I am excited to announce that I am this week's Crafty Superstar over at Cut Out + Keep!  For the next few days I will share here they tutorials I wrote for them.  I haven't written a lot of tutorials so I was super excited to take up the challenge.  Enjoy!

I love beads of all shapes and sizes, but sometimes the prettiest parts are hidden if you string them in the traditional way.  I didn’t want to hide the beautiful colors of the seed bead disks from Sue Kennedy.  These large loop wire earrings solve that problem!

For supplies you’ll need a pair of disk shaped beads, and two lengths of wire.  More is better, but I would go with at least 6 inches for the single bead style and 8 inches for the two bead style.  I highly recommend copper based wire from Parawire which is beautiful, comes in a zillion colors and is very affordable.  The orange beads are my own creation, the ethereal blue/purple beads are from HMB Studios.

For the single bead style, using chain nose pliers, bend the wire 90 degrees in the middle.  

Use wrap and tap pliers (or a sharpie) to bend one side into a large loop.  It should be large enough for the bead to rotate freely.

String the bead onto the wire and position in your loop.  

Using chain nose pliers to grip the loop right below where the wires cross, wrap the horizontal wire around the vertical wire 2-3 times.

Trim the excess of the wrapped wire, and then bend the vertical wire 90 degrees.  

Use the wrap and tap pliers or your sharpie to form a similarly sized loop, so it looks like a figure 8.

Trim the excess wire, a little past were the circle meets.  

Then use chain nose pliers to bend the end out a little.  I find this makes getting the earrings into your ear easier.

Using a chasing hammer and bench block to gently flatten the top/ear part of the earring – this will harden it.  Take care not to hammer your bead!  

You can also gently file the end to smooth it out and make it more comfortable to put in your ear J

The two bead version starts the same way, only start with a little more wire and make your bend at about the 1/3 mark.  Use the 2/3 side to make your loop, and wrap it 1 or 2 times after putting your bead on the loop.  

Then put our accent bead on the short/vertical wire. 

Pull the horizontal wire up and around the accent bead, and then wrap around the vertical wire 2 to 3 times.  The wired wrapped around your accent bead doesn’t need to be too tight.  

Trim off the excess and bend the vertical wire 90 degrees with your chain nose pliers.

Finish the earring as you did the other style by forming the second loop, trimming excess wire, hammering and filing.


I am excited to announce that I am this week's Crafty Superstar over at Cut Out + Keep!  For the next few days I will share here they tutorials I wrote for them.  I haven't written a lot of tutorials so I was super excited to take up the challenge.  Enjoy!

How the heck do you store your bead making treasures in a way that's organized, compact, yet allows you to see what you have?  I took a simple spice rack idea, and enlarged it about 1000%!  Here is how I built my bead storage solution - the first ever Beads for Busy Gals tutorial that appeared in 2010.  Let’s start with how it looks when finished…my “studio” was originally also my home office desk, so I used the wall over my desk.

Supplies you need are dependent on the space you have on the wall, so what follows is what I did for the approximately 8'x8' space I had over my desk.  I started with four 36"x24" pieces of sheet metal, found at the hardware store in a bin with metal rods and other odd ball stuff (pictured below).  This will be the most expensive part of your project – at my hardware store each piece was about $20.

You will also need sixteen fender washers and lag bolts.  I don't know if these are the exact sizes you need - I just wanted you to have a picture of what I was talking about.  The bolts have to go through the wall and into the studs, so longer is better.

Now here is the really really important part:  figure out where the studs are in the wall where you are hanging the sheet metal, and then sketch out how you will orient the pieces of sheet metal and where to drill the holes, in both the sheet metal and the walls.  

Notice in these pictures how we didn't put the hole all the way in the corner, plus overlapped the pieces in the middle, to help maximize strength and surface area. 

We used two bolts per corner in the center where two pieces of sheet metal overlapped, and one bolt in each of the "edge" corners.  Now you are done with the hard part!

Magnetic bottom, clear top spice tins are easy to come by, but it gets expensive if you want hundreds of them.  For example, you can get 3 for $5.99 from the Container Store.  But I knew with a little research there had to be a better way, or at least someone that sold in bulk.  I found a great company that I highly recommend, Specialty Bottle.  I ordered a hundred each of their 4 oz and 8 oz deep Tin Containers with Clear Top, and with shipping it worked out to about $1 a piece.  To make the tins magnetic, I bought a roll of stick on magnetic tape, like this from Amazon.  It sticks pretty well and is easy to cut to shape with scissors. 

If you have a sheet metal fabricator in your town, you can have a piece made that fits your wall exactly, like I did on this wall when I moved into my new full-time studio.  One lesson learned – make sure you take into account electrical outlets and other things on the wall.  We had a heck of a time cutting the hole for the outlet! :-)

I am excited to announce that I am this week's Crafty Superstar over at Cut Out + Keep!  For the next few days I will share here they tutorials I wrote for them.  I haven't written a lot of tutorials so I was super excited to take up the challenge.  Enjoy!

I am all about easy – and when you have a really great pair of beads, you really don’t need to do a whole lot to do something fun and funky.  

The supply list is short:

Two beautiful beads
Chain that fits through the holes of the beads
Two ear wires or wire to make your own

 First, play around with the chain and the beads to decide what length you want your earring.  A trick I use to test earring length and to make sure the chains are the same length are to string them on a wire.  Way easier than counting tiny links!

If you are using ear wires, open the loop on the ear wire, connect one end of the chain, string the chain through the bead, and then connect the other end of the chain to the ear wire loop and close it.  If are want more “swing” or want to add more bling (like the pair at the top left) you can attach everything to a jump ring, and then attach the jump ring to the ear wire.

If you would like to make your own ear wires – which makes matching the chain easier – here are the steps.  I usually start with 6 inches or so of wire.  You can fix it later if it’s too long, but you can never fix it if it’s too short! 

Use chain nose pliers to bend the wire 90 degrees at about the middle of the wire.  Grabbing the “corner” with round nose pliers, wrap one end of the wire around the pliers making a loop. 

String one end of the chain onto the lop, put the chain through the bead, and string the other end of the chain on to the loop.  Grab the loop right under where the wires cross, and wrap the horizontal wire around the vertical wire 2-3 times.  

Trim the excess wire, and then do all of the steps for the second earring.  On both earrings, bend the vertical wire forward.  

Using a wrap and tap plier (or a sharpie pen), bend both wires around.  I like to do this at the same time so that the hooks are similarly sized.  

Cut off excess, and then use a chasing hammer and a block to slightly flatten both sides of the ear wire – this will harden it.  Please be careful to keep your bead and the chain away from the hammer – you don’t want to mush those!  Enjoy!

I am excited to announce that I am this week's Crafty Superstar over at Cut Out + Keep!  For the next few days I will share here the tutorials I wrote for them.  I haven't written a lot of tutorials so I was super excited to take up the challenge.  Enjoy!

A while ago, I ordered a collection of vintage links from the incredible Yvonne at MyELEMENTS.  She carried the most amazing stuff!  In my imagination, and despite her accurate description, these were dainty links and I planned to make several strands for an amazing statement piece. 

Low and behold each link was much larger than I thought!  Really just one strand was statement enough, which I connected with silver jump rings.  To make it a little more interesting, I put a bunch of small jump ring on each connecting jump ring.  It’s great – light and fun yet substantial.

Like all of my most favorite pieces, complicated techniques aren’t required, just using things that make you happy.  You can make a variation of this necklace with all kinds of “links,” like these:

The large donuts are from MyELEMENTS, the green howlite beads are from Michaels, the white links are actually scrapbooking materials found in the Hobby Lobby clearance bin, and the silver links are metal blanks for stamping, also from Hobby Lobby.  Any of these could make a great statement piece.  I have two examples to show you – one using other awesome links from MyELEMENTS, the other using drilled river stones from Stone Alone.

The supply list is simple – a couple large interesting links, some jump rings, some chain and a clasp.  For this necklace I used 3 large plastic links, 8 large jump rings, and two lengths of chain.  The jump rings I made myself from heavy gauge copper wire from Parawire, and the chain was from Michaels.  

Connect the large links with the jump rings (I used 2 per connection), attach the chain, and then attach a clasp.  In this case I used a simple lobster clasp.

For this necklace I used the beautiful river stones from Stone Alone and some bright silver aluminum jump rings left over from another project.  

Make sure to always open the jumprings side ways so they keep their shape!

I used silver “leather” cord for the back of the necklace – using a larks head knot to connect to the chain of stones, and a simple overhand knot to connect a jump ring with a clasp on one end, and a jump ring with a clasp on the other.

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