Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Get Your Margaritas Here

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Margarita for drinking

rings-things.com Margarita for drinking

No, not that kind of margarita…

These crystal charm designs are so easy to make!

Grab a tasty beverage and a friend or two and have a good time making margarita trees all evening.

Margarita Tree Variety

A variety of tree styles you can make with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS from Rings & Things

So… why am I calling them margarita trees?

The “branches” of these sweet tree designs are made with the Swarovski sew-on stone Article 3700, known as the Margarita (or Marguerite).

margarita variety

The margarita crystal is available at Rings & Things in up to 5 sizes, and various tree related colors

The colors in the above picture, clockwise from the top, are emerald, crystal AB, fern green, dark moss green, and Crystal VM.  These tend to be the most popular tree colors, but you can also make trees in Crystal, Peridot, and a variety of non-traditional colors.

So… what do you need to make your own Margarita Trees?

Headpins

Earwires

Margarita crystals in at least 3 sizes (6, 8, and 10mm are the minimum for the “tree” look)

Small beads for the “star”

Round Nose Pliers

Cutters

minimum tree components

Purchase margaritas, “star” beads, headpins, earwires, and tools at rings-things.com

This is the basic tree with the minimum components as shown above.

simple tree earrings from Rings & Things

These trees are made with just the minimum components and are cute and unobtrusive.

If you want a fancier tree, add a few more layers:

cube beads for tree trunks

even bigger sizes of margarita to make a grander tree

chain nose pliers

tasty beverage  :)

larger margarita tree components

These parts from Rings & Things will make a more lush margarita tree design.

To construct your margarita trees, first decide if you want to have a tree trunk.

If so string a 4mm crystal cube #5601 onto your headpin.  I tend to gravitate toward using mocca, light colorado topaz, or crystal bronze shade for the look of wood.

Next decide on the number of layers for your tree.

Add #3700 crystal margaritas in descending size order to your headpin.

And decide how to top your tree.

I usually use a 3mm xilion crystal bicone #5328 in a metallic or bright color.

larger margarita tree stack

This fuller margarita tree style includes two more “branches” and a “trunk”.

Finish this off with a simple or wrapped loop.

larger margarita tree looped

This larger completed margarita tree design is ready to attach to an earwire.

If you are making earrings, repeat the process and then add your earwires.

Margarita trees make fantastic earrings, precious pendants, and adorable additions to a gift wrap.

They can also be constructed for strung jewelry, like the Christmas Tree and Light Necklace.

So,  how do you like your margarita trees?  TraditionalBright and ShinySnow Covered?  or even turned upside down to be an icicle?

finished large margarita tree

Larger Margarita tree earrings with components from rings-things.com

~  Rita

Make Fashionable Ear Cuff Jewelry

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

If you haven’t yet jumped on the ear cuff bandwagon, now’s your chance! Some ear cuff designs include an earring post to hold the design in place, but many of today’s styles work for both pierced and non-pierced ears, making them as versatile as they are trendy.

Customer service rep Tracy and Gallery guru Amy made the following Five Ear Cuffs to showcase some of the styles popping up.

Spikes Galore Ear Cuff

Handmade ear cuff featuring spike beads and sparkly glass.

Lightweight plastic spike bead assortments give this ear cuff pizzazz and drama!

The dramatic silhouette of this purple punk beauty is currently my fave! To make your own (in the color of your choice), you’ll need:

When creating the cuff base with your 20-gauge wire, start by forming a “hook” from the back of the ear to the top of the ear – this is what will hold the non-pierced jewelry in place!

Forming the hook at the back of a wire ear cuff.

Close-up of the “hook” at the back of your wire base. This one is covered with 1.7mm rubber tubing for a smooth finish.

Curve the wire around to the front top of the ear and work your way down, shaping the base to the curve of your ear. Once you get to the bottom, leave a few extra inches of wire (you will form this into a spiral later).

String on the beads from the bottom. Then, lash the beads with 28-gauge wire to help hold the spikes in place. Once the beads are in their final spot, create a decorative spiral with the extra wire.

Details of a wire ear cuff with spikes.

Once your beads are lashed, create a decorative spiral at the bottom of your base.

With a separate piece of 20-gauge wire, make a figure-8 (infinity) connector to attach a dangling spike to the decorative spiral.

Finally, slip the hollow rubber tubing onto the “hook” at the back of the cuff (illustration above). This covers up any rough wire end, which makes wearing your cuff comfy as well as stylish.

Floral Steampunk Ear Cuff

Wire-wrapped ear cuff made with genuine watch gears.

Genuine watch gears lend a steampunk edge to this otherwise feminine floral design.

To make this style of free-form wire-wrapped ear cuff, all you really need is wire and baubles from your stash! Here’s a list of components used to make the cuff pictured above:

As with the spikes cuff (above), extend your 20-gauge cuff base past the top front of the ear around to the top back of the ear and down. This is what holds this non-pierced jewelry onto your ear!

Option: You can add 1.7mm hollow rubber tubing to the back of this design for a comfy, professional finish.

A dab of Tenax Plus, or other super glue, can help situate larger beads and baubles that are difficult to hold in place with wire alone. In the example above, a dab of super glue holds the back of a flower petal to the wire cuff.

Sweet & Simple Wire Ear Cuff

Simple wire and crystal ear cuff.

This simple wire cuff sparkles with Swarovski crystal bicones and margaritas.

No need to get fancy! The elegant simplicity of this traditional-style ear cuff can become a base for various beads and sparklies. To make this lightweight wrap, all you need is:

Start the wire base by cutting a 2.5-inch length of 20-gauge wire. Divide the wire into thirds, and make a 180-degree bend at the one-third mark (so your wire creates two parallel lines at one end). Make another 180-bend at the opposite end. Curl each end of your wire (now in the middle of the design) into a small loop.

Simple wire ear cuff with crystals.

The ends of your wire are hidden under the crystal embellishments, leaving the cuff ends soft for comfortable wearing.

Now you’ve got your basic form. Use the center loops as a base for wire wrapping on beads and other sparklies. It’s easiest to lash these onto your cuff now while it’s still flat! (Or, for a basic wire cuff, just leave unadorned).

Once you’re done embellishing, use a pen, pencil, or mandrel to bend the cuff into a shape that will fit around your ear.

Classic Ear Cuff – “Ode to Bajor”

Classic ear cuff made with pre-formed cuff blanks.

This classic-style ear cuff uses pre-made blanks.

This ear cuff takes me straight back to the 1980′s, when I first wore cuffs make from easy-to-use pre-made ear cuff components.

To make the rhinestone chain earring cuff above, use the parts list and how-to tips for the “Ode to Bajor” Ear Cuff Project in our Design Gallery.

While this particular example requires pierced ears to wear, it’s even easier to create a cuff that doesn’t require piercings. Just add dangles to the hole in the ear cuff finding and you’re done!

Bollywood Style Chain Ear Cuff

Bollywood style ear cuff made with chain, beads, and baubles.

This East Indian style ear cuff uses 3.3mm chain instead of wire to wrap around the top of the ear.

This sumptuous feast of dangles is inspired by Bollywood jewelry. Instead of a wire frame that wraps around the ear, jewelry chain drapes over the top of the ear and holds the dangles in place. It didn’t take long for us to realize that this style isn’t the best for a night of head-banging on the dance floor. For a candle-lit dinner, however, it’s just the thing!

To make the chain ear cuff pictured above, you’ll need:

Cut the chain to your desired length, add your dangles, and voila! You’re ready for a night on the town.

We’re going to keep watching this fun jewelry making trend. In the meantime, have fun making ear cuffs!

You can buy wire, beads, and components right here at Rings & Things (just click the links in the parts lists above)!

Create with confidence. :) ~ Melissa

Free U.S Shipping on Orders $100 dollars or More

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Free Shipping Code Discount

You asked and we answered.

Now offering Free U.S. Shipping for orders over $100 using the code: FSPFREESHIP

Also $10 dollars off International Orders over $100 using this code: INTATEN

For all the fantastic details and exceptions just travel to this magical page HERE.

Make Your Own Halloween Jewelry

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays – I suppose because I love having an excuse to wear a costume. Honestly, candy has nothing to do with it! ;)

Apparently I’m not the only one who loves dressing up in ghoulish attire because our Halloween beads & charms are selling as fast as fun-size candy at the grocery store!

Below you’ll find 5 DIY Halloween jewelry projects, from cute to classy! You can make these on your own with beads and supplies from Rings & Things. Happy jewelry making and happy Halloween …

Mmmwwwuuuaaahaahaahaahaa!

“Charmed” Bracelet

Fun charm bracelet made with TierraCast charms.

“Charmed” Bracelet

This hauntingly cool charm bracelet is made by attaching TierraCast Halloween charms and 4mm round Czech glass firepolish beads to a ready-made chain bracelet blank complete with clasp.
Click here for a full parts list, suggested tools, & tips.

“Ceramic Pumpkin Trio” Earrings

Easy jack o' lantern earrings project.

“Ceramic Pumpkins Trio” Earrings

Who doesn’t love easy earring designs? Choose from 3 different ceramic beads to make your favorite version of these cute seasonal danglers. The kidney wires insure a secure earring design that won’t fall out even during serious bouts of trick or treating!
Parts list, tips, & suggested tools here.

“Craneos y Flores” Bracelet

Gemstone skull bracelet.

“Craneos y Flores” Bracelet

One of our most popular designs this season is the “Craneos y Flores” bracelet which links gemstone skulls and ceramic spacer gears. This project is great for el Dia de los Muertos too!
Get the parts list, suggested tools, and tips here.

“Vintaj Pumpkin” Earrings

Autumn harvest earrings project.

“Vintaj Pumpkin” Earrings

These stylish harvest earrings pair Vintaj Natural Brass petal blanks, TierraCast leaves, and large bone beads colored with Vintaj Patina inks. This makes a great mixed media project for those of you who want to expand your jewelry making skills!
Click here for parts, how-to tips, & suggested tools.

“Fang’s” Pin

Metal work framed spider bar pin.

“Fang’s” Pin

For those of you who want to try metal stamping and riveting, this is the perfect project for you! Frame a spooky creature of your choice with a custom stamped brass frame. You’ll create a top-notch bar pin for your party agenda.
Suggested tools, parts list, and design tips can be found here.

Lady skeleton plastic cameo

Lady Skeleton Cameo ~ not a project, but isn’t it cool?

Okay, I admit this lady skeleton cameo isn’t a completed project, but it’s currently my favorite Halloween component. It’s available in two sizes, too! Choose from 25x18mm and 40x30mm.
What cool stuff can you make with it?

If the above projects aren’t enough to get your spine tingling, find more Halloween & Day of the Dead jewelry projects in our Design Gallery.

Keep in mind that you can always take the basic idea of a project and morph it into your own design. Don’t be afraid to experiment … Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein would approve! ~ Melissa

Scavenger Hunt Contest

Friday, September 6th, 2013

 

scavenger hunt contest

*Winners at the Bottom*

A Big thank you to all who entered.

Enter for your chance to win a $100 dollar or $50 dollar gift certificate. Contest runs from today through Monday 9/16/2013 @ 3:00pm PST. 

To enter, all you have to do is answer 5 questions that relate to specific portions of our website. When you have the answers, you just write them as a comment at the end of this blog in the “Leave a reply” section and please include your contact email address (only used if you win). Don’t worry if you don’t see your entry at the end of the blog; we are keeping those hidden until the contest ends, so the answers are not given away. Easy enough, right? Here are your questions:

 

1. When do we have our Las Vegas Bead Show this year?

Answer: 11/04

2. In the Education Station section of our website, what tools do we list for using with compression rivets?

Answer: Metal Block, Leather Hole Punch, Rivet Setter, Brass Hammer

3. What size loop does the 1-Step Looper make?

Answer: 2mm loop

4. In our Design Gallery who created the “Belle Starr Leather and Turquoise Bracelet?”

Answer: Mollie Valente

5. What color/texture of the new TierraCast leather strips do you most enjoy?

Could of been any answer from this category.

https://shop.rings-things.com/cart/pc/TierraCast-Leather-Strips-c6253.htm

 

 ~ and now just for fun ~

6. What is your favorite Halloween themed item that we carry?

Find all your answers on our site here:

WWW.RINGS-THINGS.COM

 

Good luck!!

 

Contest Results

First Place Prize – $100 Dollar Gift Certificate – given to the first person who answers all 5 questions correctly.

  • First place winner was Lisa (last name not given). She was the very first person to answer everything correctly.

Second Place Prize - $50 Dollar Gift Certificate – given to a random person who answers all 5 questions correctly.

  • Second place winner was Lucia King. She was randomly chosen out of all the other correct answers.

 

 

See respondents’ comments and favorite items!

 

Concrete in Jewelry

Monday, July 29th, 2013

 

Free tips for using Artisan Encapture Concrete and other jewelry grade concretes for mini mosaics, art concrete projects, concrete jewelry and more by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.

An industrial material such as concrete seems unlikely for jewelry, but it works very well! It is relatively lightweight, and very durable. It is great for personalized adornment, because you can embed virtually any charm, bead or found object you want.

Visit our design gallery for free jewelry projects and check our Mosaic Jewelry Board on Pinterest for concrete jewelry inspirations.

 

Difference Between Cement and Concrete

Cement is a powdered ingredient (mostly calcium silicates) used in concrete. It is strong, but brittle and susceptible to scratching. When mixed with water, it undergoes a series of chemical reactions and slowly crystallizes into a strong, interlocking form. Concrete is a mixture of cement, an aggregate (sand or gravel) and water.

Free tips for using Artisan Encapture Concrete and other jewelry grade concretes for mini mosaics, art concrete projects, concrete jewelry and more by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.

cement powder

Jewelry Grade Concrete

EuroTool created EnCapture Artisan Concrete  specifically for jewelry artists. This new kit makes it easy for designers to create small mosaics and concrete jewelry. For information on making your own concrete, visit Ganoksin.

Creating with Artisan Concrete

Tips on Using EnCapture Artisan Concrete

Storage of the product is critical.  Extreme temperatures may affect the mixture or compound, and can jeopardize the integrity of the activator liquid. For best results store in a dry, cool location and don’t freeze.  Keeping the compound dry is essential; once moisture is introduced the chemical reaction starts.  Store products in closed containers.  The shelf life, when stored properly, is one year (if not longer).

Coloring Concrete

Prismacolor colored pencils can be used to color the surface of concrete! To prepare the surface, wet-sand it using fine-grit, wet/dry sandpaper and let dry for 24 hours. To seal the color, spray with several light coats of Krylon UV sealant.

Free tips for using Artisan Encapture Concrete and other jewelry grade concretes for mini mosaics, art concrete projects, concrete jewelry and more by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.

Prismacolor Pencils 

Safety When Using Concrete in Jewelry

Always use disposable cups and utensils. Throw away unused concrete; do not wash it down the drain (it will clog pipes). Wear a respirator, safety glasses and gloves.

Have Fun & Happy Creating!

Create a Hinged Metal Memory Journal

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Use a hinge to turn shrine-shaped metal blanks into a journal!

Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things. This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Hinged Book Necklace made with shrine-shaped metal blanks

Decide on the layout, location of the hinge and other decorative elements. Using a checkered hammer, apply texture to the top and bottom panels of the journal. Patina, file rough edges and clean.
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Layout

Cut the hinges, which can be as wide or as narrow as you choose. For 3/32 tubing, make hinges that are one-half inch deep. You need an odd number of hinge tabs. Measure, mark and saw tabs into the top panel. Use plenty of cut lube to prevent the saw blade from sticking when cornering.  
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Create Hinge Tabs

Using wide, flat nose pliers, crease and fold each tabs up to a 90 degree angle. The position of the fold determines whether the hinge will be visible from the front of the pendant, or only from the back side. Keep the textured sides face up, so the design is consistent.
Carefully roll tabs into cylinders using chain nose pliers or medium bail making pliers. Leave hinges a bit loose until after you have inserted the tubing, then you can tighten for best fit. 
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Roll Into Cylinders

Use a tube cutting jig to cut a length of tube 1mm longer than the width of your piece (for 1/2mm on each side).  
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Cut Tubing

Slide tubing down the channel and finesse hinges as needed. Rivet tubing into place to finish the hinge. Open and close hinge to ensure a proper fit.

This free DIY jewelry design by Sondra Barrington features antique brass, nickel silver, metal etching, dapping and creating hinges.

Assemble Hinge and Insert Tubing

Working with the bottom panel, lay out etched metal pieces for the cover and inside page. Cut, file and patina as necessary. Leave sufficient room for the hinge to lay flat against the bottom panel.  
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Lay out Etched Metal Page

Measure, mark and punch holes for decorative rivets, accents and center piece (using the small side of the hole punch).
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Prepare Embellishments

Using two-part epoxy, carefully glue the etched metal panels into place.
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things. This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting. Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design. The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Lay out Etched Metal Page

Using a dapping set, dome two small round shapes that can nest one inside the other. Patina, file away any rough edges and clean the domed metal. Layer, and rivet domed metal nests onto the top panel. Connect top and bottom panel with rivets. Use a tube rivet at the top so that you can thread a jump ring through it (if you choose).
Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Rivet Domes Into Place

Carefully clean and polish the pendant before attaching the necklace chain.

Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Clean Finished Pendant

Handmade jewelry looks great on a custom beaded necklace, on leather cordingsilk ribbon or chain. I created a necklace by making individual links using the one-step looping plier, eye pins, metal beads and natural agates. The links were connected using jump rings.

Hinged Pendant Memory Journal created by Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things.  This free DIY jewelry project features metal etching, metal stamping, dapping and riveting.  Antique brass, nickel silver, copper and natural agate were used in creating this design.  The one-step looping plier was used for the handmade chain.

Memory Journal Necklace

This free DIY Memory Journal pendant was created by designer Sondra Barrington of Rings & Things. This necklace features riveting, metal etching, antique brass shrine stamping blanks, dapping, and metal stamping. The chain was created in an ombre pattern using natural agate gemstone beads, TierraCast antique brass bead caps, metal heishi trade beads and the one-step looping plier with antique copper head pins.

Easy to Make Lashed Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Learn to make a rhinestone and leather bracelet in just minutes.

Create wrapped bracelets with this simple lashing technique.

Making wrapped bracelets just got easier because this simple lashing technique takes just minutes to learn.  You can combine leather cord with rhinestone chain for a sophisticated style or use ball chain and leather for an industrial look.

Follow these steps:

 

Parts to make a lashed rhinestone and leather bracelet.

Step 1: Gather the tools and supplies to make a lashed rhinestone and leather bracelet.

 

Here are the supplies and tools you will need to make this DIY jewelry project:

24 inches Greek leather cord

6-1/2 inches glass rhinestone chain

48 inches 5-ply waxed linen cord

1 each  button

side flush cutter

scissors

ruler

needle

 

Step two of how to make a Rhinestone and Leather wrap Bracelet

Step 2: Create a loop to match the button.

Fold the length of  Greek leather cord in half to form the button loop.  Size the loop so it will slip over the button.  Use waxed linen cord and a simple overhand knot to secure the button loop.

Lashing the button loop securely to make a Rhinestone and Leather wrap Bracelet

Step 3: Secure the button loop.

Align the waxed linen cord tail with the leather cord and tightly wrap approximately 10 lashes (this should measure about 3/8 inch).

 

Tutorial Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet step 4: lashing on the rhinestone chain.

Step 4: Begin lashing the rhinestone chain to the leather cord.

Align the rhinestone chain with the leather cord and begin lashing.  Use the waxed linen cord to tightly lash around the leather cord and between each rhinestone setting.

 

DIY Jewelry Tutorial Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet step 5 finish lashing the rhinestone to the leather cord.

Step 5: Finish lashing the rhinestone chain to the leather cord.

Continue lashing the rhinestone chain to the leather cord.  Check the length for fit; the rhinestone portion of the bracelet should be one inch shorter than bracelet size.  Clip off any unneeded rhinestone and secure by adding 10 additional tightly-wrapped lashes (about 3/8 inch).

Easy Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet add a button to finish your bracelet.

Easy Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet tightly lash the button in place/

Tutorial Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet adding and securing the button

Step 6: Add and secure the button.

Slide the button loop onto the waxed linen cord and one leather strand.  Secure the button in place by adding 10 tightly-wrapped lashes (about 3/8 inch).  Use a sewing needle to stitch the linen cord tail back through the final lashing and cut off the excess.

 

Tutorial Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet adding the final knot to finish the bracelet.

Step 7: Finish the bracelet with an overhand knot.

Finish the bracelet with a single overhand knot and clip off any excess leather.  Slip the loop over the button and the bracelet is complete.

 

Tutorial Rhinestone and Leather Bracelet Conclusion Image

You can combine leather cord with rhinestone chain for a sophisticated style or use ball chain and leather for an industrial look.

This pattern is easily adaptable; create single, double, or triple-wrapped bracelets using either rhinestone chain or ball chain.  You can vary the color of the leather, rhinestones, and waxed linen cord or follow our Design Gallery instructions to make the featured bracelet “Wrapped in Rhinestone”.  You may even want to make several; after all this handmade jewelry project is fast, easy, and fun!

Make things!

Mollie