Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to make kidney ear wires

Kidney ear wires, to me, are the perfect ear wire for little girls and tweens because they're very lightweight, small, and don't fall out. Don't get me wrong because they're perfect for women too. Especially if you tend to have French ear wires fall out of your ears just when you use your cell phone!

They're fairly easy to make though it does take me a bit of thinking, and looking at a finished one to get through my first set.  That's why I make several pairs at a time!  I get into a groove of making them and it's easier to bang out a bunch at once.

These are the tools you'll need...

I used 24 gauge wire for this tutorial.  However, 22 gauge is perfect too and very sturdy.  Cut two pieces of wire that are 2 1/2 inches long.  File the burrs off both ends.  Think about putting these wires through the holes in your ears...you wouldn't want anything sharp poking you.

Use your nylon jaw pliers to straighten each wire and to work harden them a bit.

Make a small half loop on one end of each wire using your round nose pliers. 

Place the loop flat into your chain nose pliers and bend the long end into a 60 degree angle (this is just an approximate, but yes, you can Google it to see what 60 degrees looks like).

Now grab the bend with the tip of your round nose pliers and form an open loop.  (This open loop is where you would hang your drops from.)  The long end of the wire should now be point straight up.

Using the chain nose pliers grab the top of the loop to hold firmly while you grab the long end of the wire and bend it up perpendicular to the original half loop.

If you don't have a
mandrel, then you can either use a wooden dowel or the barrel of a Sharpie marker.  As long as the surface is smooth and round!

This is where using
24 gauge wire is more forgiving...you want to form the kidney shape around the mandrel while leaving enough of a "tail" to hook through the half loop.

Grab the "tail" with your chain nose pliers and put a slight bend in it so that it won't slip up and out of the hook once fastened.


Get your steel bench block set up and place the ear wire on it so that the half loop is hanging off the edge.  When you use your mallet to flatten and work harden the ear wire you don't want the half loop to get caught and flatten it by accident!

Double check once again for any sharp ends.  Use your file again to smooth any rough burrs. 
I made some cute drops to hang off my kidney ear wires.  But I haven't decided if I'm going to list them in my Etsy shop, DesignedByDonnaD.etsy.com, or keep them to see at one of my home shows or craft fairs.
If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, please feel free to send me an email.  I'd be happy to answer your questions or to clarify anything that was unclear.  I apologize if my pictures aren't the most sharp.  I think that I'll need to invest in a mini tripod to keep the blurriness at bay.
Thanks for stopping by to check out my tutorial!  If you'd like to see one on a particular subject, then please let me know and I'll see if it's something I can post for you.  You can like me on Facebook - Designed By Donna D, find me on Pinterest, and Instagram under the same name....take care!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Silver and Gold Wire Wrapped "Silver Green Line" Necklace

I went to the American Bead Show in Charlotte, NC this past Sunday at the Metrolina Expo Center and came home with some nice beads and gemstones.  I was a little disappointed with the show however.  It was pretty small this time and my favorite wire guy wasn't there...so sad.  Next time, I guess!

I was intrigued by a strand of 15mm x 15mm diamond faceted Silver Green Line stones.  They were the first stones that I wanted to make something with for my Etsy shop.  They're a pretty dark green with silver/white strands of color running through them.  For some reason they make me think of Art Deco style...not sure why.

Any how, I made a couple pairs of earrings that I'll be listing in my shop later today, and then I played with some ideas and came up with this pendant for a necklace.  Do you ever struggle with whether or not to wear gold, or silver jewelry with an outfit?  Well, I have a couple pieces of my own jewelry that has both finishes and just love them because they're so versatile, so I realized that I should make something like that.  This way you could pack it for a trip and have a necklace that should go with pretty much every outfit in your suitcase!

I took out my pretty 12 gauge non-tarnish silver plated wire (that I had bought from my favorite wire-guy at the last bead show!) and cut a 6 1/2" piece of it.  I filed the ends smooth so as to have no burs to catch on any clothing.  Then I hand-formed the shape.  I didn't use a guide, just went with an idea that I hoped would look great with one of those square stones nestled in the middle of it.  I hammered just the rounded bottom of it to flatten, and then came in with the ball end of the hammer to add some texture.
 My next step was to grab my 20 gauge gold plated wire and form a kind of cloverleaf using my Wild Wire jig.  The trick is to make one small loop that's just big enough to slip over a peg.  Wrap two loops, then slide it off the pegs, flip it over and form the last loop.  This way you'll have a more flat piece...not as many layers
of wire on top of each other.  Then using my
rawhide mallet I flattened and strengthened the piece.

I then slid the bead onto the "headpin" I created and then lined it up inside the silver wire form to see where I wanted it to lay once wired into place.  This gave me an idea of where I needed to form a bail. 

This is where my mandrel came in handy.  I formed a bail that would be big enough to slide the necklace in and out of.  I'm a firm believe in pieces having multiple uses.  So, if you have a gold necklace, or a leather necklace, then this could be added for another look.

I tightly wrapped the wire around the mandrel several times and then brought the wire around to the front so that I could start wiring the gem onto the pendant.

This last photo is not actually the finished piece.  It's the back of it!  If you'd like to see the final pendant/necklace that has one little addes flair to it, then please take a peek at my Etsy shop (top right).  I'll be adding this listing shortly.  Thanks for visiting!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Having an Etsy Shop is an interesting endeavor!

Hello!  Did you know that trying to have a business on Etsy is real work? And I don't mean just making the (in my case) jewelry, taking pictures, and listing it.  Oh no!  That's the fun part.  To start, you need to know what SEO means...Search Engine Optimization.  And not just know what it means...you need to perfect it!  I'm trying, but it's a crapshoot for sure.  Plus I need to "socialize" on social media websites, ugh.  Not really my thing.  Though I do have A LOT of fun being on the Etsy Forums and getting into some of the threads.  These people are FUNNY!  Try reading them sometime.  Find a funny title and go read it...trust me.

Let's see what I'm working with...I have this Blog, an Etsy shop, a Designed By Donna D Facebook page, and now a Pinterest "business account" for Designed By Donna D!  I'd love it, if you like any of my jewelry, to follow me on Pinterest, like me on Facebook, and chat with me on my Blog!  Having people who give me feedback, honest suggestions and critique would be fantastic.  I can't grow and improve without hearing from you.  Even if it's got nothing to do with my jewelry...just a question about how to do something.  I'll do my best to get you a proper answer. 

This is my latest item listed in my shop:

I had blast creating this focal point necklace!  These milky green gemstones caught my eye at my local beadshop (Ain't Miss Beadhaven), and though I usually purchase my inventory through wholesale bead stores, or through bead shows in NC, I just HAD to have these!  (Besides, they were having a sale!)  I used the whole strand for a leather cuff I made, and purposely left these three beads to make a necklace.  I had no idea how I would use them, but when I took them out to play with yesterday this is what happened.

What do you think, does this design work?  What if I made it with different colors?  Should I have wire wrapped the third gemstone in the middle of that bottom teardrop, or left it dangling like I did?  I move things around constantly before making a final decision, but then again, it's MY aesthetic that tells me what to do.  What if someone would love this design, but using different colored gemstones?  I'd like to hear from you.  Have a great day!