Jul 242010

Heh.  Make rings.  Finger rings, that is…not jump rings for once!

Rose Ring by Lynn Kvigne

Rose Ring by Lynn Kvigne

These cute little “rose” rings are made using 2 6″ sections of 20g craft wire.  I found that putting my ring mandrel in a vise helped with production, as I’m not always fighting to keep it stable.  My next show is our local county fair, and these go over pretty well with the fair crowd…so I made up 21 of them last night in about an hour.

You can make these pretty quickly once you have the hang of twisting the wire.  Here are the basic steps:

1. Cut 2 pieces of 20g wire (craft wire, copper, silver) 6″ long each.

2. Using a ring mandrel (or a dowel a little larger than your ring size if you don’t have a mandrel), wind both pieces, side by side around the mandrel.  Wind the wire at the size mark that is 1/2 size larger than your ring size.

3. Twist the four ends around each other in a knot.  Twist again, making a double spiral.

4. Remove the ring from the mandrel.

5. Wind the ends (two on either side) around the ring band twice.  Clip the ends.

6. The raw ends will be a little sharp!  You’ll want to either gently file them or put your ring in a tumbler with stainless steel shot for about 30-45 minutes.

Wear it with pride!

Mar 212010

Just a few notes I wrote up for my Continuing Education students at Iowa Western Community College.  Copper is one of my favorite materials to use, and it’s great for practicing wire wrapping, because it’s softer and less expensive than sterling silver or other materials!

Copper is used as an alloy…sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.75% other metals, usually copper. This adds strength, but also causes the silver to tarnish more quickly.

Bronze is a metal made from combining copper with tin; brass is copper and zinc.

Copper will tarnish when exposed to oxygen. Make your copper new penny shiny again by using one of the following methods:

  • Polishing cloth – my favorite is Sunshine brand.
  • Tarnex – dip or wipe the piece, but use care if the piece has stones (no opal, turquoise, or other “soft” or porous stones). Rinse very thoroughly with clear water and dry.
  • Natural jewelry cleaner: 1/4c white vinegar, 1t salt. Put in a plastic container and shake to dissolve the salt. Add jewelry and stir around or shake gently. Rinse very thoroughly with clear water and dry.
  • Rub Ketchup on the piece using a soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly. – Combine lemon juice and salt and dip/rub on the piece. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Tumble in a rock tumbler with mixed stainless steel shot, water and burnishing compound (blue Dawn works well).


If you wear copper and it turns your skin green or black, your body chemical makeup has a high acid content. “Treat” your copper using a thin layer of Future floor wax, Renaissance Wax, or clear Krylon spray. Any treatment will wear off over time and will need to be reapplied.

If you have a higher alkaline content in your chemical makeup, you’ll naturally “shine” the copper that touches it!

Copper can be artificially tarnished (or antiqued) using chemicals or the natural sulfur found in hard boiled eggs. Tarnishing metal and then polishing the high points brings out the detail in wire wrapped and stamped pieces.

Verdigris is the green/blue patina that you see on copper outdoors (think of capital domes or garden decorations). Verdigris can be removed from copper, but like rust, it may have damaged the underlying surface.

You can buy copper wire at the hardware store.

Copper is alleged to have healing properties, especially for joint aches and arthritis.

Copper is probably the oldest metal mined and used by humans…when you wear copper, you are wearing a bit of history!

Dec 042008

Seems we are all so stressed every holiday season that there’s no time for anything! Keeping in mind my own busy schedule (I thought I’d have all this time in December, but Jeremy decided to go out for wrestling and that’s eating up every spare minute!), my first Ornament Thursday project for December is quick and easy, but VERY festive!

Holiday Candle WrapHoliday Candle Wraps: Dress up your plain boring candles using just beads, wire and crimps. This is a 30-minute project – you can pick up the materials at any hobby or craft store (like Michaels or Hobby Lobby), and easily complete at least one in 30 minutes.

To kick off 2008’s holiday version of Ornament Thursday, all the gals are making fabulous projects…check them all out! Be sure to stop back each and every Thursday in December for more fun and festive projects!

Christmas Past and Needle Magic at http-design.com Michelle is addressing the ghosts of Christmas past and Helen gets down and dirty sewing a Christmas ornament – stand well clear, she is dangerous with a needle.

Strands of Beads Melissa makes cute and quick Christmas tree earrings this week.

Aug 282008

This month’s Ornament Thursday theme celebrates the kick off of Back To School – Academia! I love to read, and fortunately my children have discovered this love as well. While I can just as easily use a scrap of paper or an old magazine subscription card for a bookmark, I prefer to do something a little more stylish! This month’s OT project is one that I’ve done over and over with great results – it’s quick, easy, and you can use up orphan beads for a design that reflects your personality!

This is also a great kid’s project, and they can use the bookmark that they make all year long!

Easy Wire Bookmark

Level: Easy/Beginner


12-16g wire (sterling, copper or craft wire)
Head pins
Beads, crystals, small bells, charms
Jump rings

Easy Wire BookmarkJust a note – sterling silver wire makes a sturdier bookmark, but because it will be continually exposed to air, it will tarnish. Copper wire can be hammered to strengthen, and oxidization will eventually color the wire to a warm brown. Craft wire tends to flop a bit, even after hammering. You can experiment with wire and find the type that you like to use best.

Cut a piece of wire 9″ long using a flush side cutter. File the ends smooth. Create a small closed loop at the end of the wire. Using a round object that’s about 1″ diameter, create a shepherd’s hook at one end of the wire. Slightly curve the loop outward.
Create a tight spiral at the opposite end of the wire: Make a tiny loop using a round nosed pliers and close the loop using a chain nose pliers. Create the spiral by holding the loop in the jaws of any pliers with flat inside surfaces – I recommend 2-3 revolutions around the original loop.

Hammer wire to strengthen.

To decorate your bookmark: Make wrapped loop dangles using head pins and beads, bells, or crystals. Attach dangles to the closed loop at the end of your hook using jump rings. Another option is to hang charms in a theme (gardening, wine-related, Red Hat) on the closed loop using jump rings.

That’s it from Beading Help Web this month! Check out the other OT gals projects…I know I am going to!!!

Michelle’s Edumacation
Michelle has yet another go at decorating Helen’s workstation, this month, less scary than last but oh, so funky

Aug 252008

The gang that hangs out at the Michael’s message boards holds monthly challenges, and the challenge this month was to make something primarily of metal.

Well, I love metal…so I couldn’t resist! I actually made two pieces using the same wire wrapping technique.

Challenge rules include that your piece must be made of at least 75% materials available from a Michael’s store…for these projects, I used 26g Wild Wire in fuchsia and teal, as well as 18g silver wire for the frame.

I’ve made two pendants for the August Michaels Challenge. The first is a version of my Fairy Ladder pendant, using the team Wild Wire. For this piece, I also used 18g Wild Wire in silver color for my frame, but I was not happy with the way the frame flopped around when I wrapped it. Michaels, please carry heavier gauges of wire for folks who don’t want to use sterling silver!!! Size on this little pendant is about 1″ long, about 1/4″ across.

Next up, I decided to use some (shhhh) sterling silver wire for the frame, again in 18g. Shape held up much better with this one. Teal and fuchsia wire are used to wrap…I can see a couple of small errors, but overall, I’m really pleased with the way this turned out!! Size on this one is also about 1″ long, 3/8″ across the widest point. Lots of wrapping in that tiny space!

These may end up being gifts for a couple of special little girls I know…not sure yet. I think they would like them, however. 🙂

Thanks for peeking…if you’d like to join in the fun on the Michaels board, please join us!!!

Silver Spot

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Aug 152008
What’s up with the silver spot???

(silver spot courtesy of http://www.kitco.com/)

All the message boards were popping with comments last night about the price of silver dropping through the floor…it’s great news for anyone who needs to buy silver!
Even though I’ve just ordered wire recently, I think I’ll be ordering more today. Can’t beat the price with a stick!