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!