Archive for the ‘multipurposing’ Category

How To Set Eyelets in Leather

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Eyelets in leather jewelry can be both decorative and functional. Whether you want to add an industrial punk look to a leather bracelet, explore a new way to finish a choker, or find new alternatives to add embellishments, eyelets offer a clean and finished look to jewelry! With Rings & Things new EXCLUSIVE Leather Embellishing Kit, some leather and a little creativity is all you’ll need!


Here are simple step-by-step instructions for setting eyelets in a leather bracelet…

Some things you will need for setting eyelets in leather

Some things you will need for setting eyelets in leather…

Gather your supplies:


Rings & Things recently added an EXCLUSIVE Leather Embellishing Tool Kit that includes all of the tools you need, as well as the eyelets!

Rings & Things' EXCLUSIVE Leather Embellishing Kit (with leather punch, eyelets, leather rivets, snaps, setting tools and a hammer).

Rings & Things’ EXCLUSIVE Leather Embellishing Kit (with leather punch, eyelets, leather rivets, snaps, setting tools and a hammer).

If purchasing the tools and components separately, you will need:

You will also need these readily available items:

  • Ruler
  • Sharpie® or other fine point marker
Measure and mark the holes on the inside of the leather bracelet.

1. Measure and mark the holes on the
inside of the bracelet or un-finished side of the leather.

Punch holes in the leather.

2. Punch holes with a leather punch. Use
the 3/16” punch marked “4” on the
leather rotary punch.

Push an eyelet through the hole. The finished flared end should be on the outside of the bracelet, or the “good” side of the leather.

3. Push an eyelet through the hole. The finished flared end should be on the outside of the bracelet (the finished side of the leather).

Place the leather with the eyelet over the divot in the anvil.

4. Place the leather with the eyelet over the
divot in the anvil.

Position the setting tool over the hole of the eyelet.

5. Position the setting tool over the hole of
the eyelet.

Strike the setting tool with a hammer 4-6 times.

6. Strike the setting tool with a hammer
4-6 times.

The tube of the eyelet will now be set firm against the leather. Repeat the process for the other holes.

7. The tube of the eyelet will now be set firm against the leather. Repeat the process for the other holes.

Behold, the Eye of the Orchid leather bracelet!

Behold, the Eye of the Orchid leather bracelet!

Oh, so that was too easy you say? It really is easy, so I tried to think of something a little more unusual… I asked myself, how can I turn these eyelets from a mere decoration into a functional finding? I found a way! Here’s how…

For this one we will need:

If you don’t have our kit, you will also need the following tools and supplies:

Gather the necessary supplies (leather strip, eyelets, locking jump ring, S clasp, eyelet setter, hammer, leather hole punch).

Gather the goods (leather strip, eyelets, locking jump ring, S clasp, eyelet setter, hammer, leather hole punch).


Determine the length you want the choker to be. Lay out your components next to a ruler or measuring tape to make sure they will end up the correct length. This project makes a 13″ choker. For a longer choker, you may need an extra strip of leather, or more jump rings to lengthen.

Cut a 10" leather strip into 3 equal sections.

1. Cut a 10″ leather strip into 3 equal sections.

Punch a 3/16" hole at each end of each strip.

2. Punch a 3/16″ hole at each end of each strip.

Leave about 3/16" of leather between the edge and the hole.

3. Leave about 3/16″ of leather between the edge of the leather and the hole.

Insert the eyelets into the holes.

4. Insert the eyelets into the holes and set as shown above.

Add locking jump rings.

5. Add a locking jump ring to each end. Use non-serrated pliers to help manipulate the jump ring and pinch closed.

Slide hook clasp through jump rings.

6. Slide an “S” hook onto each jump ring, connecting the leather pieces together.

Finished Leather Linked Choker

Leather Linked Choker


More inspiration: add an eyelet to a leather cuff bracelet, and use the eyelet to embellish the bracelet with fun dangles!

Green Leather Wrap Bracelet with a SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystal rivoli stone in a 1-loop rivoli setting, a TierraCast® ivy leaf charm and a freshwater pearl dangle.

Green Leather Wrap Bracelet with a SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystal rivoli stone in a 1-loop rivoli setting, a TierraCast® ivy leaf charm and a freshwater pearl dangle.


Blue Leather Cuff Bracelet with a SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystal rivoli stone in a 1-loop rivoli setting, a TierraCast® feather charm and a blue pearl dangle.

Blue Leather Cuff Bracelet with a SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystal rivoli stone in a 1-loop rivoli setting, a TierraCast® feather charm and a blue pearl dangle.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and inspiring. Happy jewelry making!


How to Make a Metal Box

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Make A Metal Box

A small metal box was turned into a framed reliquary, containing an antiqued frozen Charlotte doll. Create your own metal box that can be transformed into memory jewelry, a tiny shrine or used for some other whimsical (or practical) purpose.

Free jewelry project from by designer Sondra Barrington features a verdigris frozen Charlotte nested inside an antique brass framed reliquary box.

To make a metal box, first decide on the type of metal, and the size of the box you want to create. I recommend using 20 gauge sheet metal for strength and durability. Copper or brass sheet metal are nice choices as they are inexpensive and they antique nicely.

Anneal the metal before cutting so that it can be manipulated more easily. Heat it with a torch until it is glowing red, let it cool naturally and clean thoroughly.

Anneal the metal for malleability.  Be sure to clean it thoroughly afterward!

Cut the metal to size. This box was 1-1/2″ long and 3/4″ wide. It is 3/8″ deep. Draw lines of box using a Sharpie pen.

Draw lines for the metal box using a Sharpie pen.

Cut one line of each corner to the point where it intersects with another line. Using wide flat nose pliers, bend the ends in, and the sides up, to create the box shape. Carefully fold each end of the box into place, making the corners square and secure. File if needed to remove any uneven edges.

Fold ends together, snugly into place to create each end of the box.

Antique and colorize all parts you intend to assemble.

Antique and patina the frozen charlotte doll, the ornate brass frame and the brass metal box to create the reliquary.

Fill back of frame with two-part epoxy. Center box over ornate brass frame and press into epoxy to place.

Fill back of ornate brass frame with two-part epoxy.  Attach frame to top of box when epoxy is nearly set.

Using a two-part epoxy, UV resin, jeweler’s grade resin or other strong, clear glue, embed your treasures into your framed metal reliquary. Small toys, souvenirs, images layered in resin and tiny mementos are all used in creating custom memory jewelry.

Once epoxy has cured, you are ready to embed your treasure into the framed metal box.

Use epoxy to attach a magnet, let it cure and you are done! (Note: You could also attach a pin back or changeable bail in the same manner for a DIY jewelry brooch or pendant).

Use epoxy to attach a magnet to the back side of your brass reliquary.


Button, Button, What to do with buttons?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

I love a good button. I think most bead hoarders have a button tin somewhere as well. The materials used for buttons range from the simple and inexpensive to exotic and pricey. Obviously buttons have a practical use in sewing and clothing design, but they can be great additions to DIY jewelry as well.


button box spill

button box spill

Buttons as beads:

Boston Bracelet and New Leaf Earrings

Boston Bracelet and New Leaf Earrings

By their nature, buttons tend to have either a shank, with an opening for thread, or 2-4 holes for sewing. These holes and openings mean your buttons can substitute for beads and work as connectors in jewelry design. See round TierraCast buttons with a leaf pattern in New Leaf Earrings and bone buttons sewn on the Boston Bracelet.

Buttons as clasps:

Dark and Dangerous Bracelet

Dark and Dangerous Bracelet

Whether for popular wrapped lashed leather bracelets, or for necklace designs, adding a button to one end of your design and creating a simple loop or series of loops at the other end will complete your creation. The Dark and Dangerous Bracelet uses a cast pewter Spiral Button for the closure.

Buttons as Cabochons or Cameos:

Cute as a Button Bracelet

Cute as a Button Bracelet

Disk & Loop Bracelets make up into quick finished jewelry by gluing buttons to the disks. If the button has a shank, you may need to trim it and file the surface, then add your favorite adhesive, and you have quickly created a new accessory. Cute as a Button Bracelet uses an assortment of plastic “accoutrements” by Tim Holtz for decoration.

Copies of Buttons:

Buttons, Molds, and Cast Reproductions

Buttons, Molds, and Cast Reproductions

Have a one-of-a-kind or vintage button that you love, but don’t want to part with? 2-part silicone molding material works great to make a mold of your treasure that you can re-create in polymer or resin and use time after time. Silicone molds were quickly made of the buttons in this picture. Reproductions of the buttons (without the pesky shanks) were easily made with Amazing Resin and SuperClear Resin. For more information on making molds, see our previous blog: Making Your Own Molds is a Hoot.

Buttons you can buy from Rings & Things:

Rings & Things carries buttons in materials such as bone,

Assortment of Bone Buttons in various colors.

Assortment of Bone Buttons in various colors.


Plastic Button Assortments

Plastic Button Assortments

cast pewter

A sampling of pewter buttons.

A sampling of pewter buttons.

one lone sterling offering

Sterling Flower Button

Sterling Flower Button


Crystal Buttons

Crystal Buttons


Making a Button:

Resin Flower Buttons

Resin Flower Buttons

Do you have an item without holes that you want to use as a button? Easily glue a plastic button shank to your piece to create a button. These work great for turning resin, polymer clay, hand-made glass, and ceramics into useable buttons. Since these shanks are plastic, they don’t have the sharp edges that you sometimes find on metal shank findings. The set shown above are made from resin flowers, colorized with gilders paste, and attached with E-6000.

Changeable buttons:

Cast Resin Button Covers

Cast Resin Button Covers

With a button cover and some glue, you can create a decorative cover that can be transferred from garment to garment, covering the plain or boring buttons used in manufacturing. This set is made with super clear resin, colored with dye and glitter, and attached with E-6000.

Our pinterest board “Buttons” has further inspirations for using buttons and great handmade buttons.


~ Rita

How to use charm bracelets to make necklaces!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Hola, bloglandia! Today I wanted to share a quick and easy way to make necklaces using charm bracelets. Rings & Things has a great selection of ready-made chain bracelets with toggle clasps. The typical use is to leave the bracelet in one piece and add charms with jump rings for a charm bracelet. However, these bracelets are a bit longer than advertised.


With clasps, the 7.5" bracelet measures 8.5", and the 8.5" measures 9.5" long!

It is always better to have too much chain vs. not enough, so think of those extra links as a bonus you can use to make coordinating earrings. Or, do as I did and use two bracelets to make a necklace! Instead of removing extra links, you can also take advantage of the longer length by removing the bar from one and the loop from another to create a necklace!


My pendant had two holes, so I just attached on bracelet to each hole and viola! A 19" long necklace.

Here’s another example:


For this one, I attached the two bracelets with a single jump ring to my resin pendant.

These extra long bracelets also make great anklets. And yes, they still make great bracelets! Here are two examples:


I hung a handmade resin charm with a chain tassel, a steamboat charm and sparkly Swarovski crystals for my "Proud Mary" bracelet. I like to think Tina'd be proud to wear it!


I simply removed a section of chain and replaced it with my handmade copper clay connector.

You might have noticed that all the focals for these pieces are handmade. Browse our resin and bezels, metal-working tools and metal clay selection to get busy making your own!

Twelve Days of Christmas Jewelry Designs: 10 – Velvet Bookmarks

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Yes, it is just my opinion, but I’ll say it as though it is a fact: books always make great gifts. I love giving books. I love receiving books. And it is easy to make pretty ribbon bookmarks to personalize your gifts even more!

velvet-ribbonsStart with a length of beautiful
velvet ribbon.

bead-marked-booksUse choker clamps to attach beads and baubles to the ends.

velvet-ribbon-bookmarksAmy’s bookmarks are in our design gallery, where you’ll also find a list of the exact supplies she used to make them.

Sure, Kindles and other e-readers are gaining popularity, but nothing really compares to curling up with an actual paper book and a big mug of your favorite beverage. Make the moment even more indulgent with a luxurious bookmark! Need a jewelry-making book to gift (to a friend or maybe yourself)? Here are three recommendations:

Jewelry Lab by Melissa Manley

Wire Style 2 by Denise Peck (includes DVD)

The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry Making Techniques by Vanetta Seecharran.

Happy reading! ~ Cindy


Upcycle cans and tins into jewelry!

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Metal shears, a metal tin and the completed metal pin!

We all know recycling is a good thing, but upcycling is even better! Aluminum and tin cans can easily be turned into jewelry, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Metal edges can be wicked sharp. Make clean cuts and file off any jagged points. Quality jewelry metal shears make this much easier! Most tin snips and other shears from hardware stores are difficult to grip.
  2. Aluminum cans and most tins are too thin to be durable enough for jewelry by themselves. We suggest layering the metal you cut from recycled items. Three ways of doing this are riveting, gluing and/or coating the metal pieces.

Here are a few examples of how to turn packaging into lovely adornments:


Polly's tin pins and pendants

Polly sandwiched her recycled metal elements between brass fairy doors, disks and gears. She riveted the pieces together using Crafted Findings’ riveting tool. Learn more about the riveting tool system here.

soda pop can necklace

The holes are lined with large eyelets from a scrapbooking supplier.

For this Soda Pop necklace, we cut disks out of cans and then glued them to brass disks to make them thicker. A circle template makes this task easier. Get more info in our design gallery.

soda can bobby pins

Layers of flowers punched from soda cans form these fun bobby pins.

Instructions for how Toni coated these pins with liquid polymer clay to make them safe to wear are in our design gallery.

Start looking at soda cans and other product packaging in a different way! I for one always check the bottle cap design when deciding on a beverage.

How I wish every city had an Upcycle Exchange Market. It is a brilliant idea for reusing and redistributing crafty supplies and recyclables! Until then, ask your friends and family to help collect interesting materials for you. You might just upcycle something wonderful!

Two ways to color metal using Image Transfer Solution

Friday, April 22nd, 2011


Alice in Wonderland image transfer bracelet

Hi Bloglandia! Last weekend I did a demo in our Spokane showroom on how to use Sherri Haab’s Image Transfer Solution (ITS) and thought now would be a good time to share these techniques for colorizing metal with everyone.

Image transfer is just that – transferring an image from the paper it is printed on to a different surface (in this case, metal jewelry components). Image transfers have a vintage, ethereal feel, and I love how the different colors of metals shine through. Unlike many of the other solvents and processes used for image transfer, Image Transfer Solution (ITS) is non-toxic. Yay! Plus, it has another purpose not even mentioned on the bottle: it is an excellent way to seal colors onto metal (more on that in a bit).

Transferring Images – ITS Method #1

One caveat: The images you use must be printed on a laser (toner based) printer. Ink jet pictures will not work. The pictures can be black or white or color. Photos and text should be reversed before you print, since transfers will be mirror images.

To be honest, I did not like ITS the first couple of times I tried it. I kinda hated it. Following the directions on the bottle, I prepped my metal with steel wool and heat-set the images in a 325 degree oven – just like it said! – but things just kept going wrong. Either my images would wash right off the metal or the paper would be so very stuck to the metal that no amount of scrubbing would remove it. But I loved the concept, so I kept playing with it. Below is my own method for using ITS. Maybe the package directions will work like a charm for you. If not, I hope my tips and tricks help:

  1. Scuff up your metal (aluminum, brass, copper and silver all work great) with a medium grit sanding pad or sand paper. Steel wool leaves the surface too smooth, in my opinion.
  2. Wash metal with rubbing alcohol to remove dirt, dust and oil – even if it looks clean!
  3. Using a clean, dry paintbrush, evenly coat the prepped metal with just a couple of drops of ITS.

  1. Press image face-down onto metal and press firmly into place to remove any air bubbles. ITS is like glue – you will not be able to reposition your paper at all, so be careful to place it where you want it! Let dry. Use an iron (high heat, no steam) to heat the metal for 1 or 2 minutes. Don’t worry, the paper won’t burn. Let metal cool.
  2. Place the metal into water and using a gentle circular motion, begin rubbing the paper off, leaving the image behind. Don’t get to aggressive or you could lift off parts of the image. Patience pays off here.
  3. After most of the paper is removed, use a sheet of polishing paper and more water to remove the finer paper fibers.
  4. After all of the paper is removed, seal the image with a dab of Renaissance Wax and a soft cloth. It really improves the luster.
image transfer necklace

My photograph looks like a vintage postcard after being transferred onto aluminum. The Swarovski beads are the same colors as the prayer flags hanging on the mountain tea house.

Complete your jewelry piece! The image is permanently attached. You can even punch holes or dap the metal and it won’t come off!

Sealing Colors – ITS Method #2

Image Transfer Solution can also be used to permanently seal inks onto metal! Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks are tons of fun to mix and blend onto non-porous surfaces, like metal, but since they are ink, they can be rubbed or washed off. That is, unless you seal them with ITS. When you heat-set ITS, it binds the color to the metal. It will not wash off or bleed onto your customer’s skin.

Vintaj fussy peacock pendant colorized with alcohol inks for a faux enamel look.

You can color your metal with alcohol inks and then, after they’ve dried, paint a thin layer of ITS over the top. Another option is to mix the ITS directly with your inks (just a few drops of each) and paint that mix onto your metal. Either way, once the ITS has dried, you need to heat-set it to make the bond permanent. Just follow the directions on the Image Transfer Solution package for using an oven to heat-set (the iron won’t work for this application).

Looks like patina - but this blue bee was colored with alcohol inks.

There you have it! Two tried and true methods for permanently coloring your metal pieces for jewelry and other applications. Although this post focused on metal, Image Transfer Solution can be used on polymer clay, etched glass and other surfaces too! Since it really only takes a couple of drops per image, you’ll have plenty to experiment with! ~ Cindy

PS: here are some handy links to some other how-to‘s in the Rings & Things blog!

How to make interchangeable magnetic jewelry with 1″ buttons

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

bottle cap magnet button pendant

Handmade magnetic bottle cap necklace with assorted buttons

Mollie has been borderline obsessed with one particular item lately. It’s not a pretty gemstone bead or sparkly crystal pendant. It isn’t even new. No, Mollie is obsessed with plain old sticky dots. Almost daily, she’d ask me, “Oooh, have you tried the sticky dot?” and I’d just roll my eyes. But now I’m a convert too.

Sticky dots are just that – self-stick little glue pads. Easy to use, strong, zero mess, no fuss, no cure time, no smell. This is true instant gratification!

Round sticky dots fit perfectly under our magnets!

Two of Mollie’s recent designs use the sticky dot: the interchangeable magnet ring and the interchangeable magnet bottle cap pendant. Like many of you crafty people, Mollie has a button making machine. The little 1″ buttons are particularly adorable, and since they are made of steel, naturally they are magnetic. I don’t have a button machine myself, but I buy lots of buttons – and now I can wear them instead of leaving them on my bulletin board!


Here's the magnet

Here's the pendant - so cute!

Rings & Things’ wholesale price breaks makes it really affordable to make a whole bunch of these necklaces. For about $50 (before shipping and tax, if applicable) you can get everything (except the buttons) to make 70 necklaces – with supplies leftover! If you don’t already have one, add a pair of EuroPunch pliers to make holes in the caps.

1 spool of ball chain (makes 70 17″ necklaces) $18-25 ~ 100 ball chain clasps $2 ~ 1 oz. jump rings $5-6 ~ 100 bottle caps $7-10 ~ 144 adhesive dots $6 ~ two packs of 35 magnets $12-14

The adhesive dot is completely hidden by the ring and magnet.

1" buttons make perfect rings!

The same value applies to the magnetic ring design – and absolutely no tools are required to make these!

72 adjustable flat-pad ring blanks $42-62, depending on color (we do sell a less expensive ring blank if you prefer, but the style and comfort of this style is worth the added cost) ~ 144 adhesive dots $6 ~ two packs of 35 magnets $12-14

At these quantities, the necklaces cost less than a dollar and the rings about $1.20 to 1.50 each to make. Buy more and the cost per is even lower. Ah, the genius of good design! ~ Cindy

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
~ Albert Einstein

PS: here are some handy links to some other how-to’s in the Rings & Things blog!