Jewelry Tools 101: Comparing Pliers And Tweezers

Having the right tools for jewelry making is key to your success. The right tools and jewelry making techniques will help you get the results you want while also saving you time and a whole lot of frustration. You can also avoid wasting materials that get broken or lost because the tools you are using don’t have the right grip or strength.

Jewelry tweezers are relatively straightforward. Jewelry tweezers have a very fine tip that comes to a sharp point. They are used to pick up tiny gems and beads, as well as to get into tight spaces when you are positioning beads, threading wire, or wrapping wire.

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Tweezers come in different material types to offer different strength and longevity. They can also be magnetized so that it is easier to pick up and hold onto certain jewelry findings.

Jewelry pliers, on the other hand, come in a much wider variety of options. They are larger and stronger, allowing you to grip beads tighter or to twist and manipulate thick wire. Here’s a look at some of the different types of jewelry pliers that you might need:

1) Round Nose Pliers

Round nose pliers are some of the most commonly used jewelry pliers. They have round tips all the way around, including inside the jaws. You can use them to make perfectly rounded pieces of wire, such as for closing head pins, jump rings, or other closures. You can also use them to create beautiful wire creations.

Round nose pliers can be purchased in different sizes and different materials to accommodate the type of project you are working on. For example, you might need stronger pliers if you are working with a heavier weight of wire.

2) Chain Nose Pliers

Chain nose pliers are the standard pliers. You will find these in any handy man’s toolbox, and they are a basic tool for jewelry makers.

Chain nose pliers typically have a serrated jaw, which makes it easier for them to grip things. You can also get them with a smooth jaw. You can use them for all-purpose work, but they are typically not small enough for fine details. You can buy smaller sizes for more detailed work, but you’ll need a pair of tweezers or other specialty pliers to get into really tight spaces.

3) Bent Nose Pliers

You can’t always tackle your project head on. Sometimes, there are beads, wire or other findings blocking your way, or sometimes the area you are trying to reach is so recessed that even holding the pliers in your hand can block it.

Bent nose pliers allow you to get into spaces at any angle, giving you a clear view and letting you access hard-to-reach places on your design. You’ll need to get a few sizes to make sure you can get into the smallest spaces when needed. The finer the tip, the more delicate the work you can do.

4) Flat Nose Pliers

Most pliers have a relatively narrow nose or even a round nose. Flat nose pliers have a wider nose that works almost like a clamp. The flat nose allows for a wider grip, and it can be used to create some interesting shapes when bending wire.

Guest post from Nina Blaicher of Tronex Tools

What tools do you like to work with?

Creative Craft Supply Storage with Printers’ Trays

Several years ago one of my sisters gave me a wonderful birthday present – five different printer’s trays. Score! I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to start filling the trays with all sorts of craft materials. The trays are segmented in different ways, with a great variety in the number and size of individual craft supply storage slots.

Creative Craft Supply Storage with Printers’ Trays

Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Storage Unit

The trays are perfect for the storage I had in mind, but they quickly became heavy. It was a nuisance to lift and move all of the stacked trays to get to the ones I wanted. Plus I was always afraid they might get knocked over and I’d have to do all that sorting again.

The solution was to build a box to frame them, and to put each individual tray onto rollers so they slide out like drawers.  I am not very handy with carpentry, so I hired a handyman and he did an awesome job. He also built two drawers that were the same width and depth, and just a bit higher/deeper, to use for other purposes.

Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Drawer 7

What Gets Stored in Each Drawer

Four of the trays are different, and I have two that are the same.  I love the variety of drawer designs as they can accommodate so many different sizes of items. Most of the items I store here are metal bits and bobs, and scrapbooking embellishments.

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This entire tray is filled with Tim Holtz’s Idea-ology. I love having it all in one place.

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The tray with the largest openings is perfect for storing manila and other tags.

Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Drawer 4

More bits and bobs.

  Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Drawer 3

I reserved the space at the top of the cabinet for two rolling drawers. One is used to store pieces in progress. These are small pieces I’ve made while working on other things, that I hope to use in another project down the road.

Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Drawer 2
The top drawer currently holds all my deli trays and lids. These are the perfect size for laying out small projects that are in various stages of drying. I usually have quite a few laying on the counter at various times.

Marjie Kemper Printer's Tray Drawer 1
I am so glad I added those two plain drawers to my printer tray storage, as they can easily be changed up for whatever my needs may be as time passes. I’ve been crafting a long time and as my interests have changed over the years, I’ve come to appreciate craft supply storage that can change with the times.

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Find more fantastic storage solutions and craft ideas in the FaveCrafts Quick and Crafty newsletter.

What are some creative ways you store your craft supplies?

DIY Dip Dyed Tote Bag

Hey there! Holly from Revamperate here, and today I’m going to share a surprisingly easy project you can try this summer – an ombre dip dyed tote bag!

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Summer is the perfect time of year for dying projects because the extra sun gives things a chance to dry so quickly, and it makes it easy to do projects outside. This very simple dip dyed tote bag has an ombre look to it based on how long you leave parts of the bag in the dye. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time, so I’m really thrilled with how the dipped ombre colors turned out and how well it’s held up over the last couple weeks when I’ve taken it to the store with me.

When it comes to dying, just take your time and start with an easy project (like this one!) and it’s bound to be successful. You can also try my watercolor striped dish towels, which is another easy project with dye that’s more subtle.

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Supplies:

  • White tote bag
  • Fabric-safe dye
  • Large bucket
  • Plastic for work surface
  • Gloves (optional)

First, let’s go over the supplies. I highly recommend using a white tote bag if you can find one because the color will be truer and easier to predict. You can still use a tan/beige bag but your dye might not appear the way you expect it to. I used Rit dye, which is very simple to use and is easy to find at any craft store or online.

It’s important to cover your work surface in plastic before you begin mixing the dye (I use cut up trash bags). I also recommend doing this outside if possible. If you use newspaper, the dye can easily leak through to your tabletop, and since you will be laying the dyed bag on top of the plastic, you want to protect your work surface.

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Steps to Creating a Dip Dyed Tote Bag:

  1. Follow the directions on the package to mix your dye. If using Rit, you will want to mix warm water into the powder dye until dissolved.
  2. If using a smaller bucket, fold the bag in half and make sure to hold the handles out of the way.
  3. Over your work surface, dip the bag into the dye about halfway only for a second. Pull out a couple inches and let the bag rest over the side of the bucket still partially submerged. Leave for about 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, pull the bag out a couple more inches with only the bottom of the bag still submerged. Leave for about 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, carefully hold up the bag. If you can clearly see the difference in color intensity between each section, you’re done. If not, add the bottom of the bag to the dye again.
  6. When you’re satisfied with the color, carefully unfold the bag and lay on clean plastic for several hours or overnight to dry.
  7. Once completely dry, hand wash the dyed portion of the bag in the sink. If you submerge the entire bag in water, you may risk the color transferring to the still white portion of the bag.
  8. Let dry again and it’s ready to use!

This bag is great for carrying groceries, books and anything else you tote around!

Darling Daisy Easter Ornaments

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Show your Easter spirit with these cute studded clay ornaments! These fun DIY decor pieces are a great way to add a bit of sparkle and shine around your home, and the spring flowers add a cheerful touch! It’s an easy technique of cutting clay using cookie cutters, and then simply pressing in studs before baking.

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You can really make these ornaments any color you’d like, and use them to hang on indoor plants, on a fireplace, doorknobs, or drapes. Get creative with these! I also like to hang these from a light fixture over your Easter dinner table. The bright silver studs add a modern touch to otherwise traditional decorations.

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Step 1: Gather materials. You will need polymer clay (oven bake — I use Sculpey or Fimo), fine glitter, an assortment of mini cookie cutters or clay cutters (find at a food specialty store like Sur la Table or a craft store like Michaels) – I used an egg shape and then mini flower shapes – small studs (these were iron-on studs I found at Michaels), and finally organza ribbon for your top tie.

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Step 2: Make the glitter accents first. Roll out one color of clay until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Press and rub on glitter to the top surface until it’s adhered and sticking, covering the entire surface.

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Step 3: Press down the cookie cutter and cut out your first flower.

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Step 4: To cut more flowers, simply re-roll clay, add more glitter, and cut out.

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I used three flowers per ornament.

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Step 5: Roll out your base clay until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Use your egg cutter to cut your shape.

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Step 6: Line the outer edge with studs, pressing them down to embed them in the clay. Smooth out any imperfections in the clay.

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Step 7: Press your three flowers on top of the egg, firmly but gently to make sure they adhere to the surface.

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Step 8: Press studs into the center of the flowers. Poke a hole at top, and bake about 30 minutes at 125 degrees or according to package. When cooled, tie organza ribbon at top to create the ornament!

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Perfect for a kid’s craft, anyone can have fun making these home decor DIY pieces!! Mix colors (I’d stick with pastels) for a very Easter-type scheme.

You can view all of my other tutorials on my blog at quietlioncreations.com!

What’s your favorite thing about Easter?

10 DIY Easter Cards To Make Today

Images courtesy of (from left to right): thefrugalgirls.com, vintagemusedesigns.blogsot.com, doeyandowlette.com

Images courtesy of (from left to right): thefrugalgirls.com, vintagemusedesigns.blogsot.com, doeyandowlette.com

 

In case you missed it, Easter is sneaking up on us early this year and is on March 27th!  Are you like me and you automatically assume Easter falls in April or at least later in March, if so it’s time to get crafting for Easter if you haven’t already started.  When creating DIY paper crafting projects for Easter there are so many cute themes to choose from like bunnies, chicks, eggs, carrots, and flowers.  Unlike the previous holidays of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day where there is a set color scheme, with Easter projects you can choose to create your projects in a variety of colors in pretty pastels or brighter hues. Dig into your stash and pull out all of the pretty papers!

So what will you be crafting for Easter this year?  Will you be creating your own paper Easter baskets? If you are hosting Easter brunch this year you could make Easter treat boxes for your guests to take home.  I know I have said it before, but it just isn’t a holiday until you have created a paper garland (or two or three!). If the Easter time crunch this year leaves you with limited crafting time, use that time to create Easter cards for your friends and family.  Below are 10 of my favorite Easter card tutorials that range from super simple (so you can quickly create multiples) to  more advanced designs and techniques. Hop over and check them out!

Image courtesy of: northstory.ca

Image courtesy of: northstory.ca

Cute Homemade Easter Cards

Easter Treat Cards

Double Sided Step Card for Easter

Vintage Easter Card

Paint Chip Easter Egg Card

DIY Easter Cards

Hidden Easter Eggs Card

Hippity Hoppity Bleached Card

Cross Stitch Happy Easter Card

Bunny Card With Washi Tape

Plastic or real eggs, which do you prefer for your Easter egg hunt?

Lucky in Love St. Patrick’s Day Card and Pedestal

Today we have a guest post from Stefanie Girard from Sweater Surgery! She’ll be sharing with us an easy way to decorate for St. Patrick’s day. For more great tutorials, be sure to check out her blog!

Stefanie Girard, St. Patrick's Day

Good thing we have lots of holidays to celebrate as it gives all of us card makers and crafters lots of reasons to get our paper, recycled cardboard, and die cutter out. After crafting with my heart dies for Valentine’s Day, I knew I could then use them to make clovers and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day and that is just what I did for this card.

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In addition to die cutting 3 hearts to make the clover for the card, I die cut the words “lucky”, “in,” and “love” using all different fonts and dies with my Sizzix die cutter. To make the stem of the clover I just trimmed by hand a scrap of the green glitter paper I used for all the other elements.

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In addition to my Lucky in Love St. Patrick’s day card, I wanted to make a little pedestal for my vintage wedding cake bride and groom. The glitter cardstock was a bit too flimsy so I went to my pantry-one of my best sources of recycled cardboard. A Chex cereal box was perfect! I was careful where I die cut the cardboard as to maximize the green areas of the box. I did add a small square of the coordinating green plaid paper on the top of the die cut pedestal for an added element.

I hope you have fun with this “green” craft and are lucky enough to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with someone you love!

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s day?

Upcycled “Lucky” Die Cut St. Patrick’s Day Necklace

Today we have a guest post from Stefanie Girard from Sweater Surgery! She’ll be sharing with us an easy way to decorate for St. Patrick’s day. For more great tutorials, be sure to check out her blog!

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Words make a great subject for statement necklaces and die cutting recycled plastic is an easy way to make words for your statement necklaces. I like to use the plastic from take out containers with my die cuts to make jewelry.

The surrounding plastic left over from the die cut makes a great stencil for future projects so don’t throw it away!

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To color the plastic a Krylon silver leafing pen works great on the backside of the plastic.

To poke the holes for the jump rings I used a large embroidery needle. I simply held the plastic on self healing cutting mat and worked the needle into the plastic from one side until it went through a bit and then from the other side enlarged it more to accommodate the diameter of the jump ring.

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Decide how long you want your necklace and add chain to each side along with your favorite type of clasp and you have yourself a pretty statement necklace featuring the word “Lucky.” I bet your friends will want one too, so you might as well make a bunch to give them for St. Patrick’s Day.

Have you ever made jewelry out of recycled materials?

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

Erin go bragh (Ireland forever for those of you who don’t speak Gaelic)! It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and you know what that means. Rainbows, leprechauns, shamrocks, and lots and lots of green!

Image from A Little Craft in Your DayDIY_Shamrock_Shirt_-1024x1024

Since we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, we thought you might be looking for some great ideas for fun projects to celebrate. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites here.

  1. Show your Irish spirit and protect yourself from those St. Patrick’s Day pinches with a DIY Shamrock Shirt from A Little Craft in Your Day
  2. Get the luck of the Irish with this four leaf clover charm you can add to a bracelet, brooch, or keychain from FaveCrafts
  3. You could add this shamrock bow from Dollar Store Crafts to a wreath or basket or make a smaller version to wear in your hair.
  4. Display your love for all things Irish with Shrinky Dink necklaces and pins of Irish maps and sayings from Merriment Design
  5. Display this crocheted pot of gold from FaveCrafts on its own or add it as an accent on a crocheted beanie
  6. Decorate your home for the holiday with these paper shamrocks from Hoosier Homemade
  7. Make a fun table centerpiece with a tissue paper four leaf clover bouquet in a painted shamrock mason jar from Creative Cynchronicity
  8. Package your St. Paddy’s Day chocolate gold coins in sparkly treat bags from FaveCrafts
  9. String art has made quite a revival in the past few years and this shamrock version from Darice is absolutely adorable
  10. Display your lucky four leaf clover in this pretty pendant from Rook No. 17
  11. Wood shims become mini pallets and in turn, they become charming St. Patrick’s Day wooden pallet wall art from View From the Fridge
  12. Use simple thumbtacks to make a lovely shamrock canvas with this tutorial from Roubinek
  13. Make mason jar luminaries for the holiday with this project from Mom 4 Real
  14. Start your spring planting in these gold shamrock painted flower pots from Handmade in the Heartland

Photo from Merriment Designst-patricks-day-craft-shrinky-dink-necklaces-and-pins-with-irish-maps-and-sayings-free-printable

So, what will you make to show your Irish spirit this St. Patrick’s Day? Let us know in the comments below.

 

3 Tips for Crocheting an Adorable, Customized Baby Shower Gift!

I’m Marie Segares from Underground Crafter. I’ve mentioned before that I love crocheting baby projects, and I’ve recently shared two free blanket patterns on FaveCrafts.

Now, I keep a little stash of ready-made crochet baby blankets for last minute gifts, but once in a while, I want to make something very special to welcome the newborn of a dear friend or family member. Here are 3 tips I follow for crocheting customized gifts that will thrill your favorite parents-to-be.

Carefully choose colors

One of the easiest ways to customize a crocheted baby gift is by selecting the color of your yarns to match – or contrast – colors in the nursery. Many parents today use non-traditional colors, so rather than choosing plain white, yellow, pale pink, or baby blue yarns, find yarns that fit with the decor of the nursery.

You can find out about the nursery colors by looking through the online baby registry. Another great place to get a “sneak peak” of the nursery decor is on social media. If one (or both) of the parents are on Facebook or Instagram, you may find pictures of a painted room, or with some sleuthing on Pinterest, you can find a board with nursery ideas. And, of course, you can always ask!

Add letters or names

If the parents have already named the baby, you may want to add a crocheted, embroidered, or “monogram” name to your project.

The Stitchy Gift Tags free crochet pattern includes a tutorial for using the backstitch to add words to your completed crochet projects.

Basic Crochet Square, free crochet pattern by Olivia from Hopeful Honey on FaveCrafts.

Basic Crochet Square, free crochet pattern by Olivia from Hopeful Honey on FaveCrafts.

Another option is to use graph paper to chart out the letters of a baby’s name in blocks for a crochet granny square blanket. Choose a one-color granny square pattern, like the free Basic Crochet Square, and “spell” out the name with squares in a contrasting color yarn.

Make a layette

For a truly special gift, go beyond one project and make a layette set including a blanket as well as a jacket, cap or bonnet, booties, diaper cover, and/or a hooded towel. I love to include a set of baby washcloths in organic cotton yarn, too.

Circle Hexagon, free #crochet pattern by @ucrafter

The Circle Hexagon makes a great baby washcloth. The free pattern is available here on the Underground Crafter blog.

Choose your favorite patterns to mix and match into a great set. If you keep the color scheme consistent, the layette will look coordinated!

What are your favorite tips for crocheting baby shower gifts?

Beachy Cord Necklace

Around where I live, the scorching summer is now slowly fading and the monsoons are gaining momentum. In my opinion, this is a period when beaches are at their very best. Blue, clean and quite lovely! If you can afford a trip to a beach resort, there is nothing like it, but for others like me, a trip to the local beach can be as equally fulfilling. Talking of beach resorts, the first thing that comes to my mind, apart from long lazy walks on the beach, are the roaring parties that happen at night. How do you dress up for those?

Cute shorts or a sundress topped with beads are the cliche looks, but tanks or spaghetti tops with sarongs are a good bet too, particularly when paired with a little dressy jewelry that has a nautical touch with a hint of bling. Jewelry with cords, some pearls and shells and something metallic. Like this Beachy cord necklace – light weight, colorful and fun! This is an easy homemade necklace tutorial that is sure to have your friends begging you to make them one also. It’s a lightweight chain necklace with pretty accent beads and bright colors.

 Beachy Cord Necklace

by Divya N

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Materials

  1.  5mm sand round braided cord
  2. Silver Gota ribbon(Stitched metallic Indian Lace)
  3. Felt (color of your choice)
  4. 1″ acrylic pearl cabochon
  5. 12mm green glass round bead-1
  6. 14mm acrylic purple barrel bead with rims -1
  7. 14mm Pink and green dutone glass crystal bead -1
  8. Looped pearl chain -1 (36 inches long)
  9. Lobster clasp in brass -2
  10. Brass jumprings -2
  11. Brass eyepin -2
  12. E6000 or rubber adhesive

Tools – Round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, wire cutters and scissors

Method

1. Coil the braided cord, gluing the starting edge to the second round of the cord.
2. Glue a cabochon on to the spiral to cover both ends of the cord. Let it dry.
3. Once dry, flip over and glue the gota strip around the circumference of the spiral. Remember that the spiral itself is not glued to be gentle.

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4. Measure the circumference of the spiral and cut out a circular piece of felt in the color of your choice.

5. Make the loop of an eyepin bigger so that it can be used with a clasp.

6. Spread glue all over the back of your spiral and place an eyepin with the loop facing the top, wherever you want to hang the pendant from. Glue the felt circle on top, sandwiching the eyepin. Let it dry for a good 15-30 minutes depending on the glue that you have used, until it becomes strong.

7. Cut you looped pearl chain into two. To both ends add lobsters clasps using jump rings. This makes you pendant detachable.

8. Add a green glass bead, followed by a purple barrel followed by a faceted crystal on an eyepin and create a loop that is big enough to be used with a clasp. Loop the other end to the eyepin already glued to the pendant

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Clasp both closures, one to the eyepin with beads and other to the eyepin on the pendant. You necklace is now complete. Since the pendant is detachable, you can simply use the pendant with any other chain that has two claps or you can use the chain with any other pendant that simply has a ring. As a variation try, spiraling chain to create your Spiral pendant instead of using cord.

So how are you going to accessorize your beach look?