Monday, October 27, 2014

2 New Tutorials! Archer's Weave Earrings and Beaded Hoop Link Bracelet

I've just posted 2 new tutorials today. Best of all, one of them is FREE.

First up is the Archer's Weave Earrings.

This lesson will teach you to make a beautiful pair of earrings using simple frame shaping techniques combined with my “Archer’s Weave”. The archer’s weave looks like tiny little arrows pointing towards each other and meeting in the middle. It’s a great way to add a unique texture to a project.

For this project you will be using 24 gauge wire to complete the weave with 18 gauge wire for the frame. You can vary the look of this weave by using different gauges of wire. The thinner the wire used for the weave, the finer the texture will be. For more noticeable “arrows”, 22 gauge wire woven over 16 gauge wire looks amazing!

I won’t be showing how to wrap the briolettes in this lesson. However, if you don’t already know how to wrap them you can find my free tutorial for wrapping Briolettes and Bead Clusters. Just click on the "Other Technique Tutorials" link just below the page banner to find it.

You can buy the Archer's Weave Earrings Tutorial on my web-site, Gailavira Tutorials, in my Craftsy store or in my Etsy tutorial shop.

Ok, now the freebie you've been waiting for. The Beaded Hoop Link Bracelet Tutorial

In this lesson you will learn how to shape beautifully simple links to create a bracelet. Beads are placed on the links to add a hint of sparkle, but you can make this without beads as well for a unique look.

You can find this one right here on my blog. Just go to the Free Wire Jewelry Making Projects page.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Mixed Media: Leather, Metal and Stone

I've been getting a lot of requests lately for pieces that incorporate both leather and wirework. The wirework I got (um, we've been over that before, right?). The not so much. Leather is just a little out of my comfort zone. I don't use it much because I've never been good at finishing it off. Now that I'm accepting more of those orders I'm realizing that finishing off the ends is only a small fraction of what I need to know.

This bracelet was a practice piece for one of those orders. The issue I had here was that the customer didn't want the cuff to be more than half an inch wide, but the focal stone, as you can see, is a bit bigger. So, how to attach the stone in a way that fully supports it?

In this case I decided that a full metal back was in order. I attached the metal sheet, already cut to size, to the inside of the center of the cuff using a rivet. The rivet probably wasn't necessary, except that I was drilling holes in both the back plate and the leather at the same time. Riveting them together made it all stay in place while I did that.

As you can see in this photo, the leather covers the full back of the stone and is sandwiched between the stone and the metal. The wirework holds it all in place nice and tight.

Now that we have all that sorted out, I guess we should get back to my original concern. Finishing off the ends.

The one on the left was finished off with sheet metal, folded over the ends of the bracelet, and riveted in place. This is also the method I used to finish the bracelet from earlier.

The middle one is kind of hard to see correctly in this photo. It's the simplest I could think of, but I'm not really sure I like it. I cut the ends of the bracelet so they were rounded, then put a tube rivet into the leather. To attach the clasp I made large oval shaped jump rings from 16 gauge wire.

The bracelet on the right was, as you can probably already see, wrapped with wire. I think it gives it a nice character for certain types of designs, but I still like the riveted sheet metal ends better.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mixed Media: Polymer Clay and Wirework

Wirework is what I do most, and most likely, best. But I do love to play with other materials and techniques as well. One of my favorites is polymer clay. I don't often get the time to work with clay, but when I do I love to make canes. I have so many canes sitting in a drawer that I will probably never get a chance to use all of them. It's not just the canes that I make with a specific design in mind either. It's all the canes I've made from all the beautiful bits of scrap that I cut off of the cane I was supposed to be making first. Usually when I make one cane, I get about 5 or 6 more smaller canes just out of what I cut off of the first one, or the leftovers of the beautiful colors I mixed up for the cane. Or extra pieces of a skinner blend (gradient). Some part of me just refuses to write all of it off as "scrap" to be mixed into oblivion and hidden underneath some other project.

The focal for this bracelet is from one of those scrap canes. It the simplest of all of them really. Just press a bunch of the cut off bits of the main cane together to make a thick rectangle, put it on top of a thin piece of black (or any other contrasting color, I just like black) and roll it up like any other jelly roll cane. I cut off a thick slice, baked it into a round pillow shaped bead, and quickly forgot about it.

Fortunately, while looking for a bead to use for this bracelet, I remembered this particular bead. One of the most common problems with making a framed bead style bracelet is that the bead likes to spin if you don't find someway to keep it stable. The usual fix for this is putting a wire across the back of the bead to keep it from turning. This usually works, but if you turn the bracelet over and look inside, it just seems to make it a little less pretty. I like the inside/back/etc of a piece to look pretty too. If you choose to let it spin though you risk it putting too much stress on the wire holding it in place, eventually breaking it. To correct that on this one, I used the flex shaft and a bur to create a groove all the way around the edge of the bead. This way, when I put the bead in place, I was able to press the frame into the groove. Now it looks just as pretty on the back of the bead as the front, plus it stays just the way it should.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Zig Zag Weave on a Hinged Bracelet

I keep trying to come up with bracelets that work better for me. I like bangles, but I can't wear the ones without a clasp because it hurts my hand to scrunch it up enough to fit the bracelet over it. If I make them big enough that they don't hurt, they end up way too loose on my wrist. The ones with a clasp I'm always worried I'm going to bend out of shape just putting them on.

I needed to find a solution that. So, for this one, I made a focal with openings on both sides that will work sort of like part of a hinge. Then I made pieces that connect to each side by just curling the wire around it a little bit loosely (closed all the way, but large enough to move freely). Now I have a bracelet that fits perfectly and I won't have to worry about it getting bent out of shape just putting it on.

For the cuff part of the bracelet I used another new weave I've been experimenting with recently. It's a variation of the simple figure 8 weave that creates a zigzag pattern over the top of the weave. I could probably have achieved a similar look by creating the weave first, then adding the zigzag on top of it with another wire, but I just didn't want to go that route. By incorporating the zigzag into the weave I was able to reduce the number of wire ends that needed to be secured at the end of the weave, giving it a much cleaner looking finish.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A New Toy To Play With

I've been wanting to play with corrugated metal for a while now. There are so many interesting ways you can manipulate the metal and so many different effects you can achieve all starting with an idea that is as simple as folding a paper fan. Regrettably, metal doesn't fold as easily as paper. That's what a Microfold Brake is for.

Even more regrettably, a Microfold Brake is way too expensive for my budget right now. Luckily for me (and many others with a similar budget) a Tube Wringer also works.

As the name implies, it's meant for wringing out tubes. You know, like getting out the last bit of toothpaste, or glue, get the idea. But, because of those neat extra long gear like things that you run the tube through, it's great for corrugating thin metal as well. I doubt it would work as well as a Microfold Brake for a lot of tasks, but for occasional light duty pieces it'll do the trick.

You just put the metal in the gears, turn the handle a few times, and you have your corrugated metal. For another interesting effect, anneal the sheet then feed it back through with the first corrugation perpendicular to the gears. You can also pinch the folds together on one side of a longer sheet to make curves. Or make tiny pinches in multiple areas for other cool looks. Of course, I have no idea how many other effects you can achieve, but I am sure the number is limitless. That's a lot of learning I have ahead of me.

And, the best part about it, when you get the metal going through, it makes a really cool noise. ;P

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beaded Hoop Link Bracelet

This week I've been playing around with something a little bit simpler than my usual work. Bracelets made with very simple beaded hoop shaped links.

Beaded Hoop Link BraceletBeaded Hoop Link Bracelet

For this bracelet I decided to use the focal as the clasp. It's a simple mosaic style filled frame, only I used netting to create a base for the beads to go on instead of just filling the frame in a criss crossed manner. I did this to make it more stable.

Beaded Hoop Link BraceletBeaded Hoop Link Bracelet

For this one I used a rainbow Hematite donut bead as the focal and wrapped it in a way similar to how the links were made.

It's been a while since I've written a free tutorial, so, if enough people are interested, I'm thinking I may just do a freebie for the chain used in this bracelet soon. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Earrings - Still playing with that new weave

A couple pairs of earrings using the new weave I stumbled on recently. I'm finding I like using the weave on simpler designs instead of the more ornate pieces. It lets the weave stand out more instead of letting it get lost in all the other details.

I'm getting a lot of requests for a tutorial using this weave, but I have no idea what to call it. Once I decide what to name the weave I will probably move this one up a bit on my tutorial to do list. I'm not sure if I'll do it as a full project tutorial, or just a tutorial for several of the weaves I've been playing with for a while.