Archive for September, 2011

How to do a Herringbone Wire Wrap

Friday, September 30th, 2011
Earrings made using a Herringbone Wire-wrapping Technique

Earrings made using a Herringbone Wire-wrapping Technique

Wire-wrapping has become my newest jewelry making addiction! I am always browsing the internet and looking for new inspiration and techniques that I have yet to master. My latest accomplishment was learning how to create the oh so complicated looking herring bone wrap. I have admired this style of wire wrapping for years but was always too intimidated to attempt it. A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to learn it. And guess what? It was really pretty easy! Now I will pass my knowledge on to you, fellow bloggers and bead addicts, so you too can feel that sweet satisfaction that comes from creating something new and beautiful! (not to mention the compliments you are sure to receive by your coworkers!)

Everything you need to make a Herringbone Wire Wrap

Everything you need to make a Herringbone Wire Wrap

So here it is! You will need some wire, preferably 22 gauge. I like to use Artistic Wire when learning a new technique because it is relatively inexpensive, so if you waste some there is little guilt. Next you will need a large round bead, 10-12mm is a good size. It can be faceted or smooth, either works just fine. For tools, you will need your trusty chain nose pliers, round nose pliers and side cutters. And that’s it!

Step 1: Cut a piece of wire about 2 feet long (always better to have a little too much than to be short)

Step 1 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Cut wire, and make a loop at one end.

Make a loop at one end of the wire

Step 2: Make a wrapped loop at one end of the wire. I find about a 1/2 inch or 1 centimeter is a good amount to wrap.

Step 2 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Wrap the loop for about 1cm.

It helps to measure the first side.

Step 3: Thread your bead onto the wire.

Step 3 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Add your bead.

Add your bead!

Step 4: Create a wrapped loop on the other side to mirror the one you made on the first side. You can measure if you like, to make sure it’s the same or just eyeball it.

Step 4 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Create a wrapped loop on the other side. (Try and make both sides equal.)

Try and make both sides equal

Step 5: Now that you have both sides wrapped, the fun begins! This is the tricky part. Take your long piece of remaining wire and and wrap it across the side of the bead in the center. Wrap the wire around the front of the wrapped loop on the opposite side.

Step 5 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: The tricky part.

Step 6: Now run the wire back down the other side of the bead and wrap it around the front of the wrapped loop where you started. The bead should be wrapped in wire all around now. After you have this first wrap, you can continue this pattern going back and forth, tracing the previous wire.

Step 6 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Repeat on other side.

Repeat process on both sides

Step 6 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Side View.

Side View

Step 6 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Repeat pattern until desired look is achieved.

Repeat pattern until desired look is achieved

Step 7: Once you have your herringbone pattern how you like, you can end by wrapping your wire around the loop at one end and cutting the excess wire with your side cutters. Tuck any excess wire with your chain nose pliers.

Step 7 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Do about 6 or 7 wrap on each side.

Do about 6 or 7 wraps on each side

Step 7 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Wrap excess wire at one end to secure.

Wrap the excess wire at one end to secure

Step 7 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap:Clip excess wire with side cutters

Clip excess wire with side cutters

Step 7 of How To Make a Herringbone Wirewrap: Completed Herring Bone Wire Wrapped Bead

Completed Herring Bone Wire Wrapped Bead

Step 8: Create your own original designs with your beautiful herringbone wrapped beads!

Herringbone done with several different beads and wire

Herringbone done with several different beads and wire


I finished both of these pairs with coordinating clusters. See our blog on how to make cluster earrings!

Hope you enjoyed and learned something new! Happy beading and feel free to ask me any questions! –Tiffany

For all the fantastic items I used to make these earrings, head over to our online store at






Riveting tool comparison – long reach vs. standard

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

One of these things is not like the others…

Hello, bloglandia! Today, I failed repeatedly at the project I undertook with the Crafted Findings semi-tubular riveting tool. But, as many wise people have stated, wisdom rarely comes from success. It is our failures that we learn the most from. And besides, these particular failures were actually wins in a way.

Top: standard riveting tool. Bottom: Long-reach version.

The riveting tool by Crafted Findings is now available in both regular and long-reach models.* “Long reach” is a misnomer, in my opinion – the tool doesn’t reach any further from the edge of a piece (darn!). Instead, the tool opening is 0.2″ (5mm) “deeper” (taller) which allows thicker pieces to be stacked and riveted together.

The Crafted Findings riveting setup is really quite nifty. When you make rivets the traditional way, there is a lot work involved in making the holes the right size for the rivets, and the rivets the right size and height for the holes. This tool eliminates that challenge. Simply pierce the metal with one side of the tool, then set the rivet with the other side. All the parts are designed to fit perfectly together. Here is a sneak peek at the instruction book included with the tool.

I’ve used the standard tool on several thin brass fairy door pieces, but nothing very thick. So, my goal today was to make something that could only be riveted with the new long reach riveting tool.

Riveted enameled copper ring. I stamped “eternal” on the band – hoping for eternal summer I guess!

First, I made a ring using C-Koop enameled flowers and a 1/4″ strip of copper sheet metal. It seemed like it was fairly thick (about 1/3″ or 9mm at the outside high points), but it actually fit just fine in the standard riveting tool. (I did have to use an eyelet instead of a rivet, though – the longest eyelet available is 7/32″, while the rivets only go up to 5/32″.)

Be gentle when you rivet breakable items – enamel is a coating of glass, so it can crack if you are overly enthusiastic with the rivet tool.

Second, I made a ring using a domed brass disk, a domed copper gear and a strip of copper. Seemed thick! But again, I was able to rivet it together with the standard tool (and a 5/32″ rivet). (My rivet is kinda squashed looking – unfortunately, the only way to rivet rings is with the unfinished side up. Normally I put the tube side of the rivet on the back of a piece in case it doesn’t look so nice. It is less likely to look squashed if you have the correct length rivet, too. And I learned…**)

Get in Gear – domed copper and brass.

By now I was both pleased and annoyed: pleased that the standard riveting tool is actually quite versatile, yet annoyed that I had failed at my mission. I didn’t want to make my own eyelets from tubing, so my project needed to fit the 7/32″ eyelet, yet be taller than the standard riveting tool.

The coin already had this lovely patina right out of the bag, so I left the raw brass elements plain for contrast.

Third time’s a charm! I stacked a pin back, brass petal wheel, Chinese coin, domed brass gear and a couple rivet accents together for this pin. Too tall for the standard riveting tool, yet short enough at the center to fit a 7/32″ eyelet. Finally!

The back of the pin – just one eyelet secures it all together. No glue!

Once I found the magic combination of parts, I began thinking of all types of designs where the “long reach” riveting tool would be handy. 3/32″ long-reach attachments are coming soon, so if you haven’t purchased a Crafted Findings riveting system yet, I’d recommend getting the long reach version.*** For a couple extra bucks, it will ensure you have the most design options. But, as my failures demonstrate, there is still a lot you can do with the standard riveting tool!

This picture shows the height difference between the long reach and regular riveting tools.

Have you made something with the Crafted Findings riveting tool? We’d love to see pictures! ~Cindy


*The tool is also available in both 1/16″ and 3/32″ diameter options. I used 1/16″ for all of my examples today, but if you plan to use your eyelet holes as connection points (like for jump rings), get the 3/32″ size components (sold separately). Only very fine gauge wire will fit through the 1/16″ eyelets, and no jump rings that I could find!

** One last riveting tip: if (like me) you choose to not put the Crafted Findings tool into a vise (as the manufacturer recommends), hold it flat on the edge of your tabletop. It will help ensure that everything stays lined up correctly when you flare that rivet!

***Or, if you have the standard 1/16″ setup, you could purchase the long-reach body with 3/32″ attachments. The convenience of not swapping out parts will easily pay for the extra tool purchase.


How to make “Cluster Earrings”

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Around here I am kind of known as the “cluster earring girl”. I guess you could say it’s my signature. I just love to make earrings that resemble little bundle of grapes! Anytime I see a new bead, be it a keishi freshwater pearl or a hematite cube, I imagine, how would those look in cluster dangling from my ear?

Cluster Earrings with Cubic Zirconia Briolettes and Rainbow Sparkly Glass

I am going to show you how to make a basic cluster, using some sparkly glass beads. Once you get the basic “formula” down, the possibilities are really endless, and the results are always beautiful! You can embellish this style by adding charms, graduating the size of the beads, or mixing different materials. Clusters can be at the top of the earring, nested above a delicately wire-wrapped briolette, or they can be hanging from a focal bead or metal connector.

There are only a couple of steps to follow when it comes to making this type of earring.

Step 1. Choose a bead that has a size anywhere from about 3mm to 8mm. You can use a round, cube, chip, or rondelle shape; both smooth or faceted beads will work. Depending on how long you want the earrings you will need anywhere from 5 to 21 beads per earring.


Hemetite Cubes, Freshwater Pearls, Sparkly Glass Rounds and Rondelles


Step 2. Choose head pins. My favorite are ball-end, but any head pins will work. If you are doing a simple loop, 1″ headpins are long enough. If you would like to try a wrapped loop you will want 1.5″ or longer.

Ball end head pins are my favorite!

Step 3. Assemble your cluster pieces. Do this by putting one bead onto every headpin and securing with a loop. You can do a simple loop or for a fancier look try a wrapped loop. Use side-cutters to clip any excess wire and chain nose pliers to tuck the extra wire. Assemble all the beads on head pins, before you assemble the earrings.

Place beads on head pins first.


You will need side cutters to clip the excess wire

On the left are wrapped loops, on the right are simple loops. Either will work for this style of earring.


Step 4. Once you have all of your pieces made, you can begin assembling the clusters. To do this you will need jump rings. Smaller jump rings will create a tighter cluster, larger jump rings will make a looser, more airy cluster. I follow a very basic pattern for the assembly. On the first jump ring, place only one looped head pin. Add a jump ring and two more head pins, one on each side. Continue, forming a chain until you reach your desired length.

Attach one beaded head pin to a jump ring


Attach a second jump to the first jump ring and place two more beaded head pins

Keep building your cluster!


I used eleven beads on each earring.

Step 5. Attach ear wires! I sometimes I add one more looped head pin to the ear wire itself, though this step is not necessary. It’s that simple! (p.s. the earring wires I used are niobium! They are great for sensitive ears and will match your antique copper and antique brass earring designs!)

Attach earring wires and you are done! These completed earrings are the exact same, except one has small jump rings and one has larger jump rings.

Examples of Cluster Style Earrings

Well, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial :) For more designs with “Cluster Stlye” check out the design gallery at our online store, If you have any questions about the beads I used for any of these earrings please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Happy Beading!

Tiffany @ The Rings and Things Showroom

Other great how-to blogs:

How to Wire-Wrap a Briolette

How to Make Wrapped Leather Bracelets

How to Dap and Dome Metal