Beautiful Beaded Bracelets!

DSCN5292I’ve known you could crochet with beads and wire for years, and have tried it in the past, but was never super happy with the results. But then I crocheted three chains with beads and braided them together, and quite like the results!DSCN5284

I used clamshells over the ends of the wires, and then attached my findings to them. The biggest problem I had with these was estimating how long to make the chains, as I wasn’t sure how much the act of braiding would shorten them. But I estimated all right; it turns out I was right on with my first try, discounting the clasp: Oops! So this guy’s a little looser than I like, but still perfectly wearable 🙂 DSCN5281

I made both of these bracelets in under an hour! A fun, easy craft if you already know how to crochet!

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Braided Kelp Necklace

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Check out this beautiful necklace, inspired by seaweed! Mostly iridescent green, an odd stripe of lavender twists through it like sea foam, twined among the strands of kelp. This necklace is deceptively simple. If you can braid, you can make it! What I love about this design, and what sets it apart, is the play of texture and color. Using cylindrical seed beads keeps the individual strands distinct, and a single strand of contrasting color and texture add an unexpected twist, literally!

Ready for the tutorial? Here goes!

Materials:materials

  • strong thread
  • beading needle
  • fine chain – approx. 10″
  • 6 clam shell bead tips
  • 1 lobster clasp
  • 4 jump rings
  • quite a lot of seed beads – mine were cylindrical
  • about 1/9 as many seed beads as the other type
  • scissors and pliers

Directions:

  1. Cut nine lengths of string, each approximately 15″ long.step 1
  2. Thread three strings through each clam shell. Knot, trip the ends, and use the pliers to close the bead tip.step 2
  3. Using the beading needle, bead all but one of the nine strands with about 12″ of seed beads. Bead the 9th strand in a complimentary color. I used chartreuse as my main color and lavender for the accent strand.step 3
  4. Braid each group of strings. I recommend putting a small piece of tape on the bottom of each string so the beads don’t slide off.step 4
  5. Thread the tail ends of the braids through another clam shell, one bead tip per braid. Knot, trip, and close the bead tip.step 5
  6. Wiggle one jump ring open, and loop it through one end of each braid. Before you close it, also loop it through the end of your chain. Close with pliers.step 6
  7. Now braid the three braids together.
  8. Open a second jump ring and loop it through the three clam shell bead tips and the other end of the chain.step 7
  9. Find the half-way point of the chain and, using the pliers, open a link. On each of the newly separated chain-ends, put on one jump ring.
  10. Add the lobster clasp to one side, and voila! IMG_20140828_184720_312

Tips and Ideas:

  • Play with color and texture! Make one whole braid a contrast instead of just one strand.
  • Use multicolored beads in no particular order to create a braid that looks almost woven.
  • Experiment with differences in length. Maybe a shorter beaded section? Or maybe make a braid long enough to go all around your neck!
  • Try different bead sizes. Larger seed beads or even pony beads would make a chunkier statement piece.

Tasseled Cork Earrings tutorial

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Hello!

I’ve got a fun little tutorial for you all today! Making earrings out of wine corks! And not just any earrings: earrings with beaded tassels. Of course, you don’t have to add the tassels, but where’s the fun in that?

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You can make these funky or classy, but whichever direction you go, you’ll make a statement and turn heads! These can be a little tricky, especially the tassels, but with patience, anyone can make them. And so, without further ado, the tutorial!

Materials:Image

 

  1. Acrylic paint and paint brush
  2. Wine cork
  3. X-acto knife
  4. Pin and beading needle
  5. Thread
  6. Scissors
  7. 2 large beads – how large is up to you; I recommend about the size of a pony bead
  8. Roughly 100 seed beads
  9. Post-earring backs
  10. E6000 or similar adhesive

Directions:

  • Use the knife to carefully slice off sections of the wine cork. I suggest cutting more than two, so you can pick the best slices to work with. You want them to be somewhere around 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Too thin and the slices with crumble, too thick and they’ll sit oddly on your ears.Image
  • Paint the cork slices. Be creative! I went with a design on one pair and solid purple on another. If you’re using a light color, a base coat of white on the cork will help show off the color. Also, if you want a smoother surface, you can gently sand the cork slices before painting.
  • Once the cork is dry, take your sturdy pin and push it through the cork slice. It may not go through the entire diameter, but that’s okay. As long as you make sure the pin goes at least halfway through the cork and pokes out on the unpainted side, you’re good.ImageSee how the pointed end of the pin emerges at the center of the section. That’s what you want. If the pin goes through further before emerging, that’s good too.

 

  • Now pull the pin out and slip a threaded beading needle through the ‘tunnel’ the pin made. You want about 12 inches of thread on the needle. Once it’s through, unthread the needle and rethread it so the tail comes out in the center and the working end is off the edge: look at the pictures below for clarification.

    ImageImage

  • Now thread on one of the large beads and about 15 seed beads. You can add more or fewer seed beads if you want a longer or shorter tassel. Be careful, when threading, that you don’t pull the thread through the cork.Image

  • Now thread the needle back through all the seed beads except the last one you threaded. In doing this, you’re creating the first dangle of the tassel. You want to play with the tension here. If you don’t pull tight enough, the dangle won’t touch the large bead, and if you pull too tight, it will stick out funny. Have patience and play around!

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  • In order to secure this dangle and move on to the next, thread around and back up through the seed bead closest to the large bead.

  • ImageNow thread another dangle’s worth of seed beads. You can make each dangle the exact same length, or you can vary it a bit. Mine are 13, 13, 14, and 15 beads long. Follow the same procedure, running the needle back up through the beads and around the one closest to the large bead. I used 4 dangles, but you can make your tassel thinner or thicker as your choose!Image

  • Once you have the desired number of dangles for your tassel, you may notice that they’re strung along next to each other rather than grouped under the bead. To fix this, simply tie a loose knot around the top the tassel, right under the large bead. Here again, you want to watch your tension. If you knot too tightly, the tassel will get stiff, and the knot is hard to loosen.
  • Next, guide the thread back up through the large bead and through the cork. At this point, tie the tail that’s been sticking out of the cork this whole time and the working end together and trim the ends.
  • And ta-da! You have one earring. Follow the beading steps again to complete the second one.Image
  • Finally, use the adhesive to attach the post back to the unpainted side of the earring, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Image
  • Once the glue is set, wear with pride!

Additional ideas:

  • Skip the tassels and just rock out the painted disks; They’re incredibly light-weight!
  • Skip the paint and rock a natural look.
  • There are tons of ideas around for decorating cork slices. Try stamping or glitter or even embroidery!
  • Glue beads or rhinestones around the circumference of the cork slice