Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make Spiral Bead Caps

This week I have a nice little tutorial on how to make your own spiral bead caps. This post is part of my "Test This Tutorial" series in which I find a tutorial on Pinterest and try it out for myself.

I found this tutorial at In Lisa's tutorial, she shows how she makes these bead caps, and she references a tutorial from written by Rena Klingenberg. I urge you to check out both of these sites as each one puts a slightly different twist on the tutorial. I think it's always good to see how different people approach a project design because we all find our own little unique ways of doing things.

To make these DIY bead caps you will need the following items:

  • Wire - I used 20 gauge silver tone Zebra wire
  • Beads - either 8mm or 10mm - I used an 8mm round glass bead
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jewelry file
  • A round or dome shaped object for forming the dome of your bead cap - I used a small dapping punch - but I found the end of a pen also works quite well

Cut a 2 1/2 inch piece of wire. I actually make these in pairs, so I go ahead and cut two pieces of wire.

File the ends of each piece of wire using the jewelry file. This makes the ends nice and smooth so they will not catch on clothing or skin.

Now use your round nose pliers to begin a simple loop at one end of the wire.

Next use your flat nose pliers to grasp the loop and begin making your coil.  Use your fingers to shape the wire into a spiral.

Now here I did something not mentioned in Lisa's and Rena's tutorials. I found I had a little piece of wire sticking out from the coil - see it in the last picture above?  I used my round nose pliers to "tuck" it in just beside the last coil.

Much better!

Now it is time to dome your bead cap so that it fits nicely over a round bead. In Rena's tutorial, she places the spiral through the end of her round nose pliers and pushes the edges down to make the dome. Lisa used a different technique - she used a steel doming block to form the dome.

I took Lisa's suggestion and used a dapping punch to form the dome. I simply placed the bead cap over the top of the dome and pushed downward - and it worked great. 

Now because I know everybody doesn't have dapping punches, I also tried it using the tip of a medium sized pen - and it really worked quite well. You can really use your imagination and use whatever is handy in your home.

And finally, here are my bead caps!

And here is what they look like on a bead:

These were so much fun to make, I made a whole bunch of them. This time I used silver plated craft wire - and they look beautiful!

Now I can't wait to use them in some pretty jewelry designs!

I hope you will try making some of these bead caps yourself. If you do, I would love to see them!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Test This Tutorial: Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace

This week I am starting a new series of posts called "Test This Tutorial." For each post I will find a DIY tutorial on Pinterest and test it out. I will describe and photograph my DIY attempts as I follow the tutorial. And hopefully I will be able to replicate the item - with my own twist of course.

I will naturally link back to the original source of each tutorial, giving credit to the original author.

With Valentine's Day approaching, I chose this Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace Tutorial. Find the Pinterest pin here or go to my Jewelry Tutorial Board. The original tutorial can be found at Happy Hour Projects.  This site has some nice jewelry and craft tutorials as well as some great recipes.

Here's a screenshot from my computer of the post from Happy Hour Projects. The screenshot shows what the necklace should look like and also shows a picture of Adrianne - the artist and designer who authors Happy Hour Projects.

What I like about this tutorial is that is simple with good photographs to follow along the way. You will need to have some basic wire-wrapping skills - specifically wire-wrapping a simple wire loop.

I will not be showing you the details on how to make this pendant. Be sure to visit Happy Hour Projects' original post for detailed instructions and photos.

For this project you need:

  • 18 gauge wire - about 5 inches
  • One 10mm bead
  • Round nose and flat nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional 6mm jump ring
I'll start by showing you my finished pendant:

Not perfect, but not too bad. But let me also share some of my first attempts. Now Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects used silver plated copper wire for her project. But I started out using some black gunmetal wire because it is inexpensive, and I knew (correctly so) that I would likely have to start over a few times.

Here's my first attempt - I have no idea how I mangled the wire so badly!

Here's my second attempt - barely better than my first!

Three's the charm - well almost. I got the shape right but marred the wire with my pliers.

Finally I gave up on the gunmetal wire. It is really quite stiff and not very malleable. I found some 18 gauge brown parawire - it really looks like antique copper and is a great deal easier to manipulate than the gunmetal.

Of course you can use any type of wire - Adrianne used silver plated copper wire in her original tutorial at Happy Hour Projects.

Here is my final attempt using the brown parawire  and a 10mm red glass bead:

I chose not to use a jump ring for attaching the pendant to the chain as was in the original tutorial. I simply slid one side of the heart onto the chain.

I think I will likely have to make a few more of these pendants before I make them as perfectly as found at Happy Hour Projects. Still, all in all I am pleased with my pendant.

Till next time!