Posts Tagged wire

52 earrings: #4 Red Queen and #5 Lime Twizzlers

I made two pairs of earrings this week. First I made a pair of little lampwork hearts with the luscious Lauscha transparent red (I love this, it’s actually semi-opaque when used in any volume, but keeps a whole lotta depth and juiciness).

#4 Red Queen


Red lampwork hearts by me, sterling silver.

I had another go with my rubber tube – I like spirals so made some with the frosted lime tubing. I had some little o-rings in tangerine that fit on the tubing so added those for some zing. Then I decided that I wanted little lampwork dangles in the centre, so made a pair of orange and green encased dotty beads. I messed around a bit with different types of endings on the brass – tried some spirals but didn’t get them centred in the orientation I wanted, so in the end I went for a hammered widened end and added a little green seed bead to stop the lampwork sliding off.

#5 Lime Twizzlers


Green and orange dotty lampwork beads by me, lime rubber tubing, tangerine o-rings, brass.

I think these could look good in a bunch of different colours.

(I also made the earring tree to have a nicer display to hang earrings on – the bit of wire I had hanging from my lamp was functional but doesn’t look great in photos! I might do another with enough wire for roots and glue it to a rock, but this one works)

52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 4 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design:
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio:
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass:

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52 earrings: #3 Tangerine Tangles

I have some different types of rubber tubing and have been meaning to do something like this for a while. Inspired by Yvonne Irvin-Faus, who also sells the tubing and all kind of other bright components.

#3 Tangerine Tangles


Brass wire and orange tubing. These aren’t my usual style AT ALL and are part of what I’m wanting to do with this challenge. I deliberately didn’t try to make the freeform tangles the same shape. I made the earwires rounder than usual to go with the tangles (am also going to try some different earwire designs, these were just a very quick variation). I have some plans to play with the design further, with more visible wire-wrapping, perhaps adding dangles…


52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 3 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design:
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio:
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass:

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Jewellery picspam

This is an attempt to stop being at least a month behind in my posts! Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last little while – some earrings, some wirewrapping with and without beads, some chain maille, a little seed beading (most recent at top):

You’ll notice some variation in photo quality… I got my new camera! It’s a Panasonic Lumix TZ6 and it’s utterly lovely.

I’ve done some more polymer clay beads since then – photos coming soon! I got hold of a second hand pasta machine, which lets you do all kinds of fancy things with polymer clay, so I’ve been making lots of canes to slice up and decorate beads with. (Think of a stick of rock – you assemble everything so the design runs all the way through it, then slice thin pieces off the end to use).

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Meritaten’s Gift

(15-16 Aug)
This necklace began with a false start – I got halfway, looked at it and decided it didn’t work:

Jasper and yellow start

Jasper and yellow start

So I cut off the pendants and started again. The second time I was much happier:

Meritaten's Gift

Meritaten's Gift

Mustard and red jasper pendants on silver-plated wire, silver ‘beads’ made by wire-wrapping (I really like these and will be making more), small green seed beads and Miyuki Delica seed beads in galvanised rose/gold – these last came in my mystery beads and are very shiny – and larger orange-topaz seed beads. Strung on flex-rite with a hook and eye fastening.

It took an age to come up with the name. See, it made me think of Tutankhamen, except not quite, so I was looking up that period in Egyptian history and found Meritaten, who was the eldest daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. She may or may not have been briefly married to her father, probably was married to Smenkhkare (who was a co-ruler with Akhenaten for a while, then briefly a pharaoh in his own right), and might have also been the female pharaoh Neferneferuaten who reigned for two years and one month, prior to Tutankhamen… but there’s an awful lot of uncertainty about that period in history, and a lot of theories about which names refer to who, how they were related, and when they died. The above is just one narrative, but it’s one that I like.

A few days later I made some earrings to go with it.

Meritaten's Gift - set Meritaten's-Gift-set-2

Meritaten's Gift - set

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(July 23-24)

As the other part of my mum’s present, I made a new tree. I was aiming for a small tree for ease of transportation. However, I used pieces of wire that were far too long (the kind of lengths I use for the cherry blossoms) so it wasn’t going to work for that. It’s also amusingly springy because of how thin the wire is. (My 0.5mm silver-plated wire was still at the post office depot – I picked it up the next day).

Gothtree the first Gothtree the first, pic 2

Gothtree the first

0.315mm silver-plated wire, obsidian chips and translucent grey seed beads.

It’s slightly unstable. I think I should probably use a pebble for the base to weigh that down a bit – it does stand up on its own, but it takes careful balancing.

So I made a smaller one the next afternoon, using the 0.5mm silver-plated wire that finally got picked up from the post office. Still obsidian chips and translucent grey seed beads. This one is 3 inches tall by 4 inches in the widest direction. The sproingy one is now residing in my living room.

Gothtree the second Small silver and obsidian tree, another angle

Gothtree the second

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Turquoise and jasper necklace

(21-22 July)
I made this necklace as a present for my mum. This is still before my proper pliers arrived, so I had to be very careful. I was also using a slim knitting needle to bend the wire round for some of the loops. Round nose pliers are a godsend!

Turquoise and jasper necklace

Turquoise and jasper necklace

I got to this point in the process and was thinking “…you know, this would have looked better with tarnished bronze-coloured wire. And that centre pendant is All Wrong and should probably have been all one piece” when I completely distracted myself by that scan. Following a tip from elsewhere that putting your jewellery directly on a scanner can sometimes work really well (and sometimes not at all), I had a go. It looks amazing! (This was the first thing I scanned – I went back and did some of the other pieces later). Sadly, I can’t scan at the moment – more on that eventually.

Turquoise pear-shaped beads, jasper rectangles, amber seed beads, and silver-plated wire.

Here’s the finished necklace and the fastening – I made a hook and eye again.

Turquoise and jasper necklace (finished) Hook fastening

Turquoise and jasper necklace (finished)

(Hmm, rechecking my supplies list, those are actually brown serpentine rectangles. But this necklace is firmly fixed in my head as being “turquoise and jasper”. This is before I started naming them, so that’s its name ;p).

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A wire pendant

I thought I’d try something that used wire in an actual piece of jewellery, so I started with a pendant. I’d been reading the tutorials on – the Beginners’ Corner and Basics sections are very handy when you’re a total beginner – plenty of small steps and photographs.

I made a pendant that consists of a large aquamarine chip hanging from a circle. The circle’s threaded with seed beads in grey, greens and clear. There’s a loop at the top to hang it on a necklace. It’s made with thicker wire than I use for the trees – 0.6mm silver-plated copper.

Water pendant Water pendant scan

Water pendant

The first picture is a photograph, the second is a scan of the pendant that I took later – the photo has better colour fidelity but is fuzzier. The aquamarine looks far too grey in the scan.

It took me rather a long time for something so simple – the first time I was wire-wrapping the aquamarine chip, my wire broke just as I was finishing it (reason #1 not to overwork your wire!) so I had to take it off and start again.

Things I learned in the process:

  • Be very, very careful with your wire. More careful than that!
  • Round nose pliers. I need some.
  • Ditto for jewellers’ pliers in general

My loops had to be made diamond-shaped because without round-nose pliers I could only make very wonky-looking circles. A diamond at least looked deliberate! Also, if you looked closely you could definitely see scratches on the wire from the pliers, because their inside surface wasn’t completely flat.

(I also have a photo with the pendant on the little notebook I’ve started using to sketch my designs – the quality’s not great, but it amuses me to put them side by side).

Water pendant on notebook

Water pendant on notebook

We are now up to July 16th in my adventures in jewellery-making.

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I made a wire octopus as a practice run for a project I have in mind. I couldn’t find any instructions for this sort of thing, so had to make it up as I went along. It’s recognisable, though I would rather find a better way of doing the head – my boyfriend suggested putting a large bead in there to give it some solidity.

The octupus is made of very thin (0.315mm) silver-plated wire. You can bend the tentacles in different directions easily, though you don’t want to do that much or you’ll break the wire. It’s about 1.5 inches tall – for the project I had in mind, I would have to work out how to make very small octupuses that still had form. The octupus is sitting on a shell and then a dark grey pebble that I brought back from a pebble-collecting trip to Brighton beach.

It was very hard to photograph, especially as I’m relying on a rather old digital camera that has no macro mode. The ones above were the least-blurry of my attempts…


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Cherry blossom trees

My next tree! I made this one out of 0.5mm diameter brown-coated copper wire. This is a little thinner than my gold-coloured craft wire, which is a slightly odd size (it’s somewhere between 0.5mm and 0.6mm – smaller than one but larger than the other).

Brown wire tree Brown wire tree, another angle

Brown wire tree, two views

I got the tree part done, and then was stuck for a little while, because I wanted to do something different from the stone chip approach. I wanted something that suggested blossoms. I was dubious at first about using seed beads, because I wasn’t quite sure how I’d get them to cluster. So I left it overnight, came back the next day and made a two-tone cherry blossom.

Brown wire cherry blossom Brown wire cherry blossom, another angle

Brown wire cherry blossom, two views

I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. Also that the sun came out, which helped the photograph immensely! What I did in the end was to string a small number of seed beads onto a branch, make a little loop that held them in place about halfway down it, then add a larger number on at the end for the ending loop. It was a good thing I left the branch ends so long – when using chips they can be shorter. This gave the clustering effect and meant there was plenty of blossom on each branch. I did them in two types – the lower branches had the larger ecru seed beads along with the little clear ones on them, while the higher ones had small red and clear beads. (I’m not convinced that ecru is the best description of their colour, but I can’t think of anything better – they’re frosted off-white/neutral coloured).

It takes noticeably longer than using chips, but the result is lovely.

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At this point, I needed supplies

I wanted to make more things, but needed something to do it with. I spent some time checking out UK online bead stores, and my friends pointed me in the direction of bead shops in London – I visited The Bead Shop and London Bead Shop, which are both very close together in Seven Dials. I found The Bead Shop much more useful – it’s larger (two floors) and has a large semi-precious stone selection downstairs, along with a much better selection of seed beads. While both have a lot of beads you can buy individually, that’s all the London Bead Shop has, and I am more interested in being able to buy by the strand.

I ended up getting a load of large packets of Czech seed beads, two strands of discounted blue-and-white millefiori (4mm and 6mm), some chocolate brown cord, coils of silver-plated and copper wire, and some thin acrylic beading “thread” to practice with. The seed beads looked like packets of multi-coloured sugar when I got them home and piled them up.

Aside: I went for seed beads in quantity instead of the higher-quality Japanese ones so I wouldn’t be afraid to experiment. If I have plenty, I can do whatever I like with them and not feel like I’m “wasting” them. Also, they look perfectly fine for my purposes – I am not yet doing bead weaving, or anything that requires an ultra-regular shape.

I repurposed containers for storage: I actually found the ideal thing to keep my large quantities of seed beads in – the local hardware shop had a plastic octagonal lidded container intended for serving chips’n’dip. Eight compartments plus a round central one. I poured my beads in with glee (they make a great noise when you do that). It shows them off side by side, like a colour wheel. It’s incredibly useful, and if I ever find another one I’ll snap it up.

Octagonal wheel, full of seed beads

Octagonal wheel, full of seed beads

Later, I got hold of two sets of three clip-down lidded small containers from a pound shop, intended to be used for refrigeration. They were just the right size to hold the remaining seed beads that didn’t fit in my octagon.

My boyfriend has also picked up a couple of storage containers from Maplin for me – these are divided into a lot of very small compartments that are non-removable and won’t mix up the contents if you turn the box upside-down. They stack well, too. They go for about £2 each and are very useful for smaller quantities.

My birthday was coming up, so I pointed my mum at Beads Direct, which is my favourite of the online shops I’ve looked at – it has a huge range, lots of semi-precious stones, and has good prices. A little while later, I put in a big order myself. Lots of stones and chips, some wire and thread, needles and findings. I’d also picked up some needlenose pliers and wire cutters from that selfsame hardware shop – electrician’s tools, not jeweller’s, but they made it easier to make…

Another tree!

Lapis lazuli tree (click through for a secondary view)

Lapis lazuli tree (click through for a secondary view)

My gold coloured craft wire again, with lapis lazuli chips from my new supplies. I also added little translucent grey seed beads on the branches to make them look a bit knottier. Twisting the wire with actual pliers instead of tweezers let me twist it a lot tighter – who knew!

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