings

What you need:
-2 earring hooks
-2 bead tips
-nylon string (preferably in the color of the lowest color bead, in this case, brown)
-3 colors of seed beads (or more if you'd like).

First, cut 10 pieces of nylon string, about 4 to 5 inches each, depending on how long you want the tassle.
Then, string one bead of the last color onto one end of a cut nylon string.  Pull bead to middle and fold in half.
After folding the string in half, you can put a the two string-ends through a needle to make your life easier.  String all the following beads onto the needle so the first bead is stuck at the bottom (and no knot is needed at end to keep the beads on!).
Put as many beads of each color as you like.  Lots of freedom here!
Leave yourself plenty of room at the top.
Make 10 of these beaded strings.
With 5 beaded strings, slip the remaining string through the bead tip.  Knot the tops of the strings well so they cannot slip through the bead tip.  Cut the excess string.  Use the pliers to close the bead tip.
Repeat with the second set of 5 strings.
Use the pliers to open the bottoms of the earring hooks and slip on the bead tips.  Use pliers to close earring hooks.
All done!                   
                                          Wearing my DIY creation:

The most time consuming part of this DIY is definitely stringing all of the seed beads!

May 3, 2013

Braced with Chain and String

Can't believe it's been over a month since I was home.  And can't believe it's taken me this long to write up another blog post!  Life here is busy to say the least.

Before I went home, I had been seeing these bracelets at fancy stores all over the place.. selling for at least $25 each.  Recognizing that they are just chain, suede string, and some connecting pieces, I of course exclaimed, "wait, I can make this!".

I had been unable to find chain that was thick enough for the purpose of these bracelets at my local craft store.  I therefore waited until my trip to America to really scour the craft stores for the right materials for this project.

The bracelet took under 30 minutes to make; I ended up making a bunch of them!

Here's what you need:
- 2 pieces of chain (about 8-10 inches, depending on your wrist).
- Suede string, 2.5 times the length of your chain.
- lobster clasp and jump rings
- craft glue
- pliers
- scissors

What to do:
1. Using a jump ring, attach the first links of the two chains together.
2. Lay the chains down so that they are flat and the links line up to one another.
3. Start weaving the suede string between the links (in, over, under).
4. Once you've weaved through a few links, glue the tail of the suede string to itself.  (Do this on the side of the bracelet that will face your wrist, so that it will not be seen when you wear it.)
5. Continue weaving the suede string the same way between the links of the two chains.
6. At the end, once again connect the last two links with a jump ring.  Again, glue the suede string to itself on the side facing your wrist.
7. Cut any extra suede string from either side, once the glue has dried.
8. Open one of the jump rings on one end and add a lobster clasp.  Close the jump ring.
9. On the other end, attach as many extra jump rings as necessary to allow ease of putting on the bracelet!

With buying most of the supplies in bulk packs from the craft store, the bracelets ended up only costing a few dollars each!

I ended up keeping one for myself and giving the rest as gifts.  Everyone loved them!

April 6, 2013

Pearl, Gold, Hoops. And time at home.

My DIY Hoops
I made the long trip home for the recent holiday break.  I've been loving living abroad, but I was missing my sisters, Mom's home-cooked meals, American clothing stores, and of course, my jewelry-making supplies.

I spent a lot of time in A.C. Moore and even more time planning what to make and then making it.
Inspiration: Earrings from here.
Perusing Pinterest, (as I spend many of my hours), I found these gorgeous earrings being sold on an Etsy site.

While I do not have the blue opal gemstone or the pearls as used by the creator of these earrings, I did find some teardrop shaped glass beads and fake pearls

So here's what you need to make your own pair:
- 2 earring hoops
- 24 small pearl beads
- 2 teardrop shaped beads
- 26 head pins
- pliers and wire cutters

3 Easy Steps
1.  Put the each pearl bead and teardrop bead on its own head pin.  Close the head pin with round-nose pliers and cut off any excess wire with the wire cutters.
2.  Slide 6 pearl beads on head pins onto the hoop, add one teardrop bead, and then another six pearl  beads.  Repeat for the other earring.
3.  Use the pliers to turn up the end of the hoops to close.  All done!

Here are my earrings:

February 24, 2013

Inspiration: Metalwork

Seeing a lot of jewelry with amazing metal work - I want to start making some of my own.

So, I've been researching how to bezel. And I'm dying to try it out.

Time to buy a blowtorch!

Yet realistically, it will probably need to wait.
(And I should also take a class on it before playing with fire!).
Until then here's some of my metal work inspiration:

All of these images are pinned to my Jewelry Inspiration & DIY Board.  
Check it out here!

February 6, 2013

Chain, Overlap, Chain.

One of my favorite necklaces on my jewelry tree is a chain and ribbon necklace I got super on-sale from Harrods during my time studying abroad in London.  The necklace is composed of overlapping thick gold chains and a black ribbon to hold it around my neck.
Necklace from 'Bella Shay Fine Fashion Jewelry and Accessories'
I came across the necklace above on Pinterest a few months ago.  It reminded me of the overlapping chains in my Harrod's necklace, but instead with two colors of thin chains, and no ribbon.

Then, over the summer, I found this black chain and this black with gold tint chain for just a few dollars each. 

And proceeded to make my own version of this necklace!
1. I first measured out a piece of black chain to the desired length of the necklace.
2. I cut equal pieces of black chain and gold tinted chain.  The black chain I cut again, in half.  I then attached the three pieces of chain together: black chain --> gold tinted chain --> black chain.
Make 10 of these.
3. I attached the first chain to the left-most spot I wanted, to the middle of the necklace.
4. Repeat this step, but with each new attaching chain, affix the beginning of the chain to every other link in the necklace, and then the end of the chain to every other link after the middle.