December 9, 2018

Beginner Metal Polishing - Tumbling and Polishing Papers

You would think I would have looked into polishing my metal components before now - but I've always thought tumbling was enough. And tumbling is definitely better than not tumbling, but I'm coming to the conclusion that tumbling is definitely not the same as polishing.

Here's a before and after photo that I hope will help illustrate the difference.

The difference between tumbling and polish papers - top vs. bottom

The bottom paddle was 'polished' using a rotary rock tumbler. The top paddle has been polished to a mirror like shine using polishing papers. To be fair, I don't think I polished the bottom paddle with a cloth or anything, so it's a little tarnished - but trust me, that's not the only difference.

Before I jump into using polishing papers, I'll give a little overview of tumble polishing.

December 2, 2018

Fancy Beaded Mandala Pendant with Circular Netting Stitch

Circular netting is a versatile beadwork stitch that can be used to make everything from small beaded pendants to beaded drink coasters and place mats. All it takes is time and beads.  Ok - and you'll need to know technique too.

free tutorial to learn circular bead netting - used to make mandalas and flower pendants

The basic circular netting stitch can be found in my previous article.  Today is a promised followup to take your circular netting to the next step and make mandala style pendants.


November 3, 2018

Easy Bead Stringing - How to Make a Glue Needle

Stringing beads onto floppy thread or cord can be maddening, if not downright impossible.  Several solutions exist to this problem. There are big eye or collapsible eye needles, both of which work fabulously, but only if your thread or cord can fit through the bead doubled over.  I have run into this problem several times recently making macrame bracelets.

How to make a glue needle to add beads to cord when the barely fit

The charm on this bracelet sat unused for the longest time because I couldn't get a cord through the small holes. When I tried, the cord would just split and fray.

What can you do when you have the perfect beads but the cord will just barely fit through them? You could use silk cord with a built-in needle - but that can get expensive, and silk cord doesn't work for all knotting options - especially macrame or kumihimo.  My solution is to make a glue needle.


October 20, 2018

Dapping a Domed Spiral Wire Ring - Free Tutorial

This is a new spiral wire ring design for me. I have made spiral wire rings before, but this one is slightly different - one that I like a bit better for a number of reasons.

domed spiral wire ring free tutorial - Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

First, the ring is larger and more substantial than the others I've made. This is due to using a thicker (smaller gauge) wire. I also like the ring band, which has no extra wraps or fuss, is more comfortable to wear. Last, the domed top allowed me to dust off another tool I haven't used in a while, and that's always a good thing!  Here's how I made it.

October 12, 2018

Perfect Pearl and Bead Knotting: A Simple and Fast Method

Pearl knotting isn't just for pearls.  Strands of pearls are most likely to be knotted between beads to prevent them from rubbing together and damaging the delicate surface, but many other beads look great knotted.

Perfect Pearl and Bead Knotting Tutorial

However, knotting between beads, like many other jewelry making techniques, has several variables to consider and takes practice to get it right. Luckily, there is an easy way to knot that doesn't require practice or skill or special tools to get great results.

You also don't need to knot between every bead. Sometimes it makes sense to add a knot every few beads on the strand just in case a necklace breaks - all of the beads won't be lost.

August 24, 2018

Circular Netting Beadwork - The Basics and Beyond

I've been working on these little doo-dad mandala beaded charms for a month or so now.  I'm finally backtracking to publish some instructions though. These designs are where I started my exploration, but I was already familiar with the basics of circular netting.


 And even though I know the stitch pretty well, I still decided it would be useful to take a step back from the colors and fancy crystals to start with the basic circular design and try to evolve to the more complex designs like you see above.

August 18, 2018

Teardrop Wire Frame with Coil Decoration Earring Tutorial

I made these earrings a while ago, but they are still a favorite of mine. They are perfect for everyday wear, and if you experiment, you'll find they look terrific when you vary the metals - gold filled or brass coils on a silver frame, silver on a copper frame, etc.

Wire Teardrop Earring Free Tutorial

Once you have the basic technique down, the size can easily be altered to make them larger or smaller. You can also follow the instructions here to make the wire teardrop frames without the coils.

July 6, 2018

Best Tools to Make Perfect Wire Rosary Loops

Jewelry making seems like a constant process of one step forwards, two steps back. Just when you think you've perfected a technique, it seems to make sense to step back and re-evaluate what you know - either because you read a new tip, there's a new tool, the wire you are working with is a different thickness, temper, etc.

Or is it just me?

I guess I have to leave that possibility open. I'm sure there are plenty of jewelry makers who learned to make a wire loop with their standard round nose pliers, checked the box and moved on.  That's most definitely NOT me.

My free tutorial this month at The Spruce Crafts is how to make a traditional five decade rosary.

Best Tools to Make Perfect Rosary Loops

One thing about making this type of rosary - if you weren't an expert at loops when you started, you sure as heck probably are when you're finished!  But, in this case, I think a new tool made all the difference.