My second woven wire cuff

This week I started making another woven wire cuff. It is the same design as the one I made a couple weeks ago, but in different colors and a smaller size (to fit my 6-inch wrist).

The color of the weaving wire didn’t appear correctly in the photos. I tried adjusting it, but couldn’t get it to match exactly. (If you’re wondering, I used 26 gauge Artistic Wire® in Peacock Blue. I didn’t buy it from this site, but the color in their photo looks most like it.)

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Given what I had learned the first time around, I knew to do some things a bit differently, such as trying to leave more room between the top and bottom wires so I can have an easier time securing the coils in place. To minimize waste, I measured out a length of wire that I believed would fit me for the outermost wires, while leaving the middle wires long for the embellishments. I still ended up cutting off about 1 and a half inches from one of those wires, so if I were to do this project again, I would adjust the lengths of the three middle wires as well, even though it’s a bit clumsy to weave when the base wires are different lengths.

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Once again, the embellishments were the hardest part. I feel stressed out when I do them because I don’t want to accidentally knock off the colored coating from the weaving wires. It’s also difficult to decide how I want to position the coils.

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I think it looks quite nice at this stage, but it’s not practical to wear because the loose coils can get caught in things.

There are three things that I am concerned about when doing the embellishments. The first is how the wrapped wire looks. Unfortunately, this time I had forgotten to do the weave for three wires that I had done last time. I didn’t feel like taking apart my work again, so I kept it that way. Since I did not have any instruction on what to do with the ends of the wires, they are challenging for me. I need to make sure the sharp ends of the wires are tucked away so that the bracelet is comfortable and the wearer doesn’t get scraped. Also important is securing the ends so that they don’t come apart.

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I had a hard time deciding what to do with my coils. Although I think they’d look more interesting sticking out more from the cuff, it’s usually better to have them stay as close to the cuff as possible to prevent them from accidentally snagging on anything. Since I didn’t want to copy the example design exactly, I left one coil sticking out completely. After I finished securing that wire in place, I thought it would be better if the coil were lying against the cuff, but it’s too late to change it because I don’t want to undo and then redo that part. I figured that I’ll be careful when I wear it. If I were making it for someone else, I wouldn’t do it that way.

I do think the end result is pretty, though I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out. I don’t plan on making another one of these any time soon, given how my fingers are sore again and my thumb nail chipped again during the process, but after they’ve recovered, I might want to try a different style of a woven cuff.

Woven wire cuff

Saturday I went to a wire weaving class. It was my first time wire weaving, but the instructor said I was pretty good at it. The project that we were making was a cuff bracelet.

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We were given 18 gauge copper wire for the base wires, so I decided to use my purple (actually “grape” colored) 26 gauge wire for the wrapping.

We were told to push the wrapped work up every few layers since this weave tends spring back. I wrapped quite tightly so I couldn’t push it much, but the instructor was still able to push it back some. Since I kept pushing my weaving up while I was doing it, I ended up chipping my thumb nail.

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The class was two and a half hours long, but I stayed for three hours. The instructor was very helpful. By the end of the class, I had the basic cuff with the clasp completed, but I had to do the embellishments on my own. My fingers were sore, so I didn’t work on it the rest of the night and next day.

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Yesterday morning I finally finished it. I will be honest: I had no idea what I was doing when I was doing the embellishments, but I still had fun! I accidentally scraped off the purple coating from parts of the cuff. 😦 I wish I hadn’t wrapped the top and bottom wires so tightly, because I could have used some more space to wind the wires that were holding the coils in place. It’s a learning experience.

I actually made my cuff a bit too large for my wrist, which made the wires for embellishing shorter. I might do the project again in different colors and make it my size.

Rainbow “flower” necklace

This was a necklace that I designed back in 2009, but didn’t get around to making until a few months ago. I had had a dry spell for at least three years, but someone told me that I’m creative, and a few days later I was sitting in church when this idea (and four others) came to mind. I plan on making this in other colors, but my reason for choosing the “rainbow” scheme this time was that I had too many orange beads lying around unused, and this design was able to incorporate orange without it being too much. (For those of you wondering why I’m talking about orange in particular, it’s my least favorite color.)

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In the event that I do get around to opening an Etsy store, this item will be available. I’m currently trying to come up with a good store name. Any suggestions?

Egyptian Chain Bracelet

Saturday I attended a class to make an Egyptian chain bracelet. It’s called an Egyptian chain not because it’s from Egypt, but because it is made from closed or “Egyptian” spirals. I wasn’t that attracted to the design, but the class is a prerequisite for classes that interest me more.

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We were told to bring 16 gauge copper wire, or 16 gauge German silver plated copper wire to use. I’m not sure if the German silver wire was harder than the copper wire (the silver probably was half-hard as opposed to dead soft copper), or if I just have weaker hands than everyone else in the class. (I had the smallest hands in the class.) The wire was so hard that it took the paint off my cutters.

I don’t plan on making another one of these any time soon, and I’m also not going to use 16 gauge wire unless I really have to. It was a pain, literally, to make the coils. It felt as though my pliers didn’t have a good grip on the wire. My hand started hurting early on (before the other women started complaining, but I didn’t complain out loud), and I thought I might even have to quit part way though, since I needed to make ten links. I was able to make nine links, even though I only ended up needing six. As with the previous class, I didn’t need as many links to complete my bracelet, since I have a small wrist. Knowing that, the next time I’m in a bracelet making class and we’re told to cut ten 9-inch pieces of wire, I’ll save myself some work and wire by not cutting as many.

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Adding the beads was challenging, since we had to be careful to not break the bead, which did happen a few times. Since I didn’t catch the part about using the nylon jaw pliers to hold onto the bead when coiling, I avoided touching the beads with my pliers and didn’t break any. However, my coils with the beads were quite lopsided, and the wire near the center of the coils got chewed up to the point that the copper started showing.

Anyway, the project is done, I learned some things, and I can advance to the next class. Four hours later, my hands and wrists began to feel sore. They still hurt now.

Purple shell and amethyst earrings

Update — I added a photo of a similar pair being worn.

My boyfriend commissioned me to make earrings for his niece’s birthday present. I decided to replicate the ones that I made for my sister for Christmas last year, except with ear wires instead of clips. I was concerned that it would look off balanced because the clips have a little ball at the top but the wires don’t, but I think it still turned out fine.

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Placing them against something flat doesn’t do them justice. They look much better when hanging freely, like when they’re worn, so I’ll need to find something better to hang earrings from if I were to try to sell them online. The dyed mother-of-pearl and semi-precious amethyst have natural variation, hence each piece is unique.

It took me about three and a half hours to complete this pair. It’s been a while since I have made coils and loops with wire, so I was a bit rusty and it took several attempts before I could get it right. The amethyst beads that I had recently bought were a bit larger than the glass beads that I had previously used, so I had to make a larger coil for it to look proportionate. Unlike most of my other jewelry ideas that just appear in my head, I scrambled to come up with this design the day before Christmas last year. Although I had taken some photos, they weren’t clear due to poor lighting, so it took some time for me to figure out what I did. I also had some issues with finding seed beads that fit the wire, so that was time consuming.

If I were to really start an Etsy shop, I hope that I will be able to make these in two hours or less, so that I can keep the price in the $30 to $35 range. The materials were silver coated copper wire, crystals, dyed mother-of-pearl, and semi-precious amethyst. I am thinking of trying other color combinations.

Edit: I made a similar pair, with blue beads instead. Things went more smoothly and it took a little over one hour to make. I still like the size and shape of the crystals in the one above, so if I can find crystal rounds in other colors, I might try those instead of the glass beads that I used. I would replace the seed beads with more subtle colored ones, so the blue isn’t overpowering. I also wish I can find shell beads in that shape that are dyed blue, so I can make a pair that are different shades of blue.

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Pardon the stray hairs. 🙂

Bead and wire herringbone bracelet

Yesterday I attended a class in which I learned to make this bracelet.

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I didn’t have time to finish the whole thing during the two-hour class, so I finished it at home. We were told that we needed about eight beads, and I had completed seven sections during the class. Since I have a small wrist, I only really needed to make five sections and the clasp to have the bracelet fit. The clasp that I used was one that I had made in a previous class in December, so all the metal parts were made by me.

I had a bit of a hard time doing the weave since sometimes I do things as a left handed person would, meaning that what I make is a mirror reflection of what most right handed persons would make, even though I’m using my right hand. (I started out a lefty but was forced to switch to writing with my right hand.) But I still managed to copy the instructor’s example.

One problem that I ran into was how my wire looked very scrunched around the beads. At least that was partially fixed by bending the ends backward and pushing the beads forward. I could have also made more layers if I had been using a thinner wire, such as 24 gauge or 26 gauge. At first I was thinking that I didn’t want to do this project again, but I might try it again with 24 gauge wire, and do some of the other variations on the outermost layer.

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As you can see, my weave was a bit messy. The seed beads on the outside are iridescent, but the colors didn’t show up that well in the photo.

I Sawed Metal!

A few weeks ago, I attended a class that was an introduction to using a jeweler’s saw. (This site has a picture of one with a blade in the saw frame.) We first learned about the different blade sizes and how to string the blade. It was quite challenging to get it in so that it had enough tension, but I actually did it pretty well on my first try.

I had had my own idea of what I wanted to make, but since it was an introductory class, we were told to stick with simpler patterns. We were also recommended to start on copper, since it is easier to work with than the other metals, so I went along with everyone else and used copper. I would have preferred the silver colored metal, but it contained nickel, and I have a nickel allergy, so I didn’t see a point in making a piece that would irritate my skin.

I actually did a pretty good job for my very first time, though my line of sawing wasn’t as smooth after I got to the other side of the heart shape. Then my saw blade snapped when I was a close to completing the heart, so I had to re-string my saw. That is why I had to re-enter my cut portion about a centimeter from the endpoint. (If your saw blade breaks, it would be nearly impossible to get back to where you left off by tracing through the path you already cut, which is why you’re better off making a new cut.)

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After I finished sawing my piece, it was time to file it. I had a lot of filing to do on one side, since I didn’t saw it smoothly. After the filing there was more filing, using a file with a smaller grain. Then we had the option to punch holes. I first made the hole on top, but as we were cleaning up, I decided to add a hole at the bottom as well. Unfortunately, I used the other end of the hole puncher, that made larger holes, so it doesn’t match the one at the top. Oh well, it can’t be changed.

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I had the option to texture the piece, but I had not learned how to do that before, so I skipped it. Lastly, I polished it. Since I still don’t have the correct tool for making a larger jump ring, I will have to hold off completing the rest.

I’m not sure if I want to continue sawing. I would be able to try out more of my jewelry designs and come up with more ideas if I explored sawing to its full potential. However, there is a lot of metal dust, and the risk of it entering the body. Hence, the warnings before undergoing an MRI scan. Not only that, it’s messy, which is why it’s recommended that you wear an apron when sawing.