Posts Tagged ‘how-to’

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

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
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 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.


Embellish Jewelry Blanks with Crystal Chatons

Monday, November 11th, 2013

It doesn’t matter if you’re a rhinestone cowgirl or an urban fashionista – dressing up belt buckles and other jewelry blanks with sparkling crystal chatons is just plain fun!

Use the steps below to either recreate the Zen Yin belt buckle by Jan or to embed you own designs in a wide range of jewelry components including bezel cups, bottles caps, and more.


1. Gather your supplies.


To make the exact belt buckle pictured in this blog, see the “Zen Yin” belt buckle full parts list in our Design Gallery.


A Crystal Katana makes it easy to set chatons in your jewelry clay.

Tip: A jewel setter makes it much easier to set small objects into the clay! While bare fingers can hinder your field of vision and upset other elements of the design, jewel setters provide a wax tip to lightly pick up and place small objects in just the right spot.


2. Plan your layout.

Plan your layout before you unwrap the clay. This allows you to tinker with design options without the clay drying prematurely. This is especially important on large objects like a belt buckle.

Form two equal balls

3. Measure equal amounts of clay.

Wear vinyl or latex gloves to protect your hands.  Measure equal amounts of “A” and “B” types of clay, and form each material into a separate ball. If the clay sticks, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil.

Mix the clay

4. Combine.

Combine the two balls together until they are well blended and uniform in color.

Adding clay to your blank.

5. Press clay into jewelry blank.

Press the clay into your jewelry blank. You can smooth it out by adding a little vegetable oil on top. If it gets too sticky, dust it lightly with baby powder.

Embellishing jewelry clay

6. Place large objects & focals first.

Place larger objects and focal points into your clay first. Tip: To save time, you can leave strung beads on the string, rather than placing them individually in the clay. Trim excess string once the beads are in place.

crystal katana

7. Fill in remaining clay with crystal chatons.

Next, fill in the remaining exposed clay with sparkling crystal chatons. As mentioned above, a jewel setter can make this task quicker and easier. When you are placing your chatons into the clay, be sure not to press or tap them in to deeply. The clay will rise up a little bit around them particularly when it is very wet.


8. Allow clay to dry and you’re done!

Set aside your design in a safe spot and allow the clay to thoroughly dry, based on the manufacturer’s instructions. EnviroTex Jewelry Clay fully cures in 24 hours to a hard, durable, and shock resistant substance with a smooth, porcelain like surface. It does not shrink as it cures!

Below, check out more fun designs Jan made with EnviroTex Clay and crystal chatons.


These chunky donut beads are held fast in the crystal clay,
demonstrating how strong EnviroTex clay is!

Homer Simpson wouldn’t be able to resist this whimsical bit of bling! It’s made with donut beads, aurora borealis crystals, and a square bezel-cup pendant blank.

heart key chain

EnviroTex Jewelry Clay is durable enough for heavily-used objects
like key rings. Add heart to designs with heart bezel cups.

Heart-shaped bezel cups add an extra bit of love to jewelry designs. Additional supplies used to make this heart key ring include a beadable key ring blank, a lampwork glass heart bead (reamed to make the hole larger), and a hammered pewter heart charm.


Go nautical with embedded scallop shell beads and freshwater pearls.

Rectangle bezel-cups provide a great shape for custom pendants with a touch of bling. The design pictured above is adorned with shell beads  and freshwater pearls surrounded by blue zircon and aquamarine crystal chatons.


Adorn your hands with bezel cup ring blanks!

Bezel cup ring blanks come in several colors and shapes. Some styles are exclusive to Rings & Things, and all styles are adjustable to fit any ring size. They’re perfect for making blingy costume jewelry.


You don’t have to use crystals.
This polar bear ring has seed beads embedded in the jewelry clay.

Embed seed beads and other objects in the crystal clay to see what other effects you can achieve! This winter-themed ring has a polar bear bead and a “Snow Ball” seed bead mix embedded in the clay. Let your imagination be your guide as you have fun making mosaic jewelry and a whole lot more! :)

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.


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

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 tutorials, from cute to classy! You can make these projects with beads and supplies from Rings & Things. Happy jewelry making as the clock ticks towards Halloween …


“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 gear beads. 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

Beadalon® Wire Banding Pliers

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The initial bends when trying to band wire together can be frustrating. I have tried every tool, hoping to find something that would accurately bend wire into two perfectly-placed right angle bends without marring it. Now there is a specialty tool made just for perfect double right angle bends — Beadalon Wire Banding Pliers!

I am a perfectionist in the jewelry I create, and the last thing I want to do is fight with the very beginning of the project and end up with scratched banding, or having the banding bend be just a little off. Not only is it frustrating, but the accuracy of the banding can make or break the entire piece.

This tool is very easy to use — now you can quickly create two right angle bends close together, so you can neatly band the remainder of your wires together. We have created the graphic tutorial below to help you to learn how to use these cool wire banding pliers.

Please visit our Design Gallery for the projects shown below:

Wire wrapped bracelet project using Beadalon Wire Banding Pliers

Drusilla’s Bracelet of Submission by Amy Scalise

Wire wrapped bracelet project using Beadalon Wire Banding Pliers

Square Rose Ring by Valorie Nygaard-Pouzar

Hope this helps makes your wire projects a little easier!

Amy S

Make your wire bending projects easier with Beadalon Wire Banding Pliers

Beadalon Wire Banding Pliers Graphic Tutorial