DIY: 11 Fast, Fun, Easy and Done Designs

With the upcoming holidays we are all feeling the pressure to share a bit of our jewelry making talent with friends and family. What we often forget is that sometimes simple is the best expression of love. When it comes easy, it is meant to be. With that in mind we have created a dozen designs to help you finish your gift list. Each piece can be completed in about five minutes, uses only basic jump ring connections, and is easy on the budget. Keep it creative by customizing your selection of colors and materials. Check out our collections below and links to the supplies to make your own. At the bottom of this post are some tips to working with jump rings.

The Necklace Collection

The Fiesta Necklace

BaublesAndBeads necklacefiestachainMaterials Needed:

I love, love, love this chain! Use steel design stamps on the individual links to customize your creation. On this piece we cut our Fiesta chain in to 2 pieces; one measuring 10 inches and the other measuring 12 inches. Any chain can be used for the back of the necklace. Simply connect all pieces of chain and the clasp together with jump rings.

The Shag Necklace

BaublesAndBeadsnecklacebardropchainMaterials Needed:

This chain is so perfect that one doesn’t even need to add additional embellishment. Simply use jump rings to connect a clasp; makes a great bracelet too.

The Art Deco Fan Necklace

BaublesAndBeadsartdecofannecklaceMaterials Needed:

Originally I intended to only use 3 of the art deco festoon connectors in the front and fill the rest of the necklace with chain, but they looked so good that I changed my mind and used the connectors throughout the necklace.

The Charm Necklace

baublesandBeadsnecklacecharmcollectionMaterials Needed:

Quite possibly the easiest and most personal jewelry one can make for another. Simply find a charm that represents the person and feed it onto a finished chain or cord. Make a statement by stacking several different charms onto the same necklace.

The Bracelet Collection

The Chevron Bracelet

BaublesAndBeads braceletchevronchainMaterials Needed:

Another example of how a great chain is all one needs to make a great piece of jewelry. Simply cut the chain to size and attach a clasp with jump rings. Makes a great necklace too!

The Druzy Dust Bracelet

braceletdruzyconnectorMaterials Needed:

Any connector or link can be used to make a easy statement piece. As with all the designs featured here, jump rings are your friends.

Adjustable Bead & Leather Bracelet

baublesandbeadspicassobraceletMaterials Needed:

Okay, this one is super easy and is a great use for large hole beads. A few well placed overhand knots will keep your beads in order while the ingenious adjustable String-On clasp will give this bracelet great functionality.

The Earring Collection

Mixed Metal Ring Earrings

earringsmixedmetalringsMaterials Needed:

Any 2 link can make for a great earring and so simple all one needs to do is connect the links to the loop of the earwire.

Spike Drop Earrings

earringsspikedropMaterials Needed:

Any pendant or charm can be easily attached to an ear wire. Visually check to be certain the charm will face forward once connected to the ear wire. If not use a jump ring to connect the two pieces together so that the charm faces forward.

Filligree Donut Earrings

earringsfiligreediscMaterials Needed:

We just had to sneak in a bead, we are Baubles & Beads afterall 🙂 Attach beads to any connector by stringing the bead onto a headpin and making a simple loop. We have a great tutorial on making simple loops here.

Edelweiss Earrings

baublesandbeads-edelweissearringsMaterials Needed:

The ever popular Swarovski Edelweiss pendant is always a winner. Simply feed a pair of hoops through the ample sized hole. Easily make a necklace by attaching a jump ring through the hole and feeding the pendant onto a finished chain.

Jump Ring Techniques & Tips

Jump rings tend to be the weakest link in most jewelry designs but at the same time they are the work horse of jewelry connections. When selecting a jump ring we recommend using the thickest gauge (diameter of wire) that will fit through the pieces to be linked together. Ideally we prefer using 18 gauge jump rings whenever possible but this size is often too thick to fit into small link chains.  When working with fine chain one often must use 22 gauge (the higher the gauge #, the smaller the diameter of wire). Jewelry using 22 gauge jump rings for connections are often considered delicate pieces and should be worn accordingly.

baublesandbeadsclosingjumpringsWhen closing jump rings it is essential that the two sides of the ring come together completely. Ideally one should use two pairs of chain nose pliers (many people prefer working with one pair of chain nose pliers and one pair of bent chain nose pliers. Hold one side of the ring steady and use your dominant hand to align the two sides of the ring together.

We hope you have enjoyed these projects and they help you in the holiday joy of gift giving. -B&B

How To Make a Simple Wire Loop

simpleloopsampleThe simple wire loop is the foundation of all wire jewelry. The process of making simple loops will introduce you to the main jewelry tools and when put into practice, allow you to link beads together for necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Tools NeededtoolsforwireworkRound nose pliers are made up of two cylinder shaped jaws that taper to a small point. They are used to shape the wire into a loop shape. This tool should only be used when making a loop shape as the rounded jaws will dent and damage the wire if they are used to manipulate it in other ways.

Flush wire cutters are designed to provide a smooth flat cut across the wire. It is essential that each wire loop begin with a flush cut wire. Most flush cutters only cut flush on one side of the blade, the other side of the blade provides a bevel cut. A flush cut is achieved when the flat side of the cutting blades is facing the wire you want to keep.

Chain nose pliers consist of two jaws that are flat and smooth on the inside, rounded on the outside, and like round nose pliers, the jaws taper to a small point. Chain nose pliers are the real work horse when is comes to wire working tools. They are most commonly used to open and close loops and jump rings and make right angle bends.

Rulers are a wire workers best friend. Select one that features both metric and standard measurement.

Materials Needed
For simple loops we prefer practicing with half-hard 20 gauge wire. To learn more about wire sizes and hardness’s  check out our archived post on wire properties.

Making a Simple Loop

There are many different ways to make a simple loop. At the end of the day it is more about how your loops look, not how you went about making them. Please take care not to bend your wrist when shaping the loop or you can injure yourself. Instead rotate your arm until it can turn no further, release your grip on the wire, returning your arm to the starting position and then completing the loop in a second movement.

step1-3Step 1: Using chain nose pliers, make a 90 degree bend approximately 1 centimeter from the end of the wire.

Tip: Different measurements of wire will produce different sized loops.

Step 2: Using round nose pliers, hold the tip of the short wire end between the jaws of the pliers. With your other hand, grasp the longer side of the wire so that the thumbnail is under the 90 degree bend and the index finger is supporting the wire on the opposite side.

Tip: Finding the correct place to position the wire on the pliers can be challenging at first. The tapered jaws of round nose pliers allow one to make a variety of different sized loops and makes it easy to slide completed loops off the pliers. It may take several attempts to discover where on the pliers to make a loop. Once you find the perfect spot, mark the jaws of the pliers with a fine-tip Sharpie marker to keep you from guessing the next time.

Step 3: Begin shaping the wire into a loop by rolling the round nose pliers toward the right angle bend. (The resulting loop should always be shaped “on top of” the right angle bend.) Your arm will not be able to turn far enough to make the loop in one movement; it will take two separate movements to close the loop completely.

simpleloopIn our classroom we like to quip “you have to make 200 loops before you feel like you have made a good one.” Practice making this loop over and over until you feel comfortable making loops.

Making Wire & Bead Links

The trickiest part of making a simple loop on the other side of the bead is making a loop that looks exactly like the first one. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and mark your round nose pliers with a Sharpie to remind yourself where on the jaws of the pliers you made the first loop.  step4-6Step 4: String a bead onto the wire and position it against the loop.

Step 5: Using your thumb, push the wire against the top of the bead to create a 90 degree bend.

Step 6: Cut the wire so that it measures 1 centimeter long.Step7Step 7: Repeat Steps 2 & 3 above to complete the loop, only this time grasp the bead for leverage. Again, it will take two movements to completely close the loop.

Tip: When it comes to loops, consistency matters. It doesn’t matter if your loops are perpendicular to each other or parallel, so long as each link is the same. To adjust the alignment of a loop simply hold one loop with a pair of chain nose pliers and use your fingers to twist the opposite loop into the desired position.

Connecting Beads & Wire Links

Step8-9Step 8: Using chain nose pliers, grasp the open end of one of the loops.

Step 9: Twist the wire sideways, opening the loop just enough to feed the loop of another bead link into it.

Step 10: Using chain nose pliers, grasp the open end of the loop and gently coax it back into closed position.

That’s it! Repeat, repeat, repeat. To complete a piece of jewelry simply attach a clasp to the loops of the first and last bead link. 

 

Stringing A Necklace On Thread

We have two great new videos to strengthen your technical skills. The first video will guide you through materials selection while the second video will teach you how to attach a clasp with clamshell beadtips.

The materials discussed in the previous video can be found on our website.
Threads: Silk, Nylon, C-lon
Beadtips
Hypo Cement
Twisted Wire Needles
Flocked Design Board
Chain Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Thread Snips

Thanks for taking the time to watch us in action. Let us know what other techniques you would like us to cover by commenting below.

How to Wire Wrap a Briolette

beginningHere at Baubles & Beads we answer a lot of questions. After polling the staff we all agreed that wire wrapping a top-drilled bead was one of the top demo requests. Join Heather as she guides you through the process step-by-step.

There are so many ways to achieve the same results. Do you have a tip that others may find useful? Feel free to comment what works for you.

How To Crimp A Crimp Bead

When it comes to making jewelry nothing is as quick and easy as using flexible stringing wire and crimp beads. No knot, needles, or glue required! Let the fabulous Kate Richbourg take you through the ins and outs of how to use the crimp tool to securely attach a clasp to your stringing designs.

The entire video is EXCELLENT, but if you are just looking for a quick refresher, jump to 2:59 for the down and dirty of crimp tool action.

Kate used the following materials in her demonstration:

How To Attach A Clasp With Crimp Beads

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Tools Needed
Crimping pliers
Chain nose pliers
Flush cutter

Materials Needed
Beads!
2 Crimp Beads
2 Crimp Bead Covers
1 Clasp
Soft Flex in a size that fits through the hole of the beads

We recommend the following to select your size:
Very Fine (.010″) – Precious stone or very small holed beads
Fine (.014″) – Semi-precious stone beads & pearls
Medium (.019″) – Glass beads
Heavy (.024″) – Heavy large-holed beads and metal.

Attach the First Side of The Clasp

Step 1: Cut a piece of Soft Flex wire 3 inches longer than the desired finished length.
Step 2: String on a crimp bead followed by one side of the clasp.
Step 3: Feed the Soft Flex wire back through the crimp bead trapping the clasp on the resulting loop.
Step 4: Push the crimp bead close to the clasp, keeping enough room for the clasp to move freely. (The loop of Soft Flex might be about as big as the crimp.)

claspcrimp1      claspcrimp2

Take a closer look at the jaws of the crimping pliers. There are two crimping stations. The inner one has a dimple in the center, this dents the crimp bead and is used first. The second section is oval shaped and is used to fold the crimp bead over itself, this section is used second.

crimpingplier

Step 5: Insert the crimp into the inner section and squeeze the tool until the crimp is dented inward.
Step 6: Turn the crimp on its edge (a quarter turn to the left or right) and crimp it again using the outer station of the pliers.
For added security, we recommend squeezing the crimp a final time with chain nose pliers.

crimp2     crimp2     crimp3

String on your beads!
If the holes in the beads allow you to tuck the tail of the Soft Flex under a few beads, do so. If not, cut the wire with the flush cutter as close as you can to the crimp.

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Attach The Second Side of The Clasp

The second crimp is secured using the same techniques as the first crimp.

Step 1: String on a crimp bead followed by the second side of the clasp.
Step 2: Feed the Soft Flex wire back through the crimp bead trapping the clasp on the resulting loop.
Step 3: Pull the excess wire until the crimp is positioned between the final bead and the clasp with no excess wire showing except the loop that the clasp is attached to. Be careful at this step to allow for proper tension, although you don’t want excess wire to show, you also don’t want the wire to be too tight.
Step 4: Crimp the crimp bead using the crimping pliers and chain nose pliers to secure it in place.
Step 5: Trim excess Soft Flex wire close to the crimp or bead.

2ndend    crimptrim

Add A Crimp Bead Cover
Crimp bead covers are optional but provide a professional finish.
Step 1: Place a crimp bead cover around the crimp bead
Step 2: Gently squeeze the crimp bead cover closed with chain nose pliers until it forms into a rounded ball.

pliercrimpcover     braccrimpcover2     braccrimpcover

Wear, gift, & repeat!

DIY -Swarovski Pearl & Brass Disc Earrings

We just love the new connectors from TierraCast! Here is a quick and easy earring project using the discs. Of course this design would also make a great bracelet too!

hammeredearringsampw

Tools Needed
Flush Wire Cutters
Roundnose Pliers
Chainnose Pliers

Materials Needed
1 Pair Bronze Ball-End Earwires
2 Hammertone Connector Discs
2 Antique Brass Plated Ball-End Headpins
2 10mm Swarovski Pearls

 

 

 

 

Step 1: String a bead onto the ball-end headpin.

Step 2: Bend the wire to a 90-degree angle so that it rests snugly against the bead.

Step 3: Using flush wire cutters, cut the headpin down in length so that it measures 1 centimeter.

cut wire down before making the simple loop

Cut wire down before making the simple loop

Step 4: Using roundnose pliers, gently grab the very end of the headpin and shape the wire around the jaw of the pliers to make a loop. This step takes several tool adjustments in order to fully shape the wire into a loop.

Use roundnose pliers to make a simple loop

Use roundnose pliers to make a simple loop

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 to make a loop on the second Swarovski pearl.

Step 6: Open the loop gently by holding the open end of the loop with chainnose pliers and twisting the wire end outward as shown.

Step 7: Feed the open loop into the disc and close it by twisting the wire end inward.

Step 8: Attach the earwire by opening the loop in the same manner. Feed the Hammertone Disc onto the back of the earwire (the hole is not big enough to fit the embellishment ball through it) and around until it rests in the embellishment loop. Close the loop.

Attach the bead and earwire to the connector.

Attach the bead and earwire to the connector.

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