Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Make a Ring from a Spoon

Go to almost any yard sale and you will find pieces of mismatched flatware. Rings upcycled from vintage or antique sterling silver or silver-plated spoons and other flatware are easy to construct. Spoon rings are clever, ageless jewelry.

Jewelry saw
Step 1
Select an old spoon to use to create a ring. Vintage and antique sterling silver or sterling plate flatware work particularly well and will make interesting jewelry.

Step 2
Determine the size ring you need by measuring your finger or the finger of the person for whom you plan to make the ring. If you do not have a ring sizing tool, take a piece of paper and wrap it around the finger for which you plan to make the ring. Mark and cut the paper to the ring size needed.

Step 3
Place the sizing paper on the decorative end of the spoon. Cut the spoon to size using a jewelry saw.

Sanding sponges
Step 4
File the end of the cut metal until quite smooth, then use sand paper or sanding sponges until the metal is smooth enough to be worn as a ring. You can use traditional files and sand paper or a flex shaft and sanding tools to smooth and then sand the metal.

Butane torch
Step 5
Anneal the metal cut from the spoon with a torch, to soften the metal and make forming the ring easier. If you do not have a torch, you can still form the ring but the metal will be more difficult to move and shape.

Form spoon into ring
Step 6
Form the ring by wrapping the cut metal around a ring mandrel at the size needed. Use a forming mallet to shape.

Step 7
Finish the ring by buffing and polishing to a high shine. You can leave the spoon ring shiny or you can chose from a variety of alternate finishes. For example, you can add a mat or scratch finish. You can also add color through patina or enamel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Make a Bracelet from a Knitting Needle

Vintage plastic knitting needles get a new modern look when they are made into a bangle bracelet. With a few simple tools you can upcycle old knitting needles into fantastic jewelry.

Vintage plastic knitting needle(s)
Pot of boiling water
Bracelet mandrel

Step 1
Select a plastic knitting needle that you want to turn into a new bracelet.

Step 2
Boil a pot of water.

Step 3
Place the knitting needle into the water until it softens and can be formed, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 4
Measure your wrist and gather a mandrel in the appropriate size. Women have different wrist sizes, so it is important to measure for size before forming. Chose your mandrel based on the size you need. An average bangle size is about 8" inner circumference (20 cm inner circumference). If you do not have a bracelet mandrel, look around your house for a substitute. Baseball bats, certain canned goods, jars, a fallen tree limb and similar round objects can all be used a mandrels in a pinch.

Step 5
Carefully remove the knitting needle from the water using tongs or tweezers and wrap the knitting needle around a mandrel to the size you desire for your bracelet.

Step 6
Allow the plastic to cool on the mandrel or, to hasten the process, remove the bracelet from the mandrel and place it in a bowl of cold water to set.

Step 7
Adjust the bracelet. If you are not happy with the shape you can put the knitting needle back into the boiling and repeat the process until you are pleased with the result.

Note that the colors may change or fade when boiled. You can use the same technique to make a knitting needle ring. Substitute a ring mandrel for the bracelet mandrel.

If you do not like working on your stove top, you can preheat an oven (or toaster oven) designated solely for crafts to 350 degrees F and then bake the knitting needles for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the plastic is pliable.

Take care when working with boiled water.

Be sure to use proper exhaust and ventilation when heating and forming plastic.

Do not reuse pots for food after using for crafts.

Take care that knitting needles used are not sharp. File away any burrs, sharps or items that could catch clothes or injure the wearer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Make a Cell Phone Charm

Cell phone charm by
Most cell phones look the same until you decorate them with a cell phone charm! We used basic wire wrapping techniques to create a cell phone charm using basic tools available in most beading, jewelry supply and hardware stores.

Cell phone finding
Head pin

Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters

Step 1
Assemble your tools and materials.

Select your beads and arrange your design. You can use any loose beads that fit on the head pin, including craft beads, lampwork beads, blown glass beads, dichroic beads, sterling silver beads, gold filled beads. You can also combine different types of beads as you sort through jewelry supplies to find your ideal pattern.

Step 2
Feed the beads onto the head pin in your desired pattern.

Make loop
Step 3
Use round nose pliers to create a loop at the top of the head pin just above the last bead. Wrap the tail end of the wire three times to secure the loop. Trim any excess wire with your wire cutters. File smooth, if needed.

Step 4
Open finding
Open the finding with your pliers.

Step 5
Attach the charm to the finding. Slip the loop of the drop you just created onto the cell phone finding. Close the loop of the cell phone finding with your pliers so
Attach charm & close finding
that it is secure.

Step 6
Your cell phone charm is now ready to be placed on the cell phone. Make a few and use them interchangeable.