Friday, 1 December 2017

XMAS 'SPIRAL CONE' DECORATION




I can't believe it's already the first day of December ...
The countdown to Christmas now begins! As a maker, I
have to admit that I have been creating wire and bead
decorations, running festive workshops and demonstrating
Xmas themed designs for a couple of months already, so
I'm starting to wear thin on the 'ho, ho, ho' momentum!

With that in mind, I thought I would share some of the
designs I have been teaching and demonstrating and this
year, the most popular and quickest make with first time
wireworkers is the 'Spiral Cone'. They look elegant on the
tree, or hung in a window and can be made in any scale with
any wire and beads.

For the ones I have made, I used 2mm red aluminium wire and
my usual tool kit of round, flat, chain nosed pliers, plus wire
cutters. I love using thicker gauge aluminium wires (1.5mm and
2mm) for a lot of home decor projects, as it's chunky and bold,
yet soft and easy to shape.

STEP ONE

Working from the end of a wire coil, begin creating
a spiral ...

STEP 2

The size of the spiral will determine the width of the
cone. I made mine around 4.5cm across.

STEP 3

Once you've made the large, tight spiral, cut it from the
coil, leaving a projecting tail of about 18cm (7").

STEP 4

Create an OPEN, similar size spiral with the projecting wire,
bringing it in towards and on top of the tight spiral.

STEP 5
 
Bring the 2 spirals together, so that the central holes
are aligned.

STEP 6

Lift the open spiral and stretch the tight spiral out,
so that it forms a tapered cone.

STEP 7



Measure and cut a length of 0.8mm wire that is
at least 5cm (2") longer than the overall spiral cone.
Create a circular link at one end.

STEP 8
 
Place a small bead on to the end of the wire (by the link)
and thread through the narrow end of the cone. Continue
to thread the wire with any chosen beads until the central
portion of the cone is filled ...

STEP 9

Feed the wire through the centre of the top (open spiral) and
fold it back down, like a lid. Add another bead (or more) onto
the projecting wire and create a link at the very top of the tapered
cone.

STEP 10
 
If you would like to suspend a wire dangle - you can create
a small tight spiral as above, and form a point, by placing
your chain nosed pliers near to the spiral ...

STEP 11

Bring the wire around to the top and form a suspension link.
You can place this on a steel block and using the dapping head
of your Whammer, hammer the spiral to form some texture
marks, which will help the unit to catch the light and sparkle!

STEP 12
 
And there you have it! Attach the dangle to the end and a
ribbon to the top and it's ready to hang!

You can create these with all sorts of dangles, coloured beads
and wires and here are a few more variations:

If you turn this the other way around, it could be suspended
as a spiral Christmas Tree! Or, you could make it as a table
decoration:




 

On a smaller scale and using the same technique,
take some 0.8mm silver wire to create jewellery pieces!


Have fun creating this design in whichever way you choose!
I hope this helps fuel your festive spirits!




Wednesday, 18 October 2017

HALLOWEEN INSPIRATION






















Celebrated each year at the very end of this month,
October, Halloween has evolved into a day of activities
that kids really enjoy: such as trick-or-treating, carving
a pumpkin into a lantern as well as ghosts, witches and
ghouls costume parties!























If you're looking for design inspiration to create your own home
decorations and gifts out of wire and beads (plus spider charms),
there are plenty to find online and below are a few tutorials that
I have taught over the years that I thought I would share with you ...














So, without further ado ... BOO!

Enjoy my HALLOWEEN DESIGN GALLERY!

Bat Pendants



















Cobweb Pendant






























Dead Tree of Life Pendant










































Bad Nightmare Dreamcatcher Pendant


























Spooky Spider








































Must speed off on my broomstick now ... !!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

'DOODLE' CHARM BRACELET

The wearing of charms began as a form of talisman,
to ward off evil spirits, or bad fortune.  Like lucky
mascots, medieval knights were said to have worn
charms for their protection before going into battle.
















However the popularity of charm bracelets, as we
know them today, began in the 1950's, as gifts for
a girl's 16th or 18th birthday. The nature of these
bracelets, meant that new charms could be collected
and added and old ones could be removed and kept.
This meant that women could change and adapt their
bracelets on a daily basis to express their own mood
and thoughts for that day.  That, and the fact that
you can personalise each piece, has retained their
immense popularity over the years!

You can of course, purchase beautiful cast charms from bead
suppliers, but you can also doodle with your wire to create your
own shapes and squiggles to make unique jewellery. If you have
any cut offs of 0.8mm wire, don't throw them away! Spiral, or
bend them into new forms, then tap them with a hammer on your
block and 'hey presto!' you've made your own unique
DOODLE CHARM!
















Above, are a few I made earlier! All of these shapes are between
1cm-2cm, they need to be small and compact, so that they don't
fall apart, or catch on clothing when worn.

For the bracelet, you can use ready made chain, or you can create
your own figure of '8' chain links:

















Stepped pliers are ideal for helping ensure that the links stay a
similar size.  Then make some jump rings from the same wire spool.

Once you have created enough chain links, hammer them on your
block to work harden them.


















Now, you're ready to connect the 'figure of 8' links to the jump
rings, alternating them as you go.  Create this chain about one
inch (2.5cm) shorter than the overall length required (to allow
for the clasp).



















You can create a 'T' bar clasp with the 0.8mm wire, the top being
a central cross-over link with spirals on each side, attached to a
short, straight, stem link. The 'eye' of the clasp is a wrapped loop.




















Then it's just a question of attaching and suspending your
hand made 'doodle'charms and some beads from the handmade
chain...






















One simple charm on a threaded bead nugget bracelet, can
also be very effective. (Above, you can see another Whammered
style "T-bar"clasp I often like to create for bracelets).























If you enjoy braiding and Kumihimo, attach your own doodle
charm through the cord. Here, I wanted to show how you could
accessories your wire charms by glueing a small cabochon stone,
(or flat-backed crystal).




















And don't feel you have to stop at bracelets! Why not create wire
doodle charm necklaces? Here's my 'Belly Dancer' Necklace design!

GO ON ...
Get your pliers, some wire and 
get DOODLING!








Friday, 8 September 2017

SEPTEMBER SAPPHIRE

SAPPHIRE is the September birthstone and
known as the gem of Autumn.

If like me, your budget doesn't stretch to
be able to purchase the real stone, just find
a blue bead that matches!

In this month's project, I want to illustrate
how one simple bead can become a beautiful
focal piece for a necklace, with the addition
of a little bit of wire tweaking!























The materials you will need are: 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire, one
'sapphire' coloured bead and if desired, a few matching beads for
the chain and dangle drop (which is an optional extra!).

STEP 1




















So, assemble: your bead, some wire and your usual tool kit ...

STEP 2


















Start by threading your bead with wire and using your round
nosed pliers, create a double link at each end.

STEP 3


















Cut a generous length of 0.8mm wire and secure this to one of
the double links.

STEP 4

















Begin feeding the wire around the bead through the double loops,
leaving a slight gap (halo) around the bead.

STEP 5

















Circumnavigate the wire around the bead about 3 times
(or more, if you feel so inclined!) and leave about 2"
(5cm) projecting at the end.

STEP 6















Place your round nosed pliers on the projecting wire (just by
the top of the bead) and form a top suspension loop.

STEP 7





















Once the top loop is formed, spiral the remaining wire and
flatten against the top of the bead, just under the loop.

STEP 8




















Now, the fun begins! Use the tips of your chain nosed pliers to
twist (tweak) the edges of the wires around the bead. You don't
need to go tweakingly mad, just 2 tweaks on either side will most
probably be enough!

STEP 9













Place any of the exposed wires at the edge of the frame on the
corner of your steel block and attempt to flatten and spread.
But, do not hammer any wires that cross over each other, that will
only weaken them ... And do watch your fingers! Ouch!!!

STEP 10




















Once you're happy with the results, you can choose to suspend
with a 'dangle', a spiral, a tassel ... or, just leave it as it is ...

STEP 11















For an original handmade 'Stick Twist' chain, cut lengths of
0.8mm wire. Form small centered links with your round nosed pliers
at each end. Place each length on your block, and trying to
avoid your fingers (again!), as well as the links at each end, Whammer
WHACK-hammer the centre of each unit, to spread and flatten.

STEP 12
















To form a twist in each of the units, hold each (link) end in your
flat nosed and chain nosed (or, 2 flat nosed pliers if you have them!).
TWIST a couple times whilst pulling! (Don't over twist, or you will
weaken the links).























And 'voila'! Assemble your stick-like Twist Links with some
chosen matching beads, together with jump rings to form a
pretty necklace chain.























Why not also create a pair of matching dangly earrings
using the Twist Links and some beads?






















Experiment with other beads for different pendant designs!




















Have fun with your wirey experimentations 
and if you have any requests for specific 
project tutorials, or techniques and would 
like advice on your jewellery journeys ... 
please feel to free to ask!
That's what this forum is for!