Craft Projects, Jewelry

Basic Necklace Tutorial

I said months ago that I’d do a few tutorials on how to make jewelry. Well, today is my lovely coworker Rachel’s birthday (happy birthday, Rachel!!!) and I make all of my female coworkers jewelry for their birthdays. So I took the opportunity to take a few photos as I made her necklace — don’t worry, I already gave it to her so this isn’t a spoiler — so you all can see what I did. This tutorial is very basic and all of the supplies (minus these specific beads) can be found at Michaels, JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.

First and foremost, you’ll need beading wire, crimp beads, a clasp and beads. You can use crimping pliers (mine are blue) or flat pliers (mine are purple) for this project (top left photo).

Step One: Cut the wire to the length you’d like it to be. Add a few extra inches for wiggle room.

Step Two: Place a crimp bead on your wire followed by your clasp (middle left photo). For this necklace, I used a toggle clasp and a gun metal crimp bead to match it. I love toggle clasps way more than the regular lobster class. They add that extra something to necklaces.

Step Three: Send the wire back down through the crimp bead so the wire makes a closed loop around the ring of the clasps (bottom left photo).

Step Four: This step has two options, depending on which set of pliers you choose to use. Pull your crimp bead close to the clasp, so only 1 or 2 mm of wire is showing. That gives the clasp a little wiggle room on the necklace, which I’ve found to be helpful when using toggles.

When your crimp bead is where you want it, grab your pliers. For crimping pliers, smash the bead with the top notch of the pliers to flatten the bead. Proceed to the second notch and crimp it again. This step puts a fold into the crimp bead. Finally, move your crimp bead back up to the top notch and crimp it again. This will round out the bead so it looks smooth along the wire (right photo).

If you have flat pliers, you can definitely just smash the crimp bead. It performs the same function as a crimp bead that’s been secured with crimping pliers, it just doesn’t look as nice. That doesn’t mean it looks bad, though. I used to do that with all of my necklaces until I bought the crimping pliers.
Step Five: Once your bead is crimped, it’s time for the fun part. Pick out your beads! I chose white plastic beads (top left photo) for Rachel’s necklace that I found at a thrift store. Gotta love recycling beads 🙂

Step Six: String your beads along the wire however you please (top middle photo). I know a lot of people like to use necklace organization tray, which allow you to place the beads how you want them on the necklace to see how it looks. Honestly, I just wing it. I think it’s more fun that way.

Step Seven: When all of your beads are strung, place the crimp bead onto the wire, followed by the second part of the clasps. Like the first time, re-loop the wire through and crimp your bead (top right photo). That will secure all of the beads on the wire and the clasps on the end.

Step Eight: Rock your new creation (bottom photo)!

Happy birthday, Rachel. I hope you like your new necklace and that your day is fantastic!!

Craft Projects

Vintage inspired jewelry displays

My stack of vintage inspired picture frames has been growing for a while now. I picked up three or four old frames from the thrift store a few months back, and then a handful more at the local art shop that closed down.

I’ve seen a lot of people turning old frames into jewelry displays, and since my jewelry box is super teeny I figured this would be a good way for me to get all of my  jewelry off my dresser in an organized fashion.

I turned most of these frames into earring holders, then saved two to crate a necklace display and a bracelet display.

To make an earring jewelry display out of an old frame you will need a staple gun, a roll of screen replacement fabric (I bought gray fiberglass mesh from Home Depot for $6. I haven’t even made a dent in it yet), and a frame of your choice.

First, remove everything from the inside of your frame, including the glass, photos, the cardboard backing, the staples in the sides, etc.

Once all the guts of the frame are removed, flip over the frame and cut a piece of screen to fit on the back.

You can do the next step in two ways. I tried both and would recommend the second. First, you can staple the screen right onto the back of the frame. The screen doesn’t stretch too much, so it’s pretty easy to get the screen taut. This is the easier way to make the earring display. The only problem is the screen lays flat against the wall, so it’s not as easy to slip earrings on and off. Having said that, the frame I hung in my room (picture later in post) has the screen flat against the wall and it works just fine. Like I said, it’s just not quite as simple to get the earrings on an off. Overall, not a huge deal.

The other way to make this display is to staple the frame along the inner edges of the frame (where the glass rests). Make sure you staple into the think sides and not the small piece of frame at the front. This way worked nicely and allows a smidgen of room between the screen and the wall. Either way works and will have your frame looking like this:

Now if you are like me and need an entire trio of frames to subdue your jewelry collection, grab your next frame and some cup hooks (also purchased from Home Depot).

Frame… check!

Cup hooks… check!

Figure out how many necklaces or bracelets you would like to display and mark the inside edge of your frame where you would like your hooks to go. I flipped both of my frames horizontally so I could fit more and spaced my cup hooks evenly. Note: My frames for this project were wooden. I used a plastic frame to make my sister an earring display and that worked fine with the staples, but I don’t know if it would work with the cup hooks because I screwed them in by hand. If you can find a wooden frame I definitely recommend it!

Screw in your cup hooks along the inner edge of the frame.

Keep going until you make it across the frame with your hooks.

For this frame I had to add a wire hanger. So I screwed in two eye hooks (one on each side of the frame), then wrapped wire to span across the frame.

Tah dah!

I quickly took my frames up into our bedroom to hang them up on our wall and start hanging up my jewelry.

These are awesome! My walls finally have pretty things on them and my dresser has less crap! Win-win all around.

Craft Projects, Jewelry, Quick and Easy Crafts

Record bowl and bangle bracelet

A few years ago I participated in a Trash to Treasure craft fair at which I showcased my bottle cap creations (Who knew bottle cap earrings would be such a big hit?). I noticed a vendor selling bowls made from records and since then I’ve wanted to try to make the infamous record bowl. THEN, I saw a post on Pinterest that begged, “No more record bowls.” I still wanted to try this project, but I figured I’d make the trite project a little more exciting by including a how-to

Since the only records I own are framed Springsteen records — and there was no way I was gonna melt those — I bought two records at the thrift store for super cheap.

Those are some super exciting records, huh? Now, let’s get melting.

For both the record bowl and bracelet, I preheated the oven to 300 degrees. For the bowl, I placed the record on a glass casserole dish and waited for it to curl. It didn’t take long — maybe 2 minutes.

Since it didn’t take too long to start to curl, I was able to take the record out of my oven without using a mitt or tongs or anything. I was hot, but not painfully hot. I immediately placed the hot record over a glass bowl and formed it into a shape I liked. Within 30 seconds or so, the record was firm again. Project complete!

The hubby was surprisingly impressed by this project. I guess he doesn’t frequent craft blogs and Pinterest to know that everyone and their mom has tried this project. Oh well. I never pass up a chance to melt stuff.

Now onto the more exciting project: the record bangle bracelet.

For this project I cut out an arch in the record, sanded down the rough edges, and placed it on the glass casserole dish. Once it melted, I wrapped the melted strip of record around a glass cup I had in my kitchen.

Once the bracelet was sturdy I tried the bracelet on to see how it looked.

I liked the bracelet a lot and it was very comfortable to wear, but I thought it was missing something. So, I added a flashy little silver and black button. Perfecto!