Tutorial: Wire Wrapping Kumihimo Braid Ends

When I posted my necklace design with Jenny’s Component of the Month,
I used kumihimo braid.  I make a thin braid with C-lon and didn’t want
to use a bulky end cap, so I decided to figure out how to wire wrap the
ends.  Some people were interested in seeing a tutorial on how to do
this, so here it is!  The one I made for the piece was a messy wrap –
here I’m going to demonstrate a fairly neat wrap!

tutorial is really similar to any wire wrapping you would do with ball
chain, rhinestone chain, or any material that doesn’t have a clear and
viable loop.

Materials Needed:  Kumihimo braid, 6-8″ patinated copper wire

Tools Needed:  Two pair chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters, embroidery scissors

is the braid and the wire.  I think I used 22 gauge wire – it needs to
be strong enough to hold your cord, but workable too!

your wire into the middle of the braid – make sure that you get it in
between strands of the cord, because that will be important to hold your
work.  Here you should have a sort piece of wire at the top (maybe 2
inches total), and a longer piece at the bottom for more wraps.

 Make a bend in your wire so you basically have a loop.  Here you can really see where I inserted the wire.

 Take your chain nose pliers and grasp the cord and wire – make sure that the pliers are in between the two sides of wire.

the cord and wire tightly with the chain nose pliers – use your second
pair to start wire wrapping the cord.  If you want it neat, make sure
you get the wraps as close together as possible.  You can also use your
fingers to do this step – this will result in a more messy wrap.

wrapping until you’re happy with the length of the wrap.  You can use
the chain nose pliers to tighten up the wrap and make the loops closer

cut off the braided cord above the loop you made initially with the
wire using embroidery scissors.  You can tidy this step up later.

 With the round nose pliers, make a wrapped loop with the top section of wire.

the short end of wire down to meet the other wraps you already made –
again, it’s up to you how many wraps you wish to make.

your finished wire wrapped end.  Not really too hard!  I would use my
thread burner to just tidy up the little pieces of braid that stick out
through the wrap.  You can finish your wire any way you want – I like to
hammer the loop to give it some strength and character, the way Deryn
Mentock does. 

there you have it – another way to finish a kumi braid end without
having to use an end cap!  This is also published over at Art Jewelry Elements Blog today!

A Revelation! And A Mini-Tutorial!

Recently, I attended a bead show here in Monroeville, PA! I found these really great flowery spacer beads and had to have them!  They are pewter so they were very reasonably priced!

I really like them a lot, but wanted to use them when making earrings, too.

I really liked them, but wanted to use them when making earrings or dangles.  But being flat spacers, they just don’t look right.

That’s when I had my little revelation!  I’ll try and dome them!  If I try one and it breaks, no biggie!  But if they do work, YAY, bead caps!

So I got my block out,

Inserted the spacer in one of the domed crevices that pretty well matched the size of the spacer,

And proceeded to use my rawhide mallet to beat the little things into submission!

Voila!  A beautiful little bead cap made from some funky spacers that I love!  AND, the bonus is that they can fit a variety of bead sizes!  The pink quartz is a 10mm bead, while …

the lampwork bead I made is 16mm!  One thing to keep in mind.  If you beat the little spacers too much, you may break them. 

But breaking one was worth the experiment.  Maybe you’re reading this and saying, Well, duh Sue!  Of course you can do this with flat spacers!  But maybe I sparked an idea in your head to work with another type of flat bead (filigree, perhaps) and you may experiment with doming!  I know I will be doming some more flat things soon!

Tutorial – Twisted Flower Beads

Bead Tutorial: Twisted Flowers

1 rod light turquoise
1 rod light ivory

Remember to occasionally flash your bead in the flame so it doesn’t crack!

Step 1:
your materials. With your tweezers, pull a few stringers of light
ivory. Also, pull a short (1 1/2″) stringer of ivory with a larger base,
so you can hold onto it to twist.

Step 2:
a basic bead of light turquoise. Make sure you are happy with the shape
– you won’t really be able to adjust it after you add your dots.
Step 3:
Add 3 dots of ivory in thirds around the bead. Make sure they are evenly spaced and about the same size.
Step 4:
Melt the dots in. Be careful not to let them get too molten, or they will misshape.

Step 5:
the space in the middle of one set of three dots. With your little
handmade twisting tool, twist the space in the middle of the three dots,
turning only about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn. The more you twist, the more
your circles will distort. After you twist the dots, wiggle the tool a
little bit. If it’s cool enough, it should pop right off. If not, blow
on it slightly then wiggle – the tool will come right off and you’ll be
ready to twist the next set of dots.

Finished bead!
Step 6:
Continue with the other two sets of dots. When you are done, put the bead back in the flame to flame polish and shape it up!

© 2007 SueBeads.com

Silver Treatments on Glass Tutorial – First Published on Artisan Whimsey

Silver Treatments on Glass Beads

are many ways to add silver to your glass beads!  I’ll list a few here
today, if you have any other suggestions, please post them in the
comments! I’m always looking for new ideas!

The first way to add silver to your glass beads is with fine silver wire.  I’m not sure why, but you are supposed to use fine
silver wire as opposed to the silver jewelry wire you might have on
hand.  I order my fine silver wire from Monsterslayer.  I like them and
they always have up-to-date pricing as the silver market is so volatile
lately.  I use 30 gauge silver wire, but there are different gauges
available.  I like 30 gauge because it’s more delicate.  If you want to
use higher gauge wire, you can get different effects, like actually
placing thought-out dots on your bead!  

cut easily usable lengths of silver wire (about 9 inches or so) and
clip the hemos at the measure I want to use.  If I’m applying it to a
round bead, I usually clip at about 2-3 inches.  Fine silver wire will
disappear in your flame, so make sure you work waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out at
the end of the flame.  Barely touch the silver wire to the bead under
the flame, move the bead away, and quickly wrap the wire around the
bead.  When you’ve reached the end of your clipped wire, flame cut the
silver, and then very delicately melt the silver wire at the end of the
flame into the bead.  This is how you get the trailing dots.  Here’s a
photo of beads I made with silver wire:

is using silver foil.  You can use silver foil, or silver leaf.  I like
silver foil, because it’s easier to handle and easier to cut with a
scissors.  If you use leaf, you just have to be more careful with it, as
it can easily blow around your bench due to your ventilation system, or
passers-by!  I buy packets of 25 sheets of silver foil, usually from
Robin Koza of Glass Diversions.  I cut the single sheet into the sizes I
want (for a 12mm bead I usually use an eighth of a sheet).  Place your
silver foil on your graphite marver, or other surface you use, on your
bench.  When you are done making your bead, heat up the outside of the
bead very slightly, and roll it on the marver to accept the foil. 
Burnish it onto the bead (make sure your bead is not mushy!) with a tool
– I use my brass stump shaper.  Then reintroduce the bead into the
flame at the very end; you just want to melt the silver foil into the
bead, not make the bead hot or mushy again.  Here’s a photo of some
beads I made with silver foil:

make beads with silver foil and frit, just apply the silver foil as
above.  When you are done with the above steps, heat the bead up again
hot enough to accept the frit, roll the bead in frit, and melt it in as
you usually do!  Here’s a photo of a silver foil and frit bead!

I’ll talk about silvered ivory stringer (SIS).  I enjoy this method,
and there are many ways you can do it.  I’ll just tell you about two of
mine.  The first way I make SIS is to waft a one inch section at the end
of an ivory rod in the flame, until it’s hot enough to accept the
silver foil.  Burnish the silver foil on with your torch mounted
graphite marver, and then you are ready to pull stringer!  Melt a small
blob on the end of the rod – here’s where it’s important to burnish very
well, so the silver does not just disappear.  Pull with a tweezer or
other pulling tool, and set aside on your table until cool enough to
touch.  When you want to use it, hold your bead under the flame near the
top, barely touch the end of the stringer in the flame and attach where
you want it on your bead.  Then, under the flame but still in some
heat, wrap the stringer until you are happy.  Flame cut or snap off! 
Here’s some beads with SIS:

finally, you can make dots with SIS as well!  For this method, I like
to use commercially pulled 2-3mm ivory stringer.  I simply wet my
fingers with saliva and run them at the top of a stringer, and wrap the
piece of foil around it.  You may have to wet your fingers multiple
times to get the foil to stay.  I know, it sounds gross, but it works. 
And it’s not so gross!  You melt the germs off!  When I’m ready to use
the stringer, I melt a very small blog at the end of the stringer rod,
and apply to the bead just like any dot of glass.  To make round dots,
use your brass stump shaper and push the dot gently into the bead, this
will keep it round.  Then melt in as usual.  Here’s a photo of beads
using this method:

hope you enjoyed this little post on silver.  There are many different
designs you can do with silver – add enamel, baking soda, etc.  Again,
if you have any other methods, I’d love to hear about them.  How about
encasing silver wire?  Silver powder? 

Please find me and my beads at SueBeads etsy, SueBeads web site, and SueBeads blog!

Tutorial Friday???

I have been wanting to post a tutorial on my blog for these earrings that I just LOVE (made with my beads, of course) and I was going to do it Tuesday to make it Tutorial Tuesday! I saw I was tagged by the wonderful Melissa Lee and was going to do that today. But I just don’t have the time to answer all those questions today, so I’m going to do this earring tutorial instead. You can buy these beads in my etsy store; I should have them in my web store soon, and you can always just make a request!

Blue Southwest Flower Earrings


(2) 3″ eye pins
(2) ear wires, any kind will do!
(4) 3mm sterling saucer beads
(2) 6mm faceted blue chalcedony rondelles
(2) southwest flower lampwork beads by SueBeads!

On your eye pin, place one saucer bead, one lampwork bead, one chalcedony rondelle, and one saucer bead. Make a wrapped loop. Make sure your loop direction matches the eye pin loop at the bottom, for consistency. Open your ear wire and attach with the loop. Repeat for other earring! Easy, huh?

If you’d rather buy a pair of these earrings instead of make them, please let me know and I’ll be happy to make you a set too!