Aside from avoiding homework, writing, spending money, and terrorizing children- making jewelry is my favourite hobby. How many of you are fellow beaders? This thread documents with my humble Concord 3340z my adventures with the latest project: cha cha bracelets. Yes, this is cross-posted to a couple other forums, but that's a secret. After reading this thread you will have an entirely new, creative, edifying way to waste time under your belt. And that's "you'll have a way to waste time" and not "you'll have a way to waste time under your belt." I don't need to tell you how to do that
My favourite thing to make is "cha cha" bracelets. I'm going to show you the basics of making one that's not only incredibly sturdy, but better than the ones you see demonstrated in the beading magazines, which I'll explain later. As far as I know, you can either make these out of stainless steel, or gold-plated steel. Stainless steel is the better choice as it'll actually stay silver-coloured. Touch the gold-plated ones as little as possible, and I try to keep them in a sealed bag for the most part.Ingredients
You need a bracelet base, which is like a watch-band with loops on it. Because the html code hates me today, here are the raw links for you. These are the ones I'm using.www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=K076002JW
If people want more than $5 for any kind of bracelet you're paying too much. You can get one with one, two, or three rows of loops.
You need headpins, which are like tiny nails. You have 44 loops in each row, I believe, so get one or two 100-pin packages of these things. Here are mine.www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=H151748FN
As the demonstration bracelet has two rows of loops, I'm going to want one bag.
You need some pliers. If you don't want to pay the $8 bucks for each, camp out in a bead store and hog theirs. Make sure it's a bead store than actually has tables that you are supposed to sit and work at, because they don't like it when you tear open a package of pliers and sit on the floor to make things. www.firemountaingems.com/shopping.asp?skw=KWTOOLPLIERS
You'll want to have:
"Round nose" pliers to bend the headpins
"Side cutters" to chop the headpins
And some "chain nose" pliers to mush the severed ends of the headpins so they don't catch on your clothing and tear it off. (Hey, that's a great id-) No.
You need beads. Craft stores, bead stores, online stores, even Wal-Mart. You can make your bracelet out of any combination of gemstone, glass, metal, plastic, crystal, or natural things like shell and wood. Collect at least a hundred beads for a two-row bracelet, but the more you have to choose from and to stack, the better. Keep on hand some small spacer beads like these.www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=H153605MB
Here's a picture. I've got my initial bead box, my main findings box with the headpins, and the needle nose pliers. I'm ready to make a Green Monstrosity Of A Bracelet.Preparation
Take a bead and put it on your headpin. If the headpin goes right through, put a smaller bead on first, or a spacer bead like the ones I just linked you to. The point is to have a bead sitting at the bottom of your headpin.
Now you'll want to bend the remaining pin over the bead, then wrap it back, closely as possible, over one part of the needle nose pliers. So I can't describe it; look at this picture and squint at the video and if all else fails, get thee to a bead store and ask someone how to use headpins.
No, you don't hold the pliers like this, stupid. I was taking the picture with my right hand.
Anyway, do this until you run out of headpins. You can put as many beads as you like on each pin, according to what's practical (I wouldn't stack them more than an inch high). You should have a nice pile of beadstacks that look like this.
If you're not very good at making these half-loops, don't worry. No one cares, really. Liz Claiborne has/had cha cha bracelets and they were incredibly sloppy. Which means you should make your own jewelry because then
if you look sloppy, you still get homemade points. Even if you're a bit clumsy making these, they're still better because of the wire-wrapping thing.Make the stupid bracelet already
: Blurry, off-center video.
This is a blurry, off-center video of how to do it. Just watch my hands and see if you get the idea: hook the hooky part onto the loopy thingies. Not as hard as it sounds. Hook it, wrap it, chop it, mash it, bop it.
I make sure that the point at which I use side cutters to cut off the wire is facing towards the middle of the bracelet, and then I use chain nose pliers or something to squish it into place just to make sure it's not sticking out. Rest assured that the person you are selling or giving this to will not have their dress torn off or their sweater slowly unravelled, as this actually is considered inappropriate in most societies.
Grab your stacks of beads by type and make vague plans for where they're going to go on the bracelet.
Also pay attention which row they're going on, as you want to spread out your different beads as much as possible. You want to make it fairly even, and keep in mind that if you have more than one row of loops, it'll look different on one side than the other. Keep plotting before you attach it, because if you have to take it off, you have to nip the whole thing with side cutters and start over and waste your three-cent headpin.
Just keep adding these things on until you run out of loops on the bracelet. Keep the beads and pins within reach in case you need more. Be careful what you do with the bits of metal you clip off the end of the headpin; this hasn't happened to me, but if you stepped on a shard of glass or metal, it could be nasty. I drop the ends of the headpins onto the farthest corner of my bead mat and they're safe there until I dump them into the trash.
The reason these are better than the ones in the bead catalog -top of the line company Fire Mountain Gems catalog at that- is that we wire-wrap. That's the looping around part that you do right before you cut off the end. They just hook it and chop it and make sure there isn't a big enough gap for it to fall off. This is cheesy because it CAN fall off if you drop it, throw it, breathe on it in a vigorous fashion, exist in its general direction, look at it, or fail to use protection against gravity.
Worse, if gravity rubs it the wrong way the bead will fall away from the end of the headpin, sliding closer to the bracelet base than the end of its pin, leaving a nail-type pokey thing poking up. Unless you're hanging a picture, or planning to rip off your clothes so you can waste time below the belt or do an interpretive dance to a Weezer song, you don't want any pokey things poking up above the bead. (As opposed to non-pokey things poking up.) Inspect carefully the outrageous travesty that is TWO MILLIMETERS OF PIN POKING UP in this bracelet scanned from my catalog.
In case you haven't gotten the point, poorly explained bracelets > poorly made bracelets. (This is the only thing I can do better than the catalog people can, and I'm milking that for all it's got.) Also, people just hate it when they pick up their new bracelet and half of it falls onto their foot and then their cat nabs a bead and bats it across the floor and then they step on it later and they hop around in pain and get dizzy and bang into their stove and pour their boiling spaghetti sauce all over themselves and instinctually jerk backwards and impale their skulls on the corner of their counter and their death throes knock over the ceramic jug of spatulas and the jug falls onto the floor and the cat walks across the shards and bleeds to death. Think of the cats, man, and if nothing else the pottery! That or tell people not to take out their bracelet in the kitchen.What to do with it
First, post a picture of it in this thread. Then, if you need to be told what to do with jewelry...
1) Wear it and be the diva-est diva on the block. (Or if you are male, make one for each colour of the rainbow and wear them all together; chicks will think this is so masculine.) When I wear one of mine I get compliments from just about everyone I talk to, and they always want me to hold it up so they can turn it around and look at all the different beads.
2) Give it to someone and they'll be thrilled knowing that you made this huge and clanky thing which probably cost you $20-40 is ALL FOR THEM. Actually, these would make awesome gifts, providing your friend is brave enough actually wear it in public.
3) Sell it, perhaps on ebay. Which brings me to something I want to ask you about: How much would you pay for one of these? I want to ask more than the $25 I've been asking of the people in my community. I'm not sure what's a reasonable price.