Friday, March 31, 2017

How to Matte and Texturize Boring Beads!

Sometimes I run into beads that just don't do it for me.  Unfortunately, I purchase them anyway, but that is a whole different issue.  Anyway, I really like the Sally Hansen big Matte top coat.  Its clear nail polish that you can paint on top of any color polish and it will make it matte (not shiny).  

how to jazz up old beads handmade jewelry tutorial

I thought I'd give it a whirl on some beads and it turned out pretty well.  The trick is to use a VERY thin coat and move quickly. However, if you don't move quickly, it adds some texture that looks pretty neat too.  Give it a shot.

Have fun!  

how to jazz up old beads handmade jewelry tutorial

How to Finish Cord and Leather Handmade Jewelry With Cord Closures Tutorial

Cord closures are used to attach cording to clasps and other components.  You can use it to group together multiple strands of cord, round leather cord or flat cord, like that in the tutorial.  They are very simple to use.

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

Here is a picture of a small cord closure I got from Michael's.  It is really small and can hold 1 piece of cord.  They make bigger ones, if you need to fit multiple or bigger strands.

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

The cord fits between the 2 wings of metal, like so..

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

Use pliers to close down one wing and then the other.

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

Once both side are down, I like to clamp them one last time, to make them smooth.

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

And you are done! Now, you can add a jump ring to your cord ending.

how to finish cord and leather handmade jewelry tutorial

How to Make Joann's Fabric Inspired Leather Snap Clasp Tutorial

These don't take a lot of skill to make, they just require some patience.  However the pay off is worth it!

Handmade leather jewelry clasps with snaps and eyelets and grommets

I bought some leather Clasps from Joanne's Fabric and I loved it...However, they were frequently out of stock and, as you can see, there is little variety.

How to Make Joann's Fabric Inspired Leather Snap Clasp Tutorial

So, I decided to make my own and found out that it is cheaper and soooo insanely awesome!!

Leather strips (Michael's, Joann's, Amazon)
Leather Hole Punch (Amazon, Michael's, Joann's)
Scissors that can cut through your leather
*Grommets/Eyelets (Michael's has large, Joann's has small)
*20L snaps
*Setting tools for snaps and grommets, if they aren't included

Step 1:
I like to start by getting my leather strips, in a variety of colors.

How to Make Joann's Fabric Inspired Leather Snap Clasp Tutorial

Step 2:
I cut out my pattern.  This can really be any shape and size that you want.  Just figure out what looks good on your wrist and cut it out.  It doesn't have to be perfectly straight or symmetrical.   

How to Make Joann's Fabric Inspired Leather Snap Clasp Tutorial

Step 3:
Determine the placement of the holes to be punched.  You can use a felt pen to make dots where you plan to punch.  I actually have a pattern that I use to make all my cutouts. 

I cut out the leather using a pair of heavy duty scissors.  Depending on how tough your leather is, you might be able to use regular scissors to cut your patterns.  

How to Make Joann's Fabric Inspired Leather Snap Clasp Tutorial

Since I am using larger eyelets for this tutorial, I only have 4 holes. However, if you are using smaller eyelets, like Joann's cuffs, then you can make 7 holes.  The Elements eyelets, below, are the exact size of the ones in Joann's cuff.  The are also sold at Joann's.

Leather working grommets and eyelets

Step 4:
Punch the holes for the eyelets and the snaps.  Below, is a leather punch.  

Leather working hole punch

It has a wheel that spins and makes different sized holes.  For our eyelets, you'll use size 4.  For our snap holes you'll use size 2.5.  

Leather working hole punch

Line up the punch straight over your hole and squeeze hard.  I usually twist the leather clockwise, while I'm squeezing, to make sure all the edges have been severed.  If they haven't, you can let go and reposition the leather and squeeze again.  

Leather working hole punch

Step 5:
Add your grommets.  The grommets may come with setting tool.  If not, then you'll have to get one that is specific to the size grommets that you are using.  

Leather working grommets and eyelets setting

When you place your grommet, remember that the side that you'll be hammering will not be the side that you want people to see.  You can see the difference between the front and back, below.

Leather working snap setting

Place your grommet, face down on the setting anvil. Make sure your anvil is on a hard surface, like stone..not wood.  I use my garage floor, not my countertops.

And use your rubber mallet to tap the grommet until it is bent to the leather. This doesn't take much force.

Step 6:
Add your snaps.  Make sure you have a stone surface. Again, I use the garage floor. You may have to hammer hard, so I don't recommend using countertops or home flooring.  

I use size 20L snaps and they came with their own setting tools and instructions for which pieces go together.  I have them lined up in 2 vertical pairs, below. The female side is closest to the setting tool (right side). 

I always pull out the pairs of snaps and match them up before I begin, because some pieces look very similar, and it can get confusing.   The button anvil has one concave side (button face/female side), and one flat side (male side).

Leather working snap setting

Leather working snap setting

If you are a beginner, start with the male side, as it is the easiest to attach.  Attach one male side to your leather. The goal is to tap the setting tool until it rolls the metal in the middle down to keep the snap in place.

Leather working snap setting

Leather working snap setting

Step 7:
Attach the female piece.  The button face will be facing down inside the concave side of the anvil.  

Leather working snap setting

Leather working snap setting

Begin tapping the setting tool until you successfully roll the metal shaft down, attaching the snap to the leather.  Swirl the setting tool around, while tapping, to help evenly roll the sides down.

Leather working snap setting

Step 8:
Test out your work.  The snaps should easily snap together and pull apart.  If the two pieces don't snap together perfectly, then you probably need to tap the metal down further , on both the female and male parts.

It takes a lot of hammering, especially on the female side.  Just make sure not to hit too hard or you'll dent the face of the button.  Lots of consistent taps while swirling the setting tool will work.  This part takes practice. 

Handmade leather jewelry clasps with snaps and eyelets and grommets

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Finish a Headpin

Headpins come in many shapes, sizes and finishes.  The ones pictured are pretty basic, but you can get more decorative ones.  I got mine from Michael's.  Closing headpins take a little bit of practice.  Here is a quick tutorial on an easy way to close a headpin.  

Headpins are used to hold groups of beads that you'll attach to another set of beads,  jump rings or whatever you can dream up.  The one below is only going to be joined on one end, like an earring.  

Sometimes your headpin is longer than you want, so you clip the end.  Figuring out how long the remaining tip should be takes some practice. You'll get the hang of it quickly. However, they are cheap so, if you make a mistake then just toss it and start over. 

Tightly grasp the end of the pin with your wire wrapping pliers. Try to get to the smallest end of the pliers to get the tightest loop.  The further towards your hands the larger the loop.

You'll turn at an angle so you'll end up with a small offset loop. 

Small offset.

Now grasp the loop at its base and bend it slightly backwards to make a question mark shape.

Straighten out the offset to make a closed loop.

Now you can add a jump ring.


Metallic Multi Strand Necklace

This necklace is appropriate for work or a night out!  It is easy enough to make that kids can throw one together for a sophisticated and versatile handmade gift.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour

1MM Waxed Cotton Cord (neutral colors add sophistication)
2 Large Cording Endings
1 S-Hook Clasp (or whatever you have on hand)
*2 small jump rings
*you can just buy a multi pack that has a selection of findings, like this one on Amazon.

Silver beads (small and square. I got mine from Michael's)

Assorted Beading Tools
Beading Board
Candle (yes, any candle will do. Pine scented made the necklace smell nice)

40 second video on how I put this together!

Step 1:
Light your candle.
Decide what length you will be making.  I use 12.5 inches of beads.  Make sure to cut some extra cord as you may have to trim it because as it may fray while you are stringing.

Get your cotton cording and dip the end of it in the newly melted wax. Immediately, pinch the ends of your cord just to tap the wax down.  This will give you a hard tip and make your cord much easier to string. Tie a knot at the opposite end to keep the beads from falling off.  You'll cut the knot off, so make it as close to the end as you can.

1 MM Waxed Cord
Cotton Cording

Step 2:
String 12.5 inches of beads onto the first strand and set aside. Repeat for the next 5 strands.  

Step 3:
Cut off the knotted ends and gather one side of strands together to place in the cord ending.  Use pliers to bend the metal closure around the 6 strands.  Make sure this ending is tight.  Repeat for the other side.

Step 4:
Attach the S-hook closure with 3mm jump rings.

How To Wear This Necklace:

How to Attach a Jump Ring

There are many different size jump rings and all work the same way.  I use the smallest jump rings for earrings and attaching closures to bracelets, but which ones you use are up to you.

Step 1:
Grab the jump ring with 2 sets of pliers. Bend one plier towards your body and one away from your body.  Don't pull the jump ring open as if you are trying to straighten it out.
It should look more like an "S" than a "U".

Step 2:
Add whatever elements you are trying to combine and close the ring back up.  It is extremely important that you close the ring back evenly (not overlapping) and without a gap.  If it is uneven or overlapping it may snag clothing and if it isn't tightly closed then the chain or whatever it is combining may fall through the gap and come undone.