Monday, 3 December 2018

XMAS WREATH Decoration

As a small, home business, this is my busiest time of year
and my hands and eyes have been in working in overdrive,
taking on all the seasonal work I can possibly muster!

One of the things I enjoy most is teaching and from
November onwards, I have been running lots of Christmas
decoration workshops for all group sizes.

Over the years I have designed many styles of window,
tree and card ornaments, which can double up as pendants
and earrings when scaled down in size ...

My XMAS WREATH DECORATION is a particular favourite
and as mentioned, it can also be created as pendant.






















Firstly, decide on the overall size of your 'wreath', as this will
determine what wire you will need to form the base circle
structure.  I used 1.6mm aluminium wire ... however, 1mm silver
plated copper, works perfectly well. You will also need 0.4mm
for the 'tiara' twisting, plus your choice of coloured beads.

STEP 1





















Wrap your wire around a circular mandrel and cut from
the spool, leaving an overlap.

STEP 2
Secure one end around the frame.

STEP 3






















Straighten the other end. (This will eventually form the
suspension loop).

STEP 4


















Hammer the circular frame on a steel block and if you wish, you
can also texture it with the 'dapping' head of the Whammer.

STEP 5






















Cut an 'arm's' length of 0.4mm wire and attach the centre
to the frame. This way you can start by using half of the
length to wirewrap in one direction and the other, for the
opposite side.

STEP 6






















Thread a bead onto one of the wires and holding it a little
distance from the frame, bring the rest of the wire around
the bead. Grip this looped wire together on the edge of the
frame and twist the bead to produce a twisted stem.  If you've
ever made a tiara ... you'll be very familiar with this technique!

STEP 7




















Continue adding more beads around the frame and twisting
each of the stems. Small seed beads can be used to create 'leaf'
shapes.

STEP 8






















If you run out of wire, just add more and continue where you
left off ...

STEP 9






















Once you have covered the frame - you can stop right there, it
looks pretty as it is ...
(Here's one I made earlier):


















However, I am going to continue to show how I would make
it look a little more 'wreath-like'.

STEP 10






















Using the tips of your chain or round nosed pliers, tweak
the twisted stems and shape them (plus the beaded leaves),
drawing them in and on top of the frame.

STEP 11

















If you want to fill any gaps, you can at this stage,"wire in"
some more beads.  I have used varying sizes of gold coloured
beads. (But you could also use red beads as 'berries').

STEP 12





















Create a top suspension link with the projecting wire and add
a 'figure of 8' link to this. You can also choose to suspend a
bead from the centre of your wreath.

STEP 13





















If you wish to add a bow to the top of your decoration,
cut a piece of ribbon. Loop 2 sides into towards each
other and secure the centre with a piece of 0.4mm wire.
(You can also attach a bead to this wire as a central
decoration).

STEP 14
And there you have it! It's ready to be suspended and enjoyed!























Alternatively, have fun creating it as a window decoration, to
blend in with your home decor colours!

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

I also have a speedy version! Follow STEPS 1-4 (above) to
create the circular outer frame of the wreath, then ...

STEP A





















Using the Coiling Gizmo, coil around 2" of 0.5mm green wire.
(If you don't own a Gizmo, wrap by hand around a knitting needle).

STEP B

Stretch the coil out, leaving some 'curlywurlyness' ...

STEP C





















Wrap the 'curlywurly' wire around the frame ...

STEP D






















Once it's attached, spread it around the frame. If you want
a fuller looking wreath, just add another layer of curly wire!

STEP E






















Using 0.4mm wire, add some 'berry' beads, 'sewing' them
in between the curly wire.

STEP F






















And once again, you can add a central 'dangle' bead. I used a
teardrop crystal, but if you have a bell shaped bead that would
work beautifully too!

I hope this has inspired you to make some 
for gifts and decorations! 

Ding Dong Merrily On ... 
Using Pliers and Festive Wires!
 




Tuesday, 6 November 2018

BUBBLE CHAIN

As the countdown to the 'C' word begins ... I am sure
all you creative souls out there, are making lists of what
gifts to make for various family members and friends.

There's plenty of scope with wire - from jewellery, to
home decor and even card toppers and I'm sure, if you
look back at older posts on this blog, you'll find plenty of
inspiration!

I'm still revisiting the projects from my 'Making Colourful
Wire And Beaded Jewellery Book'






















And found this decorative 'BUBBLE CHAIN' design,
which could be created as a Christmas or Special Occasion
gift.






















All you need is 0.8mm (20 gauge) wire of any colour or
type, plus your basic tool kit and you're ready to roll!

STEP 1


















Depending on what you're making (bracelet or necklace),
cut 4" (10cm) lengths of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire for each
chain unit.  I would guess at 7 lengths for a bracelet and
possibly 14 for a necklace.

Using your round nosed pliers, curl a link at one end. Then,
place your round nosed pliers next to the link and form
another, larger link (like a '8').

STEP 2


















Continue curling the wire in complete circles (of varying sizes)
around your pliers until you have used up all the wire and have
just enough to form a link at the opposite end.

STEP 3




















Repeat, to create more 'Bubble Chain' units, all of which will be
guaranteed to be slightly varied and unique!

STEP 4





















Place each unit on your steel block and gently tap hammer with the
nylon mallet end of the Whammer hammer to flatten and temper.

STEP 5













You can also use one of the 4" wire lengths to create an integrated
fish hook clasp for your bracelet or necklace.  Start by making a
standard 'fish hook' ...

STEP 6




















... and then 'bubble it up'!

STEP 7



















It's the same for the opposite end:  Make the 'eye' of the clasp, by
creating a wrapped loop at one end ...

STEP 8

















... and 'bubble' up the rest of the length!

STEP 9






















Using jump rings, connect all the 'Bubble Chain' units together
attaching the clasp 'hook' and 'eye' at each end.



















This technique can be varied in so many ways and here is some
more inspiration to get you going:





















Why not create a matching pair of earrings with beads suspended
from the end link? 























Or, create a bracelet with integrated, wired-in beads filling some
the bubble areas?





















You could also connect beads in between the chain links. The necklace
above, has a longer 'bubble' unit (which forms the curved centerpiece).



















I think you'll agree it's a simple, adaptable chain linking system.
So have fun with your wire experimentations!

Next time ...  we're revisiting another old favourite chain link
of mine: the 'STICK TWIST' chain! So do stayed tuned for more wire
fuelled inspiration sooooon ....



Wednesday, 17 October 2018

SCARF SLIDE

With blustery autumn winds blowing the fallen
leaves around, it's just the right time to wrap up
with a scarf! This scarf slide is designed for a
decorative, textile scarf (not a thick woolen one!)
and is a practical solution to holding it in place, as
well as accessorising an outfit! You could also use
it as a belt buckle, or to secure a beach sarong!























You can create it using 1mm copper plated wire, however in
the version I am about to demonstrate, I have used 2mm
aluminium wire.

STEP 1






















Wrap about 16" to 20" of 2mm aluminium wire around a circular
mandrel in a figure of '8'. The size of the circles will obviously
depend on the thickness of the scarf you wish to use it with.

STEP 2






















Remove the wire unit from the mandrel and bind together
at the centre, using 0.6mm wire. Cut off the ends of the
binding wire and 'squish' down with your flat nosed pliers.

STEP 3























Place on a steel block and hammer the outer edges of the circles
to work harden and flatten. However, do not hammer the projecting
wires on each side!

STEP 4
















Spiral the projecting wires in towards the centre and flatten one
on one side and the other, on the opposite side (hiding the binding
underneath). Tap each spiral with the hammer to flatten and work
harden at the centre of the unit.

STEP 5 - Variation


















If desired you can 'glue' a flat backed crystal to the spiral, adding extra
decoration and colour to your scarf slide.























This works well if you are matching it with a scarf and giving it
as a gift!























This Scarf Slide can be worn either way.
*  Place the centre of the scarf at the back of your neck
with both sides hanging down on each side in the front.
* Thread both ends of your scarf down through the top
circle, under the spiral and back through the bottom circle.
* Slide the scarf rings up to the desired position and the
'buckle' will hold the scarf neatly together.

VARIATION (2)


















Once you've had fun making one, you might want to try
another shape! This one, just requires you to wrap the centre
of your wire around the mandrel, bringing the ends together ...



















Wrap one wire around the other to secure and cut off the excess.
Straighten the projecting stem out.




















Curl and spiral the projecting stem wire and flatten it over the
wrapped wire at the tip of the frame.






















Place the piece on your steel block and hammer the edges of the
frame to temper and flatten.


















Cut another length of 2mm aluminium wire (long enough to span
across the central space of the frame, with approx. 2.5" extending
over each side). Bind to secure around the edges of the frame.



















You can choose to cut off the excess wire on each side of the frame,
or add extra decoration (as above) by spiraling and flattening it on each
side.  For extra colour, you can attach a flat back crystal to the tip!























And here it is in action, on a scarf!

VARIATION (3)



















For my trio of scarf slides, here's a circular one ...




















Attach one end of the wire to the side of the circular frame ...




















Create a swirly spiral with the projecting end.
Hammer the outer frame to work harden.




















Cut another wire to form the cross-bar of the buckle.
Wrap to secure at the centre, on each side of the frame.
Cut off the excess wire and neaten the ends.






















Now it's ready for use! And if you want it to match a scarf,  as before,
just attach a 'stone' to the spiral!






















TA DAaaaaaaaa!!!

So there's my trio of Scarf Slides, which I hope will inspire you
to create your own!




















Next time ... I look forward to reproducing a decorative
BUBBLE chain design ...