"Are you sure you don't need any help?"
I smiled and declined the saleman's offer. True to its name, this hardware store was indeed "the helpful place." Everyone really, really wanted to help me. Looking at my shopping basket, I could see why. I mean, what kind of person buys a roll of re-bar tie wire, a small bench vise, a hammer, drill bits, fine steel wool, and a pair of bar clamps? Clearly, someone with a seriously out-of-control home improvement project. Or someone making jewelry . . .
Last month I was lucky enough to take an intensive 2-day jewelry making workshop. Not only did I learn a lot in the workshop (notably, how much easier it is to use a jeweler's saw if you don't push down into the metal as hard as you possibly can), but I also learned a lot from my repeated trips to the hardware store and from peeking into the toolboxes of my classmates. Jewelry designers, particularly those who work with metal, have terrific tools.
This week's free project from Jewelry Artist is a great example. Whether or not you decide to make these simple metalwork earrings, you'll probably be intrigued by one of the tools used--a corrugation tool called a Microfold Brake that you can run lightweight metal through to crinkle it. After you add the texture, you can use pliers to pinch together selected corners for a more random pattern. Just the idea of this tool sparked some new ideas for me--what about a bold crinkled cuff bracelet? A pin in the shape of the sun? Or maybe a pendant in the shape of a dancer with a swirling crinkled skirt?
If you're as fascinated by jewelry tools as I am, you'll want to check out the Cool Tools column by managing editor Helen Driggs in every issue of Jewelry Artist. This is one of my favorite parts of the magazine--I always learn something new. In the June issue, Helen will be talking about metal stamps and chisels, including how to make your own. (Yes, you read that right. Imagine making custom tools with your own designs!) If you want to add a signature touch to your jewelry designs, it's definitely worth checking out a subscription to Jewelry Artist.
New Free Project
Black and White Ribbons
Make these earrings with a simple corrugation tool and basic metalsmithing skills like cutting metal, annealing, sanding, and soldering. The corrugation can be either organic- or geometric-looking, depending upon how it's manipulated and finished. The black and white effect is the result of using liver of sulpher to patina the silver earrings. This free project from Jewelry Artist includes step-by-step photographs.
There will be no Beading Daily on Monday, May 25 because of the Memorial Day holiday. Happy beading!
Free ebook: How to Make Earrings
This free earrings ebook, Making Jewelry with Beading Daily: How to Make Earrings: Five Free Jewelry Projects, includes five earring patterns that use a range of techniques (simple stringing, wirework, simple metalwork, seed bead netting and fringe) and a variety of materials (silver, copper, seed beads, crystals, pearls, gemstones). Both beginners and more experienced jewelry makers will find at least one beaded earring design that will inspire them to catch the handmade earring craze!
Filed under: Pearls, Crystals, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Stringing, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beading Tools, Earring Making, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Jewelry Making, Beading Daily