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

Archive for the ‘Jewelry Tips’ Category

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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