Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Say it Your Way with Easy Metal Stamped Jewelry

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

You don’t have to be Frank Sinatra to do things your own way! That’s the beauty of metal stamping as a jewelry technique. Not only do you get to assemble components, you get to make your own components – and they can say whatever you want them to say!

 

Young Love Bracelet Tutorial

This Young Love bracelet is a perfect example of how you can easily customize jewelry with metal stamps! Click the image for a full tutorial.

 

Letter stamps are the perfect way to create monogram jewelry, plus jewelry with names or inspirational sayings. Design metal stamps are the perfect way to add cuteness and panache.

 

Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings

Learn to make these simple metal stamped earrings – just click the image above for the complete parts, ready to buy.

 

Designer Amy Mickelson’s “Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings” feature custom owl charms she made using an ImpressArt Metal Stamp and a JBB Antiqued Copper Plated Square Tag Charm. These JBB tags are plated especially for stampers – pretty amazing! For more on these components, see the full parts list and tutorial here.

 

Supplies for metal stamping a charm.

First, gather your supplies.

 

The basics of jewelry stamping are easy and only require a few tools. The tools are a small investment, but will last for years and thousands of impressions!

Supplies you’ll want:

 

The basic steps to jewelry stamping:

Getting ready to make a metal stamp impression.

Once you’ve planned your design, secure your metal tag or blank onto your steel block with tape. Stamp Straight Tape by ImpressArt is more expensive than masking tape, but it offers a sturdier edge and does not leave sticky residue.

 

How to get a good metal stamped impression.

Strike the perfectly vertical stamp with one firm blow. This is important for achieving a clear impression.

 

A successfully stamped metal blank charm.

Now you’ve got a custom made charm that’s uniquely made by you!

 

That’s all there is to it! It really is that simple. Then, you can use your completed stamped charms to make earrings, necklaces, bracelets, gift tags, and more!

 

Ava's Ladies in Waiting Necklace Tutorial

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make these pretty necklaces.

 

For a great monogram jewelry tutorial, see “Ava’s Ladies in Waiting” Necklace Tutorial in our Design Gallery.

 

Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make adorable metal stamped owl earrings.

 

To make fun owl earrings, see the “Hootie and the Sodalite” Earrings Tutorial.

 

Young Love Bracelet Tutorial

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make a simple metal stamped bracelet.

 

For the full how-to on making a metal stamped chain bracelet, see our “Young Love” Bracelet Tutorial.

Rings & Things offers a huge variety of metal stamping blanks, plus jewelry stamping tools and supplies with fast shipping and free returns.

So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to say things your way! ~ Melissa

Make a Simple, Dainty Sterling Silver Necklace

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Sometimes when it comes to jewelry, less is more. That’s the case when it comes to these adorable river rock and sterling silver charm necklaces designed by Rings & Things’ Amy Mickelson. This project is easy, yet really pretty! Plus there are a ton of different sterling silver charms to pick from!

 

These lovely necklaces by Amy Mickelson combine rustic river rock and dainty sterling silver charms!

These lovely necklaces by Amy Mickelson combine rustic river rock and dainty sterling silver charms!

 

These necklaces only require one tool and a few simple components to make! The sterling silver chain necklaces are already finished with a clasp, making them a breeze to use. Plus, I just adore the contrast between the natural river rock and the dainty sterling silver charms.

 

This project is so easy! Only one tool and a few components necessary!

This project is so easy! Only one tool and a few components needed!

 

Supplies and Tools Needed:

 

Simply layer the items on the sterling silver jump ring. Chain first, then river rock pendant, then sterling charm.

Simply layer the items on the sterling silver jump ring. Chain first, then river rock pendant, then sterling charm.

 

Creating this necklace couldn’t be easier! Using your chain-nose pliers, pry open the jump ring a little. You only need to open it enough so that you can layer the three elements together. When opening jump rings, remember to always twist the ends in opposite directions to separate them. Do not “oval” the ring by pulling the ends apart.

 

Place the chain first, then the rock pendant, then your sterling silver charm onto the jump ring. Close the jump ring carefully, so that the ends line up flush.

 

These dainty pendants are so cute! And smaller than a penny!

These dainty pendants are so cute! And smaller than a penny!

Each finished dangle is smaller than a penny!

So cute in the palm of my hand!

So cute in the palm of my hand!

 

If you like this look, buy the parts to make these necklaces now!

These lovely necklaces by Amy Mickelson combine rustic river rock and dainty sterling silver charms!

All the parts are ready to buy in our Gallery – just click this image to go there.

You can check out additional possibilities by browsing our huge selection of sterling silver charms and sterling silver chain necklaces! My personal favorite chain is the sterling faceted ball chain, because it sparkles!

~ Tiffany

How to Make a Wickedly Simple Wire Wrapped Ring

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

 

Wire Wrapped Ring

“Yorick’s Last Laugh” Wire Wrapped Ring

Making a wire-wrapped ring is a simple jewelry making project that stays in style year round. When autumn approaches, a Halloween themed wire wrapped ring makes an extra fun jewelry statement!

Most any shape of bead will work. Amy picked from a large selection of skull beads to learn Tiffany’s wire wrapping technique. She chose a large ceramic skull bead because the side-to-side hole placement ensured that the skull could show off its smile. Gemstone beads, faceted glass, wood beads, and crystals will also make a unique ring. Pick any bead between 6-10mm in size – or 12-14mm for serious bling!

22-gauge wire works well. It is easy to manipulate and will go through holes in most gemstone beads. Choose from silver filled wire, dead soft sterling silver wire or any color of Artistic Wire.

 Gather your Supplies:

Supplies needed to make a diy wire wrapped ring

Supplies for Making a Wire Wrapped Ring

Jewelry Supplies and Tools Needed:

 

Cut wire, string on bead, begin wrapping

Step 1: Cut a piece of wire 18-36 inches long. The length will depend on your ring size and size of bead. String your bead onto the center of the wire. Place the bead on the mandrel 1 full size larger than the desired ring size.

 

Step 2: Wrap each piece of wire around the mandrel twice.

Step 2: Wrap each piece of wire around the mandrel twice. You will have four layers of wire total.

 

Step 3: Bring both pieces of wire to one side of the bead

Step 3: Bring both pieces of wire to one side of the bead, and hold them together.

 

Step 4: Wrap the two pieces of wire around the bead several times, holding the wires together as though they were one.

Step 4: Wrap the two pieces of wire around the bead multiple times, holding the wires together as though they were one.

 

Step 5: Once you have wrapped the wires around four or five times, separate the wires so that there is one on each side.

Step 5: Once you have wrapped the wires around four or five times, separate the wires so that there is one on each side.

 

Step 6: Take the ring off the mandrel and make 5 coils with each piece of wire on each side.

Step 6: Take the ring off the mandrel and make 5 coils with each piece of wire on each side.

 

 Cut the tails on each side with your cutters and tuck the wire close with your chain nose pliers.

Step 7: Cut the tails on each side with your cutters and tuck the wire close with your chain-nose pliers.

 

Step 8: Antique the ring, if desired with a liver of sulfur solution.

Step 8: Antique the ring, if desired with a liver of sulfur solution.

 

Step 9: Polish the ring with polishing pads.

Step 9: Polish the ring with polishing pads.

 

Step 10: Seal ring with clear sealant and enjoy!

Step 10: Seal ring with clear sealant and enjoy!

 

Once you start making these rings, you won’t be able to stop!

~ Tiffany & Amy

 

 

How to make Wire Links with Wubbers Mandrel Pliers

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
How to make wire links with the four shapes of Wubbers mandrel pliers

That’s right, happiness is a pair (or more) of Wubbers Mandrel Pliers!

 

If you are looking to expand your tool selection, Wubbers® Pliers are a great addition to any jeweler’s bench.  The pliers have comfy padded handles, are made of high quality stainless steel, and have box-joint construction.  Wubbers offers traditional jewelry pliers in two sizes (which are awesome), but the pliers that caught my eye are the mandrel pliers.  Mandrel pliers are available in several shapes and sizes.  And best of all, they are perfect for forming wire links, like those featured in designer Polly Nobbs-LaRue’s two blog posts on making soldered-link bracelets: “I Love Copper Solder!” and  “Copper Soldering Tutorial – Part 2“.

 

Blog Wubber Mandrel Pliers12-001

Captured Aventurine Bracelet” by Rings & Things’ designer Polly Nobbs-LaRue

 

Wubbers mandrel pliers come in four shapes:  round, square, triangle, and oval; availble at www.rings-things.com

Wubbers mandrel pliers are available in several shapes: round, square, triangle, oval, and half-round (not pictured). Each shape is available in a variety of sizes. Plus each pliers’ jaw has two mandrel sizes.

 

Wubbers packaging includes guage recommendation for wire and sheet metal--plus an access code for Wubbers University.

Check out the Wubbers packaging for gauge recommendations and an access code for Wubbers University.

 

An added bonus, inside each package is your invitation and access code for free online classes and tutorials at Wubbers University.  You will find a wide variety of classes for the beginning to advanced jewelry maker; just what you need to build new skills.

 

Wubbers Mandrel Pliers wire and sheet metal use chart.

Follow the wire and sheet metal gauge recommendations for your size of mandrel pliers–an easy to follow chart is featured on each package.

 

Recommended tools for the jeweler’s bench:

 

Follow these steps to form and cut wire links using Wubbers mandrel pliers and a jeweler’s saw:

 

Use nylon-jaw flat-nose pliers to easily straighten wire for jewelry making.

Step 1: Begin by straightening the wire. Pull the wire through nylon-jaw flat-nose pliers to easily straighten it. If you are planning to solder your links, avoid plated wire; instead use solid brass, copper, nickel, sterling or silver-filled wire.

 

To make wire links for jewelry, twist the wire around the Wubbers mandrel pliers.

Step 2: Begin wrapping the wire around your mandrel of choice. As you coil, maintain even pressure so the links come out uniform. With the round mandrels, you can rotate the wire on the mandrel to make a continuous coil; for other shaped pliers, you will need to open and close the pliers’ jaw with each complete pass.

 

Continue coiling the wire to make wire links for chain making.

Step 3: Continue coiling the wire. Make a coil that is two wraps more than the number of links you need; the first and last coil will not make a complete link.

 

Tape wire coils before cutting with a jeweler's saw.

Step 4: Pinch the wire coils tightly together, and apply a layer of low-tack masking tape around the coil. This will keep the wire in place while sawing. Slide the taped coil off the mandrel pliers.

 

Sawing metal wire links with a jeweler's saw and bench vise.

Step 5 – Version A: Attach a swivel vise to your workbench and place the wire coil in the padded jaw. Gently tighten the jaw so the wire coil is held firmly in place–but not so tightly the coil becomes misshapen. Thread your jeweler’s saw with the blade’s teeth facing down and out. You are ready to begin sawing. To avoid nicking the wire, angle the saw blade slightly so the blade only touches the wire being cut.

 

How to cut wire links with a jeweler's saw frame and saw blades.

Step 5 – Version B: Attach a bench pin to your workbench and firmly hold the wire coil on the edge of he pin. Use a jeweler’s saw to cut the wire coil from top to bottom. To avoid nicking the wire, angle the saw blade slightly so the blade only touches the wire being cut.

 

Align the ends of your wire links with flat-nose pliers so the fit is snug.

Step 6: Use flat-nose and chain-nose pliers to align the cut ends of the wire links. The cut ends need to fit snugly together for soldering.  Your wire links are ready to solder.

 

Wubbers Mandrel Pliers are perfect for forming handmade wire jewelry components.

Wire links in four fun shapes — handmade and ready for your jewelry-making project.

 

Make things!

Mollie

How to Make an Expandable Wire Bangle Bracelet

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

I love the charm-adorned “Alex & Ani” style adjustable wire bracelets that have been gaining popularity, and of course wanted to make my own version.  For ease, I chose to fabricate my bracelet from Memory Wire.  Memory Wire is made of durable stainless steel, and comes in the perfect round bracelet shape and the additional wire forming can be easily made with Memory Wire bending pliers.  An added benefit to using Memory Wire is it can be adorned with colorful beads from Toho Seed Bead Cocktail Mixes.  Here are the step-by-step instructions to make my “Happy Octopus” Expandable Wire Bangle Bracelet:

 

 

Jewelry making supplies you will need to make an adjustable bangle bracelet.

Step 1: Gather together the supplies you will need to make the “Happy Octopus” Alex and Ani Style Expandable Bangle Bracelet.

 

You will need these supplies:

 

And you will need these tools:

 

 

How to make an expandable bangle bracelet:  Use the memory-wire bending pliers to form an outward facing loop on one end.

Step 2: Use the memory-wire bending pliers to form an outward-facing loop on one end.

 

How to make an expandable bangle bracelet with wire and beads.

Step 3: Grasp the loop with flat-nose pliers and make a 90-degree bend.

 

How to make an expandable bangle bracelet from memory wire and TOHO seed beads

Step 4: String one 3mm round corrugated metal bead on the wire; this bead is sized larger than the end loop and will hold the beads in place. String the TOHO beads randomly or in your desired pattern (approximately 6 inches). End with a second 3mm corrugated metal bead.

 

Expandable bangle bracelet tutorial made from wire and beads

Step 5: Make a wire-wrapped crystal-pearl charm. Follow the instructions for making wire-wrapped loops in Rings & Things “Jewelry Basics 101″.

 

How to add charms to a wire bangle bracelet.

Step 6: Add jump rings to each of the charm adornments: use a 6mm jump ring for the crystal heart and 5mm jump rings for the octopus charm and crystal pearl charm. Follow the instructions for opening and closing jump rings in Rings & Things “Jewelry Basics 101″.

 

How to make an expandable bangle bracelet with charms.

Step 7: Use the heavy-duty cutters to cut the memory wire so it is half-an-inch longer than the beaded portion of the bracelet. String the cut end through the first Memory-wire loop. String the three charms onto the open wire end. Use the memory-wire bending pliers to form an inward-facing loop on the unfinished end, leaving the loop slightly open.

 

How to make an expandable wire bangle bracelet.

Step 8: Grasp the loop with flat-nose pliers and make a 90-degree bend that faces the opposite direction of the first loop. Link the loop over the bracelet wire and close the loop.

 

How to open and close an expandable wire bracelet.

Step 9: To open the bracelet, grasp the two 3mm corrugated metal beads and pull the wire to expand the opening. To close the bracelet, gently squeeze the sides.

 

Expandable Bangle Bracelet Concluding Image

Your finished “Happy Octopus” Alex and Ani Style Expandable Wire Bracelet is ready to enjoy!

 

Make Things!

Mollie

Fast & Fun DIY Flower Cabochon Bobby Pins

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Cabochon flowers are a super easy way to add a splash of color to your life! With flat backs for easy gluing, they’re a cinch to add to any number of craft projects. This tutorial shows you how to embellish the flowers then add them to bobby pins to make sparkling DIY hair accessories. It’s a great project for kids, seniors, girly get-togethers and parties.

Only a few supplies are required:

Flat Pad Bobby Pins
Flower Cabochons
Adhesive Dots
Paint Dabbers
Glitter!
White Glue Paint Brushes or Cotton Swabs for Glue

If desired, color the flower using paint dabbers. While the paint is still wet, dip the outer petals into glitter. If you’re not coloring your flower first, add a light layer of glue to the outer petals before dipping them in the glitter.

Apply the adhesive dot to the pad of the bobby pin.

 Attached your embellished posie and you’re done!

Have fun & sparkle on!

Did you know? …
You can buy the supplies to make this project now:

Shop Cabochon Flowers

Click to Shop Resin Cabochon Flowers

 

bobby pins with glue pad

Click to Shop Bobby Pins with Glue Pads

 

adhesive dots

Click to Shop Adhesive Dots

How to Make a Textured Copper Ear Cuff

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Ear cuffs have been all the rage in the fashion world this past year, from free-form wire-wrapped ear vines to ornate over the ear styles.

This tutorial shows you how to make a simple metal ear cuff in copper.  This simple design wraps around the outer cartilage of the ear and is a popular style for men.   It can be textured and colored as desired.

Make your own DIY copper ear cuffs

DIY Copper Ear Cuffs

 

Choose your Metal

This simple style ear cuff can be made from most any metal.  24-gauge copper or brass strips are easy to cut and manipulate.  This tutorial uses 0.25″ wide strips of copper sheet.  If you choose, you can use wider strips and cut the metal to your desired width. Or if you prefer a bit thicker metal, you can use 20-gauge sheet. Just remember,  this style needs to fit comfortably around the cartilage of one’s ear.

With a variety of patterns and metals to choose from, artisan patterned wire can also be an option for a DIY (do-it-yourself) ear cuff.  The patterned wire comes in several gauges.  If you use a heavier gauge wire, the ear cuff may not be adjustable.

 

Ear Cuff made with patterned wire

Patterned Wire Ear Cuff

 

First, Gather your Supplies

DIY Ear Cuff Supplies

Supplies for Creating Metal Ear Cuffs

Supplies Needed:

 

Measure and Mark the Cuff Length:

Measure and Mark the Metal Strip

Measure and Mark the Metal Strip

Measure and mark the metal strip.   27.5mm (or roughly 1.25″) is the average length for cuffs that fits on the (normal) middle part of the ear. The length can range from 25mm to 30mm.

Mark with a permanent marking pen on the film which covers the metal strip. You can alternately mark directly on the metal. Just keep some rubbing alcohol handy to wipe away the line if you make a mistake.

Cut the Metal:

Cut the Metal Strip with Shears

Cut the Metal Strip with Shears

Depending on the gauge, hand shears (#69-230 or #69-409) work well for cutting the metal strips.  A bench shear (#69-334) works great if cutting multiple pieces or cutting metal  sheet to a custom width.

 Bench Shear

EURO TOOL® Bench Shear

 

File the Edges Smooth:

File the Metal Edges Smooth

File the Metal Edges Smooth

Use a flat file (#69-252-01-4) to smooth the edges and slightly round the corners of the cut metal strip.

 

Texture the Metal:

Texture the Metal Strip with a Hammer

Texture the Metal Strip with a Hammer

Use a texturing hammer or the pein side of a chasing hammer to create a pattern on the metal piece. Hammer around the edges of the metal piece. If needed, file the edges again.

 

Textured Metal Strips

Textured Metal Strips

 

Shape the Ear Cuff:

Shape the metal piece around the 10mm barrel of the small Wrap n’ Tap pliers (#69-262-S). The 24-gauge copper bends easily around the barrel.

Use Wrap 'n' Tap pliers to shape the ear cuff

Shape with Wrap ‘n’ Tap Pliers

 

Form Ear Cuff around the 10mm barrel of the wrap n tap pliers

Forming the Ear Cuff

 

Color The Ear Cuff:

If desired, patina the copper ear cuff using Liver of Sulfur Gel (#86-322) or Novacan Black Patina (#86-310).

 

Shiny and Oxidized Ear Cuffs

Shiny and Oxidized Ear Cuffs

Using Vintaj Patinas is another option to add color to these DIY ear cuffs.  Use a paintbrush to apply the Vintaj Patina. Once dry, sand some color off the high points using a Vintaj Metal Reliefing Blockblock (#69-327). Seal with Vintaj Glaze (#86-421-900).

 

Add color to DIY Ear Cuffs with Vintaj Patinas

DIY Ear Cuffs Colored with Vintaj Patinas

For more DIY ear cuff ideas, see our “Make Fashionable Ear Cuff Jewelry” blog post.

 

Not into DIY? 

Rings & Things offers a wide variety of plain ear cuffs (including sterling silver, gold and silver plated) ready to embellish.

And if you are looking for ready-to-wear ear cuffs, we now offer six styles in sterling silver.  As a bonus, most of the ready-to-ear ear cuffs have openings or loops in the pattern, so you can easily add dangles or leave them as-is.

Spider Web Sterling Ear Cuff

Sterling Ear Cuff (#30-475-05)

 

Snake Shaped Sterling Ear Cuff

Sterling Ear Cuff (#30-475-06)

 

How to Put on an Ear Cuff

If you’ve never worn an ear cuff and don’t know how to wear one, here’s how.

Slide the opening of the ear cuff over the cartilage.

Slide the Ear Cuff Down

The ear cuff sits on the cartilage, and wraps around the edge of the ear.

Have fun creating and wearing these ear accessories!

Amy M

 

 

How To Make A Wire Bird Nest

Monday, February 10th, 2014

It’s February, and snow and ice are covering every surface… which means I’d really like to fly away to someplace warm for the winter.

Wire wrapped bird nest bracelet with freshwater pearl beads and Vintaj bird charms.

Wire wrapped bird nest bracelet with freshwater pearl beads and Vintaj bird charms.

But I don’t have wings, so the next best thing is having Kayla explain how she makes these adorable wire bird’s nests.  She made this sweet bracelet by creating 3 wrapped nests with different shades of freshwater pearls, then added swooping Vintaj bird charms.  (The chain is one of our favorites: antiqued brass ring & connector chain.)

Gather supplies for wire bird nest tutorial.

Gather supplies for the wire bird nests.

These wire nests use only a few supplies:

And a single tool:

Warning: Pearls often have tiny holes, so if you’re following this design using different pearls than the ones we’ve linked, you may need to use 26-gauge wire instead.

Wire Bird Nest Instructions:

Step 1. Feed 3 beads onto the wire. Leave about 3/4" tail.

Step 1.
Feed 3 beads onto the wire. Leave about 3/4″ tail.

Step 2. Begin curving the egg beads into a circle.

Step 2. Begin curving the egg beads into a circle.

Step 3. Take the wire tail and wrap it around the longer end a few times.

Step 3. Take the wire tail and wrap it around the longer end a few times. Use your fingers, not pliers, so you don’t mar the wire or scratch the pearls.

Step 4. Trim excess wire.

Step 4. Trim excess wire. (Remove the short tail.)

Step 5. Wrap the wire 5-6 times around the pearl beads.  (Add more wraps for a thicker nest.) Don't try to be too neat! This style of wire wrapping is supposed to be a bit messy.

Step 5. Wrap the wire 5-6 times around the pearl beads. Don’t try to be too perfect — this style of wire wrapping is supposed to be a bit messy.

For a thicker nest, just wrap a few more times around the beads.

Step 6. Feed the wire all the way down through the nest.

Step 6. Feed the wire all the way down through the nest.

Step 7. Wrap two times around one side of the nest, then go about 1/3 of the way around the nest, feed wire through, wrap two times, go 1/3 of the way around and feed the wire through a final spot.

Step 7. Wrap two times around one side of the nest, then go about 1/3 of the way around the nest, feed wire through, wrap two times, go 1/3 of the way around and feed the wire through a final spot.

Step 8. At the final spot, wrap three times, and trim excess wire.  This is where narrow-tipped flush cutters are nice, because it's best if you can trim the wire toward the inside of the nest so it won't snag.

Step 8. At the final spot, wrap three times, and trim excess wire. This is where narrow-tipped flush cutters are nice, because it’s best if you can trim the wire inside of the nest so it won’t snag.

Finished: perfectly messy springtime wire-wrapped bird's nests!

Finished: Perfectly messy & sweet Springtime wire-wrapped bird’s nests!

The beads in the image above are (clockwise from top):

The wire is 22-gauge gunmetal Artistic Wire.

Want more options? Try these egg-shaped gemstone beads, or other colors of oval freshwater pearl beads. And once you make a few of these in colorful Artistic wire, you might want to branch out into sterling silver wire or gold-filled wire!

Flying the Nest - Bracelet Tutorial (with full parts list for bracelet)

Flying the Nest – Bracelet Tutorial (with full parts list for bracelet)

~ Polly & Kayla

Note: This style of wire-wrapped birds nest “baskets” work great for bracelets, earrings and pendants, because they don’t have a closed-off back — you can see the pretty egg-shaped pearl or gemstone beads from both sides of the charm.