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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jumprings - DIY

There is something satisfying about making your own components, whether its the clasp, the beads or the connectors. If you've never tried making your own jumprings you're in for a pleasant surprise - it's not that hard and there are an endless number of ways to get just what  you need.

There are a ton of gizmo's out there to make your life easier.

These little mandrel sets are probably the easiest - its pretty self explanatory, wrap the wire around the mandrel, slide it off cut the rings apart. The problem with this is what kind of pliers do you use? You want a really flat cut so the ring will close as seamlessly as possible.

The obvious choice is the Double Flush Cutter. There are problems with pliers - if you need a lot of rings for a large project this is going to take forever! The shape of the head on the double flush cutters make it hard to cut smaller rings, but if you're doing say, 9mm or larger and you only  need a few at a time these are great.

Me - I like BULK - I don't want to have to stop in the middle of a project to wrap and cut jumprings.

So, I went the semi-pro route -
I have a complete cutting system - the Pepe coiler is awesome.

It can make any size jumpring you can dream up simply by inserting the correct size mandrel in the handle and winding right off the wire spool. In a couple of seconds you have a wire coil about 4" long.
The second step is as easy as the first. I have what my son calls the "Uber Dremel" - its a Flex Shaft cutting and grinding tool. The handle has a very thin (.008), VERY sharp blade, you operate with a foot pedal.

The coil goes under the metal plate, tighten the nuts to hold it snug, place the shaft flat on the plate, press the pedal and slide forward at a steady pull. It only takes a couple of seconds to cut the coil into lovely, perfect, flush closing jumprings!

Before you know it, you have a zillion rings in a rainbow of colors!
You can purchase jumprings in a fair number of colors at better bead stores but it's usually near impossible to get a variety of gauges or anything more then two or three sizes. What are you supposed to do when you want to have a hook that's the same color as the jumprings or maybe you need a 20mm jumpring? I love having the option of sizes, shapes and colors.

You don't need anything expensive - you can use anything for a mandrel, a pen or a knitting needle are good choices. Get creative! Get exactly what you want - don't settle for what you can find - and as always.... have fun!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Retro Remake

My Aunt came to visit in September. She loves antiques, so while she was here I took her to a huge (5 barn sized buildings!!) antique place in Fayetteville, PA. I didn't really expect to find anything - it's not really my decorating style. I thought it would be a nice day for her...

Was I ever wrong?? One of the vendors in the first building had cases and cases of vintage jewelry! It was awesome! I bought several brooches and pins for a bouquet I'm playing around with. I also got a couple of long necklaces that were made out of lucite. You know, that stuff your mom wore in the 50's? The beads were that typical salmon kind of pink that was so popular back then.

Anyway - I stupidly did not take a photo of the necklaces before I cut them apart - sorry!! But I did want to share with you a couple of pieces that I've put together.


This one has the white sparkly lucite rounds and the pink inverted barrel shapes that turned out to be perfect with my favorite component - rubber O's!!
The hook is my own creation using 18g black wire, a bead cap and a bead.
The necklace uses more of the pink barrels, which I think paired perfectly with Donna Millards hand made vintage caps.The ribbed turquoise rounds were a great spacer and the color has that vintage feel.
The etched lampwork lozenges came from IMakeBeads on Etsy. The hook is, of course, my creation. I used sterling 18g wire and one of the ribbed turquoise rounds as an accent. I love the fun, light hearted feeling of this piece.

So - get yourself to an antique mall! They're loaded with fun vintage stuff at pretty good prices.

I even managed to find myself an awesome new desk chair!!

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