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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

Create a Journal Necklace with Piddix Images

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Flora & Fauna Journal Style Necklace made with Rings & Things brass "fairy door" blanks and Piddix Collage Sheets.

Flora & Fauna Journal Style Necklace made with Rings & Things brass “fairy door” blanks and Piddix Collage Sheets.

 

Creating a journal necklace is fun and easy using Rings & Things precut brass “fairy door” blanks and Piddix collage sheets.  Just follow these steps:

 

A list of supplies for making a metalworked journal style necklace.

Step 1: Gather the tools and supplies necessary to make a journal necklace. Select your favorites from the many styles of “fairy-door” blanks and Piddix collage sheets

 

You will need the following supplies:

1 set  Brass Sandwich Blanks (Fairy Doors)  (I used #44-721-11: square-with-circle window brass blank)

1 each  Metal-mesh choker  (I used #52-293-16-6: antiqued-brass-plated metal-mesh choker)

5-10 images  Piddix collage sheet  (I used #83-231-01-006: square flora & fauna)

6 each  Crystal Jams™ Assortment  (I used #05-328-04-916: Somebody’s Heartbreak)

6 each  ball-end head pin  (I used #37-091-15-6: 1.5″antiqued-brass-plated ball-end head pin)

2 each  5mm round jump rings  (I used #37-136-6: 5mm round antiqued brass jump rings)

2 each  8mm round jump rings  (I used #37-167-6: 8mm round antiqued brass jump rings)

Oxidizer & Antiquing Solution  ( I used Novacan black patina)

 

And the following tools:

800-1000 grit sanding sponges

polishing cloth

Extra Fine Point Sharpie®

1.25mm round hole punch pliers

Four-piece glitter tool set

Two-hole metal punch

Fine-tip craft scissors

cotton swab

 

How to punch holes in metal with a metal hole punch.

Step 2: Measure and mark the hole position on the brass blanks. The apex of the hole should be positioned 1/8″  from the sides on the top two corners. Punch holes at the marked positions with the two-hole metal punch. Make sure the hole placement on the front and back blanks line up.

 

How to patina a brass jewelry blank with Novacan Black Patina.

Step 3: Prepare the brass blanks for patina by gently sanding with a 3M ultra-fine polishing sponge. Use a cotton swab to apply Novacan black patina to the front and back side of both blanks. Polish the brass blanks to attain the desired shade of patina.

 

How to make a journal necklace with Piddix image sheets.

Step 4: Use fine-point craft scissors to cut out image “pages”. The pages should measure slightly smaller than the size of the brass cover blanks. Five to ten pages per journal works best.

 

How to make a journal necklace with Piddix image sheets, punching holes.

Step 5: Mark and punch holes in the paper image pages. Use the metal blanks as a guide to mark hole position on the upper two corners of each page. Punch holes with a 1.25mm hole punch.

 

How to wire wrap the loop of a Swarovski crystal bicone dangle charm.

Step 6. Make six crystal dangle charms, follow the instructions for making wire-wrapped loops in the Rings & Things Jewelry Basics 101.

 

How to assemble a journal necklace.

Step 7: Assemble the journal pendant by stringing the brass blank back, image pages, and brass blank front onto jump rings. Add three crystal dangle charms on each jump ring and then close the jump rings. String the pendant onto a metal mesh choker. Your necklace is ready to wear.

 

If you enjoy making the “Flora & Fauna” journal-style necklace, try these variations:

 

 

 

 

 

Make Things!

Mollie

Vintaj® & Leather Go So Well Together!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Vintaj Natural Brass findings and leather bracelets go together like butter on bread! You can unite them with rivets, thread, jump rings and more.  Here are two examples highlighting how to combine Vintaj jewelry supplies with leather bracelets.

Leather cuff bracelets together with Vintaj® components.

Leather cuff bracelets together with Vintaj supplies.

With just a few supplies, you can create stylish and unique cuff bracelets, incorporating popular and trendsetting Vintaj Natural Brass findings. For this riveted version, all you need is:

The supplies needed for this easy project are minimal.

The supplies needed for this easy bracelet project are minimal.

1. Colorize the soaring sparrow connector with Patina™ ink. For step-by-step instructions, see our blog post : “Customizing Tim Holtz idea-ology® Word Bands for a Handmade Look”  where Rings & Things Jewelry Designer Mollie Valente shows us how to apply Patina ink.

Colorize the metal with VIntaj® patina

Colorize the metal with VIntaj® patina

2. The ready made loops on the connector are a little small for the 3/16″ rivet. Using the riveting system, pierce the existing loops in the connector so the rivets will fit through.

Use the piercing end of the riveting system to enlarge the holes to 3/16".

Use the piercing end of the riveting system to enlarge the holes to 3/16″.

3. Place the focal piece where you want to rivet it on the leather bracelet, and mark where to make the holes in the leather.

Use an ultra fine tip marker to mark the hole placement.

Use an ultra fine tip marker to mark the hole placement.

4. Use bracelet bending pliers to curve the focal for a better fitting bracelet.

Curve the metal with bending pliers.

Curve the metal with bending pliers.

5. Use the piercing side of the Crafted Findings tool to make holes in the leather, then use the setting side of the same tool to rivet the focal piece to the leather bracelet.

TIP: Include a washer or riveting accent on the back side to keep the rivet secure in the leather.

If you haven’t yet used a Crafted Findings riveting system, check out the video!  

Name of the bracelet.

Soar With Me Cuff Bracelet

Our second example begins with a leather cuff bracelet that I have already added eyelets too. To see how this is done, check out our blog post: “How-to-set-eyelets-in-leather” where I show step-by-step photographs and instructions on this very bracelet.

Start with adding eyelets to a leather bracelet, then add the fun!

Start with adding eyelets to a leather bracelet, then add the fun!

Add some Vintaj Natural Brass charms to the eyelets with brass jump rings.

When you open and close jump rings, twist sideways instead of “ovalling” them. This keeps their shape better, which makes them easier to close all the way. To prevent marks on the ring, use non-serrated flat-nose pliers.

How to open jump rings

Twist ends away from each other. Don’t pull apart sideways.

After adding some Vintaj natural brass bling, you now have a fun and trendy leather cuff bracelet!

leather-vintaj_lilac-bracelet

Lilac Locks Leather Bracelet

 

Hopefully this has inspired you to have your own fun combining beautiful Vintaj findings and leather cuff bracelets!

~Val

How to make chain maille (from a kit)

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Rings & Things has added a whole new line of enameled copper jump rings and clasps from Weave Got Maille, and a handful of Byzantine kits and box chain kits to go with them.

Weave got Maille Bracelet Kits and Jump Rings

Weave got Maille Bracelet Kits and Jump Rings

Melissa and I tested the kits, to produce some quick example pieces for our website, and I have to say, I think the kits are a great way to go for anyone who is new to chain maille, or to a specific weave of maille.

 

Weave Got Maille kit Chain Maille Bracelets

Weave Got Maille kit Chain Maille Bracelets

I chose to use the Morgana kit, which produces a 3-color byzantine chain maille bracelet. There are enough rings in the kit to make a bracelet up to 8 1/2″ long, but the final length can be shortened easily by stopping at the end of any completed unit.

Morgana Bracelet Kit

Morgana Bracelet Kit

The instructions are the property of the kit maker, so I won’t be listing the step by step instructions here, but the step-by-step sheet included has great close-up pictures and is easy to follow (and once you have made up the kit project, you have the instructions to make as many more as you like, by just purchasing additional jump rings and clasps).

Jump rings from Weave Got Maille kit

Jump rings from Weave Got Maille kit

Here are my thought and hints for weaving chain maille painlessly.

  • Yes, you do need two pair of chain nose pliers. Do not try using a pair of flat nose or a pair of round nose as a substitute. They can both be regular, or bent, or a combination of styles, but you want smooth pliers, because serrated nose pliers will mar the finish on the rings. The smaller the rings that you are using, the more important it is to have pliers with a narrow tip, and ones that are comfortable to hold. My personal choice for comfort and pricing are the full size wubbers pliers. The longer cushioned handle helps prevent hand fatigue and the tips are reasonably narrow. For extremely narrow tips, lindstrom pliers can’t be beat, but they are a definite investment.
Wubbers Chain Nose Pliers

Wubbers Chain Nose Pliers

  • To weave the maille quickly, you will need to pre-open some rings, and pre-close others. Only open the rings as wide as you need to slip them over the appropriate quantity of other rings. If you open the rings too wide, it is harder to close them neatly and tightly. For the pre-closed rings, make the closure as seamless as possible. It is much easier to close the rings neatly at this stage than it is when weaving. An illustration of the correct way to open and close rings is included in the instructions.
Opened and Closed rings from Weave Got Maille Kit

Opened and Closed rings from Weave Got Maille Kit

  • Use a soft surface to work on. The bead mats are ideal, since they allow you to “scoop” up the closed rings without catching on the material, and the rings that you drop (and you will) don’t go very far.
  • When weaving, rest your hands on the surface, or as close as you can comfortably be to the surface. The extra support will help prevent the project from slipping and rings from escaping.

One of the tools in the kit is a large paperclip. Attaching this to the beginning of the project accomplishes two things, it gives you a “handle” to work on the chain while it is short, and it reminds you which end you are working on.

Byzantine Chain first unit

Byzantine Chain first unit

Here is my finished project. You may notice that the design doesn’t quite match the design on the box. This is because I made a mistake on the second unit of the chain, by reversing my “b” and “c” colors. Rather than take it apart and re-do the section, I chose to work with this as a new pattern, and alternated each correct unit with an incorrect one. I kind of like the variation in the design. Sometimes errors allow for new ideas.

Melissa made a box chain bracelet, and then, having learned the pattern, designed this pair of Night in Emerald City box chain earrings, which also use Rings & Thing exclusive Swarovski ELEMENTS Karma Chameleon Crystal Jam and
Cubic Zirconia pendants

Night in Emerald City earrings

Night in Emerald City earrings

Are you a chain maille maker? Let me know if you have any great hints to share.

 

~ Rita ~

Customizing Tim Holtz idea-ology® Word Bands for a Handmade Look

Monday, August 5th, 2013
Use Tim Holtz idea-ology® word blanks to create "handmade" stamped bracelet blanks.

With just a few metalworking tools, you can easily turn Tim Holtz idea-ology® word bands into stamped bracelet blanks with a handmade appearance.

 

I love hand-stamped metal jewelry and given the popularity of this jewelry trend, chances are you do too. Metal stamping takes a few tools, basic stamping instruction, and practice; and sometimes more practice. But even though metal stamping is fairly easy, turning Tim Holtz idea-ology® word bands into bracelet blanks is even easier. Plus who can resist the 12 inspirational quotes?

The following is a DIY tutorial for turning Tim Holtz idea-ology® word blanks into curved bracelet blanks for use in your mixed-media jewelry projects.

 

You will need these tools and supplies to make a Tim Holtz idea-ology bracelet blank.

Step 1: Gather the tools and supplies necessary to customize your “stamped” metal bracelet blank.

 

You will need these tools and supplies:

 

Use the pein side of a chasing hammer and a steel block to add texture to Tim Holtz idea-ology word bands.

Step 2: For a handmade look, add a “hammered” texture to the word band.

Tape the word band, script side up, to the steel block with masking tape. Repeatedly strike the word band with the pein side of the chasing hammer to add a hammered texture. Remove the word band from the steel block.

 

 Use bracelet-bending pliers to turn the Tim Holtz idea-ology word band into a curved bracelet blank.

Step 3: Shape the word band with nylon-jaw, bracelet-bending pliers.

Use nylon-jaw, bracelet-bending pliers to turn the idea-ology word band into a curved bracelet blank. Place the flat blank lengthwise in the pliers’ jaw with the script side facing the concave half of the jaw. Gently squeeze the pliers. Reposition the blank and repeat until the word band is fully curved.

.

For a splash of color, paint the idea-ology word band's script with Vintaj patina.

Step 4: Add color to the word band script by applying Vintaj patina.

For a splash of color, paint the idea-ology word band’s script with Vintaj patina. Use a paint brush to liberally apply the patina to the word band, making sure patina is applied into all the letter indentations. You can use a mix of patina colors, or a single color. Allow to air dry for a few minutes.

.

 eWipe the surface of the word band with a damp paper towel or baby wipe to remove the excess patina.  Be careful not to remove the color in the letter indentations.

Use a baby wipe or damp paper towel to remove the excess patina.

Wipe the word band with a damp paper towel or baby wipe to remove the excess patina. As you wipe, be careful not to remove the color in the letter indentations. Allow the patina to fully dry.

 

To finish a bracelet, just stitch or rivet the idea-ology word band bracelet blank to a leather cuff.

The finished “handmade” bracelet blank is ready to adorn the bracelet of your choice.

Now your “stamped” bracelet blank is ready to adorn your choice of bracelet (or maybe you turned all 12 word bands into bracelet blanks). In the next Rings & Things Blog post, I will share two ways to finish leather cuff bracelets using the customized word bands and our new colorful leather strips. oh, and “word” from Tim Holtz is we can look forward to new styles of word bands coming soon, “Word Bands Observation” and “Word Bands Christmas”.

Make things!

Mollie

 

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

Bike to Work Week 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012

bike-to-workRain. Sun. Wind. More rain. Gusts of sun. We’ve had it all this week! And yet, we (some of) the ladies of Rings & Things have ridden our bikes to work!

bike-week-2012

Polly, Cindy, Amy, Melissa and Gretchen!

Amy, in the middle,  is our ETC. An ETC is an Employee Transportation Coordinator for Washington’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program/law. Yes, law. For employers with more than 100 employees in one location, the state mandates compliance with the CTR, since people driving alone to work creates so much air pollution. Rings & Things doesn’t have to comply with CTR, but we like to be green! Plus the CTR offers fun prizes and incentives to reward people who use public transportation, carpools, bikes or their own two feet to travel to work.

A lot of people use clothing issues as an excuse to not ride, so I feel like I must point out how nice we all look! Dresses, slacks – jewelry of course – Polly is even wearing a WHITE SKIRT. She is obviously much braver than I. BikeStyle, you should be proud of your fellow Spokanites! While none of us are sporting heels, I do admire Barb Chamberlain’s ability to bike in pumps. Again, she is obviously much braver than I.

roast-house-spokane

Roast House poster.

Finally, thank you to Roast House Coffee here in Spokane for contributing their most excellent coffee to the energizer station Rings & Things hosted on Wednesday morning for bike commuters heading to work. We all need to be alert on the road!

 

 

Cloverleaf Connectors: My new favorite thing!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I am always looking for ways to incorporate messages or cute little phrases into my jewelry. I think a word or phase can change the whole meaning of a piece of jewelry. By adding words, you can add emotion to your designs. So when we added new stamp-able Cloverleaf Connectors to our inventory, I just couldn’t resist making a pair of earrings to show off their stampability!

All six platings and all three sides with the circle side showing.

All six platings and three sizes with the diamond side showing.

The connectors come in three sizes and six platings. The sizes are 9mm, 12mm and 16mm and the platings are raw brass, antique brass plated, antique silver plated, antique copper plated, gunmetal, and silver plated. They are also two sided and you can even stamp both sides! So let me show you how I created these and hopefully you will be inspired to create a pair of your own.

Everything needed to make these cute earrings. See the list below for links to the supplies.

I am an antique copper kinda girl myself so that is what I chose to use for this design. I wanted to make a somewhat whimsical pair of earrings, so I stamped WISH and WANT into the earrings, but you could choose any 4-letter word (naughty or nice ;) ) to convey your message. Here are the supplies needed to make these earrings:

Wire wrap the cubic zirconia briolettes. See the link at the bottom of the page to learn how to wire wrap a briolette.

Stamp your desired words onto the connectors. They are two-sided, so you can choose two different words to stamp.

Use an antiquing solution to darken the jewelry components. *note: plated findings are not intended to be antiqued. The patina will most likely not be consistant, but the intention is only to darken the lettering. *

 

After being antiqued, the copper components will turn black.

Use a little steel wool to buff away the patina, this will make the letters really "pop".

See what a difference a little buffing can make!

Assemble the earrings, making sure all your letters are in the right order. They are stamped on both sides, so they are reversible.

Completed Wish & Want Earrings

Well I hope I have inspired you to add a little wording to your designs! The possibilities are truly endless! Worded bracelets, necklaces and earrings galore! If you need to learn how to wire wrap a briolette, go to our blog “How to Wire Wrap a Briolette” and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me! ~~Tiffany