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Tag Archives | jewelry crafting

Vendor Spotlight: Firefly ™ Sculpey® Boxed Kits (Bendy Bracelets and Fashion Jewelry)

Reported by Beth Silaika

Some days, it is nice to just get out of the sunshine and get inside and create. The girls and I needed one such day and I broke out some Firefly™ Sculpey Boxed kits to play with. Firefly ™ Sculpey® Boxed Kits Bendy Bracelets and Fashion Fun Jewelry are two of the boxed kits which Polyform offers in their line of products.

Each kit comes with directions, tools and enough clay to create several items of jewelry. The bracelet kit comes with jewels, glitter glue and a bracelet form made of cardboard. The jewelry kit comes with tools, jewelry “thread/string” and clay.

All five of the girls wanted to play with the clay, and we were able to let the 3 and 5 year old participate with supervision.

The most difficult part of the kit is deciding what type of bracelet or jewelry you want to create. They have several different options of styles to choose from. Couple that with the variety of colors of clay and your possibilities are enormous. Sculpey clay requires conditioning to make it easily formed, so rolling and kneading the clay is the best way to start out your project. If you have little ones who want to create with the clay, you really need to condition the clay for them by sectioning off a small piece of the clay and rolling it between your hands to warm and soften it.


I let the girls have free rein on their projects, occasionally helping them form the clay on the cardboard bracelet form. They all experimented with colors and styles and decided to come up with unique combinations.
Victoria chose to create beads with her clay, using the jewelry kit. She rolled out a few colors of clay and cut them and swirled them around together to make a tie-dye bead.
Karen rolled out colors, created small circles of clay and layered them atop one another on the cardboard bracelet form.
Here are the flat circle beads that Karen layered to create her bracelet, and these are the tie-dye beads which Victoria created. The beads, prior to baking, were pierced through with the plastic needle tool to create a small hole for threading.

Isabella decided to create a twisty bracelet for herself. She selected a few colors and rolled them out on the table.


She simply twisted them together, we measured them against the cardboard bracelet form and we pressed the clay together to create the bracelet.


After baking for a few minutes in the oven, the beads and bracelets were ready!

Bella loved the look of her twisty bracelet. It slipped right on her hand and was a good thickness for durability.
My daughter Isabella does *NOT* wear jewelry. With the exception of those rubber band bracelets, this is the first piece of jewelry she has ever worn. She gave the kit a thumbs up!
Victoria beaded a nice necklace with the black thread provided in the kit. She took her tie-dye look beads and threaded them to create an adorable choker. Even though some of the bracelets Victoria made broke, she really enjoyed the kit and also gave it a thumbs up.


Unfortunately, Karen’s bracelet broke right after baking. It cooled, she tried to put it on, but the thin circles did were not durable. Several of the bracelets, with the exception of Isabella’s twisty bracelet, broke. It was difficult to make a bracelet on the cardboard form provided in the kit which was not too large for a child’s wrist. The bracelets were labeled “Bendy” but they did not bend, and if any pressure was put on the bracelet, the clay snapped. The most durable items were the beads which we created with the clay. They looked very nice, the colors were vibrant, and each bead was unique.

Pros:

  • lots of colors, styles and ideas all in one kit allows you to create endless possibilities of handmade jewelry and beads
  • so simple, even a supervised 5 year old can create a personalized piece of jewelry or beads
  • tools provided in kit can be reused if you purchase additional clay at your local craft store or online
  • lots of clay provided allows you to make several pieces of jewelry

Cons:

  • cardboard bracelet form did not fit child’s arm, it was too large
  • baked clay did not bend (as stated on the box) and several bracelets snapped and broke

My girls absolutely loved the afternoon we spent crafting. Although they were disappointed that some of the bracelets broke, they were very excited to wear with the pieces that did not break. They would absolutely play with these kits again and they would give the kits as gifts to friends. My girls range in age from 12 to 3. The 3 year old even took the leftover clay and made a hat for her Yo Gabba Gabba Muno toy. All in all, it was a wonderful crafting afternoon and I would recommend the kit to create thicker bracelets and beads.

GIVEAWAY
Polyform is generously giving away one of these great Firefly Sculpey Clay kits to a lucky reader!
To Enter
Leave a comment on this post and answer one or all of these questions…

Have you worked with these kits before? Is this something you would be interested in trying? What about these kits appeal to you most?

You have until Sunday, October 10th 6pm CST to enter. One entry per person, please.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight: Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly

Reported by Samantha Piette
 

I have always held a special place in my heart for personalized items. I’ve seen metal stamped jewelry getting more and more popular lately and knew I needed to try it.

I did some research and found Beaducation.com. The founder and owner, Lisa, has done a fantastic job introducing crafters to jewelry making and metal stamping. She even includes a free online class for metal stamping beginners.

When I heard Lisa was coming out with a book on metal stamping, I knew it was something I HAD to check out. There is so much to learn, and I knew (through her site and classes) that if anyone was going to teach us about metal stamping, it’s her.


Her book Stamped Metal Jewelry: Creative Techniques & Designs for Making Custom Jewelry is 135 pages of instruction and inspiration. It’s pure eye candy for anyone looking to add metal stamping to their jewelry making.


The first 37 pages of the book cover the supplies you need and their uses (different tools for different techniques) as well as a few techniques and a simple how-to to get started stamping. It goes into detail about each tool, which is very helpful if you want to try something on your pieces but have no idea how to get the effect you want. This way, you know exactly which tools you will need to purchase.


The rest of the book includes 19 step-by-step projects. Lisa covers every type of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and even a leather cuff which would be perfect for a Father’s Day present. The style of the different projects range from simple to complicated, and from clean to grungy. Definitely something for everyone.


The book also includes an instructional DVD featuring over 30 minutes of Lisa herself demonstrating techniques and showing essential tools and how to use them. The DVD also includes a bonus project that Lisa walks you through step by step.


Using one of the first projects in the book (I am a beginner, after all) I made this pendant which says “CREATE.” I used a basic 1/4″ block letter economy stamping set and a sterling silver disc.

I have to say, I have been trying to learn how to stamp metal for a while now and had not been getting the results I wanted. Either the letters were really crooked or inconsistent or they just didn’t look ‘right.’ After reading Lisa’s book, not only am I inspired to create more, but I learned some really (really!) helpful tips that have helped me get the results I wanted.

Pros:

  • The beginning of the book is perfect for beginners and gives a very good introduction to products and techniques.
  • Every project is broken down step by step with photos. They are very easy to follow so anyone can make the items Lisa has shown in the book.
  • Lisa includes little bonus tips on how to make certain pieces more personalized, including a list of inspiring words, as well as how to say different meaningful phrases in different languages.
  • Everything Lisa uses in her book is available to purchase on her website, beaducation.com, she even offers kits for beginners.
  • A great value for $24.95 (includes 20 projects plus an instructional DVD.)

Cons:

  • If you have never made jewelry before this book may be too advanced for you.
  • Getting started with metal stamping can be expensive (as is any hobby, really.) A non-basic letter set starts at around $90.

Stamped Metal Jewelry: Creative Techniques and Designs for Making Custom Jewelry is also available from Amazon.com

Do you love making jewelry? Have you ever wanted to try stamping on metal? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Book Review: Totally Twisted, by Kerry Bogert

Reported by Sara McKenzie




I am always intrigued by how-to books for fun and funky jewelry, and the title Totally Twisted had me hooked right off the bat! This is the third jewelry book from artist Kerry Bogert, and the contents do not disappoint. Kerry has the good fortune/skill/hours invested to be an inspiration for making lampwork glass beads, as well as fun and unique ways to turn them into wearable art. As the subtitle states, this book is all about how to create innovative wirework and art glass jewelry.

As with all good how-to books, this one starts off with a series of pages on Materials, Tools, Techniques, and even how to use the Color Wheel in your own designs. The close-up photos are beautifully lit and most definitely enhance the instruction. Below is an example of the page which describes how to make a “wrapped loop”.


She also includes excellent instructions for making simple headpins, eye pins, clasps, spirals, and even your own jump rings (it really is easy!!). And not only does she use sterling silver wire, and inform us how to do it, she also incorporates color-coated copper wire for fun and added pizzazz.

What follows in the book are detailed instructions for 24 projects with catchy names like “Squiggle Wiggle,” “Chunky Monkey,” and “Flying Trapeze.” The projects include simple drop earrings, pendants, myriad bracelets and all manner of necklaces.

Here is her first page layout for the “Delightful” necklace, which is intended to provide a design that can use all of those leftover beads and chain from other projects.


My own take on”Delightful” is below. I had purchased all of these beads in three or four individual sets a “few” years ago (ahem), and this design gave me the perfect way to combine them altogether in what I think is a great look! For my design, I used 20 gauge soft gold-filled wire. And the coiled pieces were made with the “Coiling Gizmo” – you can find my review of that nifty (and inexpensive tool!) here on Craft Critique.

My “Delightful” Necklace of lampwork glass beads and gold-filled wire.
Close-up of a large wrapped-loop link, with a bead incorporated.
Close-up of the double-wrapped loop chain. You have to connect them as you go,
which is a bit of a challenge!

Close-up of the S-link chain. Mine is far from perfect, but it still works!!


I also made matching earrings by copying the large wrapped loop, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale.

Matching earrings with a large wrapped loop. The hardest part on these was
getting the large loops to be the same size, because I did not have a good
mandrel handy. Again, not perfect, but I won’t be ashamed to wear them.

Here are some examples of “BANG Gals” that the author provided. These were incredibly simple, with a large gauge wire used as the base, and then covered in coiled wire.



For my own piece, I simplified just a teeny bit. And again, the beads were from my own stash and I was thrilled to be able to put them to this design!

My own “BANG Gal” using both sterling silver wire and color-coated copper wire.
Definitely wearable art!!


Totally Twisted is just that, in very fun and inspiring way! The author gives clear instruction which is accompanied by many excellent close-up photos. She even recommends that you tumble your finished works in a tumbler to give them a final polish- yes, even a kid’s rock tumbler will do. I have to admit that I have not been brave enough to do that yet…. Although I don’t know what is really stopping me, because she is the pro!!

Totally Twisted
Interweave Press
List price: $22.95 ( but on SALE now for $13.77 – a bargain!)
143 pages
24 projects plus instructions

Pros:

  • Really lovely and truly unique ways to combine lampwork glass beads with wire work
  • Excellent instructions for even basic elements that you can use in all of your jewelry projects
  • You don’t have to use expensive beads and wire to make great looking jewelry.

Cons:

  • Not exactly a con, but the elements do require practice. But that’s what is great about the price of copper wire!
  • You really do need the right tools: a tapered mandrel, a bench block, chasing hammer and the right sets of pliers.
  • The author makes her own lampwork beads, some of which are quite unusual. So you might be disappointed that the styles are not easy to reproduce exactly as shown.
  • You do need to have the book next to you and be working on the wire to make some of the instructions make sense (but I have the same problem with some sewing patterns, so maybe that’s just life!).

 Totally Twisted: Innovative Wirework & Art Glass Jewelry is available at Amazon.com.

Are you a jewelry buff? Have you tried any of Kerry’s other books? Let us know!


Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!