Currently viewing the category: "jewellery making"

You’re a jewellery-making addict if:

You try to make more beads out of anything that can have a hole drilled in it (here’s a time-saver tip for you – walnut shells don’t make good beads. Ask me how I know…)

Your partner/roomate/cat hears a rattling noise in the night, and knows that it’s just you combing greedily through your bead stash by the light of the moon.

The plans for your dream house include a two-story bead studio, but the plan for the ‘kitchen’ is a microwave on top of a mini-fridge.

The local bead shop owner is your designated emergency contact on medical information

You find jumprings in your hair (true story – *shrug* I have big hair) , crimps in your cereal, and seed beads down the side of your bra.

Whenever you’re shopping for a new bag, you make sure there’s enough room inside for a set of jewellery-making pliers and a bead box.

In Lord of the Rings, you most identifed with Gollum and his totally reasonalbe love for a pretty, shiny object



Got any more to add? Put them below :)




A quickie blog post this time, to let people who are interested know that I’ve put up a free pdf on my site containing what are hopefully some helpful tips on doing a tutorial for a magazine.

It’s only made up of personal experience, but I hope it has some use….and hey, it’s free. You don’t even have to give me your e-mail address – just go here and follow the link to the page.

Let me know if you have any comments!


I had to get in on the Art Bead Scene Challenge this month – the painting was stunning, and had a mass of green-gold tones, which I adore:

Plus, painted by a woman, featuring a woman (and not in the ‘woman as object’ pose that often permeates, well, everything) – it was the perfect painting to make me join in *G*.

The greens are more olive really – I still suck at photos :(

I have some gunmetal findings which I thought would echo the darker tones very well, and I brightened them up a little with some of my polymer clay beads made specifically for this challenge in lovely green and golds, with lighter leaf and vine motifs. The deep brown carved coconut flowers hint at the darkness within the orb, and I finished the necklace off with a polymer flower, again in muted green, which is a nod to the flower decorations on the central character’s hair.


I know some of you may have seen these already, but I thought I’d do a bit of a post about some things I’ve been working on in the past year, polymer clay rings.

This is the latest:

And these were the first few, done quite a while ago:

You can probably tell that in appearance they’re based on a particular style of paper and fabric flowers, but made from polymer clay so that the flow and undulation of the ‘petals’ is kept in shape.

The ring band is also polymer clay, and they appear to be holding up well through my tests; admittedly, I haven’t tried seeing if they survive, y’know, being punched into a brick wall (you have to assume people may wear them at clubs, and well…you know what can happen after a few drinks) but they’ve survived being dropped onto a lino floor and being worn during general work.


Freeee…it’s a good word. So good I put it in the title of new tutorial I made!

Free choker necklace tutorial

Yes, that *is* my long-winded way of saying that I’ve posted a copper wire jewellery (or jewelry) tutorial on my site. And that it’s free.


This is first time I’ve ever managed to enter the Art Bead Scene challenge – I found that I’d made some beads that reminded me too much of the greens in the painting not to use them, so I created a focal to match, complete with little daisies and threaded that straight onto some copper wire to make a clasp. This way the focal and clasp are both highlighted, whilst the opposite side of the bracelet is balanced with copper jumpring clusters:


Yesterday, my Bead Soup parcel from Laurel Steven came, and my response was pretty much ‘Wow’. Here’s a picture of what my lovely soup partner sent:

I’m no good at recognising stone/semi-precious beads (the only ones I have are amethyst chips from two years ago!), but whatever they are specifically, these creamy-tan nugget beads and green rounds are stunning; they feel lovely and weighty in the hand, and have beautiful subtle colour variations. Accompanying them are little brass fillegree beads (to the right) and some pretty green glass beads too, as well as a length of brass chain, a handmade brass clasp (seen in the centre of the brass spacer beads), and best of all, a stamped heart focal. Most of the materials are ones I haven’t worked with before, and to be honest, they’re awesome; I completely understand the attraction of Vintaj and Trinity now that I have brass in my hands (feel free to laugh at me if it’s not brass but something else – whatever it is, I love it) *G* Thanks Laurel


I couldn’t help myself  – I joined up for the Bead Soup Blog Party. I just love the idea of receiving a set of random beads and making something from them…it gives me a feeling of structure *G* My partner is Laurel Steven , who I’ve just discovered, after nosing around her blog and shop, makes beautiful polymer clay items such as delicately stamped and decorated focal pendants. They’re the type of bead I love, but can’t make myself, so it’s lovely to look through her shop – plus, I love her suggestion to put a mini-collage in the cut-out centre of her heart pendants.

Compared to electrical, fabric and food industries, artisan jewellery making is probably a small drain on the world’s resources. But hey, we have to do what little we can, right? So here’s a few ideas for alternative supplies for jewellery making, as a way of cutting down on animal by-products and less-evironmentally friendly materials.
As well as making your jewellery more ‘green’, another advantage to using alternative materials is that they can help give your jewellery that extra artisan individuality. By using handmade components especially, you’re ensuring that your creations are unique, and you’re adding more significance to your own creativity with components that are also born from love and creativity (that sentence was really hard to write because it feels sappy, but I do feel that way *G*)

Put your ideas in the comments (or let me know something I don’t know…there is, after all, a lot of scope there *G*)

Stringing materials

Most jewellery has metal components, usually mined from the earth in horrible conditions, but to cut down on the amount used, here are some alternatives.

Unwaxed cotton cord or hemp

 White and Green Hemp Necklace
with Glass Teardrop Pendant by NeicosKnots

Unwaxed cotton cord or hemp- Both materials feel lovely against the skin, and can make up a delicate or casual necklaces depending on how they’re used; both knotting and macrame can make the simple cords into something a lot fancier. Perhaps you could also use any scrap wire to wrap the ends and make a small closure or clasp. For a quick course in macrame go here

Seed Bead Necklets
Metallic Blue Necklace with Flower Pendant
by SmadarsTreasure 

Seed beads and thread can make a really pretty chain for a pendant. A simple strung necklace featuring metallic finish Delicas is versatile and delicate, and easy to make, whilst beadweaving, though more time consuming, can be used for a more elaborate effect.

Copper Wire
One of a Kind Metal Pendant, Handcrafted
 From Found Metals by twistedbeading

Old, unloved electrical cables can be mined for copper wire, so you get some cheap supplies while recycling (PLEASE make sure they’re not still connected to electrics, or in use, eek!).  Plus, small pieces of wire from old jewellery and short pieces of scrap wire can be used for wiring up beads or charms; even if you’re ‘only’ using plated metals (metal is metal after all), snip the tops off previously-wired beads, collect ‘mistake’ pieces, and save them. At the very least, they can be used for practicing wirework skills, or making tiny wire charms like coils and scrolls.


 Artisan Lampwork beads
Piranha Lampwork Bead Set Blue Cobalt Black by helbels

This type of bead makes a gorgeous alternative to gemstones, and when buying handmade, artisan lampwork beads, you can be sure than the person creating them is doing so in better conditions than gemstone miners. Silver glass, like Triton, and dichroic glass can sub for the flashes in labaradoite and other stones, whilst the richness of jewel-coloured transparent glasses match rubies and sapphires. Plus, look out for beads with mica-powder decoration for a shimmery, pearl effect.

Lampwork Glass Beads Purple Sparkles
on Grey Pixiedust Spacers by boga119


Deep Cherry Red Transparent Lampwork
Small Disc Spacer Beads Set of 12 by JSavinaBeads

Glass pearls
Fantasy Fairy Jewelry – The Garden Fae
 by StarrlightJewelry 

There’s a wide range of glass pearls out there in beautiful colours, which make great substitutes for those taken out of oysters. Swarovski Elements (TM, et cetera) in particular do high quality glass pearls; in a fit of paranoia about rumours of fish scales being used in the coating of some glass pearls, I e-mailed them about this, and they stated there are no animal by-products involved in theirs, so vegans can rest easy about them!

Amazing Cream Glass Pearl Hand Beaded Necklace
with Sterling Silver by metalclothnwood 
 Cerulean sea necklace by

Polymer Clay  


Polymer Clay Cabochons Lemon Grass Faux
 Dichroic Set of 3 by Polymerpretties

- with a little bit of polymer clay, and some mica-powders, you make your own pearl-esque beads, and you’ll be able to control the size, shape, colour, and texture of them to get a more organic feel. With a few more supplies, you can mimic the look of almost any material with polymer clay, including lots of non-vegan things, making them a lot animal friendlier. If you’re not polymer-clay inclined, have a browse on Etsy – there are lots of talented artists there who are open to commissions.

Giant Pink Faux Rock Pendant 

Faux River Stone Necklace
by juliespace


Precious Metal Clay (silver)

Sorceress Fine Silver Earrings
in Chocolate Amethyst by CeeGeeJewellery

Making your own fine silver findings and beads from recycled cars? Because it’s maleable and pliant, you can mould elaborately curved toggle clasps, shape bead caps directly onto the beads for a perfect fit, and make lightweight hollow beads by connecting two curved circles together with silver clay paste.
I have to admit, I had reservations about what the ‘organic binders’ were, because this vague and oddly sinister description made me think of a distraught man yelling out ‘Organic Binders is people!!!!” (geek) but apparently the binders are plant-based. Phew.

Frank-Fine Silver Owl Handmade Necklace
Pendant Sterling by abbielyn

Christmas Confetti fine silver circle earrings


This is a bit of a fractured post :)

Firstly, the FHFTeam blog has a new article up on what to look for when buying lampwork beads, accompanied by a heap of pretty pictures. If you’ve never used lampwork beads in your jewellery before, go take a look; I promise it’s drool-worthy, and you might come away with a new addiction.

Secondly, the prize draw for a set of polymer clay beads is tomorrow, so if you haven’t entered yet, there’s only a little time left. I’m not sure whether I’ll use a random-number generator, or write numbers on little bits of paper and let an animal pick the winner. Hmmm.

Thirdly, if you’re a jewellery/jewelry maker or designer, there’s a little something coming up that you might want to get in; look out for it next week…:D

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