Thursday, August 11, 2016

You'll Never Guess What This Bracelet is Made From!

This eye-catching bracelet is sure to surprise you. It's made from wood, metal and glass beads - a really striking combination. But there's something a bit out of the ordinary about this bracelet. Those long red wooden beads are rather interesting. And you're probably thinking that you've seen them somewhere before but can't quite put your finger on what it is that's so familiar about them. Have you worked it out yet? No?

Well, keep scrolling down the page.... and I'm sure you'll recognise them straight away. 

Did you guess? The wooden beads are actually from a bamboo placemat that you can find at your local kitchenware or dollar store. What an ingenious upcycle!

If you'd like to make a placemat bracelet of your own, here's what you'll need:

Bamboo placemat
Eight 14mm silver donut beads (with 7mm internal diameter)
Eight 6mm 'Jet' Black bicone crystals
Eight 10mm black diagonally drilled square beads
Stretch Magic 1mm Beading Cord
G-S Hypo Cement
Scissors

Begin by unravelling the placemat. You'll need eight of the short bamboo sticks. You'll find these along the top and bottom rows of the placemat.

Cut two 30cm (12") lengths of Stretch Magic and pre-stretch each one. This will help minimise overstretching the bracelet with wear.

On each piece of elastic, string the first hole of a donut bead. Then sting a bicone on each one and pass the elastic through the second hole of each donut bead. Thread one elastic through the top hole of a bamboo bead and the other through the bottom hole. Repeat.
 
String a square bead on each piece of elastic and then add another bamboo bead. Repeat.

Repeat these first two steps once more.

Bring the two ends of the bracelet together and tie both ends of the top elastic together in a half knot.

Tie another knot in the elastic to secure. Tie the bottom elastic off in the same way.

Trim the knots to 6mm (1/4").

Pull the knots tight by holding the cut ends between your fingers and pulling them in every direction to tighten.

Apply adhesive to each of the knots for added security and allow it to dry.

Once the adhesive is dry, slide the knot inside the bead to hide it.

And you're done!

'Til next time....


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Upcycling - Make a Woodland Themed Terrarium

In a throw away world we produce a mountain of landfill so it's good when you find a way to re-purpose the fancy packaging that often comes with our purchases. Today's project takes a Lindt Maxi Ball and upcycles it into an adorable terrarium.

In case you don't know what a Lindt Maxi Ball is, it's a large clear plastic ball filled with delicious Lindt chocolates and you usually find them around Christmas and Easter when they're packaged up like a giant bonbon.





So, how do you go about turning one into a terrarium?

Well, here's what you'll need to make this cute woodland themed terrarium:

  • Lindt Chocolate Maxi Ball 
  • Coloured gravel in your choice of colour
  • Horticultural Charcoal (this keeps the soil smelling sweet which is important as there are no drainage holes)
  • Potting Mix
  • Small piece of fly screen
  • Selection of small plants (all with the same growing/moisture requirements). Mine are all ferns and come in 5cm (2" pots)
  • Assorted figurines

You'll also need some scissors and a small pot that you can use to scoop the soil into position and a spray mister filled with water.

Before you can begin, you need to empty the plastic bonbon sphere of all the Lindt chocolates. The best way to do this is to eat them!

One half of the bonbon sphere is flat so it's perfect for the bottom. The other half conveniently has a hole in the top which will be great for plant respiration. Set the lid aside.

Pour a 1cm (3/8") layer of gravel in the bottom.

Cut the fly screen to fit on top of the gravel without being visible.

and position it on top of the gravel.

Pour a layer of charcoal over the fly screen. If your charcoal is chunky like mine is, remove the larger pieces.

Next, fill the bottom with potting mix.

....and tamp it down. I've filled to within 2cm (3/4") of the top.

Gently remove the plants from their pots.....

....and then make a hole in the soil large enough to place each plant in position.

Fill with soil up to the crown of each plant.

Pour another layer of gravel on top of the soil.


Position your figurines amongst the greenery. Mist the plants with water and then place the lid back on the sphere, taking care that the leaves don't get caught.

And that's it! Now you can justify purchasing that giant foil wrapped bonbon filled with everyone's favourite Swiss Chocolate!

This is such a simple and fun project that you can do with children. Let them get involved by personalising it with their own theme such as dinosaurs or fairies to help make it their own.

'Til next time.....


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Failure to Triumph - a Friendly Plastic Pen Success Story

Workshops don't always go to plan. Sometimes, things go wrong and you end up with a less than successful result. It's always a disappointment for the student but I'm equally disappointed when someone doesn't have success.

I had one of those workshops last week. We were making Friendly Plastic Pens. Here's some of the pens which turned out really well.

But here are some pen barrels which turned out less than perfect.

So what do you do when things don't turn out as planned?

Well, I gave it some thought and came up with a Plan B. I decided refoiling the Friendly Plastic would give us a better result.

But alas, Plan B was a big failure - the foil wouldn't stick to the tacky adhesive we'd applied to the Friendly Plastic no matter how much we burnished it.

So it was on to Plan C - applying an iridescent finish to mask all the previous layers. And the result is spectacular - the ugly duckling has turned into a beautiful swan!

Now I have a new technique to play around with and perfect (and perhaps a new workshop to teach!). It just goes to show that even experts have craft disasters. But it also shows you that with a bit of creative thinking, you can turn a failure into a triumph!

'Til next time.....


Monday, July 11, 2016

Gold Vermeil Earrings

These elegant dangling earrings will add a touch of golden glamour to your evening wear. The lentel-shaped beads dangle gracefully from delicate chains allowing them to move and catch the light, accentuating the lovely soft gold vermeil finish of the beads. Vermeil beads are a little more pricey than gold base metal beads but I'm sure you'll agree, they look fabulous!

Here's what you'll need to make these:
6 10x4mm gold vermeil lentil beads (mine are from Feeling Inspired)
6 gold head pins
11cm (4 3/8") fine gold chain
2 6mm gold jump rings
2 gold earring wires

String each of the beads onto a head pin and turn a 90° angle with flat nose pliers.

Use flush cutters to trim each head pin to 1cm (3/8").

Line the cut end of the head pin in the round nose pliers so that it is flush with the jaws and rotate your wrist inward as far as you can comfortably turn it. This forms the first part of a simple loop.

Reposition the head pin in the pliers so that you can rotate your wrist again to complete the loop.

Cut two pieces of chain, each of the following lengths: 13mm, 18mm and 23mm (1/2", 5/8" and 7/8")

Set one of each length of chain aside for the second earring. Open the loops you formed in the previous step sideways and slip on a length of chain.

Hook the other end of each of the three chains onto a jump ring with the longest chain in the middle and close it.

Open the loop of your earring wire and hook on the jump ring. Make the second earring to match.


Wow, that was quick! A gorgeous pair of earrings in no time at all!

'Til next time....


Monday, July 4, 2016

Stars and Stripes Sof-Suede Bracelet

Red, white and blue....Stars and Stripes. Today I'm putting my spin on Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July.

Silver Creek Leather recently added some new colours to their Sof-Suede colour range and two of them are just perfect for the nostalgic feel of this bracelet: Cadet Blue and Cranberry. Combined with Sandy Beach, and you have a soft vintage look.

To make this bracelet, you'll need:

Silver Creek Leather Sof-Suede Lace: Cadet Blue, Cranberry and Sandy Beach (Michael's is carrying these new colours)
Brass and Crystal Heart Slider (Hobby Lobby)
2 silver ribbon crimps
10 6mm silver star beads
28g silver wire
adhesive tape

Tools: flush cutters, chain nose pliers

Cut two 8" pieces of Sandy Beach and one piece each of Cranberry and Cadet Blue. Thread one of the Cadet Blue pieces through the heart slider diagonally from the top left hand hole, down to the second bottom hole on the right.

Insert the Sandy Beach lace from the middle hole on the left through the bottom hole on the right.

Now repeat on the other side using the second piece of Sandy Beach lace. It should pass under the Cadet Blue lace and over the first Sandy Beach lace.

Insert the Cranberry lace in through the middle hole on the right hand side of the slider, over the Cadet Blue lace and under the Sandy Beach lace, exiting from the bottom hole on the left.

Cut a 15cm piece of wire. Flip the heart slider over to the back. On the right hand side, wrap the wire around the Cranberry and Sandy Beach laces so they lie side by side.

Bring the wires to the front and insert the wires through a star bead. Wrap the wires around the back of the laces and bring them back to the front again. Insert them through the star bead and then repeat twice more so that the star bead is secure.

Trim each of the wires close to the bead. Repeat this process with the Cadet Blue and Sandy Beach laces.

Add additional stars evenly along the Sof-Suede so that it looks like this.

Align the laces so they are sitting flat and place them on a piece of adhesive tape.

Trim the ends evenly to the length you require for your bracelet. Remember to take into account the space the clasp will take up.

Place the ribbon crimp over the ends and press the teeth into the suede lace until the laces are secure. Repeat at the other end of the bracelet.

Attach one half of the clasp to each end of the bracelet with the jump rings.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

'Til next time.....


LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin