Monday, April 26, 2010

Inspired Chainmaille Artists on DA

Chainmaille is another art form that I have very little experience with - not because I couldn't do it but because I don't have the patience for it.  I know, beading with seed beads is so much faster.  I can't explain it, maybe it's because I'm a purist and feel the need to make my own jump rings, which I don't enjoy doing....It's not even that hard, just time consuming!

However, chainmaille is an art form and I could only do the basic weaves (are they called weaves?).  My designs would be simple and boring compared to the pieces I'm showing you.  Here are 6 chainmaille artists from DeviantArt that are inspired as well as inspiring!

And if you like these, you should check out these Deviant's galleries for more amazing designs (links above).  Or peruse the DeviantArt site for more talented chainmaillers - there is more than just jewelry on display, believe me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wire-Wrappers from Etsy

In continuance with my last post, I'm moving onto wire jewelers from Etsy!  There were quite the selection of talented artists, but in the thralls of spring fever, I've chosen 6 fun, sunny, and light pieces.  As such, flowers and bright colors are the resoundingly apparent themes for this post!   Enjoy!

If you are in the mood for something else, check out these artists shops because many have some amazing designs in not so springy a mood!  There are also many, many more wire-wrappers to be found on Etsy, so peruse the site to find a piece that suits you.

Next up:  Chainmaille Artists!

Don't forget, when my followers reach 42, the next round of my Double or Nothing Giveaway will start!

Also, the Expectacular Mega Giveaway is still going on!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fine Wire-Wrappers from 1000 Markets

Wire-wrapping is one art form that I have not delved into; I've messed around with copper wire and a little bit of silver wire here and there, but nothing too extravagant.  It is, however, a very gorgeous and versatile medium for jewelry.  Straight up wire designs, multicolored designs, designs with beads, or designs with set stones; organic, mechanical, fantastical, or simple.  The list goes on, but I'm going to show you some fabulous wire artists instead!

Here are 6 jewelers from 1000 Markets:

Please visit these artists shops for more awesome designs!  And remember that these are only 6 of the great wire-wrappers on 1000 Markets - be sure to search for other great artists as well!

Next time I'll showcase artists from Etsy, or move onto chainmaille....I haven't quite decided!

And REMEMBER:  Once I have 42 followers, I will host the next Double or Nothing Jewelry Giveaway!  The prizes get bigger each time, so spread the word so you can enter to win!

Also, the Expectacular Mega Giveaway is still going on!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tutorial: Pendant & Earring Basics

In preparation for this summer's farmer's markets, I have been making beaded and wire-wrapped pendants and earrings.  I thought a tutorial for making simple beaded pendants/earrings wouldn't be amiss!  So here it is, along with some of the tips & tricks I've picked up on the way.  If you have other suggestions, please comment with them!

You'll find these tools helpful to have:

Shown are needle nose pliers, round nose pliers, and flat nose pliers.  The first two are very helpful, the last is preference.  You can use the needle nose pliers instead of the flatnose.  Also shown are flush wire cutters and crimping pliers.  Any wire cutters will work, but flush cutters will leave the wire flush, or flat, while other cutters will leave a sharp point that needs to be filed down.  Crimping pliers aren't necessary, the needle nose pliers will work, but I find them helpful to have around.

And some beading materials necessary before you begin:

A bead assortment, small, large, round, square, crystal, whatever you want!  Also shown are headpins and eyepins.  Headpins come in fancy shapes, too, while eyepins can be decorated with beads or more dangles.  You can also make your own eye pins with wire, or decorative headpins that terminate in spirals/wire designs or a hammered end.  

TIP:  If you don't have an anvil, use the side of a hammer head instead.

For those of you who prefer drawings over photos, or vice versa, I've included both!  My diagram is for the simplest pendant or earring, while the photos show a more secure method of making pendants/earrings.  Clicking on the images will open larger views in another tab/window.

Step 1: Gather your beads and headpins.  Explore with your materials or look through magazines for inspiration.  Once you have a winning combination, you are ready to finish your pendant/earrings!   

TIP: Make sure you have enough wire left over to make a loop with the design you've chosen.  If you don't, you'll have to remove some beads or get longer headpins!  They come in sizes up to 3" long, if you want longer ones, you'll need to make them yourself.  If you aren't going to wrap the remaining wire around the headpin at the base of the loop (shown below) you don't need as much wire remaining.  You'll have to practice to find out how much wire you need left over, as different gauges of wire or sizes of loops will change that length.  I prefer at least an inch because it's easier to manipulate.

Step 2: Grab the wire with your flatnose pliers and bend the wire at a 45 degree angle as near to the beads as possible.  This will ensure they won't move up and down along the wire once you are finished.  The angle ensures an even and centered loop once you are finished.  I tend to bend the wire further than a 45 degree angle, and then move it back once I've started the loop.

Step 3: Take your round nose pliers and wrap the wire around the top side of them.  You can use your fingers or the needle nose pliers, whatever is easiest for you.

Step 4: Remove the round nose pliers from the partial loop and insert the bottom side of them into the loop.  Pull the wire around to complete your loop, again using either your fingers or the needle nose pliers. 

NOTE: The remaining wire after the loop shown above is NOT enough to wrap around the base.  You want at least 1/2 inch left over at this point.  If you don't want to start over, you can trim the excess and close the loop like a jump ring, as shown in the drawing above.

Step 5: Take your flat nose pliers and hold the loop with them.  Take your needle nose pliers and grab the remaining wire, holding it near the tip.  Wrap the wire around the loop base.

Step 6: Take your crimping pliers to finish off the wrap.  The grooves in them hold the wire nicely to round off the end so it doesn't stick out or poke the wearer.  Don't push too hard, however, or the wire will crumple under/over itself.

Step 7:  Finish your piece!  Either attach an earwire to your loop, or string your pendant on your chosen cord/ribbon/chain.  I've chosen to create a set of pendants strung on ribbon with additional beads to space them out.

Other options:
- use decorative wire or half round wire
- use bead caps to showcase a focal bead
- bend your wire in half, creating a loop in the middle, string your beads, and twist the remaining wire ends in a decorative fashion to hold the beads in place
- visit for more tutorials, the basics are often free
- request a tutorial from me!  I may make another showing how to create your own earwires and headpins if there is interest!

REMEMBER:  I will hold the next Double or Nothing Giveaway when my followers reach 42!  Spread the word and have fun creating!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Expectacular Mega Giveaway

I am participating in another giveaway put together by Solange

It's the 
and goes from April 9th until April 30th 

Forty-five shops are participating, and  
45 winners 
will be chosen!

I will be giving away another pair of earrings, this time a chip bead stack in a color to be chosen by the lucky winner (green malachite, red tiger's eye, light green aventurine, or blackstone).  It's another chance for you to win!  Prizes are wide ranging, from jewelry to pet products, framed art to gift certificates.  Follow the link above to read more and to enter this amazing giveaway!

Prize from PZ Designs:  1 Pair of Chip Stack Earrings

Monday, April 5, 2010

Double or Nothing: Jewelry Giveaway - First Winner!

And our first prize winner here on Free Time Crafts is Sabrita!   She has been randomly picked as the lucky new owner of a pair of chip bead loop earrings and has chosen the lovely green turquoise as her stone of choice.  Congratulations, Sabrita!

Round One Prize: Green Turquoise Chip Bead Loop Earrings

Only 8 more followers needed and I will start the next giveaway!  See my previous post for more details.

Regular posts to start again this Thursday.  I apologize for the delay, but I did enjoy the break and Easter Weekend.  Hope you did too!  Unfortunately, I have a sick little girl at home, and regular posts will start again next week....