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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wire Hearts Ring- A Tutorial

 



Ever see something, love it, and then realize... 'Hey, I can make that!"? I love it when that happens! I saw this ring on Instagram (via user the_fashion_spot), and knew I had to make one.

Oh, and if you've got Instagram, you could follow me @sarahg2285. If you wanna. :)

 

The love ring? Not so sure about that one yet... but the heart ring, that I can do! Mine is a little different, but it's really pretty easy to make! You'll need:

  •  20 gauge or thicker wire - I used 20 gauge silver plated copper wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Ring Mandrel... or a tube of Chapstick...
  • A ruler

Start by cutting a 6" length of wire.  This is the length I use to make a ring to fit my fingers, and I typically wear a ring size of 5-ish. Which also happens to be the diameter of a Chapstick tube. (Oh, and here is a fun post about ring sizes : http://uctuk.com/blog/?p=75) When you make a ring with the same measurements as I have posted here, the band of the ring measures to be about 1.75". It may take a little tweaking and trial-and-error to get the right size for you, but I would add on about 1/8" to 1/4" of length for a size bigger.  I'm no jewelry expert, so don't quote me on that! :)

Once you've got your length of wire, take your flat nose pliers (I'm using round nose again, because that's what I've got... flat nose would be much easier to work with) and hold onto the wire 1.5" from the end.



Using your fingers, bend the ends together to make a 'v' shape.



Do the same thing on the other end of the wire, but in the opposite direction, and you'll have this funky 'n' shape.



Take your round nose pliers, and grab onto the wire right at the bend, and pull the wire down around the nose.




Now grab the wire on the other side of the bend, and do the same thing to create the heart shape.



 Hold the wire at the base of the heart, and give it a slight bend, to straighten the heart on the wire.


Now take your flat nose pliers (again, do as I say, not as I do...) and hold onto the heart straight across it. Wrap the tail end of the wire around the base a few times, snip off the excess, and press the edge in with your pliers. Try to cut the wire so that the end is on the top, not on the bottom where it can scratch your finger.



Now repeat these steps on the opposite end of the wire, and you'll end up with this bone-shaped piece of wire.  I think it kind of looks like a bone, anyway.

 

All that's left to do is wrap the wire around your mandrel, or anything else that is round and the right diameter. I actually used a big drill bit from my husbands tools. Wrap the wire around to form your ring shape. You can used your round nose pliers to gently curve the hearts, too.

It would also be a good idea to harden the wire to keep it's shape, by lightly hammering it, or tossing it into a tumbler.

Cute and simple! I want to try this ring in some colored aluminum wire, maybe with 18 gauge next time. Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see it! Send me a picture, post one to my Facebook page, tag me in a pic on Instagram (@sarahg2285)... I'd love to feature some pictures in a post! :)








Thursday, October 4, 2012

Polymer Clay Acorn Pendants - A Tutorial

See? I have been having fun with polymer clay! Another fun autumn craft. :)



To make yourself a polymer clay acorn pendant, you'll need:

  • Polymer Clay
  • An acorn cap
  • Jewelry wire, preferably 20 gauge or thicker - about 4" length
  • Round nose pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Large needle
  • Paint & Paintbrush
  • E6000 glue, or another equally strong glue
  • OPTIONAL - A clear finish - I used Minwax Polycrylic, but you could also use Mod Podge.
Start by preparing your acorn cap for the wire by making a hole through the middle with the needle, or a nail.  It may take a little wiggling, maybe some light hammering on the end of the needle/nail, but it will make a hole.



Using your round nose pliers, curl one end of the wire around to make a loop.


Give the wire a little bend at the base of the loop, and then stick the wire through the hole in the acorn cap, so the loop is on the inside.


Holding the cap right-side up, hold the wire with your round nose pliers, and give it a bend.


Now reposition the pliers, and wrap the wire around the nose, forming a loop.


To wrap the wire around, start by holding the loop with your pliers.  Flat nose pliers work much better than round nose, but I don't have any flat nose pliers, so... I'm working with what I've got here. :)
Holding the loop with your pliers, wrap the wire around the base of the loop until you reach the acorn cap.  For me, that was three wraps.  Snip off the excess wire with wire cutters, and press in the end with your pliers.  Again, much easier to do this with flat nose pliers, but round nose works in a pinch.

 


There, the cap is ready! Now for the polymer clay. Take a piece and roll it into a ball.  The size will vary with the size of the cap, so there might be a little trial-and-error here to find the right size.

Once you've got a ball that fits into the cap, press it in and shape the bottom into a point, like a real acorn.


Now is the time where I like to add some texture to the clay.  One of my favorite things to use is....


My tweezers! I love the pattern of the finger grips. What I do is take my tweezers and gently press the pattern onto the clay, over and over until I'm satisfied with the look. 



Don't they look like little leaves? Cute!

Now you can choose to take the clay out of the cap and bake it, or bake it right in the cap.  I took mine out... Why? I don't know.  That's just the way I did it.  Either way, bake the clay according to the directions on the package, and then let it cool.

 

Watching the clay bake through my little kiln.  Pretty sure it's made for kids, but hey, it gets the job done!

If you took the clay out of the cap, you'll have to glue it back in with some E6000 glue.

Once everything's all put together, it's time for some color.  I used a pinkish ink pad, but regualr paint would work well, too.  Paint it, let it dry, and then finish it with either Mod Podge or another finish ( I used Minwax Polycrylic). You don't have to put the finish on the cap, but I chose to for mine.  Makes the whole thing glossy and shiny.  Let it dry, and then you can put it on a chain.

Ready to wear!






Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Post Earrings ~ A Tutorial

Now that it's officially fall, and it's October (did that come quick, or was it just me?!), I'm starting to feel the autumn vibe.  I've been playing around with polymer clay a little bit recently, and I'm no expert, but I did come up with a tutorial on how to make a pair of cute little pumpkin earrings.




You'll need:
  • Polymer Clay - I used white and then painted it after it was baked, but you could use colored clay,and skip the painting step.
  • Large sewing needle, or skewer... something to draw lines in the clay
  • Paint - I used ink pads, and some green glitter glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Earrings Posts with glue pads
  • E6000 glue, or a similar super strength glue

Start by kneading the clay in your hands for a minute or two, to soften it and make it more pliable.
Make four balls of clay- two large for the pumpkin bodies, and two tiny for the stems.



Flatten out the large balls of clay, and give them a slightly oval shape. (One of my pumpkins is a little bigger than the other... so try to make sure they are the same size, unlike me!)

Using the needle, draw curved lines in the clay to make the lines of the pumpkin.

Now take the tiny balls of clay and make a flattened cone shape, and stick that on the top of the pumpkin, for the stem.



Bake the pumpkins following the directions for your clay.  I used a little plastic craft kiln I picked up at a yard sale- I love it!

When they are baked and cooled, you can paint them.  I pressed them into a tan/brown-ish ink pad, and then evened out the color with a paintbrush.  I used plain old green paint and glitter glue for the stems.



When the paint dries, add on a coat of Mod Podge to protect the paint.  This is the great part about using the ink pads - even though the ink was dry to the touch, when I started brushing on the Mod Podge, the ink began to move around again, and I could brush it into the lines I made with the needle, giving it more of an aged, multi-dimensional look. Nice!



Glue the earring posts to the back of the pumpkin, let them dry, and you've got yourself a cute little pair of pumpkin earrings! Very autumny!





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StepThruCrazy
My name is Sarah. I am a wife; the mother of three beautiful and crazy girls; a person of many interests, many that I am just finding out; and just generally me in every way.
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