December 09, 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 02, 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 03, 2018

DIY Glue Needle for Easy Bead Stringing

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.

DIY glue needle for easy bead stringing

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 06, 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.

June 29, 2018

How to Make Decorative Jewelry Knots: Josephine Knot and Double Coin Knot

Decorative knots are always handy to know for jewelry making. After all, that's pretty much the whole basis of macrame - making decorative knots in a variety of patterns with different materials.  Last month, my tutorial for The Spruce Crafts was how to make a Chinese Double Coin Knot.

I did my research, like I always do, and wrote my tutorial - only to figure out just before my publishing deadline that the tutorial I wrote was for the very similar, almost identical, vaguely different Josephine Knot. A bit frustrating - but I still had time to re-shoot my pictures and make the deadline.  I figured since I already did the tutorial for the Jospehine Knot, I may as well share it here, as well as what the difference is.

May 08, 2018

Cotter Pin Copper Chain Free Tutorial

Cotter Pin Copper Chain, Cotter Pin Copper Chain - it sounds like a tongue twister, doesn't it?  Thanks to that observation, I'll probably get dinged by google for repeating keywords, but I doubt it will matter too much.

Cotter Pin Chain Free Tutorial at Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog

I'll start by admitting I had to search for a name for this chain. Once you see a cotter pin, also known as a split pin, you'll see that it is perfectly appropriate. And far better than me calling this a hammered round loop double open loop chain which is where I was heading. Making this has put me back on a bit of a chain making and metal binge again. It feels good (really good) to hammer metal sometimes.

February 27, 2018

Huichol Style Beaded Daisy Flower and Star Tutorial

From the time I first saw colorful Huichol style beadwork, I have been itching to give it a try.  This week, I finally did - and I was not disappointed in the least. I think I may be sticking with this for a few more weeks.

Huichol beadwork is made using netting stitch. These flowers are all circular netting. Like many other stitches, netting has multiple forms of the stitch - tubular netting, flat horizontal netting, flat vertical netting and circular netting.  What you may not realize is that one of the most popular beadwork stitches is a type of netting stitch. Can you guess which one?

February 09, 2018

Chinese Knotting Cord Macrame Bracelets

Today will be a challenge. I have been making macrame bracelets with chinese knotting cord since Thanksgiving, and hoping to write about them, but here I am with an hour to go before I leave on a flight and I'm going to get this done!  Crazy!!

DIY Chinese Knotting Cord Bracelets

This isn't the first time I've made or published macrame bracelets. It's one of my first projects I learned in high school.  But, the new part for me is the Chinese knotting cord. It is, for sure, a game changer!  I also made the pretty heart centerpiece above as part of the heart wire jig tutorial I published last week.

January 31, 2018

Making Wire Heart Rings Using a Wire Jig

I have a lot of tools - so many that I have a tendency to forget about them. I actually have several jewelry making tools that are still in their packages, unopened. How does that happen?  Most people buy tools because they need them. I buy tools because I think someday I'll want to try something.

Free Wire Heart Ring Tutorial Using a Wire Jig

A wire jig was one of my early tool purchases. My first one was the purple plastic jig that you buy at the craft store. I used it right away and guess what?