Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beach Glass Tutorial

As promised, here's the tutorial on making your own beach glass!

Start out with plain glass. I used beer bottles, because of the color variety. Smash them up one by one inside of a bag to whatever size you want your finished product to be. This will probably make holes and glass splinters in whatever bag you use, so I layered up four plastic shopping bags and smashed mine inside of those on my driveway with a large hammer. You may also want to wear safety glasses just in case. 

I used one of these Rock Tumblers that I had lying around. This one's made for about half a pound of glass, grit, and water, so I used the following:
1/2 of a glass beer bottle
5 heaping tsp playground sand
Fill to the top of the glass with water

Of course, if you have the special grit, you can go ahead and use that, but since beach glass isn't smooth, I found the playground sand worked perfectly, and is a lot cheaper.

After about 3-4 days of tumbling, I got this pretty authentic looking beach glass. Obviously, the longer you leave the glass in there, the smoother / more worn it will look. You'll have to change out the sand every few days though, as the particles will get smaller and less abrasive.

But if you don't want to go through all that trouble, you could always just buy a bag of these at your local craft store :)

These are two pendants I made as gifts while trying out different wire wrapping techniques. Also a pair of earrings that I made before, if you're looking for ideas. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beach Glass Earrings

During a recent trip to the beach, I took a walk along the shore, hoping to collect some pretty seashells. Suddenly, I saw a small green one peaking out from the sand, and upon uncovering it, I discovered it was a piece of beach glass.
And thus my new obsession began...

Since it is so rare for me to find beach glass on the shore, I decided I'd have to make my own if I wanted to use it for jewelry. 

This is the first pair of earrings I made with my own glass. I'm not entirely sure if I like this pair...I definitely could have done a better job with the wire wrapping. Maybe I'll re-make these in the future. I was very lucky though that I had two pieces that were so similar in shape, as I had no control over how my glass broke.

I'll be posting a tutorial shortly on how to make your own beach glass ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Heart Danglies

I've been getting really into wire working lately, but I'm afraid I'm still not very good at it. Especially at making my two earrings even. I know in my mind that I should start out by cutting two equal sized pieces of wire before twisting them, but somehow it never happens once I get down to the making. 

Nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with the results. I used 20 gauge brass wire with glass beads, 3 pairs of pliers, and lots of patience. I'm going to keep at it though, and hopefully practice with wire will make perfect :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Handcuff Necklace

A necklace! Gosh, it's been a while since I've posted one of these, huh?

This one is super cheap and easy to make :)

You'll need to get a pair of thumb cuffs to start. I got them at a local toy store in the practical joke section for just over $1. 

Then get a pair of jewelry pliers and detach the chain between the two cuffs. My cuffs are fully functional, so they can interlock and be my clasp.

So then just cut off a length of chain and attach it to the loops on the cuffs where the short chain was before.

Wear your jailbird fashion with pride ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mini Animal Studs

Did you know that I can wear any post earrings now? =D
I made these little critters out of polymer clay to celebrate with me!

They're pretty simple to make-- just take two chunks of the same size to make the base, and then stick on other small pieces of clay for the details. I found that an x-acto knife helped with cutting out the beaks on the birds and detailing the wings and the feet. 
I also used a tooth pick to help attach the eyes and noses, since my fingers weren't so great at evenly squishing the clay down and keeping it round. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cherry Bow Earrings

Aside from cupcakes, I think that cherries and bows might be the cutest things that you can wear. Unless of course, your kitty is of the fat and cuddly variety :)

So why not combine them?

Start out with some gold wire. This is 20 gauge gold colored brass wire.
Make bow-ish shapes out if it. I didn't actually tie bows like you do with your shoelaces, because this wire is a bit too thick to do nice knots with. So I made two loops and wrapped one of the legs around the center.

I don't have a photo for this, but afterwards I took the longer leg and wrapped it around the center twice more to make it look neater. You can see the end result in the next photo:

Then I took some polymer clay and made little "cherry" balls with them. I wanted to paint them later with red nail polish to give them a juicy look, so I just used up my white reject clay -- white clay that has little carpet fibers in it that I can't use for actual white projects.

After baking the clay, I covered it with two coats of bright red nail polish and one coat of clear.

Then, just use some hot glue and attach them to earring posts!
Enjoy your luscious earrings ;)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Contact Me!

You probably haven't noticed, but I've been working on a few edits to my blog-- one of which being a "Contact Me" page. You can find this in the menu bar right below the header. 

So go ahead and send me a message! Tell me something I don't know about clay, your favorite type of wire, or how your pet rabbit is doing. I'd love to read anything you send me :)

You can also use that form to request a particular tutorial if you have something in mind. 

Everything sent through that contact form will be 100% confidential unless you choose to make it otherwise. You do need to provide a valid email if you would like to receive a response though. I promise I won't sell any of your information to spammers!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pincushion Ring

So lately I've been meaning to do a bit more sewing after my recent earring craze has all but taken over my life. As I was taking out my needles though, I noticed an old thimble that I had lying around that I hardly ever used. Now juxtapose that with the wristlet pincushions that have been creeping their way into style, and I came up with the idea of making a pincushion ring. 

Perfect size for a small project, and no chance of pushing the pins in too far and stabbing yourself~!

Start out with a thimble and a small piece of fabric.

Now stuff the fabric into the thimble, with the right side facing the metal. 

Pinch off the fabric around the edge of the thimble and pull it out. 

Now start making a running stitch around where you pinched. Don't worry too much about making this neat looking-- you won't be able to see it. 

Then put your thumb inside it and put the thimble on again just to make sure you have the right size and shape.

When you're sure your stitches are right, start stuffing it! I used about 1/3 of a cotton ball. Make sure you don't make it too compact, otherwise you'll have a hard time sticking the pins in. 

Trim off the excess fabric, making sure to leave at least a quarter inch allowance. 

Pull the thread tight now....

...and double check to make sure everything's the right size before you tie off the thread.

Then gather your materials as you heat up your hot glue gun. You'll need the thimble, the pincushion you just made, and a blank ring. 

Put some glue on the inside of the thimble...

...and on the ring...

...and then assemble!


Happy prick-free sewing =)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Faux Gauges

Just a quick post right now-- I've been a bit busier than usual lately.

A few weeks ago, I saw a few photos of really pretty gauge earrings, but I didn't want to have to stretch my ears. So, with some more research, I stumbled upon this technique to make faux gauges! 

They're wearable with any normally pierced ears. Just start out making gauges, and then slice them in half where you'd like the front and back to divide, stick posts and backings into each half, respectively, and then cover them up with a bit of clay. You'll want to stick the posts into the backings before you bake to make sure you make a hole in the clay large enough to easily put in the earrings later.

Enjoy your pretty non-stretched ears :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Origami Butterflies

I've seen quite a few origami butterflies before, but these are by far, in my opinion, the most realistic looking. 

Start out with a square.

Fold it in half and crease. Then unfold

Fold one of the halves about 3/4 of the way to the crease

Do the same with the other half. Try to make them match as perfectly as you can.


Fold one of the corners in to the creases you  just made.

Do this to all four corners.

Then fold along the creases again.

Fold the entire thing in half.

Then fold up the corners to the center.

Unfold to this point.

Crease the existing diagonal lines so that they're all mountain folds (with a ridge going up)

...and the other side.

Start squeezing the sides together...

...until the entire thing squeezes flat.

It should look like this from the side.

Fold a little lip on the triangle. 

Take the top layer of one of the legs and start lifting it...

I have no idea why, but this image did not upload correctly. Please mentally rotate the above photo 90 degrees clockwise.
Anyway, keep lifting it until you can push it down flat like this.

Same to the other side.
You can already see the wing shape ^-^

Fold the entire thing in half.

And make a little crease near the center line on one of the wings.

Do the same to the other wing. Try to make these match perfectly.

This is what it should look like from the front. It made a little body ridge shape :)

Then flip it over to the back again...

And pull the panel outwards and make a little lip on the edge. This makes the entire butterfly pop a bit when you lay it flat.

You're done!

I can think of a ton of different ways to use these pretty little butterflies...
  • gift wrapping
  • party decorations
  • indoor garden decor
  • hair accessories
  • mobiles and windchimes
Have fun with these :)