Monday, January 31, 2011

Make a Bracelet from a Handle

Before: Plastic Handle
Sometimes ideas come easy. At other times, creative energy is hard to find. The other day when I was bringing in DH's dry cleaning and I removed the handle from the box of dress shirts, I knew I found a perfect item to repurpose into a bangle bracelet.

My daughter and I played with a lot of ideas. We thought about weaving satin, cloth, imitation leather or suede through the holes or adding beads to embellish. We played with different styles of clasps. In the end, we decided simple was better and more striking.

Automatic center punch or center punch
Size 41 drill bit

After: Bracelet by
Sterling silver "S" clasp

Step 1
Remove the 7-inch handle from the box and wash it.

Step 2
Use an automatic center punch to mark where you want to drill holes to attach the finding. Drill a hole where you marked the plastic.

We drilled the holes in the center of the end pieces, but you may want to adjust the location of the holes depending on the finding you use.
After: Bracelet by GeltDesign

Step 3

Add the handmade or commercial finding. Test to be sure the finding will stay secure on one side but can slip in  and out of the other side rather easily when putting on or taking off the cuff bracelet.

Related Tutorials
How to Make a Simple "S" Clasp 
Make a Cuff Bracelet from a Plastic Bottle

Further Reading
"500 Bracelets: An Inspiring Collection of Extraordinary Designs (500 Series)"; Lark; 2005.
"EveryDay Upcycle: 101 Scrap Crafts and Repurpose Projects"

Day 72.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: plastic handle
New Jewelry a Day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Make Hex Nut Earrings

Before: Hex Nuts
Hardware comes in many interesting shapes and sizes. The hardware store is a great source for inexpensive, often colorful materials to use in jewelry making.

We had another busy weekend but we found time to make a set of simple earrings using stray stainless steel hex nuts leftover from a long finished remodeling project. We liked the combination of silver and blue in these simple, easy to make earrings.

Spool of blue suede
2 stainless steel hex nuts
2 surgical steel hypoallergenic fish hook earring findings
Blue suede or other stringing materials

After: Earring by

Step 1
Select the hex nuts.

Step 2
Cut about five inches of blue suede or the stringing material of your choice.

Step 3
Fold the suede in half and then make a square knot about midway to make a loop at the top of the suede.

Step 4
Slide the hex nut over the loop so the hex nut sits on top of the knot.

Step 5
Add an earring finding to the loop.

Step 6
Repeat to create the matching earring.

Related Tutorials
Make Earrings from Grommets
Make a Bracelet from Grommets
Make a Three Strand Bracelet from Copper Washers
Make a Bib Necklace from Washers  

Further Reading
"Making Designer Jewelry from Hardware, Gems, and Beads": Nicole Noelle Sherman; 2008.
"Hardwear: Jewelry from a Toolbox"; Hannah Rogge; 2006.

Day 71.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: hex nuts
New Jewelry a Day.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make Wishbone Earrings from Wire

Before: Scrap Metal
Another glum, dark snowy day in Washington, DC. Yes, I know it is winter. It is supposed to be cold... but DC is south of the Mason Dixon line so we are NOT supposed to have THIS much snow.

And, to make matter worse, the snow is not fun snow. It is not cross country down the avenue on a weekend snow. It is not good sledding snow. It is not snow ball snow. The snow is a wet, icy, yucky mess. Even the kids are sick of starting the day shoveling snow. OK, enough complaining.

Luckily the power is back on and it is nice and warm in our studio... where we spent the morning making a pair of simple elegant earrings from scrap wire.

19-gauge round gold filled wire
(or sterling silver, brass or copper)

Nylon jaw pliers
Mandrel or  Wrap n' Tap pliers 
After: Earrings by
Wire cutters
Needle file, wire rounder or flex shaft and 18-gauge cup burr
Tumbler or rawhide mallet and steel bench block or anvil

Step 1
Use nylon jaw pliers to smooth out the wire and remove kinks.

Step 2
Cut about 4 inches of wire of 19-gauge round gold filled or other wire.

Step 3
File the ends smooth.

Step 4
Place the wire on a steel bench block or anvil and hammer about 1-1/2 to 2 inches of the wire until flat.

Bend wire
Step 5
Bend the wire until the hammered front is about 2-1/8 inches (5.4 cm) long and the back is about 1-1/4 inches (3.2 cm). The front should have only the lower portion hammered.

Take care that the wire that fits through the ear (including the arc) is not hammered. Adjust the wire as needed to shape.

Adjust wire
Step 6
Tumble the earrings to harden the wire and add shine.

Related Tutorials
How to Straighten Wire
How to Use a File for Jewelry Making
How to Smooth Sharp Edges on Copper Brass and Sterling Wire
How to Make a Paddle Head Pin
How to Make an Eye Pin
How to Make A Simple Head Pin
How to Decide Wire Gauge for Wire Wrapped Jewelry
How to Use a Flex Shaft to Make Jewelry
How to Make a Ball Head Pin
How to Twist Wire
How to Clean Gold Filled Jewelry

Further Reading 
"Make Your Own Great Earrings: Beads, Wire, Polymer Clay, Fabric, Found Objects"; Jane LaFerla; 1999.
"101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects and Techniques"; Denise Peck; 2009.
"The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Less"; Stephanie A. Wells; 2010.

Day 70.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: scrap wire
New Jewelry a Day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Make a Charm Bracelet from Toy Figurines

Snow again. Yesterday the kids had no school and we had intermittent electricity. Today school started two hours late.  Our power was restored but folks all of over town still have no power --
Before: Toys in the toy box
and that includes many traffic lights. DC is a mess.

For the past three days, I had to begin my day by shoveling snow and I have body parts that hurt that I did not even remember I had. Why should my side be sore from shoveling snow? (We all know my sore parts could not be due to sledding or otherwise playing in the snow! It has to be the shoveling!)

After: Charm Bracelet by
The good news for the GeltDesigns girls is that the snow gave us extra time to play in our studio -- after we finished playing in the snow. Today, we used more toy figurines to make a charm bracelet.

Silver chain with clasp
Seven jump rings
Seven small screw eyes
Seven figurines

Parallel flat nose pliers or
Parallel chain nose pliers

Step 1
Select the toys. Arrange the toys in the order you want to use them as charms for your bracelet. Gather your other tools and materials.  

We picked seven figurines of about the same size in different shapes and colors, but you can use more or less depending on the toys you pick. Picking the items and arranging the order is half the fun.

Step 2
Take a toy and make a divot in the toy where you want to attach the screw eye.  Begin screwing the screw eye into the back where you made the divot. For most soft plastic toys, you do not need to drill first; unless the plastic is quite hard, just mark the toy and begin screwing the part into the toy.

Use pliers for added leverage when screwing in the eye. It may be easier to hold the screw eye with your pliers and turn the toy figurine to secure the finding rather than trying to screw the eye into the toy.

Use jump ring to attach toy charm
Step 3
Attach a jump ring to the screw eye and to the chain.

Step 4
Repeat with each remaining figurine until the bracelet is complete.

Related Tutorials
How to Make Jump Rings
Make Game Piece Earrings
Make a Spider Pin from a Toy
Make a Necklace from Figurines
Make a Lizard Pin from a Toy
Make Dog Earrings from Toys
Make Post Earrings from Vintage Game Pieces

Further Reading
"500 Bracelets: An Inspiring Collection of Extraordinary Designs (500 Series)"; Lark; 2005.
 "1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)"; Garth Johnson; 2009.

New & Noteworthy
"1,000 Steampunk Creations: Neo-Victorian Fashion, Gear, and Art (1000 Series)"; Grymm; 2011.

Day 69.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: toys
New Jewelry a Day.

TGIF! Enjoy your weekend. :) 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make a Bracelet from a Plastic Bottle

Before: Plastic bottle
Yesterday we made a cuff bracelet from a used shampoo bottle taken from our recycling can. The bottle was one of those tank sized bottles purchased at Costco so it was easy to make a cuff bracelet.

After: Boxed bracelet by
Today we are used another plastic bottle taken from the recycling can and used the plastic to make diamond shaped charms for a bracelet. Same technique. Different look.

Plastic bottle
Jump rings

Xacto knife
Center punch or automatic center punch
Flex shaft, Dremel or drill press
Micro-drill bit set (#61-80)
Pyrex measuring cup
Mandrel (optional)

Step 1
Select the bottle. We used a bright green bottle. Remove all stickers and clean the bottle.

Step 2
Cut the plastic using a craft knife or scissors. We cut our diamonds about 1-1/4 inch square, but you can make the plastic charms any size you want.

Step 3
Mark the plastic where you want holes with a center punch or automatic center punch. Drill holes in the marked spots.

Step 4
Flatten and form the plastic. Dip the plastic in hot (but not boiling) water to shape the plastic charms and soften the edges of the plastic. We used a mandrel to get a slight bend in the plastic charms so the bracelet would fit better when worn but many household items (including a stainless steel coffee cup) can be used to form the plastic charms.

Add jump rings to create chain
Step 5
Feed a jump ring through each drilled hole. Connect the charms with additional jump rings to make a chain. We used gold filled jump rings and findings (because we liked the color contrast and that is what we had) but you can use any size or metal findings you like for your design.

After: Upcycled Bracelet by
Step 6
Add the clasp. We used a spring clasp, but you can use any clasp you like.

Related Tutorials
How to Determine Bracelet Sizes
Make a Cuff Bracelet from a Plastic Bottle
How to Make a Soda Bottle  Bracelet
How to Make a Knitting Needle Bracelet
How to Make a Record Cuff Bracelet
How to Make a Pop Top Bracelet

Further Reading
"500 Bracelets: An Inspiring Collection of Extraordinary Designs (500 Series)"; Lark; 2005.
"500 Plastic Jewelry Designs: A Groundbreaking Survey of A Modern Material (500 Series)"; Lark; 2009.
"The Art of Jewelry: Plastic & Resin: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration"; Debra Adelson; 2008.

Day 68.  Month 3. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent to date: 0
Found materials: plastic bottle
New Jewelry a Day.