Monday, 28 July 2014

Wire Fringe Necklace

Once you have learned the basics of jewelry making, I highly recommend experimenting with different styles and creating unusual pieces.  Not only is it fun, but, if you want to sell your jewelry, you will find it is a great idea to offer something original and completely unique.  You may not appeal to the mass market, but you may find that a smaller group of people will fall in love with your individual designs.

This necklace is a little different - you can make it as elegant or dramatic as you like. You can see that I have made it into a 'bib' style and added chain.  You could make it longer to create a more dramatic effect.

For this project I used:

  1. 40cm of 24 gauge wire;
  2. 2.5m of 28 gauge wire;
  3. 39 beads;
  4. 1 necklace clasp; and
  5. 18cm of chain.

If you do not want to use chain and want to make the 'fringed' part of your necklace longer (you could make it the entire length of the necklace), then you should allow for up to 3.5m of 28 gauge wire.  How much wire you use will depend on not only the length of the fringed part but also the length of the 'fringes' themselves.

If you would like to know more about the different types of wire used in jewelry making, check out the previous post.

The video tutorial for this project is below - happy twisting!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Jewelry Making Materials - Wire

Choosing Wire 

There is a lot of choice when it comes to selecting materials, particularly wire.  Below, I have outlined some of the basics which may assist you getting started.


Wire is usually described by its 'gauge, being a reference to its thickness.  In some countries, its thickness is referred to in millimeters.  A higher gauge will mean a thinner wire.

Thick wire (16 to 20 gauge or 1.3mm to 0.8mm) is great for making components, like jump rings.  It is also great to use to create a  'structure' like a circle or a square, to base you design around, so it can be particularly useful in making pendants. It is strong and will hold its shape. I used 20 gauge wire to make the bangle on the right.

Medium wire (22 to 24 gauge, or 0.65mm to 0.5mm) is perfect for wrapping beads.  It is flexible but holds its shape fairly well. It is great for making connections between beads, or for wrapping large beads. I used 24 gauge wire to make the necklace on the left.

Thin wire (26 to 28 gauge, 0.3mm to 0.4mm) is great for wire crochet or delicate weaving.  I used (a lot!) of 28 gauge wire to make the twisted vine necklace on the right.  It is also great for filling shapes made from 20 gauge wire (I will be posting a tutorial for that project soon!)

Tiger tail is a thin, flexible nylon wire.  It can't be used for wrapping but can be used with crimp beads for 'floating' earring or necklace projects, like those on the left.


Wire comes in a number of different types of materials. You should be mindful of the coating of your wire. Some wire, like aluminium wire, is inexpensive but will tarnish in a small amount of time.  Some cheaper wires will also snap when bent (which can lead to some real frustration!). It can be great for practicing (provided that it is fairly strong) but is not ideal for final projects.

Generally, I like to use silver or gold plated wire.  It is not overly expensive, looks great and does not tarnish. It is also really strong - even the thinner wires don't snap after repeated bending.

If you want something even stronger, you may want to try gold or silver filled wire.  It is like plated wire, but the coasting of the gold or silver is much thicker.

If you have any queries at all, let me know and I will do may best to help - email me or comment below.

Happy wrapping!

Basic Techniques: Wire Wrapping Beads

Learning to wrap a bead is one of the most important techniques to learn in jewelry making.  The technique I use allows you to connect beads without using solder.

The tools you will need are pliers and wire cutters.

The first step, is to place the pliers about 1cm from the end of the wire.  Next, bend the wire around the round part of the pliers.

Next, wrap the longer part of the wire around the shorter length twice. 

Pull the wire straight and place a bead on the wire. 

Place the pliers about 1cm away from the bead, and bend the wire around the pliers to make a loop. 

Wrap the wire around the shorter length of wire towards the bead.  Wrap the wire around the 'stem' twice, to make sure it is secure. Trim the excess wire and your bead is ready.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Spiral Earrings

These spiral earrings are really easy to make bu look impressive. You can easily convert the design into a pendant (or make a matching pendant for your earrings!)

You can vary the design the make longer styles earrings by using more bead or making your spiral bigger.

All you will need is:

  1. beads of your choice (I used three 4 mm beads)
  2. 30cm of 24 gauge wire; and 
  3. two earring hooks. 
The only tools I used were pliers and wire cutters. 

The link to the full tutorial is below - so get spiralling!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Two ways of using ribbon in your jewelry designs

Have you thought about using ribbon in your jewelry designs?  Often you can create a dramatic impact.  I have outlined two fairly simple projects below to get your creative juices flowing. I have used simple black ribbon in both these projects but I expect that using something a little different may lead to some beautiful and unique designs.

Ribbon Necklace 

For this project I used:

  1. 14 6mm beads (I used glass pearls);
  2. 50cm of 24 gauge wire;
  3. 60cm of ribbon; and 
  4. a necklace clasp (I used a lobster clasp).
The only tools needed are a pair of round nose pliers and wire cutters.

Step 1: The first step is to make a large wire wrapped loop.  You will want it to be larger than usual so that the ribbon will fit in the loop at the end. 

To make the loop, you first need to wrap the wire around the larger part of the pliers. 

Then, you will need to wrap the longer part of the wire twice around the straight part, so that you create a closed loop.

Trim the shorter part of the wire, and your loop should look like this:

Step 2: the second step is to create a chain of connected beads. You could connect the beads by soldering jump rings between each.  However, I did it by connecting each bead to the proceeding bead. This creates a strong chain without the need for soldering.  

Place a bead on the length of wire. Place the pliers about 1cm away from the bead, and bend the wire towards the bead.  

To close the link, wrap the wire twice around the shorter part of the wire, towards the bead.  After you have wrapped the wire twice, trim the end of the wire. 

To complete the chain, continue connecting the beads in the same way.  Bend the wire and make a lop through the loop in the last beaded section. Place a bead on the wire, and close the loop.  Complete the process until you have connected all but one of the beads. 

When it comes time to attach the last bead, use the pliers to make a larger loop, the same size as the loop before the first bead.  You want this loop to be larger so that the other end of the ribbon can fit through it. 

Step three: The third step is to add the ribbon to the beaded chain by threading it through the larger loops on each side.  

You can do this by simply knotting the end of the ribbon, and trimming any excess.  If you do that you design will look like this:

Alternatively, you might you might want to create ribbons in the ends like this:

If you want the necklace to be adjustable, you can cut the ribbon so that you can tie a bow around your neck.

Ribbon Bracelet

This project is another example of using ribbon in your designs.  This design using ribbon to create an 'accordion' look.  I have made a bracelet but you could easily turn the design into a necklace. 

For this design I used:

  1. 21 6mm beads (I used the same glass pearls);
  2. 20cm of 24 gauge wire; and 
  3. a clasp. 
The only tools I used were a pair of pliers and wire cutters. 

Step one: The first step to to make a look in your wire.  Use the pliers to create a loop and bend the wire around the straight part of the wire.  Trim the end of the wire. Use the wire to pierce the ribbon. 

Bend the ribbon over and pierce the wire through it.  You should have a small loop of ribbon sitting on top of the wire.  

Thread a bead onto the wire.

Fold the ribbon around the bead and  pierce the wire through it. Fold the ribbon over the piece the wire through it again.

 Keep adding beads and threading the ribbon onto the wire in the same way until all the beads and the ribbon are threaded onto the wire.

 When the last bead has been added, add a clasp before closing the loop.

You can see from my design that the ribbon tends to overpower the beads.  If you want your beads to stand out more, make the loops in the ribbon smaller.

Do you use ribbon in your designs?  If so, share your ideas by commenting below!

My little helper (or not!)

If you watched my latest video tutorial (beaded bunch earrings) you may have heard a rather loud someone making himself heard towards the end of my video.

What you may have thought was some vicious beast, we in fact made by this little guy:

I am sure anyone with a beagle will confirm that, despite their cute little faces, the noise they can make is extraordinary!  Good for would-be burglars,  bad for recording video tutorials.

Beaded Bunch Earrings

It is probably fairly clear why I have called these 'bunch' earrings.  They remind me most of a bunch of grapes!

They are rather simple - they involve simply attaching beads to a length of chain by headpins.  You can change the look of the earrings by varying the size of the chain, the number of beads used and the length. If you want your earrings to look more full, you may wish to add more beads.  If you want a more 'sparse' look, then add less.  You can see I have also included a variation to the design for the earrings on the right hand side of the above picture. For that design, I have simply used a shorted length of chain and added a focal bead to the end of it.

You can use whatever style of beads you want.  I used a collection of 40 (20 per earring) beads ranging between 2mm and 6mm in size.  I went for a collection of various pearl and black beads.  You may want to use beads of the same kind or colour or go for a more eclectic look.  I arranged my beads fairly randomly, but you want to vary the style by placing larger beads at the bottom of the chain and increasing in size towards the top.

If you make the project, I would love to see photos of what you have created!  You can email me or comment on the post.

For this project I used:

  1. 40 beads ranging between 2mm and 6mm;
  2. 40 headpins (I used 28 gauge headpins for the smaller beads and 24 gauge headpins for the larger beads); 
  3. about 10 cm of chain (preferably with soldered links) and 
  4. two earring hooks. 
The link to the video tutorial is below - Happy beading!

Hearts of Purple Glass - Earring Tutorial

I am a big fan of Blondie - but I doubt these earring would be in keeping with Debbie Harry's punk style.

If your a fan of the jewelry of the art nouveau period then you may find that this project is a good introduction for wire wrapping techniques.  Wire wrapping allows you to create fluid and curved shapes, like these upside down hearts.

That is not to say of course that you could not also make geometric shapes or use sharper line to achieve a more edgy look.

You could use a wire jig to fashion metal shapes but I am all about using as little equipment as possible, so I shaped these using pliers.You may wish to try other means of shaping your wire. For example you may want to try shaping your wire around an object - you could use a jar for a circle, or a ruler for a rectangle.  If you want to create more fluid shapes, I recommend drawing the pattern you want onto a piece of paper, and then using your pliers to shape the wire over the drawing.  This proves to be a useful technique for crafting more complicated shapes, such as letters or words.  You can make something truly individual and unique by shaping wire - from a message of love to a heartbeat. It takes a little practice but it is something anyone can do.

I have designed this tutorial to introduce some very basic wire wrapping and wrapping of beads.  You will need:

  1. about 50 cm of 24 gauge wire;
  2. two focal beads; and 
  3. two earring hooks. 
The only tools I used were round nose pliers and wire cutters. 

If you are ready to begin or just want to take a look, the video tutorial is below.

Happy wrapping!

Don't forget, if you want to see any particular projects, send me an email and I will do my best to make one for you.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Beautiful Bar Wire Earrings

These 'bar' earrings are very simple to make but the results care beautiful.

If you want to make your design similar to mine, will need 14 beads of your choice, 14 cm (5.3 inchges) of 20 gauge wire, 20cm (8 inches) of 24 gauge wire,  10 cm (3 inches) of 24 gauge wire (optional) and two earring hooks.

The idea is to form a curved bar with the 20 gauge wire and then to wrap the beads with the 28 gauge wire around the bar.  Add the bar to some chain and connect it to the earring hooks (or you can add a bead to the chain before you connect it to the earring hook).


See the video below for more detailed instructions.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Taking inspiration from origami

I love making origami - folding paper to create something beautiful is gratifying and relaxing.  I am by no means an expert at it but having beautiful paper certainly helps my projects.

The question is, how do you show off your origami after it has been created? I've started using origami in my jewelry designs to show off my mini paper creations. The paper itself is worthy of display.

The above picture is an example of some earrings I made after making a couple of cranes. They are simple to make - all I did was pierce the paper, thread through some head pins and attach earring hooks.  You could easily add a chain instead of the hooks to make a necklace.

Because I am not an origami expert I have not made a video tutorial for these earrings. There are plenty of great origami projects online. I am sure you would not want to be subjected to my Aussie twang whilst I explain how to make beautiful Japanese art!

Have you tried to use origami in jewelry making? What have you made? Please feel free to share your ideas and successes (or failures) in the comments below.

Happy folding!

Create some chaos earrings!

We all need a little bit of chaos at times.  These earring are not about precision or neatness.  They are about unleashing creativity and running wild.

All you will need is:

  1. 10 (3.15 inches) of 20 gauge wire;
  2. 50 cm (19 inches) of 28 gauge wire;
  3. 2 earring hooks; and
  4. 18 small beads (optional).
In terms of tools you only need pliers and wire cutters. You do not need any fancy tool to create the base shape. If you want to make a circle shape like I did, just use something round you have at home - I used a vacuum cleaner attachment! 

You can use the project to make whatever style you want. You may want to use less or more beads, less or more wire or a completely different base shape. I use autumn red/yellow colours with gold wire but the choices are endless! 

Go ahead and create some chaos!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Twisted vine earrings

Project three: twisted vine earrings 

I adore this design. It is so elegant that you can use it to create a piece for a special occasion. I have used gold wire with pearls beads but you could use whatever combination you like - I expect silver and blue would look amazing! 

Although the project may look complicated, it is actually very simple. You will need about 2.5m of 28 gauge wire, two earring hooks and about 12 beads of various sizes. 

The link to the project is below: 

You can always use the design to make a necklace instead of earrings by adding a clasp instead of earring hooks. 

Beautiful beaded wire wrapped bracelet

Project two: wire wrapped bracelet 

This is another simple but wonderful project - once you have the basics down you can use the design to make any number of beautiful bracelets or necklace necklaces. 

The only materials you will need are 1.5m 24 gauge wire, 12 beads for your choice and a clasp. 

Check out the video below for the instructions: 

A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

Getting started creating your own works of art...

There is no greater joy that creating something completely unique. My intention with this blog is to provide inspiration to anyone who wants to make their own individual creations. I will be posting regular video and picture projects to help you along your way.

You do not need a lot of tools or expensive equipment to get started - in fact, all you really need are a pair of round nose pliers and some wire cutters. 

In terms of materials, you just need wire, beads and findings (earring hooks and clasps). Many of the projects you will see on this blog do not require many materials at all and can be made inexpensively. 

Project one - Simple Earrings 

This first project is incredibly simple.  Once you have the basics, you can make an array of beautiful earrings to suit any occasion or outfit.  So let's get started! 

For this project you need are two 24 gauge head ions, two earring hooks and some beads (I used six 8mm beads and four crystal spacers).

The instructions are contained in the video below:

Enjoy and stay tuned for more projects!