Charm Bracelet: Animal Planet On A Chain

Wednesday, July 30

Oh, my aching hands. Wirewrapping over 50 items will do that.

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I had been wanting to make something with these beads for months. A friend sent me craft supplies she thought I could use in the jewelry I make. Ladybugs, butterflies, birds (both metal and plastic) and cat faces. I added them with the fish, turtles and elephants I already had and started making a charm bracelet.

As far as making it colorful, that happened by accident. My original plan was to add just a hint of color and focus on the metal beads. The butterflies were light lavender and the plastic birds were light aqua. After I decided to jazz it up, I searched my bead stash and came up with enough lavender, purple, turquoise and aqua beads to soften the metal look.

The bracelet base is a double strand of dark gray chain links connected with a sterling silver toggle clasp.

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I decided not to wirewrap the pieces directly to the chain. Except for the black fish, each item is separately wirewrapped. Everything is attached to the chain links with jump rings. I am so glad I did because I changed and moved things around many times. Trying for balance of size, shape and color.

I knew I would get confused on where to place everything so I took a picture before beginning.

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A lot of good that photo did me, LOL, because once I got to the green glass cat, I started making changes. The cat got ditched. Too large and my wirewrapping was horrible. The holes went ear-to-ear and I haven’t perfected wirewrapping going side to side. I will stick with bottom to top. The Tigers Eye elephant also got shelved. The brown stuck out like a sore thumb. I almost removed the ivory turtle but left it in to balance that side of the bracelet.

After attaching all the animals and birds, I started filling in the empty spaces. That’s when the color explosion happened. I kept adding glass beads until I was satisfied.

I hate to admit it but I spent roughly 10 hours working on this bracelet. I was on a mission!! I took several breaks but kept at it until it was finished. I like to think, I kept going with the fear my newly mastered wirewrapping skills would regress. ūüėÄ

I also made earrings. I had set aside several pieces I wanted to use and made them after completing the bracelet.

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I took quite a few pictures trying to get different views to show you. So, what do you think?

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How To Make Earrings From Daisy Spacers and Crystals

30 minutes? Maybe 40 minutes. For sure these earrings are fast and easy to make, you will want to make several pairs.

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Think gifts. All those people on your To-Buy-For-The-Holidays List. You can make a few pairs of these earrings and get to crossing off some names.

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You only need tiny daisy spacers and a few crystals. Even regular beads as a substitute for the crystals would work. Experiment and change up the design to make it your own.

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Supplies Needed To Make One Pair Of Earrings

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  • (72) tiny 4mm silver plated daisy spacers
  • (2) 8mm round crystals
  • (10) 4mm bicone crystals
  • (4) 2mm round silver beads
  • (2) CLOSED 3mm jump rings
  • (2) crimps & crimp covers
  • pair of earring hooks
  • stringing wire, size 12¬†

Step 1

Cut a length of stringing wire about 15″. (Make sure the wire when doubled will fit back through the 2mm bead and the crimp.) Put a bead stopper on¬†one wire end or use an alligator clip like I used in the photo above.

Find the wire center and string in this order. Two 4mm bicone crystals, two tiny silver daisy spacers, one 8mm round crystal, two tiny silver daisy spacers and two 4mm bicone crystals. The larger crystal should be in the center.  The exposed wire on both sides should be even.    

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Step 2

String 16 tiny silver daisy spacers on one side of the 4mm bicones. Add a bead stopper or alligator clip to mark the center.

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Now add 16 tiny silver daisy spacers on the other end of the wire next to the other two 4mm bicones.

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Step 3

Take the right wire end and going left, string through crystals, spacers, large crystal, spacers, crystals and spacers. You should be completely around the left side and back to the middle where the clip is (bottom left) in the above photo.

Your wires should look like this.

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Gently pull each wire end, easing them close together.

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Step 4

Add one 2mm silver round bead to each wire end. Push down close to the daisy spacers. You want very little wire showing.

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Now string in this order to BOTH WIRES. One 4mm bicone crystal, one crimp, one 3mm jump ring.

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Loop both wires OVER the tiny jump ring and DOWN through the crimp and 4mm bicone.

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Step 5

Slowly ease everything down the wire so you end up close to the two 2mm silver round beads. Keep the wire ends even as you push everything down. Tighten each wire end. BOTH wires should exit the underside of the TOP 4mm bicone crystal.

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Look over your earring. If you are satisfied, go ahead and crimp the crimp bead. After crimping, give the jump ring a slight tug to make sure it is secure and the wire does not pull out.

Step 6

Open the loop on the fish hook and attach it to the jump ring.

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You are almost finished. A few more things to do. You need to add a crimp cover. Position it carefully around the crimped bead. Make sure it is on straight and covers the crimped bead completely. Close up the crimp cover and trim off the excess wire.

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Now you are ready to start on the second earring. ūüėÄ

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Here are pictures of a set I made with Siam crystals. Earrings and matching ring. The base of the ring was made with sterling silver. I wirewrapped the wire on the sides right above the daisy spacers.

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My First Wirewrapped Rings

Monday, July 21

My class went well yesterday. I surprised myself by being able to follow along and not fall behind the other students like I normally do. I tend to want to SEE how something turns out before I pick up my tools. And in this case… I wanted to be safe and not sorry and not make a mess of sterling silver. BUT I have been practicing with wire all month so as the instructor said to do something, I did it!!

The supply packets were already made up but I got to pick out the crystal color for the ring center. I chose Jet Black. The other ladies selected pink, topaz and olive. There were 4 of us. Only 4 students allowed per class which is good. It allows for more personalized instruction and encourages a relaxed, slower paced, conversational atmosphere.

The only requirement for taking this class was a beginner’s wire working class. I took that last year but didn’t sign up for any others since that class was a hand killer!! I must be regaining some of the strength in my hands since I had no major issues yesterday handling the tools.

I used a pen vice and a hemostat for the first time. Felt like I could have replaced Pam Anderson on Tool Time. I’m the new Mrs. Tool Time. Just need a leather holster for all my new goodies. Which BTW are starting to accumulate. Pretty soon I will need a tool box like hubby.

Here is the ring I made in class from Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. The Black One. (The others I made last night and this morning.)

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It has 2 silver bead caps, one 8mm round crystal and two 4mm bicone crystals. Used 22 gauge square soft and 20 gauge 1/2 round 1/2 hard sterling silver wire. 22 gauge to build the ring, the shank. 20 gauge to wrap the bottom of the ring.

I made several more rings in Indicolite (aqua) and Siam (dark red) and have another one in Olivine (lime) started. The red one, made with silver spacers, has a sterling silver base and then I wrapped the ends on both sides above the spacers. The olive one will be made the same. I just need to transfer from pretend wire to SS.

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Afraid no longer of Sterling Silver. Yippee!! Break out the champagne!!

Feeling The Urge To Work With Sterling Silver

Friday, July 18

Is it time yet? I think it is. Time to move up to sterling silver.

I have a few jewelry pieces made from sterling silver but they were made in class. I have been practicing with inexpensive wire all month so I think I have enough confidence to try it on my own with some REAL wire.

I have been studying designs in my wireworking books and think I know what I want to make. There’s a cool pair of earrings that looks plain and easy. That is usually my criteria when attempting something new. Plain and easy.

And speaking of class… Yep. You knew I couldn’t go a month without showing up somewhere like a sponge ready to absorb whatever I can from talented instructors. I have a class this coming Sunday to make a wire wrapped ring.

That should be interesting. My first class making a ring.

Cuff Bracelet and Ohhh My Aching Hands

Tuesday, June 24

Here is my cuff bracelet I made in Monday’s class.

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This is my second bracelet made from sterling silver. My first was back in December 2007. The design for that one was diamond shaped with large crystals.

I don’t know if I am cut out for this but I wanted to try it again. My hands ached then and my hands ache now. All that wire straightening, bending, pulling and wrapping. I am going to have to figure out a way to lessen the wear and tear on my hands. Maybe wear gloves.

In class, I had a choice of either the turquoise and bronze above or a mix of bright colors. The sample bracelet used turquoise beads, bronze pearls and 4mm bicone crystals in turquoise and topaz. So I used it as my guide while making mine.

Two different gauges of sterling silver wire were used. 16 ga for the base and 24 ga for wire wrapping.

First, the base was made from 16″ 16 gauge wire. Straightened, bent, cut and shaped to fit my wrist. Then cut ends were wrapped with 24 gauge wire. Next, beads, pearls and crystals were added. Inside base space only allowed for 3 sometimes 4 pieces. I had to constantly be aware of the “shape” of the base and not pull too tight when wrapping or the center would pull in and distort the bracelet frame. I am thinking of inserting a piece of wood next time to maintain the shape.

Finished bracelet measures 6 3/4″ length and 5/8″ width. 101 beads, pearls and crystals were used. It weighs 8 oz.

I am somewhat pleased with the outcome though I do not like how the wire overlaps where the base wire ends connect. I need to work on ways to disguise that area better. If you look closely, it looks kind of messy. (So.. don’t look too closely. ūüėÄ )

July will be the month for me to work on my wireworking skills. I am switching Embroidery Month with Wireworking Month. I will probably take a few more classes to help me get started.

Things I Have Learned So Far This Year


January 2008

1.¬† Peyote Flat Even Count.¬† I took two peyote beading¬†classes. Made a bracelet in each class. This was my first experience in¬†“sewing” jewelry. In preparation for¬†class I searched the net for peyote tutorials. I found several for the clueless, my level. The most helpful site was¬†Michael’s¬†Crafts.¬†Their tutorial was animated and easy to follow. I picked up the stitch¬†sequence¬†right away and practiced before heading off to class. However, there was one¬†glaring difference in the tutorial and the actual lesson. The tutorial illustrated a knotted thread which would make it¬†impossible to¬†unthread the needle to go back to the last correctly sewn bead¬†to fix¬†mistakes.¬†I took apart the first bracelet to use the beads for another project. Here is the bracelet from the second¬†class.

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February 2008

2.  Chain Maille. I signed up for a class to learn the technique of making jewelry from jump rings. Class was called Byzantine with Crystals. I made a very pretty bracelet out of sterling silver jump rings accented with Swarovski crystals. The process was fun and easy. I had never worked with a jump ring tool. It is metal and fits on the finger of your choice. It has several grooves for inserting the jump ring to open and close it. Step 1 in class was to open 100 jump rings. I found the tool hard to use and cumbersome. It did not fit properly on any of my fingers. My fingers were quite sore for several days after. BUT the tool works great for the function it was made for, once you get the hang of it. I will never again use two flat nose pliers to open jump rings.

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3.¬† Rivoli Bracelet. I took a class to make a¬†bracelet made from Swarovski¬†crystals called, you guessed it, Rivoli. This was another “sewing” class, not peyote but still done with needle and thread. The process of sewing around the rivoli, which does not have any holes for stringing, is called netting.¬† Netting¬†is¬†also one of the techniques for beading around a cabochon. Tiny seed beads are used to make the netting. Wanting it to be perfect, I worked very slowly. I¬†only finished one half of the bracelet in class.¬†¬†I need to finish it. It is really pretty.

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4.¬† Peyote Triangle Pendant. Though I have had two classes in peyote stitching, this design was new to me, so I signed up for the class. (Yep,¬†I love taking beading classes!! I am retired.) The process to create the triangle called for “towers” and “overlays” and a brick stitch. All new to me. Here again, very tiny seed beads were¬†used and the process was very slow. I was able to finish most of the pendant and will return to class this week to finish.¬† Seed beads are silver, black and¬†purple¬†with purple Swarovski crystals.¬† I am pleased with how it looks thus far. I will post a new photo when finished.

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5. Two Drop Peyote. I created a bracelet using a tutorial provided by one of my long time Internet chat buddies,¬†Quilty Kiwi from New Zealand.¬†She excels in beading and as you¬†may have guessed from her on-line name, she is also an expert quilter.¬†Before attempting this bracelet, I had only done regular peyote, flat even and odd count.¬† I had never¬†heard of two drop peyote until seeing a bracelet made by Quilty.¬†Following her tutorial, which¬†was clear and easy to follow, my bracelet turned out beautifully. It is light peach and cocoa opal. Thank goodness for excellent instructions and diagrams.¬†¬†Thank you, Quilty!! (Note: Original design found in Beadwork Creates Bracelets, “Lucy’s Purple” by Lucy Elle)

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