I’ve been fascinated with making beaded trees lately. Unfortunately they take me forever cause I have some tendonitis in my right arm. But here’s one I recently finished 🙂 I’ve also done some basic trees, and a larger sakura tree.
Hi hi Sweet Strangelings!
Recently I’ve been trying to make new jewelry designs that are a bit darker in nature. You see, when I first started making jewelry I was just sort of indiscriminately buying supplies to try different styles and what not (BTW this is a terrible plan – I’m now stuck with a large sum of “cash” tied up in supplies that don’t match my intended brand style). So, what better place to start than skulls! 🙂 Yay!
So I’m a bit picky when it comes to skulls for my jewelry. I don’t like big obnoxious, ugly skulls, and I have an unexplainable aversion to anything Day of the Dead. I think it comes from being born and raised in NM… DOD stuff is just too common place around here.
So, here are some cool Etsy finds for skulls! I hope you’ll enjoy looking 🙂
So there are tons of carved skulls available in the loose bead market. But these are the best looking ones I’ve found. I’m not too keen on the bright bone/howlite/resin ones, which look sorta clumsy to me. But these ones from PrettyRoughDesign are made from buffalo bone, and have cranial cracklature, which is a delightful detail in my opinion. They ship from Indonesia and cost $13.50 ea + sh. So yeah, they are one the more expensive side of the spectrum. Then again, you get to choose the color (the picture shows the range from cream to dark grey).
Next up are these gold colored bird skulls. I love the look of bird skulls, which are more elegant than human ones, but I’m not keen on using real ones. Originally I was out to find natural bone colored ones (made from resin), but these gold ones are charming as well. They are 40mm long, so just a bit under 2 inches. They ship from Chinese seller BeautyYourLife and are made form zinc alloy, supposedly lead and nickle free. I would prefer gold plated brass, but oh well. 50 pieces for $12 + sh, this reflects the fact they are not gold plated.
I found a Korean supplier who has quite a few cute charms available. Among them were two skull
designs that I really liked. Both are actually beads, as opposed to charms. By now you may realize that I currently favor gold colored/plated items. These beads are gold plated, but it doesn’t mention what the base metal is. The price for the gold ones, which have a horizontal hole, is $3.40 for 2 pieces, and the black epoxy ones, which have a wide vertical hole, are $5.00 for 2 pieces. Like I said, this seller also has lots of other cute designs, if skulls aren’t your thing.
Finally, some silver ones! This have cutesy look to them, in my opinion. They seem a bit cartoon-y (deformed), without being too cartoon-y. I tried to find them being offered by a US seller, or Chinese supplier, but no such luck. So, you can find them from UK based seller beadingshaz. They are “silver color” alloy, lead and nickle free. They are fairly small: 13mm in length, which is perfect for earrings or bracelet charms. 10 cost $1.86 USD, but shipping is another $6, making them about $0.80 each (which is why I was hoping to find a Chinese supplier – usually buying it directly from China is much cheaper in regards to shipping).
Lastly, I’d like to feature the Swarovski crystal skulls, which are a relatively new addition to Swarovski’s product line (I think they came out about 1 year ago). You can find these on Etsy, or on a jewelry supply site like FireMountainGems. They are 14mm long, and have a vertical hole up through the skull. Yes, they are sorta borderline “clunky,” but the sparkle helps make up for that. Plus they make me think of Mayan crystal skulls and whatnot! They come in a variety of colors, and are about $5.60 each, depending on where you purchase them.
Okay, that’s it! Obviously there are lots of other skull charms and beads that you can find on Etsy and other sites… Like jewel-incrusted ones, day of the dead ones, kinda tribal looking ones, etc. But I prefer these more elegant ones, and hopefully in the near future I’ll be using them in some jewelry designs!
Until we meet again! 🙂
Hiya! Today I’ve got a quick tutorial for you on making stitch markers! This is great for yourself or as a gift for someone who knits. The stitch markers that we’re going to make are no-snag, so they wont damage the yarn you’re knitting with. They can also easily be made any size. ( These are closed – so they’re the kind of stitch markers you might use when knitting in the round.)
Okay…. let’s goooooo!
First lets gather some supplies:
- Beading wire, such as “Beadalon.” Please get a small diameter with high flexibility. You can get a wider selection online, if your local craft store doesn’t carry much.
- Wire cutting pliers
- Crimping pliers – or chain nose will work too
- Crimp beads. The picture shows size 0, but I actually recommend size 1. (Your wire should be able to fit through the crimp bead twice.)
- A knitting needle of the max. size you want the markers to fit.
- Main beads (in this case, acrylic stars)
- Seed beads to complement the main beads (in this case pearly white)
*When choosing your beads, please make sure they have a large enough hole to fit two strands of the wire through.*
First you want to cut small sections of wire. The exact length depends on the size stitch marker you want to make, as well as the bead (or beads) you are using. Hold your knitting needle, wrap the wire around it, and cut a section long enough. Give yourself a few centimeters extra length, for workability.
Keep the wire around the knitting needle, hold the two ends of wire together, and put them both through a crimp bead. Push the crimp bead up towards the knitting needle to tighten the loop. Don’t make it too tight though – you want to be able to easily slide the stitch marker along the needle. Crimp the crimp bead with the crimping pliers or with chain nose pliers. If using chain nose pliers, make sure it’s really tight and the crimp bead can’t move.
If you are making a set of markers, you might want to go ahead and get all of the wire sections prepared before moving on to the next step. I think it helps me keep them all a bit more uniform in regards to the tightness of the loop.
Next you’ll add your beads. I put one seed bead, one star bead, and one seed bead. Obviously this is up to you, and time to use your design sense! You can use any kind of bead that’ll fit on your wires!
*Remember that we’re always putting BOTH wire ends through – just think of them as a single strand.*
Next add another crimp bead, and crimp.
Make sure the crimp bead is secure and isn’t moving at all. Then you can trim the wires so that they end just after the crimp bead. If they seem sharp to you, use a file on the ends to round them off.
Viola! Your stitch marker is now complete! Continue on to make a matching set of 5 or 6, or make a bunch of mix-and -match ones! As you can see below, I made a large set of rainbow stars!
Whether you are new to making jewelry, or an old-timer who just wants to whip up something fast, these stretchy bracelets are the easiest beading project I know of.
One thing that makes them easy is the fact that you don’t need any pliers or wire cutters or crimps, etc. You just need:
- Some beads (I’m using black 6mm matte glass beads & flat diamond-shaped red glass beads)
- Stretchy Beading Cord – This comes in different colors and diameters, so make sure you get the right diameter for the beads you are using.
- Scissors and a measuring tape or ruler
You should be able to find every thing you need at your local hobby / craft store, but if not, you can certainly find it online.
One of the most important things about making a stretchy bracelet is to make sure you make it the right length. It needs to be long enough to fit around your wrist comfortably, but short enough that it doesn’t fall off your hand. If you are making the bracelet for yourself, you can measure your own wrist to get an idea of how long to cut the cord. If you are making the bracelet as a gift, or to sell, then you can usually go by the guideline of about 7-7.5″ for most adults. (7.5″ is usually a bit too long for these stretchy bracelets though) Cut the cord to at least 8.5 inches just to be safe – this way you’ll have enough for when you make the finishing knot.
If you are using really big beads, you’ll need to make the bracelet longer. If you use really small beads, you’ll make the bracelet shorter. So as
you string the beads, keep checking the length of the bracelet by wrapping it around your wrist.
Once you’ve got it to the proper length, you’ll need to tie a knot. I use a basic square knot (right over left, left over right).
Now the awkward part… Before you pull the square knot tight, you need to put a dab of hypo-cement in the middle of the knot. Then pull the knot tight, and hold it for a few minutes as the glue sets. Try not to get any glue on the beads next to the knot.
Let the knot dry completely – say, about 10 minutes to be sure. Then try the bracelet on. Take it off, put it on, pull on the cord a little bit to make sure the glue & knot hold.
If you used a small enough (diameter) cord, with beads that have larger holes, you might be able to stick the cord ends back through the beads. Otherwise, trim the cord down so that there is only about 2 mm on each side of the knot.
Voila! You’ve got yourself a bracelet. You can wear just one, or make a few to mix & match.
A few extra notes:
- If you are planning to sell the bracelet or to give it as a gift, please take if for a “test drive” : Wear it for at least a few hours or a full day, to make sure the knot holds.
- You can use a crimp bead & cover on the larger diameters of cord if you want. This way you cover the knot up.
- Clean the tip of the hypo-cement off before trying to put glue on the knot. Having old, semi-dried globs at the end can make the knot look messy.
- You can string a lot of bracelets and then knot and glue them all at once (This way you only have to uncap & use the hypo cement once). I use those clamp-paper clips (the ones with the black clamp) at each end of the bracelet in order to hold the beads on the cord.