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Beaded Earrings

It has been months again since I wrote my last post.

I have been very busy at work and at home and the whole corona pandemic is slowly taking its toll – since we entered our 2nd hard lockdown yesterday.
All stores except groceries, pet shops, banks, post office and newsstands are closed down.

But I am glad that my family and I have been spared from this disease so far.

I made a bunch of bracelets and dangle earrings lately. You can see them all on my instagram account.

But I thought of sharing some older pieces with beadwork on them today.
They are inspired by the contemporary native american pieces you can find all around social media and the internet.

In a later article (or better series!!) I will show you it is done.

Although they are quite large they are lightweight since the large cabochons in the center and the roses are made of acrylic.

They have so called fingernail posts, which is something like a clip but for pierced ears.
The advantage in this posts is that the earring can be a bit larger but it is not hanging down too much (always depending on the overall size of course).

On the right you can see the so called fingernail post.
These are also made with fingernail posts and have mother of pearl cabochons as center piece.
Here are 2 pairs, a little smaller.
And here are some dangle earrings. These have a glass cabochon in the center….
…. and these have a small turquoise as center piece.

The beads I use are so called seedbeads. They have the size 11/0. The ones I use for beading the edges can be larger (10/0 or 9/0) or small firepolished beads – mostly 3 or 4 mm.

And I love to combine everything with rhinestones.

You know, everyone needs a little bling ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stay safe!!

Nature is simply amazing….

A lot has happened in the last six months.

Stress at my job – not sooo new but more than usual – and we had (or better still have) the corona crisis which left me energyless and idealess.

A few weeks ago I had surgery and now am recuperating.

Still trying to find the energy to get some beadwork or other jewelry work done I literally stopped and smelled the roses …….

Everytime I stroll through our garden I have to admit that nature is simply amazing ………

Scarce swallowtail
Lantana camara
Bougainvillea
Gladiolus
Dahlia
Solidago
Earrings ‘Dia de los Muertos’

The mexican holiday ‘Dia de Muertos’ – which translates to Day of the Dead – is getting more and more popular in other parts of the world.
In Anglophone Countries it is referred to ‘Dia de los Muertos’.
It is a multi-day holiday from October 31st to November 2nd and so coincides with the Western Christian holidays of All Saint’s Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.
It involves family and friends.
They gather around to remember friends and family members who have died.
Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased.

One symbol of the holiday is the skull. It is used in various ways and often decorated with flowers and other graphics.
(for more information on ‘Dia de Muertos’ take a look into Wikipedia)

So I decided to decorate my turquoise skull beads with some resin flowers and turn them into earrings ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I used some resin flower cabochons that were small enough to fit the eye sockets.

Fill the eye sockets of one side with glue and place the flower on the ball.

If the glue ball was too big and the glue wells out a bit take a cotton swab and clean it away.

Place the skull between two pens or similair that the flower lies on top during drying of the glue.

When this side has dried repeat the steps with the other side.

Now that the skulls are finished lets make earrings out of them.

You’ll need – in addition to the skull beads the following items:

  • head pins
  • bead caps (optional)
  • other beads (optional)
  • round nose pliers
  • flat nose pliers
  • ear hooks

First put all the beads in the desired order onto the headpin.
I used one with an embellishment on the end.
You can also take a simple one and – if you want – use other beads underneath the skull or none at all.
It is all up to your liking.
I think the little “hat” I made with those bead caps and seedbeads look interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now you need to make a loop with the head pin on top of the skull.

The last step is to hang the dangle into the ear hook – and you’re done!

Halloween is Coming – pt2

Last weekend I played a little with an idea I got for some more halloween-themed earrings.

Like the ones in Halloween is coming – pt1 I used the filligree pieces and the patina inks. Combining them with a little extra for the twist ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also wanna show you how I use the patina inks (not the alsohol inks you use for paper craft) a little more detailed.

Here is the overview of the colors I used.
Just click on the image so you can see the names.
But of course you can use different colors.

Don’t forget to lay some paper underneath it cause the painting tends to be a bit messy.

Start with the lightest and carefully add some drops to the metal part you wanna paint.

Then take a cotton swab and spread it a bit.

Next use the color that is a bit darker. Put a few drops on the cotton swab and dab it carefully into the areas you painted before.
Let them mix to get a softer color gradient.

If it gets too light, use another side of the cotton swab and some new drops of ink.

And the last color we add is black.
It is a strong clor so you have to be careful not to use to much or it will get too dark.

If you like the result let everything dry completely.
Otherwise use the color you want to add a bit more and a fresh cotton swab.

Now comes the little extra ๐Ÿ™‚

I found some Halloween Confetti in a store recently.
So I decided to glue them on the painted earrings…..

…. and on some not painted pieces.
I especially like the pumpkin, the ghost and the witch *grin*.

After letting the glue dry I put in the ear hooks and voila, the halloween themed earrings are ready to wear ๐Ÿ™‚

Who wants some?

Halloween is Coming – pt1

Halloween is just around the corner ๐Ÿ™‚

About 2 weeks ago I had an idea for some lovely earrings.

I found those little metallic roses in black. Those filligree pieces I already had.
Also those patina inks in the wonderful halloween colors.

Those inks are NOT the usual alcohol inks you use when working with polymer clay or paper.
They are opaque and paint metal.

So I painted those filligree parts with the patina inks.
I usually take a cotton swab and add only a drop or two of ink, since it is very yielding.

First I took the lighter colors and dabbed them on the metal piece, then the black at the edges.
You can mix the colors it the paint is still wet.

Then after letting it dry I glued the roses in the middle, put on hte ear hook and the lovely halloween earrings are finished.

Simple but effective ๐Ÿ™‚

Recycling Designs for Cabochons

Often I stumble over a printed ad or the packaging of a new perfume with really lovely details that I use for creating cabochons and some lovely jewelry.

That way I give them a second life:

These two pendants I made from a perfume packaging.
See? ๐Ÿ™‚

All you need is some imagination and some glass cabochons in differetn sizes for testing.
And some more things:

  • glass cabochon(s) in the desired size
  • prints, fabric… whatever you wann use
  • white nail polish or other paint (optional)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • jewelry blanks (optional)

There is one thing you should watch out for: the pixels!!!
If the print has a low quality (most magazines, newspapers…) then you might see the pixels due to the magnifying effect of the cabochons.

Here you can see the pixels of the print – just open the pic to see the full size….

Recently I stumbled over paper that is used for various paper crafts like scrap booking. They come in different sizes and with printed designs on them.
Of course, not all are usable for cabochons because of the size of the designs, but most of them are.
So I tested them.

I wanted to make some lovely flower cabs, which I can use for a pendant or bead around it.

Now you can see if the print is a good quality by lying the glass cabs on the paper.

The next step is to find the design for the cab – slide the cab around and decide which one you like better.
Then take the glue, make a small dab (depending on the size of the cabochon of course).

These are the glues I use….

Press the cabochon on it to get rid of possible air bubbles

And after the glue has dried thouroughly you can cut them out…..

And these are the little owl pendants I made with them.

They sream “Springtime”, don’t you think?

But you can use almost everything……

Magazines…..

….. this lovely hibiscus flower I found in my 2019 calendar……

….. you can also use fabrics. But the fabrics usually get darker by the glue – like getting wet. You can see it clearly on the pic below with the piece of denim I used.

The texture of the fabric can look interesting ….

I also used a former plastic bag…..

If you use fabrics you should watch out for this:
If the fabric is thin the glue CAN make it transparent.
Then it may look darker when gluing it into the jewelry blanks.

I usually take some white nail polish and paint the back of the cabochon so that the design becomes less transparent .
It may be possible to use other paints like acrylic but I never tested it before.
You can also glue the cab on additional white paper but the nail polish dries faster ๐Ÿ˜‰

And here are the finished works.

I would love to see your work! Feel free to share!
And if you have any comments or questions just post below ๐Ÿ™‚

Printed designs for cabochons

A few months ago the sister of a friend got a little baby dog.
She asked me if I could make a pendant with the first pic when the new family member arrived at her new home.

This is just one way to use printed designs for cabochons.

They make perfect personalized gifts for birthdays, weddings and other occasion.
And since those cabochons can be turned into different kind of jewelry or accessoirs the possibilities are endless!!

But let me show you how I do it ๐Ÿ™‚

You’ll need:

  • glass cabochon(s) in the desired size
  • a digital photo or graphic you wann use
    – Careful!! If you wanna use graphics from the net there may be problems with the copyright!!
  • a special word file for the printout
    – see below
  • word (software)
    – I don’t have the latest version, but I am sure that the description is more or less the same way
  • imaging software
    – I use a very old photoshop version, but for most free versions can do the same
  • laser printer
    – inkjet ink can’t withstand the glue and destroys the print
  • thick, white paper
    – I use sheets with 250 g/mยฒ. If you use thinner paper the glue makes the paper translucent which is very bad when you glue it into a blank.
  • glue
  • scissors
  • jewelry blanks (optional)

The very frst step is to check the digital picture file.
Is it to dark or to light?
Maybe you need to adjust it with the imaging software.

Also you should make sure if the picture fits the cabochon form you want to use it for.
If you picture is in landscape format and you only want to use a part of it, you should crop it.
Make sure that the graphic has appox. the same proportions as the cabochon.

The word file with placeholders for the graphics helps you in designing and resizing the graphics or photos.
You also see instantly what your cabochon will look like.

The file has various sizes and shapes of placeholders.
I try to fit as many as possible onto one shhet of paper since it is more expensive than normal paper.

Here’s what you do:
In the word file you go to ‘insert’ ‘shapes’, choose the one that looks like an oval. Now the cursor becomes a cross and you draw the shape onto the page by pushing the left mouse key and holding it while drawing the shape.
Don’t worry about the location, size and shape. That will be all adjusted in the next step.

I work with the german version of the software, but I try to translate as good as I can ๐Ÿ˜‰
Please let me know if there is a better wording. Thx!

In this case I wanted to design some cabs that are 40×30 mm.
Go to the shape you just drew on your page and make a right mouse click into it.
Now a menu opens and where you see the little bucket it says somehting like ‘adjust autoform’.

On the top you have different sub menus. Click on the one that says ‘size’.
There enter the desired values in ‘height absolute’ and ‘width absolute’.

You can see that I chose 4.1 cm and not 4 cm. It is always better to make the design a bit larger so that the cabochon fits perfectly into it.

Now we fit the graphic into the form.

If you have closed the menu open it again.
Now we go to the sub menu ‘colors and lines’.
If you have a graphic with a white background I suggest you make the outline of the form visible. I always make a thin grey line.

At this stage you can move the shape to the top. Now copy and paste the shape and move it next to it.
Repeat that step as often as you like to fill the whole page.
And of course you can adjust the size of each autoform.

Now click on the button ‘filling effects’.
Now a second little window opens an you need the sub menu ‘graphic’.

If you click on the button ‘choose graphic’ you can choose the picture or graphic you want.

I decided I’m in a purple mood…..

After confirming the selection by clicking on ‘ok’ it is finished.

When you like the way the future cab will look like you can copy the shape and paste another one next to it and change the pic.

It almost looks perfect for me.
But I don’t like the way the chair is cut off at the left top corner.
So, back to the beginning, crop the picture a bit at the bottom or the right side and safe as copy.
NEVER, I repeat NEVER, overwrite the original file!!!
Always make copies!!
It makes life way easier *lol*.
Sometimes you have to try a bit until it fits perfectly.

After designing the word file you need to print the page on a laser printer in a high resolution graphics mode.
This is important for the following reason: the glass cabochons have a “magnifying glass effect” due to the domed shape. The higher the resolution the less you will see the rasterized details of the image print.

Now the glass cabochons are glued to the print-out.
The glue must be suitable for glass.
But be aware! Most of the solvent-based glues might destroy the print by smearing the design.

These are the glues I use. They work best for this job.
If you know any alternatives please let me know.
E6000 does not work, tried that one…..

Btw, the amazing woman in the middle is my late granny in her younger days……

Now squeeze the glue onto the design. Make a nice little heap in the middle and avoid air bubbles.
I tend to take a little more than might be necessary to make sure there are no ‘dry spots’ under the glass.

Now carefully put the cabochon onto the glue with the flat side down.
Slowly press down. I normally move the cab around a little while pressing down so that the glue gets spread evenly.

If you see any dry spots or air bubbles quickly take off the cabochon, add some more glue and repeat the step above.
This only works as long as the glue has not dried – obviously ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now just make sure that everything lies evenly flat and let the glue dry.
I advise you to check the first time because if the surface is not completely horizontal the cab tend to slide on the gluefilm and suddenly the graphic is not centered anymore.

After the glue has dried completly the cabochons can be cut out.

The edges probably have some glue on the upper side. I usually take some scissors and scrape it carefully off.

Then the cabs are finished.

Now you can use them and glue them into a pendant blank or use them as center piece for beadembroidery projects.

I would love to see your work! Feel free to share ๐Ÿ™‚

Nail polish cabochons

So I wanted to make my mom a nice gift for Mother’s day.
She likes a dark blue and so I made a little pendant for her with nail polish and a clear glass cabochon.

I’m sure you all got some old nail polishes at home you don’t use anymore. Might be that the colors are not fashionable at the moment or they thickened over time which leads to enormous drying times.

This is all more or less unimportant when designing jewelry with it as long as the colors fit your project.
I usually take an effect top coat and a color polish. But of course you can choose more than one color – everything to your liking (or the person you make it for).

So, here is what we gonna need:

  • glass cabochons in the desired size
  • various nail polishes
  • nail polish remover
  • paper towels
  • glue (optional)
  • jewelry blanks (optional)
  • a little time ๐Ÿ˜‰

First I always clean the glass cabs on the flat side – the back.
Then I apply the first layer of the top coat.

Other than using the polish on your nails you can here paint a thicker layer with no problem.
Just make sure they dry thoroughly before the next step.

If you are pleased with the look of the effect comes the color.

And after drying you see what the cabs look like.
I don’t recommend turing over the cabs before at least drying a bit because the polish might run over the edges and your fingers – I know what I’m talking about ๐Ÿ˜‰
It is better to restrain your curiosity a bit……

Taadaa!
They are finished.
Now you can use those for your bead embroidery designs or – as I did here – glue them in some jewelry findings.

And if you don’t like them you can simply take some nail polish remover and start over again.

These are the glues I usually use. They are free of solvents and have a great adhesive force for the glass cabs.

You don’t need a lot of glue. Put the cab with the flat side into the blank and carefully press down. If you used too much glue it will come out at the sides. You need to clean that with a kittchen towel before it dries. Possible traces on the blank or the cab you can clean with nail polish remover or some isopropanol.

Aren’t they amazing???

The owl gets some rhinestone-eyes and a loop for the necklace, the simple one already has a loop.

Every piece you create that way is OOAK – one of a kind.
My mom loves her pendant and the owl will probably be a nice gift one day…….

Design your own cabochons

Cabochons – also called cabs – are centerpieces of jewelry.
They are domed on one side and flat on the other (most of the time).

They can be made of different materials like precious stones, semi precious stones, cut glass and many more.
Also polymer clay can be used to design and form them.

When using clear glass cabochons there are many ways to personalize them for using them in designing your jewelry.

One way is to take a glass cabochon and glue it on to some printed designs.

Or you can use some nail polish – which is one of my favorite techniques.

Only your imagination is the limit!

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