Mini Tutorial: One Finding Form Four Ways

I like to figure out new ways to use a tool that I bought, and in this case it was the Round Ear Wire Jig by Artistic Wire.  I picked up a bunch of these jigs from Hobby Lobby when they were on clearance.  The jig looks like this:

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I made a loop in a 4″ piece of 20 gauge wire with my round nose pliers and put it on the large metal peg, wrapped down between the small metal peg and the large circle peg, around the large circle peg and back up to the first loop.  Like this:

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I removed the wire from the jig and then made these variations:

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Pretty neat!  Below I describe how I made each pair so you can try it yourself.  And you don’t really need a jig to do this, you can make a loop and wrap the wire around anything that you have handy.

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For these simple earrings, I strung a spacer bead, a 6mm fire polished bead, and another spacer bead before wrapping the end around the base of the first loop a few times.

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For the starfish earrings, I made a loop facing down to hang a charm with the end of the wire, then I wrapped the bottom of the shape with seed beads strung on 26 gauge wire. Lastly, I hung the starfish charm from the inside loop with a jump ring.

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These earrings featured rows of seed beads.  I wrapped the end of the wire to the base of the starting loop first to firm up the frame.  Then I wrapped 26 gauge wire around the bottom side three times, strung on random seed beads, then wrapped the wire three times around the other side.  Then I trimmed the excess wire from each side.  I repeated this process five times to about half-way up the frame.

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This last pair of earrings was made from leftover beads from a DIY bracelet kit that I picked up from Hobby Lobby.  I strung about 17 white seed beads, 3 copper seed beads, 5 teal beads, 3 copper seed beads, and finished up with 17 white seed beads.  Then I wrapped the end around the base of the top loop.

And here are the earrings with the matching bracelet:

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I am sure that I will be playing with this jig a lot more to come up with more variations!

Fair Entry: Fish Pendant

This was I design that I made up, it is a cute little fish with bubbly beads!

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It is really hard to see because my iPad doesn’t take very good pictures, but the fish’s head is wrapped with wire, and it’s side is strands of different colored beads sewn to the frame.  The blue bubbles were seed beads on a wire that were wrapped around a thicker wire.  I cut apart the chain and added seed beads to it as well.  Then I added an eye with a black bead and a fin using thicker wire.  Lots of fishy fun!

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Fair Entry: Wire Flower Pendant

Here is a wirework pendant that I made watching this video from Lan Anh Handmade on YouTube:  Flower Pendant Tutorial.  She has all sorts of beautiful wirework tutorials, and I highly recommend them.  I had a little trouble figuring out how to do the netting around the center bead, so I just did one set of loops all the way around.  I cut apart the chain and added wrapped loop beads to each side to finish it off.  I am very happy with how this came out!

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Wire Name necklaces

This is a new wire-working craft that I’ve gotten into, making wire name jewelry.  Here are a couple of name necklaces I made and a sample lower case alphabet:

Wire Name Necklace by Ronda Cassens

 

I love working with wire, so when I found this technique it seemed natural that I should try it out.  I watched several videos on YouTube by Andy Turner, aka Andy the Name Bender, and decided to purchase his e-book.  It is a very good book, and everything is clearly diagrammed and easy to follow.  I practiced for a while just using round nose pliers as instructed in the book, but I found that some of the methods of forming letters scratched or dented the wire, so I started using chain nose pliers on some parts.  It takes a little more time to switch tools, but I figured it was worth it to get a nicer end product.  I sold quite a few at a festival this past summer; there were a group of girls that all lived in town and were excited to have their names made.  I am hoping to sell more at the local farmers market this weekend.  If you would like to learn how to make wire name jewelry, check out Andy’s website to purchase the e-book, or he has some online tutorials that you can purchase as well.

Fair entries – earrings

This time I have some fun earrings to share.  The pattern came from a book called “Wirework Jewelry Workshop” by Sian Hamilton and is called Color Splash.

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These were pretty time-consuming to make.  The frame went quickly, but the wire weaving along each side took forever.  Especially when you only have a few hours left to turn in your fair projects and you had just scrapped a different design that didn’t turn out well to start this one!  Yay for last minute!  They got done, though, and did very well, so I was glad that I went with these instead!

 

Wire Frame Pendants

A while back I bought a book that had a lot of neat pendant designs, and I finally got to try some of them out.  The two designs here are made with the same type of wire frame, but by varying the type of beads, I got two totally different designs.

Here is the first one I made.  The color of the beads and wire remind me of the desert:

Copper frame pendant Ronda Cassens

Then I remembered that I had a ton of flower beads, so I tried out a floral design with shell beads and pearls:

Silver flower frame pendant by Ronda Cassens

These were fun and easy to make, and I plan on trying out more different bead combinations.  If you would like to make your own, the instructions can be found in the book “Build Your Own Wire Pendants” by Kimberly Sciaraffa Berlin.  This particular design is called Double Triangle Twisted Frame.  Vary rarely do I find a book where I want to make everything in it, and not only does it have frame-based designs where you attach beads to a wire frame, it also has designs for focal beads and cabochons, plus tons of inspirational pictures.  Very cool!

 

 

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial

Today I wanted to make some wire Christmas trees, and I have seen some neat ones on Pinterest and have made some using just round nose pliers, but it was hard to get them a consistent size and shape.  So I figured I would try it on my wire jig.  And I couldn’t stop at just one, so I made three sets for earrings.  Then as an excuse to make one more pair, I decided to make a tutorial and share it with you!  Here are the finished trees:

Wire Christmas Trees Ronda Cassens

Materials:

  • 20 gauge wire, one 8″ piece per tree
  • Cyclops wire jig by WigJig and 7 pegs
  • Round nose pliers
  • Nylon jaw pliers (optional)
  • Wire cutters

Step 1:  Set up your jig with the pegs as shown (you can click on the image to make it bigger).

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 2:  Bend your wire in half and cross the ends left over right, pulling the ends to make a small loop.  If you’re making earrings, do the same with the second wire, making sure that the wires cross the same way, left over right.

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Step 3:  Place the loop over the top peg and bend the ends up around the next two pegs.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 4: Take the left wire and wrap it around the left peg.  You’ll want to bend it down some.  Note that the left wire parallels the right wire in the center.  It will look the same each time you wrap.  If it doesn’t parallel, you probably forgot to flip the shape or wrapped the wrong wire.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 5:  Take the wire off the jig and flip it over, placing it back on the pegs.  This will help keep the shape flat.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 6:  Once again, take the left wire and wrap it around the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 7:  Flip the shape over, wrap the left wire over the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 8:  Flip the shape over and wrap the left wire over the left peg.  You may see a pattern developing!

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 9:  Flip the shape over, wrap the left wire over the left peg.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 10: Last time, flip it over and wrap the left wire over the left peg.  I bend the two wires up a little to make the base a little flatter.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 11:  Hold the bottom two wires tight with your thumb and twist them together to form the trunk of the tree.  Be careful not to distort the base and to keep the trunk centered.  I only do a few twists to hold it, then I take it off the jig and twist a little more with my nylon pliers.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 12: Remove the shape from the jig and trim the ends so that they are the same length.

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

Step 13:  Use your round nose pliers to curl the ends and you are done!

Wire Christmas Tree Tutorial Ronda Cassens

You can make these into earrings like I did, or you can adjust your pegs to make it bigger and make a pendant.  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Crochet Necklace

I found the tutorial for this necklace on Pinterest while searching for something to make for a friend who is retiring at the end of this month:

Crochet necklace Ronda Cassens

It was super easy and didn’t take much time at all to make.  It took me a little over two hours.  And it doesn’t matter if the stitches are perfect or any particular gauge.  The best part is that it combines two things that I like:  beads and crochet!  It was very relaxing to do, especially since I didn’t have to follow any sort of pattern and just added random numbers beads and stitches between the beads as I went.  The hardest part for me was that the weight of the beads kept pulling on the thread, which made it hard to work with at first, but I ended up pushing all the beads further down the thread to rest in my lap so it wasn’t so heavy.  The beads and thread came from Hobby Lobby, and I pretty much used a whole package of bead mix. They have a lot of neat mixes and I have plans to make more of these once they go on sale again.  If you would like to make one, visit Just Jen and check out her crochet necklace tutorial!

Jewelry entries for the fair

Here are my entries for the jewelry division.  The first is a pendant:

Elegant Swirl Pendant Ronda Cassens

It is called Elegant Swirl Pendant, and I found the video to make it here on YouTube.  It is from Jocelyn D., who has all sorts of cool wire-work tutorials.  I had always wondered how people got the shapes to fit so nicely without a lot of trial and error, but after watching the video, I discovered that having a sketch to help line up and shape your pieces made it really easy.  You just had to do a little tweaking in the end.  The wire is square wire, and in the tutorial, Jocelyn says that you can buy it twisted or she just twisted her own.  Since none of the stores had twisted square wire I figured it would be pretty simple to twist my own.  Not so much.  I stripped several pieces of their coating because the pliers kept slipping, then it would only twist near the pliers I was holding the wire with, and it was a mess.  I finally got it worked out, though.  Probably should have done some research first to save myself the hassle!

The other jewelry entry is a pair of earrings:

Bloom Earrings Ronda Cassens

I found this design on Pinterest, and the tutorial is here.  This was my first attempt at adding patina using liver of sulfur gel, so of course I wanted to try it out on some scraps before I did it on the real project.  I learned that wire that is treated to prevent tarnish does not develop patina, which for some reason the books I own neglected to make that fact known.  It makes sense, but it would have been nice to know before I bought a bunch of copper wire!  After some experimenting, I found out that if you scrub the wire really well with steel wool, you can get the anti-tarnish stuff off, but if you miss a spot, it doesn’t work out well.  I was glad I tested it before I made the project, because I would have had to start all over with scrubbed wire. It was a lot of work to scrub all the wire, and then you had to scrub it again after it came out of the solution.  I was not excited about the effort it took, but it certainly looks really cool.  We’ll have to see if I do much more patina work in the future.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and I certainly learned a lot about wire-work.

Some fun wire jewelry

My local bead shop has a discount table that has strung beads for $4 each, but it’s $10 if you buy three.  So of course I always have to get three!  There was a strand of large fluorite beads that I bought, and the whole time driving home I was furiously coming up with ideas on how to use them.  As soon as I got home I made this:

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The links are all hand-made from silver-plated copper wire.  They are curled into spirals on each end and connected with jump rings.  I’m pretty impressed that I just made this design up without the help of Pinterest!  A few days later I made this one:

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The idea for this necklace came from Blue Forest Jewellry.  I had originally strung the shell beads and peals into a necklace that I didn’t really like, but as soon as I saw this design, I immediately took it apart and made this instead.  Much better!

I am getting projects ready for my local fairs, so look for more posts soon!