Tag Archives: jewelry

Almond ear wires with pink conical beads.

Almond Ear Wires and a Pretty Pink Earring/Necklace Set

Almond ear wires with pink conical beads.
I just love this shape of ear wire.

New and interesting shapes for ear wires are very popular lately. My favorites are the almond-shaped ear wires.These have been featured all over the web and television. The first time I really noticed them was on Emily Deschanel in the television series “Bones.” They are elegant and fun and are actually very easy to make.

For demonstration purposes and because it photographs a little easier, I made these ear wires out of heavier 18 gauge sterling silver half-hard wire. I usually use lighter 21 gauge sterling silver half-hard wire, but I wanted something that would be very visible in the photos.

Wire bent at 90 degrees at 3/4".
Bend the wire to 90º.

Using flat nose pliers (although you can use the rosary pliers for the whole project if you prefer) I bent the wire at 3/4″ to a 90º angle.

Wire loop made with rosary pliers.
Wrap a loop with the rosary pliers.

Then I used rosary pliers (also called round-nose pliers) to make a loop by placing the pliers above the bend on the short wire and wrapping it around the nose of the pliers.

Completed wire loop.
Finish wrapping the short end of the wire around the stem.

Holding onto the loop with the rosary pliers, I use the flat nose pliers to twist the short end of the wire around the stem (below the loop). By having only 3/4″ of wire for the loop, there is no wire to trim and you are good to continue on to the next step.

Wire wrapped around the mandrel.
Wrap the wire around a mandrel or other object approximately 1" in diameter.

Here I used a mandrel that my father made me for Christmas a few years ago (Aren’t fathers wonderful?). The widest end of the mandrel is 1″ in diameter and the thinnest end is 1/2″ in diameter. For these ear wires, I wrapped around the widest point of my mandrel at 1″. I just made one wrap around the mandrel and as the wire is half-hard, it stretches back out to an incomplete circle when I let it go as shown in the photo below.

Wire just removed from the mandrel will stretch out to form an incomplete circle.
Wire just removed from the mandrel will stretch out to form an incomplete circle.
Completed almond shaped ear wire.
Here is the finished view of the almond ear wire.

Next, I bend the circle at the half-way point to create the top of the almond and lightly stretch out the two halves to create the full almond shape. I also bend the wire-wrapped loop to hang correctly down from the almond. I then use a small file to smooth the cut made by the wire cutters so it won’t catch in your ear when you put it through.

Almond ear wire earrings and matching necklace with pink pendant.

To show the ear wires in action, I made the matching earrings to a necklace I made from pretty pink glass florets, red pearls and crackled white quartz beads. The pendant is a piece of dyed jasper that I wire wrapped to hang it from the necklace.

I hope this helps you to create your own almond ear wires, or inspires you to create your own new shape entirely!


Sparkly Jewel Cardboard Rings

Tiphony Rings
Tiphony cardboard rings.

Cheri: I find that a lot of the things I create is because I can’t create something in the usual way. In my perfect world I would be able to make jewelry from silver and have a jewelry bench with a torch, a jewelers saw, and the like. Since I don’t, I have decided to do the next best thing. I create out of what I have.

These rings are similar to how they would be made if I was using a precious metal, only a whole lot easier. The bezels are created by gluing a strip of cardboard into a ring. Then glue the edges of that ring to another piece of cardboard. After it is dry I cut closely around the strip.

I then make a ring band with another strip of cardboard and glue the bezel on to it. I  painted the whole piece to give it a patina like finish. After that is dry, I filled the bezel with sparkle glue and covered it with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.

This was a really fun project and is quite easy. I have to thank Loryn for coming up with the great name of “Tiphony.” I just love the name and it really sums up the whole project.

Tiphony Rings
Close-up of jeweled cardboard rings.
Paper Rolls Ring
Jeweled paper rings.
Tiphony Rings
Jeweled paper rings.

Crafty Challenge 3: Drinking Straw Necklace

Drinking Straw Necklace
Drinking straw necklace with triangle and chain links.

Cheri: Wow, what a tough challenge number 3 was. I spent a week trying to figure out what I was going to make. I had all kinds of ideas floating around in my head and it really gave me a new perspective on how I looked at items that I was throwing out. With projects like this, I guess the hard part is just picking up something and working with it. It doesn’t always mean that you will like what you are making but each step will give you some insight into your final product.

I decided that I would make my project out of straws. So I grabbed a bunch of straws and started to cut them, bend them and punch holes in them. When I came to the flexible part, which I had discarded, I started to work with the curves. I finally decided that I was going to make them into triangles and I would link one into the other. I fiddled with them until I had the size I wanted and then I glued each one of the ends in to the other end.

I worked with the possibility of making them into a bracelet, which would be awesome, but I really wanted to make a necklace as I had been working with using the leftover portion of the straws as a link in a chain and I liked how it looked.

I love the way the necklace hangs. After I completed it, I started thinking about using straws in different colors or using clear straws. I even worked with a hole punch and put holes in the straws and was able to put other straws through the holes and build structures, like you would with Tinker Toys.

For all my misgivings about this project it ended up being a project with unlimited possibilities, and a go-to whenever I want to make a unique piece of jewelry that is really “out of the box”.

Drinking Straw Necklace
Close up of triangle links.
Drinking Straw Necklace
Close up of chain links.

Crafty Challenge Two: Wire and O Rings Necklace

"O" Ring Necklace
A study in black and silver.

-Cheri: Craft challenge 2 was a blast. The $5.00 limit adds an interesting twist to the challenge. But I wasn’t too worried about it. Here in Logansport we have a really cool old hardware store. I think they have some of the same merchandise that they had when they opened maybe 60 odd years ago. I spent a good hour pouring over the store, opening drawers and looking in all the little nooks and crannies.

I had so many ideas I knew I was going to have a hard time congealing them into one piece. I have a tendency to overdo things so I decided I was going to get a few items and work with them for a little bit to see what I could come up with. I picked up a variety pack of O rings, a retaining ring, a spring, a small flange washer and wire. I have spent probably the last 20 years making things with wire so I was pretty sure if all else failed, I would be able to make something with the wire.

I divided the O rings up into sizes and worked with the large ones to see what I could make. I eventually hit upon the idea of twisting the circles to create a centerpiece for a necklace. I made wire links from wrapping the wire around a pencil and cutting them apart, and formed the longer pieces of wire by making a loop on each end. I was thrilled with the outcome and I think that the hardware store may become one of my favorite places to go for jewelry supplies.

Wire and O Ring Necklace
The twisted O ring loop supports the two pendant loops.

Lessons Learned or How I Put the Photography Tutorial to Use

Loryn’s photography tutorial would be useless if I didn’t actually put it to work. After watching her take photos, thinking about design and white space (which I had a lot of in my previous photos), and considering a photo list of all the shots you need when posting items to be sold, I was set loose with my camera and Photoshop.

I have been on a shell, mother of pearl and pearl kick lately in my jewelry. There are so many varieties of shells and pearls in so many colors and shapes that the opportunities and uses for them are too numerous to name or even demonstrate. I will show some of my tributes to mother nature’s wonder: Mother of Pearl.

Three shell necklaces nested together.
I call these my "UFO" necklaces.

These are the three I have completed so far. The pink and white necklaces are both made with pink shell donuts, white quartz round beads, and silver 6/0 and pink 11/0 seed beads. The black necklace is made of black shell donuts, black shell flat round beads, and silver 6/0 and black hex seed beads. I made the hook and eyes out of 18 gauge sterling silver wire.

Pink shell UFO necklace.

Black shell UFO necklace.

The difference in my photography before and after is rather dramatic. These are so much more clear and are visually interesting. Previously I had way too much white space and very little actual design. I would just drape the necklace in a circle and shoot the photo. Here I am trying to make the photos a little more dynamic. My camera is better than i remember it being (I haven’t used this one in a long time or all that often when I did use it) and the lights are wonderful (Thanks Loryn for letting me borrow them). My set-up is really pretty small and doesn’t take up a lot of space and being in a rather unused corner helps a lot. It is also really close to my worktable, so no more excuses for bad photos.

Close-up photo of the trio of UFO shell necklaces.
Nice close-up photo of the trio! Go Kristin!

And one more shot of my clasps from all three necklaces.

Close-up photo of the hook and eye clasps.
Made with 18 gauge sterling silver.

I think it was a very successful tutorial. Let’s all thank my sister Loryn for putting an end to my atrocious affront on humanity with bad photos. Thing of it is, I can appreciate my jewelry work more and see that it really is getting much better and more put-together now that I have some good photographs of it. Of course, I can also see all the flaws and errors much more easily with macro photography. etsy here I come!


Jewelry Photography 101

Loryn came to B-ton this weekend to help me get started taking jewelry pictures for my etsy shop. Photography class couldn’t start until I had the tools and environment under control. I had to clean up the are and get the photo table set-up. I have an old drafting table which has become my base, the lights are borrowed from Loryn, the camera is my old Fuji Film 3800 FinePix, and I bought a roll of banner paper from Pygmalion’s, the local art store.

Set-up of photo table.
I have hung the brackets and you can see the dowel that will hold the roll of banner paper.

Living in an A-Frame house can cause some difficulties in hanging anything from the walls, so to hang my banner paper which would become my photo backdrop, I purchased two closet rod brackets. I hung these from the walls and put a dowel though the roll of paper. This drapes down to the table and provides a great backdrop that I can replace easily and even write and doodle on with no costly consequences. Just cut and roll out another sheet and you are good to go.

Then came the actual tutorial.

The photo table with backdrop and lights on each side.
The full photo setup

Loryn here. This is what the full photography set-up looks like. After shooting thousands of objects for sale on eBay, I got the best results by having two lights balanced on each side of the object. The tripod is helpful, but not a necessity with Kristin’s camera, which has good image stabilization.

The power strip has to be close at hand (or foot, really), so we can turn the lights off and on easily. The photo lights are 500 watt daylight bulbs. They are very, very hot, and they have a 5 hour lifespan, so you only want them on while shooting. A truly professional set-up would include lights that are slaved to the camera, so they only come on when you press the shutter release. We’re not there yet, if we will ever be.

Jewelry positioned in the photo area.
Putting the jewelry in place

Here I’m trying out different positions for the camera and the jewelry. The camera has a 6X zoom, so it needs to be fairly close to get nice tight macro shots.

Loryn photographing jewelry
Photography in action

I’ve always thought that product photography is similar to taking portraits. Every object has a “face,” even just metaphorically, and a close up of that face is the shot you want for your thumbnails. Here is the “face shot” of Kristin’s pearl necklace:

Pearl necklace with dangle
Close up of Kristin's pearl necklace

Didn’t Kristin do a beautiful job designing this? She let me wear it when I got married, and it looked wonderful with my pink dress.

After the face shot, I pull back for the complete object. With necklaces, the challenge is to get the item to fill most of the frame, instead of a mostly white shot. It’s easier with a multi-strand necklace like this.

Multi-strand pearl necklace
The full necklace shot

After a few adjustments in Photoshop, the photos are ready to go! Check out the next post for more of Kristin’s jewelry!