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

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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

DIY: Summer Chain Stack Necklace

ChainStackBaublesandBeadsSummertime jewelry ensembles require simplicity both in assembly and wear. Designs that feature chain provide the best of both worlds. We love this simple stacked necklace design that incorporates colorful glass beads with charms & chain. Make the design your own my using mixed metals, changing up the chain styles, using different lengths of chains and charms to set a mood.

materialsChainStackBaublesAndBeadsMaterials Required

Assembling the Three Chain Strands

Baubles & Beads Summer Chain Stack Necklace Step 1Step 1: : Cut the cable chain to a 18” length (or longer if desired). This will be the shortest strand. If needed attach a jump ring to the charm so that when it is strung onto the chain the charm faces forward.

Baubles & Beads Summer StackStep 2: On one end of the snake chain use chain nose pliers to fold each side of the fold over crimp securely against the chain. For best results, fold one side down snugly then fold the second side down over the first side. If any chain protrudes at the loop end simply cut off the excess chain with wire cutters.

TIP: Securing one end of the chain before stringing on the seed beads will ensure the beads don’t accidentally fall off the chain later. 🙂

Baubles And Beads Summer StackStep 3: Cut the snake chain 2” longer than the first chain. Embellish the chain by adding color with size 8/0 seed beads. The amount of beads you use and the pattern is up to you. For reference we strung on about 6 inches of beads. Secure a fold over crimp onto the unfinished side of the chain. This will keep the beads from falling off the chain during final assemble.

TIP: Traditionally when making a multi-strand graduated length necklace each strand should vary in length by 2 inches.

baubles and beads summer stackStep 4: Cut the rolo chain to measure 2” longer that the snake chain. This is the longest strand. If needed, attach a jump ring to the charm so that when it is strung onto the chain the pendant faces forward. String on the final charm.

Attaching the Chains Together

BaublesAndBeads.com Summer Stack Step 5Step 5: Feed one end of each chain onto a jump ring and close the ring with chain nose pliers. Repeat this step on the opposite end of the chains making certain that the chains do not twist around each other in the process.

TIP: Soldered chain links can be stretched larger by inserting a tapered beading awl into the end link and gently forcing the awl into the link. By stretching the link in this manner the jewelry designer does not have to compromise durability when using small linked chain.

Step 6: Attach a swivel lobster clasp to one of the rings used to connect the chains together. Swivel style clasps help keep multiple strands from twisting during wear. On the opposite side of the necklace attach one additional ring and close it tightly.

TIP: Using additional rings to attach the clasp keeps the chains out of the way when putting on or taking off the necklace.

BaublesAndBeads.com Chain Stack Brass

Let us know what you think by commenting below. On July 18th we will randomly select a winner from the comment list to win the Summer Chain Stack Necklace in Silver! Good luck and happy summer beading!! (UPDATE: Congrats to Elaine who rocked the party and won herself one of the samples.)

TierraCast Tour

One of my first purchases from an official bead store was in the mid 1990’s, at a bead store in Cambridge, MA. It was a small antique silver plated goddess charm by TierraCast. I still own that charm as at the time it was just too special to actually use. Across the country in Berkeley, CA Jim & Lisa Kaufman’s bead store, Baubles & Beads, was in its infancy, and Julia, our current store manager, was a high school student who shopped at their store. None of us knew one another, we were all just beaders who could never imagine that nearly two decades later we would all be working together at Baubles & Beads and going on a field trip tour the TierraCast facilities. TCI-Logo-WebChances are if you have ever made jewelry with base metal beads or components you too have introduced TierraCast products into your own collection. It was with great pleasure and much anticipation we were given the opportunity to tour the factory and learn more about the production of those fabulous finds and meet the people who create them.

We were met by Julia wearing a fabulous ring made by Tania Skevos, a former store manager of Baubles & Beads who is now quite famous.

We were met by Julie who wearing a fabulous ring made by Tania Skevos, a former store manager of Baubles & Beads who is now quite famous.

Upon our arrival we met up with Julie, our ambassador for the day. Her bubbly enthusiasm immediately struck a chord with us as we too are excited to share the story of growth and change of another small business.

Meet Tracy, she is TierraCast's marketing guru.

Meet Tracy, she is TierraCast’s jewelry designer and marketing maven.

She began by introducing us to several people we had interacted with on the phone, through email, and whose names we’d recognize from years of doing business together.

Alan Joseph, one of the company owners and product designer, was our tour guide and he guided us through the entire impressive compound, in order of production from design idea to finished piece. Every piece is made under the same house except for the plating including: design, production, manufacturing, sales, and marketing.

Digital rendering meet the finished piece.

Digital rendering meet the finished piece.

Alan works entirely through graphic design templates on his computer when designing the beautiful and detailed signature TierraCast pieces. He has a background in fine art, so the process starts with that in mind. The products go through rigorous testing periods before they make it to you, the beader. Only 1 in 10 design ideas actually make it into the product line.Scotts BenchAfter all design specifics have been developed digitally he then hands the work off to his team of metalsmith geniuses to begin the task of making a model.  Above is a picture of Scott’s bench, he trained at Tiffany. Be sure to zoom in on the pic to get a good look at all his tools. The window directly in front of his bench looks out to a tranquil garden setting, now that’s what we call a good day’s work! microscopePerfection is required, evident by the microscope in the room. Once the piece has gone through the intensive and fastidious design process, they begin production by making a mold.stackofmoldsMolds are made by pressing silicone in a steel plate that is heated. We were impressed by the organization in the mold making room. Notice in the background of the photo above how the finished molds are arranged. There is a whole back room filled with molds.MoldsEach mold only has a lifespan of about 300 uses. The mold maker was on vacation the day of our tour. He just celebrated 25 years at TierraCast. Definitely a sign of a good company to work for.pewtersolidTierraCast excels in the use high quality pewter. The standard for lead content in culinary pewter is 500ppm. TierraCast uses a pewter alloy called Britannia that contains lead in the minute level of less than 100 ppm. Most pieces have about 25-35ppm of lead content.MoltenMetalWe step over to the next room and find a vat of molten metal next to the casting machine. casterWomanRocksThe caster pours the molten metal into the opening of the mold located in a centrifuge. Centrifugal force pushes the molten metal evenly throughout the mold making for consistent results. Angela, the caster pictured above is one of the fastest casters at TierraCast.buttonsOnATreeOnce the caster has produced a large quantity of product they then simply break the pieces off the “tree”. It is a testament to the fine craftsmanship of the mold maker that no hand finishing is required after removing the product from the tree.removalofbeadsHow dreamy that the day we visited they were casting one of our best-selling items: the Buddha Bead.  A short walk away is another building that houses the finishing room.HomemadeTumblerMy little Lortone tumbler is nothing compared to TierraCast’s homemade version. These drums are filled with cast pieces and different tumbling media to help quickly remove any burrs or imperfections. Once the pieces are tumbled they are sent off-site to be plated. Plating is the only process that does not happen in-house. Upon return from the plater, TierraCast applies chemical antiquing as needed.fillingorders

When we opened the door to the order fulfillment office a blast of cold air struck us; a true sign of women working in here. This room was filled with drawer after drawer of beads, charms, pendants, bails, button, findings, clasps, earwires, oh my gosh I can’t list all of the wonder inside. Sorry the pic so so fuzzy but those ladies work fast!! julieandlisaThe conclusion of our tour left us time for photo ops with each other. Above is one of myself and Julie. We all know Julie well as she has been TierraCast’s sales rep for a long time. We often meet up at the bead shows in Tucson and Milwaukee. lkandjulieNext up is Lisa Kaufman , co-owner of Baubles & Beads, and Julie. Have we mentioned how fun Julie is?organizationAnd to finish us off we have Julia, our store manager, loving the tidiness of the entire place. Interestingly enough, between three of us photographing our tour, Jim Kaufman (the incredibly handsome co-owner of Baubles & Beads) never made it into any of our photos.

 

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