I design … I teach … I create … I craft … I love kumihimo

Archive for the ‘Jewelry Tips’ Category

Kumihimo Storage Fun

I don’t get out much* but when I do, I like to pack my precious kumihimo supplies carefully and efficiently. 

Eureka! I found the perfect tama container. Sneakily enough, stores seem to think it’s a refrigerator storage bin. Silly retailers.

The bin holds 8 beading tama, my scientific weights, a chopstick and a split ring. The handles guarantee I don’t drop it. The bins are even stackable if I don’t include the scientific weight. Splendiferous! 

I tried it out yesterday as I packed for a local Craft Bash (gathering of fun, friendly, creative folk) and it worked perfectly. I used another bin for Miscellaneous Important Things. Pretty sweet. 
  
What are your creative kumihimo storage solutions?
Creatively yours,

Monica
* Why? Well, that’s a story for another day.

Liquid Resin Tip

Resin tip: You can use spare beads to support jewelry findings when you need to fill them with liquid resin. 

Some people use rice, which works well, but I’m not fond of the floaty little rice dust that sometimes happens. I prefer to use beads from my “miscellaneous treasures” jar.

  

This is like bead recycling, right? So I’m totally justified in buying more beads, right? Right. I knew it! 

What resin tips do you have?

 
Creatively yours,

Monica

Finishing Party

I’m surrounded by loads of kumihimo experiments and unfinished projects. Yay, me!

Everyone has their own workflow, right? I tend to design, assess and rework the kumihimo portion of a piece until I get it done the way I like. 

When I’m writing tutorials, as I am now, I practice and photograph the preparation and braiding processes over and over and over again. Then I have a “finishing party” and attach all the end caps, clasps and such. 

Today is Finishing Party day. Tools are everywhere and I’m making a huge fun mess. 

 Finishing Party with tools and findings
Party on, friends!

 

Creatively yours,

Monica 

Creativity Break

Hi, all! I’m offline for a little while, enjoying a Creativity Break.

  
I hope you’re nurturing your own creativity. 

Be well!

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Social Media & Rebranding

As much as I try, blogging doesn’t come as easily for me as I’d like. I try. Really I do.

I post more consistently on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. If you don’t already follow me on those venues, you probably haven’t seen these designs.

 

I’m happy to announce a bit of a name change. You’ll now start finding me as iLOVEkumihimo on all my social media places 

Let’s connect all over the webosphere, shall we?

like: facebook.com/iLOVEkumihimo
tweet: twitter.com/iLOVEkumihimo
pin: pinterest.com/iLOVEkumihimo
peek: instagram.com/iLOVEkumihimo

 

Creatively yours,

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Design Notes

With every design I think, “Oh, I’ll remember that” … and with every design I’m usually quite wrong.

It took me a while to establish a system that was a) convenient b) accurate and c) useful for me once some time had passed. I’m happy to share some of my secrets here with you.

My primary documentation tool is my smart phone. Truly, my childhood dream came true when modern technology made it simple to have a camera, calendar, computer, clock, phone, flashlight and more — all in one device that fits in a pocket.

With my phone, I photograph and video all the glorious details of learning a new braid or making a new design. I get it all: before, during and after.

My process is simple:

  1. Photograph the materials
  2. Photograph the setup
  3. Make a simple ‘reminder video’ as I braid so I remember the sequence
  4. Photograph the finished braid
  5. Write down the numbers (# of warps, # of ends in a warp, tama weight, counter weight, width of finished piece … any number that seems significant)
  6. Note anything that should be done differently the next time
  7. Put it all together in a folder
  8. Back up the data
  9. Print out the details (offline references come in handy)

I recently learned a square 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid. My design notes look like this (click on an image to get more info) …

 

I also made a very short reminder video of the move sequence on the marudai. My reminder videos are very brief but I find them super helpful. I encourage you to document your own design journey so you can have an objective view of your growth as an artist.

Once I removed the braid from the marudai, I took some close-up photos in natural light. This photo set shows the braid detail and gives a better idea of the colors.

I have not yet turned this piece into jewelry. When I do, I’ll photograph the finished ends and any embellishments. I’ll also note details on the findings.

Ba da bing! Ba da boom! That’s all there is to it.

With these handy notes, I’ll never completely forget how to make an 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid.

I hope you find some of this helpful as you document your own creative fun. If you have helpful tips or suggestions, please share.

 

Creatively yours,

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Thank You

May the holidays you celebrate this season bring you much joy. Thank you friends, family, colleagues and customers for all your support this year.
May 2016 rock your socks off!

Creatively yours,

Color Me Happy

I love color.

Bright, bold colors make me happy. Dark, rich colors make me happy. Jewel tones? Happy. Monochrome? Happy.

I love color.

People often ask me how I choose my color combinations when I design and when I teach, so I’ll share my simple visual method here. Throughout the post I will mention beads, but the same method applies to cord, leather and all other mediums.

I play. Really, that’s about all there is to it.

I grab some beads, mix a few together or lay them out with whatever focal I’ve chosen, and let them spend some time together. Truly.

I’ll notice them as I walk by or do other work. I’ll make a note if I like them. If something doesn’t seem to be quite what I want, I remove or add some components. Then they spend more time together until I’m either a) satisfied or b) no longer interested in that project. Don’t judge. It’s just truth.

When I’m mixing different colors of same-size beads, I keeping mind that just a little is usually quite enough. I don’t mix whole tubes of beads together just to experiment. If I hate the blend, I don’t want to separate hundreds of beads.

For my bead mixes, I measure one or two caps of beads (note the tiny white cap partially showing in the photo; marvel at my high-tech methods) in a small container. I pour them onto a bead mat and let them get to know each other well.  You know, to let them choose to either make friends or agree to go their separate ways.

These beads are getting to know each other.

In my photo, I’m letting an experimental blend make friends. I’m looking for a nice subtle blend for a beaded kumihimo project that will use these focal handcrafted lampwork beads. (Pssst! Love the beads? Check out Juli Canon’s work at Studio Juls. I know, those silly implied Business Competition Rules say not to share trade secrets. But I’m an educator and I’m happy, so it’s ok.)

Once I string the beads, I’ll twist the strands together and evaluate them again. Then I’ll start braiding and evaluate again. Persnicketiness pays.

For color inspiration, there are a lot of options. I photograph everything and place color ideas in folders. And inspiration abounds online. You can find my Color Me Happy board on Pinterest.

What is your method for choosing colors in your designs?
Creatively yours,

Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet Tutorial v1.1 Now Available

I am humbled and awed and excited that so many of you creative people are interested in my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo tutorial. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A few minor typo’s have been reported. Kudos to you detail-attentive folks! I appreciate your help in making this 22-page tutorial as accurate and professional as possible.

I have applied the changes and changed one image on the back page (just for fun), which means this tutorial is now Version 1.1.

For those of you who have already purchased the original, see if you can download the new version via Etsy. If you cannot, send me an Etsy convo and I’ll make sure you get a typo-free version.

v1.1 of my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial is now available. Click the image to see it in my shop.

v1.1 of my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial is now available. Click the image to see it in my shop.

Creatively yours,

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Save the Date

Save the date! Start the party! Stock up on beads!

August 19!

Finally, I’m (nearly) satisfied with my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial. By August 19, even my persnickety self will be able to call it finished and fine. 

Whew. 

It has oodles of photos and step-by-step instructions. I think you’ll be pleased. 

This is not for kumihimo newbies, folks. You want to be comfortable with your kumihimo skills before you try this tutorial. Beaded kumihimo experience highly recommended. 

Check back here on the release date and find out how you can get a $5 refund on the $8 tutorial. You won’t want to miss it. 

  
Back to editing I go. I’ll emerge August 19. See you then!

Creatively yours,

  

Stringing Beads

Tools are great. I truly like adore my tools. A perfect tool for a job is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes, though, the best tool is … no tool.

People frequently ask me what needle I use to load beads onto my cords for beaded kumihimo. I make and wear a lot of beaded kumihimo. A LOT. Oodles.

In fact, I finished a beaded kumihimo bracelet this weekend that has just over a thousand size 8/0 beads.

Exactly 1,056 beads.

Exactly 1,056 beads.

But I don’t use a beading needle.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried many beading needles. And I’m disappointed every single time.

I prefer to stiffen the ends of my s-lon cord with Gum Arabic Beading Glue and let the end of the cord become the needle.

The process is super simple and takes very little time. It’s even a bit messy. (Messy = fun, right?)

1. Cut the end of your cord at an angle.

I'm using size 18 Super-Lon cord. First, I cut the end of the cord at an angle to form the point of the "needle".

I’m using size 18 Super-Lon cord. First, I cut the end of the cord at an angle to form the point of the “needle”.

2. Dip at least 2″ into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

Dip at least 2" into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

Dip at least 2″ into the Gum Arabic. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess, making sure the end of the cord is coated well but not dripping.

3. Hang the cord to dry. It doesn’t really matter if the cord is perfectly straight or a little curved. Once the cord is dry, it will be stiff enough to use as a needle to load your beads.

Once the gum arabic is dry, your cord tip works as your bead needle.

Once the gum arabic is dry, your cord tip works as your bead needle.

When you’re done loading beads, just tie a square knot in the end of your cord. This is just a temporary “needle” after all.

Gum arabic is water soluble and washes off hands and tools.

I hope you find this helpful.

What’s your preferred method of loading beads? I’d love to learn  your process.

 

Creatively yours,

Monica

Final Prototypes

I fiddle. I modify. I tweak.

I delay.

Delays aren’t always bad.

I wasn’t procrastinating. I know this because I can procrastinate very well and this just wasn’t one of those times.

I just wasn’t done. I knew it could be better. And face it, I’m persnickety. (It’s ok. I know I am.)

Beaded kumihimo memory wire bracelet by Monica K Campbell, EdM.

I was nearly finished with the technique tutorial and what did I do? I made a major modification.

Major.

Ah, now it’s good. Now I really like it.

And I’m nearly done re-photographing and re-writing the tutorial. Again. I’m not ready to tell you how many times I’ve done this.

Persnickety can be annoying (ask my family). But it can also be good.

Beaded kumihimo memory wire bracelet in "Lavender & More Mix #3" by Monica K Campbell, EdM.

So, what do you think?

 

Creatively yours,

monicaKcampbell

Tutorial: DIY Printed Art Nunn Design® Bangle Bracelet ~ Monica’s 10-Minute Method ~ Waterproof

I’m not always fast. I may be persnickety … detail-oriented … analytical … creative … organized (ha!) … but face it, oftentimes my techniques for making surprisingly durable jewelry are NOT fast. Until now.

I’m happy to share my 10-Minute Method of making a bangle in this free tutorial…

 

Step 1. Gather Materials

 

Step 2: Print image on durable jewelry paper.

Step 2: Print your digital image with a laser printer onto Monica’s Matte Jewelry Paper.

Note: Is my Matte Jewelry Paper really necessary? That depends. It is necessary if you want your bangle to be waterproof. But if you choose other paper (scrapbook paper or inkjet prints), you’ll need to seal your paper. The paper and sealer you choose will make all the difference. See my “Variations” notes at the end of this post for more info.

 

Step 3: Trim your printed art to 7.5mm wide and approximately 220mm long.

  • Test the fit of your trimmed paper by wrapping it around the bangle.
  • The trimmed paper should fit in the channel.
  • The ends of the printed paper should overlap a bit, which makes adhering the paper a bit easier to do. The true circumference of the bangle is 216mm, so I usually add about 4mm for overlap.

 

Step 4 Apply E-6000

Step 4: Apply E-6000 adhesive to the back of the trimmed paper.

Tips:

  • I prefer the mini .18-fluid-ounce E-6000 tubes. They are an easier size for me to use and I can easily squeeze a narrow line of glue on the trimmed strip. Your mileage may vary.
  • A single, solid narrow line of adhesive will be sufficient. You’ll spread it in the next step.
  • Follow all E-6000 safety precautions, such as “wear gloves” and “work in a well ventilated area”.

 

Step 5 Spread E-6000

Step 5: Spread the E-6000 with a plastic card.

One swipe of the plastic down the length of the paper, in a squeegee type of motion, will give you a smooth layer of E-6000 on the back of the paper without any dry spots or lumps.

Tips:

  • Hold the paper in place as you spread the E-6000. Don’t let the E-6000 get on the printed side of your paper. It would smear the ink and leave gummy lumps. Not an attractive look.
  • This is messy. Expect the E-6000 to smoosh off the edges of the paper and smear onto your work surface. You’ll also have a lump of adhesive under your plastic card. My favorite work surface for this is an oven liner. Seriously. In fact, I use oven liners during oodles of crafty techniques. I’ll blog about that another day.

 

Step 6: Apply the paper to the bangle.

Start by aligning one edge of the paper in the channel then use a finger to push the paper onto/around the bangle. You’ll be burnishing and applying all in one step, which ensures a smooth, bubble-free fit.

 

Step 7: Apply a non-stick clip or two where the edges of the paper overlap. Set aside to dry.

I can’t say exactly how long it will take the E-6000 to dry. I know temperature and humidity are important factors. According to the manufacturer, though, 24 – 72 hours is considered a “full dry time” for the product to be considered truly waterproof.

I tend to make bangles in the evening and usually wear them the next day (I’m so patient). The E-6000 has consistently held the paper together well enough for me. However, if you intend to immerse the bangle in water, I recommend you follow the manufacturer’s guide and wait a day or three.

 

Step 8: Congratulations! Your new bangle is finished. Enjoy!

 

If you sell jewelry at craft fairs and the like, this technique can be an easy table-filler for you. One printed sheet can yield 17 – 25 trimmed strips, depending on the art you choose and the efficiency of your trimming. I can trim and assemble 25 in an hour. That’s a fantastic creation timeframe for a hand-made product that looks amazing.

Are you curious about the art I used for the tutorial bangle? It’s one of my favorite bangles and it features part of a chromolithograph from the 1850’s. I adore the bright colors and intricate patterns. It’s from one of my favorite artists, Corinna of Piddix. You can read more about her art and why I prefer it in my Wanna Know a Secret post.

Variations:

  • My technique in this tutorial is pretty flexible. I’ve used liquid resin instead of E-6000 (still using my Matte Jewelry Paper). The resin gave the bracelet a very nice glossy effect because I coated both sides of the paper with the resin before applying it to the bangle.
  • In a previous free tutorial, I showed you how to wallpaper a Nunn Design® Bangle with liquid resin. You can modify the wallpaper technique by using E-6000 instead of liquid resin. I’ve made a few wallpapered bangles with E-6000 and so far I’m pleased with the durability.
  • One of my favorite adhesives is Glamour Glaze from Annie Howes. It’s a water-based adhesive that dries crystal clear. Soon, I’ll be experimenting with Glamour Glaze as a bangle adhesive. If you beat me to it, though, please share your experience. I love learning.
  • If you use an InkJet printer and want to try modifying my technique to make bangles from inkjet-printed art, I suggest trying Glamour Seal (another Annie Howes product). I haven’t personally tried Glamour Seal but I trust Annie. If she says it seals well, I’m sure it does.

 

Go have fun!

 

 

Creatively yours,

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Tutorial: Wallpaper a Nunn Design® Bangle Bracelet ~ Monica’s Waterproof Method

Let’s talk about vintage home decor. Specifically, wallpaper. What do you do with vintage wallpaper?  I wear mine.

It’s true. I wear wallpaper. And I love it!

What do you do with your vintage wallpaper? I wear mine.

What do you do with your vintage wallpaper? I wear mine.

As you can see from the above photo, I wallpaper a lot of bangles.

Would you like to make your own? Then this free tutorial is for you.

Here is Monica’s Waterproof Method of Making a Wallpapered Nunn Design® Bangle…

 

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Step 1. Gather Supplies:

 

Step 2: Trim Wallpaper

Step 2: Trim Wallpaper to 7.5mm wide and 216mm long.

  • Test the fit of your trimmed wallpaper by wrapping it around the bangle. Trim again as necessary.
  • The wallpaper should fit in the channel.
  • The ends of the wallpaper should touch but not overlap. Why? Because overlapped wallpaper will probably be thicker than the depth of the bangle channel.

 

Step 3: Apply Liquid Resin

Step 3: Mix liquid resin according to directions. Drip resin onto wallpaper.

Note: A pipette is optional, but is my preferred tool for applying liquid resin.
If you don’t have pipettes, I carry them here.

 

Step 4: Coat Wallpaper

Step 4: Using nitrile gloves, smear the resin all over the wallpaper until the wallpaper is completely coated.

You want the wallpaper coated, not dripping.

Note: Changing gloves after this step is a really good idea. 

 

Step 5: Align on Bangle

Step 5: Align one edge of the wallpaper on the bangle.

 

Step 6: Smooth Around Bangle

Step 6: Wrap the wallpaper around the bangle.

Starting at the first edge you aligned, use a finger to push the wallpaper onto (around) the bangle. This is really burnishing and applying all in one step, which ensures a smooth, bubble-free fit.

 

Step 7: Clip Until Dry

Step 7: Apply a non-stick clip where the edges of the wallpaper meet.Set aside to cure according to resin directions.

Note: Almost any small clip will do as long as the edge is smooth. Don’t worry about the clip leaving a dimple in the resin. You’ll touch it up in the next step.

 

Step 8: Touch Up

Step 8: Touching up can involve two stages.

A) Remove any excess dried resin from the outer surface of the bangle by gently gliding a sharp craft knife along the metal.

B) If necessary, apply fresh resin to smooth along the wallpaper seam. A cosmetic sponge can be a good applicator. Or use your finger, since you’re wearing gloves. Set aside to cure.

 

Step 9: Enjoy!

Step 9: All done! If you sealed the wallpaper thoroughly, your bangle will be waterproof. Enjoy!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. I enjoy making and wearing the wallpapered bangles, probably because the texture of the wallpaper adds an interesting element to the bangles. Plus, they’re super fun to make.

Printable tutorials are available. Click the version you wish to use:

All the details.

Quick photo reference.

Wallpapered bangles by Monica K Campbell.

Wallpapered bangles by Monica K Campbell.

If you like this concept but don’t have any wallpaper handy, be sure to check out my next post. I’ll show you how to use printed art in your bangles. I also offer some variations to this technique that you may find helpful.

 

Creatively yours,

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Messy

Sometimes you can gauge the day just by the mess left behind.

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Today was a good day.

What messes are you making?

Creatively yours,

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If It Works

It’s true. I’ll use any handy thing for a kumihimo weight.

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Hey, if it works, it’s good.

Now where are my car keys?

Creatively yours,

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Perfect Camouflage

I’m persnickety. No one doubts this, right?

I found a comfortable denim jacket that met all my standard criteria: comfortable fit, great length and perfectly-sized pockets … and the jacket was even in the exact shade of color I wanted. I didn’t hesitate to buy it, even though it had the maker’s tag sewn right on a front pocket. Ew.

Why didn’t I hesitate? Because I knew I could trim that little tag right off. And I did.

Tag be gone!

Tag be gone!

Which left an unsightly dark splotch where the denim underneath the tag didn’t fade during the pre-washing-whatever-process that denim jacket maker people do. I suffered through wearing the blemish for about a week. Then my new Nunn Design components arrived. Ta-daaa!

Empty Nunn Design ® Oval Brooch component

Empty Nunn Design ® Oval Brooch component

I just knew an oval brooch would camouflage that darkened denim blemish perfectly.

Perfect camouflage.

Perfect camouflage.

And it did! But there is more to the story. As if perfect camouflage isn’t enough … the brooch can also be worn as a pendant. Score!

It's a brooch; it's a pendant.

It’s a brooch; it’s a pendant.

I like this Nunn Design ® brooch so much, I’ll be adding all available shapes to my shop: oval, round, rectangular. Thank you, Becky Nunn!

 

And yes, I made multiple brooches while I experimented. Because they’re super simple to make … and super fun to wear.

Waterproof brooch/pendant with vintage kimono fabric design, hand made by Monica at Ikumihimo.

Waterproof brooch/pendant with vintage kimono fabric design, hand made by Monica at Ikumihimo.

Persnicketiness pays. Oh, and if you like the art in these brooch designs, you’ll want to read all about my secret.

 

Creatively yours,

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Image

Wanna Know a Secret?

We’re friends, right? I mean, we’re close. Close enough I can tell you a trade secret of my designs, right?

Gee. Maybe I shouldn’t say.

Nah, you need to know.

Gosh. I can’t decide. This has been my secret for quite a while, after all.

I can do this. Are you ready?      ..…. drum roll …….

Handmade waterproof bracelet featuring Piddix images.

Handmade waterproof bracelet featuring Piddix images. Designed by Monica K Campbell.

Piddix!

Many of my jewelry designs showcase the artistic brilliance of Corinna Buchholz of Piddix. Piddix images are more than just beautiful and versatile. If you know me at all, you know how persnickety I get with copyright details. Corinna researches everything she uses, acquiring copyrights when necessary and ensuring public domain status. This matters, people. This matters a lot.

Piddix images are superior quality and guilt-free. Better than a cupcake, I say.

Piddix art rocks. Trust me.

Piddix art rocks. Trust me.

 

Off you go now. Explore something fun. Treat yourself to oodles of creativity. All the links you need are right here:

piddix.etsy.com
instantcollagesheets.com
piddix.blogspot.com

twitter.com/piddix
fb.com/piddix

 

I’d love to see what you make. Do share.

 

Creatively yours,

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Making Your Own Kumi Weights

If you kumihimo on a foam disk, a kumi weight is a basic — and essential — tool.  Placed on the beginning end of your warps (cords), a kumi weight helps you keep consistent tension in the finished braid.

You can easily make your own kumihimo weight.  It’s super simple and can probably be done with stuff right in your home… like a scrap of string and some washers from your toolbox.  Or an empty prescription bottle with a hook on top.

DIY kumihimo weights

DIY kumihimo weights: a prescription bottle with coins, a large safety pin with metal washers and a scrap piece of string with metal washers.

When selecting your components, consider items that…

  1. won’t snag your cord.
  2. will easily remove from your finished project.

Most people are comfortable with a kumi weight in the 1.5 oz – 2.5 oz range.  An added bonus of a DIY kumi weight?  You control the weight, so it’s always exactly what you need.

Commercial kumihimo weights with gator clips (also known as “gator weights”) can be purchased from a variety of craft places. I confess, I even carried them in my shop for a brief time. But the minute a gator weight snagged my cord, I went back to making my own.

Gator weight

Gator weight

In my next post, I’ll show you my favorite kumi weight (yes, I made it myself) and tell you why I love it.

Have you experimented with making kumihimo weights?  What do you use — and why do you like it?

Creatively yours,

Monica

Memory Wire and Leftovers

Memory wire bracelet with leftover beads

Leftovers aren’t just for lunch anymore.

I had a few gorgeous handmade lampwork beads left over from a previous project and only 20 minutes to “play”.  So I  slid the beads onto some stainless steel memory wire, wrapped a single loop at each end and voilà!

Sometimes, simplest is best.

I like memory wire because I prefer to wear multi-strand bracelets … I don’t need to fiddle with a clasp … and the memory wire flexes enough that I don’t have to be concerned with exact sizing.

Jewelry-making tip: When working with memory wire, use durable tools that are designed for steel.  I have a set of shear cutters and pliers that I use only on memory wire.

memory wire tools

Memory wire is stainless steel, so be sure to use shear cutters and pliers that are hardened for steel.

A single loop is enough to hold these beauties in place.  Before you cut your wire, make sure you leave enough extra space for the bracelet to flex to your satisfaction.

Memory wire end loop

A simple loop is enough to end this memory wire bracelet.

Easy to make.

Easy to wear.

Durable.

What do you do with your leftovers?

Creatively yours,

Monica