DIY: Art Deco Swing Earrings

Staying in the summertime groove of lightweight, slinky and sparkly is a must for jewelry projects this season. These earrings have so many possibilities that I couldn’t limit myself to only providing the pattern for one design, I also included the pattern for a pair that uses rhinestone chain. They are so simple (okay, one step is kinda frustrating) you will be inspired to customize the pattern yourself.

I’d love to see what you make from this DIY. Post your pics on Baubles & Beads Facebook page by August 2017 and I’ll hook you up with a coupon code to help you purchase more supplies.

Materials Needed (for the gold pair)MaterialsArtDeco-BaublesAndBeads

Preparing the Chain

Counting ball links is the least wasteful method of cutting the chain. It’s not so great for those of us with lacking 20/20 vision. Keep this technique chill by starting with each chain the longest length and then cut the rest down to size.

Step1ArtDecoSwing-BaublesAndBeadsStep 1: Cut the following number of chains into 1 3/4″ lengths: 8 black pieces, 4 silver pieces, 6 gold pieces. Repeat this step for the second earring and set them aside.

Securing the Chains into the End Cap

Step2ArtDecoSwing-BaublesAndBeadsStep 2: Feed one ball link of each chain into the slot of the end bar in the following pattern: 2 black, 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 black, 2 gold, 2 black, 2 silver, 2 gold, 2 black. Repeat this step for the other earring and set aside.

Step3ArtDecoSwing-BaublesAndBeadsStep 3: Using chain nose pliers gently fold the open end of the end cap closed while making sure no chains fall out of the cap (this is the tricky part). I usually use the tool to get the end to fold downward and then secure it tight by pushing the end against the edge of a table or hard surface. Make certain the end is closed enough that the chains can’t fall out. Repeat this step on the other earring and start to get excited.

Cutting the Fringe Pattern

It is inevitable that even though I measured each length of chain they are are different lengths. I like to count the ball links of center two chains so that I am certain the two earrings are a match. (I will also admit I counted them, all 32, by taking a picture of the earrings and zooming in on my phone so I could easily see the ball links.) I have made a lot of these earrings and every time I cut the fringe a bit different, usually because I make a mistake.

Step4ArtDecoSwing-BaublesAndBeads.jpgStep 4: Each length of fringe decreases by two links from the center two chains. Cut each chain, one by one, starting from the center and working toward the ends. If you make a mistake simply repeat it on the other side and call it a custom design. Repeat the same pattern on the opposite earring.

Attach the Ear Wire

Step5-ArtDecoSwing-BaublesAndBeadsStep 5: Using chain nose pliers, attach the open loop of your ear wire to the loop on the end bar.

Designer’s Musing: If you are a keen tutorial reader you may have noticed my picture of materials includes a lever back ear wire while my list of materials uses a post. When I connected the lever back to the end bar I discovered the loop on the lever back was too small to allow the earring to dangle freely so I opted for the post earring instead. To keep my ears from reacting to the metal I always use precious metal ear wires on my designs even if the other materials are base metal, unless of course they are for someone who always loses the earrings I give her 🙂

But Wait There’s More…

When I decided to write this tutorial I had a hard time decided which earring to make. Why not both? Check out this hottie… (recipe ingredients are included below). Same technique just different chains.

Art Deco Sparkle Earrings

ArtDecoRhinestone-BaublesAndBeadsMaterials Needed (silver pair)

Win one of the samples by commen ting on this post before May 29th, 2017. We will choose one lucky winner and contact you for shipping details, good luck, & most importantly enjoy!

DIY: Adjustable Tassel Charm Bracelet

Summertime calls for jewelry styles that put one at ease. This bracelet design features string-on clasps to keep the design simple and bracelet size adjustable while the snake chain base allows the beads fluid movement during wear.

Stringing the beaded design

Step 1: String your desired design onto the snake chain reserving two of the charms for the finishing tassels. Ideally the design length should equal the exact measurement of one’s wrist. (Example: If your wrist measures 6 inches you should string 6 inches of beads.)

Feeding the clasp through the chains

Step 2: Feed one end of the snake chain into the String-on clasp. Feed the other end of the chain through the opposite side of the clasp. The fit should be snug. It is helpful to slowly rotate the clasp between your fingers while coaxing the second side of the chain through the silicone fitting of the clasp.

Determining tassel length and securing chain ends

Step 3: Before securing the cord end onto the chain determine the desired length of the finale chain tassels. Long tassel tails may get in the way while wearing the bracelet. Always test that the chosen length is long enough to fit the bracelet over one’s hand before cutting excess chain. Use wire cutters to remove any excess length.

Step 4: String a couple of beads onto the chain before positioning one of the cord ends onto the end of the chain. Using chain nose pliers gently squeeze the center section of the crimp so that it secures the chain in place. Repeat on the opposite chain end.

Attaching the finale to the chain tassel

Step 5: Using chain nose pliers, attach the remaining two charms to the loops on the cord ends with jump rings. Make certain the jump rings are completely closed. (I usually use two pairs of chain nose pliers to secure jump rings closed.

For the gold bracelet I used Turquoise Picasso and Canary Picasso Japanese size 6/0 seed beads.

For the silver bracelet I used the following supplies: 3mm silver plated hex cuts, hammered disc charms, Jade Picasso O-beads, and the same gold plate heishe as in the gold bracelet.

Win one of the samples by commenting on this post before May 15th,2017. We will choose one lucky winner and contact you for shipping details, good luck & most importantly enjoy!

Patinas For Metal

For many jewelers applying a patina is the final step in the completion of a jewelry design.  The patina process includes a broad range of colors, products and techniques.  Before applying any patina the metal should be clean and free of debris or oxidization. Let’s explore the patina products that Baubles & Beads uses at the store.

Liver of Sulfur

Liver of Sulphur

Liver of Sulphur

The most widely used patina solution for home jewelers due to its range of colors and ease of use. Most non-porous beads are unaffected by the chemical and can be used to patina a metal piece that incorporates beads, such as wire work projects.

What metals does it work with?

When used hot the solution works with sterling silver and fine silver. A cold solution will patina base metals such as copper.

Color Range

Range of colors on fine silver using liver of sulphur.

Range of colors on fine silver using liver of sulphur.

Color range includes: reds, greens, blues, browns and a very dark brown that appears black. Vibrant colors are considered experimental and results will vary according to variable conditions (water temperature, ratio, etc.).

Add about 1 tablespoon of ammonia to a 2 cup solution to create more vibrant colors on silver.

Safety

Always use proper ventilation as this stuff stinks! The solution can also stain the skin so be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses. Use plastic or glass containers.

Application

Liver of sulphur solution diluted in hot water.

Liver of sulphur solution diluted in hot water.

Mix the solution as directed on the package. Use hot water (about 140 degrees F) but never boiling as fumes will be released in the steam. We prefer to make a weaker solution that is yellowish in color. When using a weak solution allow the piece to remain in the solution for a longer time period until the desired color is achieved. Too strong of a solution can create a flaky black patina that will crumble off.

Silver Black

Silver Black

Silver Black

A diluted solution of hydrochloric acid that produces an instantaneous deep black patina. This item is corrosive to stone and coated beads, use only on metal. Many people are afraid to use this product due to its corrosive properties, use this fear to your advantage by always practicing good safety precautions and you will be rewarded with a beautiful black finish.

 What metals does it work with?

Widely used to patina sterling silver and fine silver. Can be used to darken base metals by diluting the solution with water. Will darken gold-filled metal when either the piece or the solution is heated prior to application.

Color Range

Silver Black is coveted for the deep black effect that it creates on metal.

Safety

Silver Black is a diluted form of hydro-choloric acid, therefore Baubles & Beads is unable to ship the item. However, this product is available for purchase in our retail store in Berkeley, CA. Use safety precautions when using this product: wear gloves, safety glasses and always work in a well ventilated area. Baking soda is used to neutralize the acid both on the piece and to clean up any spills. But watch-out!, when the acid comes in contact with the baking soda it reacts much like the childhood volcano science project where one mixes vinegar and baking soda to make an “eruption.” Contain your workspace by working in a bowl in case the bottle should tip over during use.

Application

Apply solution to the metal with the aid of a Q-Tip to areas that you want a black patina. Neutralize the piece and applicators after applying patina.

VinTaj Patina

VinTaj Patina

VinTaj Patina

These are opaque inks that are specially formulated to adhere to metal. The patina is permanent and UV safe.

What metals does it work with?

All metals.

Color Range

Baubles & Beads currently carries four color collections including three colors in each collection. Mix the colors to create your own custom blend!

Safety

The paint is an irritant and should not be ingested or come in contact with the skin and eyes. Wear gloves and use in a properly ventilated area.

Application

Simply apply the paints to any metal surface using a small paint brush. Experiment with different applications such as blotting it on with a soft cloth, applying several layers of color or mixing colors. It can also be wiped off while still wet. The manufacturer recommends setting the ink with a heat gun for added durability. We use this product on a regular basis and have yet to follow the heat gun guideline and still have great results.

Gilder’s Paste

Gilder's Paste green patina.

Gilder’s Paste green patina.

This is a waxed based medium used to add highlights to metal, wood, ceramics and more. If the paste dries out it can be easily reconstituted by adding a bit of paint thinner and mixing thoroughly.

What metals does it work with?

All metals. It works best when there are recessions in the metal pattern to “catch” the color.

Color Range

Baubles & Beads currently stocks six colors that range from several metallic shades to green and black.

Safety

Like all patina solutions, keep this product away from children.

Application

Apply with a gloved finger, brush, or cloth to the metal in a rubbing motion. Dries to the touch in 30-60 minutes but takes 12 hours to fully dry. It can be thinned out with paint thinner. Rub with a soft cloth to produce a gilded finish. Apply in temperatures above 60F.

Red Aluminum disc with Gilder's Paste applied to stamped design.

Red Aluminum disc with Gilder’s Paste applied to stamped design.

Most impotantly, a safety reminder…

ALWAYS USE ADEQUATE VENLTILATION AND PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING ANY CHEMICAL!  Pregnant women should seek the advice of a doctor before handling any chemical.  Protect your clothing, eyes, skin, and lungs.  If any solution comes in contact with the skin, immediately flush the area with water or appropriate neutralizer .  All mixing cups and jars should be exclusive to a specific chemical and not used for other purposes.  After use, wash all tools and containers with soapy water to remove any residue.  Clean all metals with soap and water after patinization process to remove any residual chemicals.

Czech Glass Bead Production & Finishes

If you have a lot beads at home you are sure to have some Czech glass in your collection. But owning them isn’t enough for me; I also want to know how they came to be. Read on to discover how these beads are made and how exactly they get those fabulous finishes!

What Are Pressed Glass Beads?

Hurricane glass is made of multiple colored glass swirled together. Each batch is unique.

HurriCane glass is made of multiple colored glass swirled together.

Pressed glass beads are popular because of their versatility and limitless possibilities.  This category of beads not only includes the basic necessity bead shapes such as druks (round beads), daggers, rondelles, and drops; but also unique, abstract, and novelty shapes as well.  Plus there are over 800 commonly used glass colors to combine with the hundreds of coatings, lusters, and metallic finishes available.  Literally millions of combinations are possible!  New technology in glass making has made it possible to combine glass colors in new and innovative ways.  HurriCane glass, for example, is the combination of multiple glass colors that change appearance and swirl patterns based on the conditions at the time of pressing.  Each batch is unique and very difficult to reproduce.

pressedglass

The Pressed Glass Bead Making Process

It takes years of practice to form intricately detailed shapes full of vibrant swirls of color with clarity and shine.  The quality of the product relies mostly on the skill level of the master bead pressers.  The difference in overall quality is strikingly apparent from one craftsman to another.

The end of a long rod of glass cane is heated in a gas furnace until it is red hot.  It is then inserted into a pressing machine which resembles an old fashioned sewing machine.  The molten glass is quickly pressed into a mold while a needle is simultaneously inserted to form the hole.  Only a few beads can be pressed before the rod must be heated again; therefore, the bead maker alternates between multiple heated glass canes in order to produce continuously.  The pressed glass cools slowly as it makes its way down a slide and into a holding container.   At this point the pressings do not resemble beads at all; they are still connected together by the excess glass surrounding the edges of the beads.  The beads then go through two-stages of tumbling; one which breaks off the large pieces of excess glass and another which smooths out surface imperfections.

Firepolish

FPolish

Fire polished beads are considered by many to be one of the most essential components for jewelry making.  The Czech bead makers are famous for their exquisitely crafted yet relatively inexpensive faceted beads.

The Czech region of Bohemia has been the center of bead making and has led the glass bead industry for hundreds of years because of its quality fire polished styles.  Faceted rounds are by far the most popular because of their timeless look and sparkle.  Classic, more stylized shapes such as cathedral beads, triangles and octagonal faceted beads are popular for vintage style jewelry and rosaries.  There are many new fire polished shapes being created such as doughnut firepolish and renaissance firepolish.  There are also vintage styles reemerging into the market such as rosebud firepolish and fluted firepolish.

Faceting Firepolish Beads

To make fire polished rounds, the manufacturer starts with round pressed beads (druks).  The beads are sifted onto a pronged board that is then fed into a faceting machine which angles the beads onto a grinding wheel.  After all sides of the beads have been faceted their surface is rough and matte.  The polished finish is attained by laying the beads on a conveyer belt that feeds them into an extremely hot oven.  The beads are heated to the point that their surfaces begins to melt, creating a naturally shiny finish.

Finishes and Coatings for Czech Glass Beads

finishes

Finishes Defined

Aurora Borealis (AB)1/2 coat metallic finish that adds a prismatic effect to the surface of the bead.  The beads are placed in an oven where a chemical reaction between metals produces fumes that adhere to the exposed surfaces of the bead.  Usually this coating is only applied to one side of the bead; however there are some shapes that can easily be coated on both sides for a more dramatic effect.

Marea – Same process as AB but results in a primarily orange/yellow reflection.

Vitrail – Same process as AB but results in a primarily pink/green reflection.

MatteTumbled to create a subdued look.  The surface texture of a bead depends on the length of time it is tumbled.  Instead of being tumble polished to a bright shine, the matte finish creates a soft appearance or glow to the bead.  Throughout the tumbling process the surface alternates from being matte to polished and it is up to the manufacturing experts to calculate the perfect tumbling time.  The matte effect can also be created by dipping the beads into an acid solution.  This is the preferred method when creating matte AB finishes or working with delicate beads such as lampwork.

Matte ABA combination of the above coatings.  The beads are first coated with an AB finish and then dipped into an acid solution to take away the shine.  This combination brings out the prismatic color refraction of the AB finish and the rough texture of the matte bead creates a mesmerizing glow and an unbelievable depth to the bead.

Luster –   Durable, transparent, glossy color coating on glass beads that is heat treated like a glaze.  These coatings are usually applied to a crystal or jet based bead, but there are limitless combinations that are becoming increasingly popular.  On light beads a luster coating may add only a subtle hint of color, whereas dark beads may have the complete opposite effect. Hematite colored glass beads are made of a jet based bead with a clear luster coating.

PicassoA luster coating that appears more speckled and spotty; giving the bead a natural, earthy appearance.  The color can vary from light yellow to dark brown with underlying color variations.  Some base bead colors, such as opaque beige, blue or white allow the picasso finish to take on a raku pottery look.

Coated Beads – Also known as dyed beads, these coatings are generally used to create unique shades and dual-tone color combinations that are usually unachievable or expensive to produce within the glass.  Although historically they are not as durable as lusters or other finishes, they are gaining in popularity around the world.  With proper care and when used in the ideal conditions, these beads will stay shiny and brilliant for years to come.  Glass pearls are alabaster white beads coated with a nitro-cellulose lacquer with pearl pigments.

Customizing Vintage Style Stampings

Options: it’s why we all like to make jewelry. A lot of people ask us what you are supposed to do with stampings that have no hole. To that we say punch one! It all started when Heather made a pair of earrings using our Baroque Flower Stamping. So how does one make a stamping into a customized component? It’s pretty simple…. you will need a marker, some stampings or a metal blank, and hole punching pliers.

Use a marker to mark where the desired hole will be made.

Use a marker to mark where the desired hole will be made.

Position the tip of the hole punching pliers on top of the mark and squeeze.

Position the tip of the hole punching pliers on top of the mark and squeeze.

And easy as pie, you now have a custom placed embellishment hole!

And easy as pie, you now have a custom placed embellishment hole!

Add a few more holes and some bead embellishment to create a one of a kind design.

Add a few more holes and some bead embellishment to create a one of a kind design.

Here is another example using a Pine Cone Spray Stamping to make a pendant. It’s interesting how we all perceive things differently – I would have made my holes so that the pine cones pointed downward. I guess I have a new project on my hands! 🙂 PineConeSprayHere I used a 6 Petal Flower Stamping and folded the petals downward over the sides of the bead. Many stampings are soft enough that they can be manipulated by hand or with the aid of tools. This allows for yet another customization of your designs.BeadCapAnd now… well worth all the scrolling is my favorite store sample made by Kathleen Hazard, a former instructor and store manager.  This centerpiece is made using our Detailed Angel Wings Stamping.  She made 18 holes in the piece and then used jump rings to attach two lengths of 2mm double link rolo chain to each hole. I love this sample so much that I am hoarding it. It’s currently hanging on the wall right next to my desk!samplechainnecklace

Wire Properties

Wire was first used nearly 4,000 years ago. In the beginning is was formed by pounding gold nuggets into flat sheet metal. The metal sheet was  cut into strips, then twisted and rolled into rounded shapes forming what we think of as wire. The wire manufacturing process has come a long way since then. Today there are standardized systems for measuring the diameter of wire and the temper. Read on to learn more about this and how to select wire based on your jewelry assembly needs. At Baubles & Beads we try to carry the most popular metals, sizes and temper choices available. If you haven’t already, check out our selection.

Wire Gauge

American Wire Gauge (AWG) is a standardized measurement of wire.  This standardized system of wire measurement has been in use since 1857 and is used predominantly in the United States. Wire purchased in other countries may refer to a wire gauge but we recommend inquiring which gauge system is used.  Wire gauges  are available from 0 gauge to 40 gauge. Most jewelry applications only use 14 gauge-26 gauge wire. The higher the number, the smaller the wire diameter.

One can use a pocket wire gauge tool to measure the gauge of wire. Simply pull the wire through the slots on the edge of the gauge tool, the smallest one that the wire fits through is the gauge measurement of the wire.

Pocket Wire Gauge Measuring Tool

Pocket Wire Gauge Measuring Tool

Hardness

The temper of wire refers to the hardness of the wire. Hardness is defined as the amount of resistance required to bend and shape the wire.  Most wire workers only encounter three hardness’.  These are: dead soft, half hard and full hard. Dead soft wire, also known as annealed wire, is the easiest wire to manipulate with the hands. Half hard wire is more resistance to shaping but is more likely to retain that shape over time. Full hard wire is considered to be a finished state and therefore jewelers do not use this hardness to create jewelry. Finished state means that the metal is at its hardest and bending or reshaping will result in wire breakage. Wire hardness varies dependent on the metal. When working with wire one can work harden the wire by  bending it repeatedly in the same place. Ultimately the wire will harden to a full hard state, become brittle, and break.

Choosing the Correct Gauge and Hardness For Your Wire Project

Gauge

Most jewelry artists choose their wire gauge based on which wire fits into the hole of the beads to be used.  Many beads have standard hole sizes and over time many jewelers memorize what wire will fit what bead hole.  The techniques required to complete a particular design are also important when selecting a wire gauge. Use our handy chart below to help aid you when matching wire gauge to a particular bead and common techniques used for jewelry assembly.

Wire Gauge

Beads That Will Fit Onto This Gauge

Common Techniques Used

12g-14g Large holed beads such as metal and lamp-worked beads. Used in metalwork to create rings and bangles. Also used to make sturdy links.
16g-18g Many metal beads and natural materials such as horn, bone and wood. 16 gauge is favored for rivets. Also used for components.
20g Most glass and some stone beads will accommodate this wire. Excellent choice for making earwires. Sturdy enough to hold a simple loop.
22g Glass and crystals easily fit this wire gauge. Heavier beads look great wire wrapped together with this size wire.
24g Semi-precious stone beads and pearls often require this small gauge. By far the most popular wire used to make wire wrapped links.
26g-28g Precious stone and some Indian semi-precious stones have small holes and will require using these fine wire gauges. Excellent choice for textile techniques and coiling wire. 26g wire is recommended for wrapping semi-precious stone briolette beads. Always wire wrap loops for durability in wear.

Hardness

Preference as to which wire hardness is best for any given project is subjective. A good guideline to follow is that if you will be working the wire with your hands, use dead soft; if you are manipulating the wire with tools, use half hard. If a finished project will face a lot of wear and tear, using half hard wire will help the piece maintain its shape. Most wire workers use half hard wire to create custom wire findings. If the wire project requires the wire be repeatedly manipulated, as with crochet, dead soft wire will be easier to use and take longer to work harden.

We’d love to hear our reader’s tips on choosing wire. If you have a good idea, or question, feel free to share it in the comment section.

 

How To Attach A Clasp With Crimp Beads

brac12

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.

buryends

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!

Crystal Clay and Chatons, Oh My!!

Nunn Designs brings us a great video on how to use Crystal Clay to embed Birthstone Chatons or other sparkly treasures into resin cups.  Get ready… once you start using Crystal Clay your whole house becomes a canvas for crystal embellishment!

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