Craft Projects, Jewelry, Quick and Easy Crafts

Gunmetal and mint necklace

How was everyone’s Easter? My weekend was filled with three different dinners, a birthday brunch and simply way too much delicious food. Basically, it was awesome. My older sister came into town, and it was the first Easter and birthday we’ve celebrated with her in a decade (or so it seems). My mom, little sister and I took her to brunch in Baltimore at Cafe Hon to celebrate her birthday. It was a ton of fun.

{A Smith of All Trades} Easter Pic

Sunday was dinner at my dad’s house with my stepmom’s family and her brother’s partner’s family. I’ll give you a second to figure out that relationship 🙂 We only get to see them at Easter, which makes the holiday even more enjoyable.

My Easter craft was pretty simple, and I’m only just sharing it now because the weekend was SO busy and yesterday I had a killer headache. I even missed trivia, so you know it was crummy.

Anywho… I needed a new necklace for Easter. Yes, needed.

I had this old chain that I’d been hanging onto. I liked its chunkiness, but the length was awkward. You know what I mean…. long enough to occasionally disappear  under your shirt and just the right length to get stuck in cleavage… basically, the worst length for a necklace!

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace1

I cut the necklace in half using really strong pliers, then added a new section to the necklace of bright mint beads.

The beads were a gift from my bestie, and were a totally sweet thrift store find. To add them to the chain, I used beading wire and a crimp bead. I looped one end of wire around the end of the chain, then flattened and crimped the crimp bead so no beads would fall off.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace2

Then, I strung the beads with gunmetal spacers in between, closing the wire at the other end with a crimp bead.

In about four minutes, my boring, awkward-lengthed necklace was transformed into the perfect necklace. My sister really liked the whole thing hanging asymmetrically, too.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace

AND, it is also the perfect length to wrap around my wrist to become a chunky bracelet. #Winning.

{A Smith of All Trades} Gunmental and Mint Necklace3

I hope you all had a great Easter. The weather is finally getting warmer in Maryland, so hopefully I can start to tackle a few larger projects I’ve been wanting to do.

Oh, and our doors are supposedly in! Joyyyyyyyy 🙂 I’ll make sure to show you when they are all installed and beautiful!


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!!