Saturday, December 25, 2010

Studio Saturday-Merry Christmas + One More Day of Christmas Tutorial

Merry Christmas to everyone!
One more day of Christmas, I didn't make it in time for the 12 days of Christmas.
I am still trying to incorporate or use recycled items. 
Remember the aluminum Christmas trees growing up? My grandparents had one. Not only aluminum but it spun in its base! When you are little that is a major Ooo and Ahhh + Pretty Shiny.
On a smaller scale using aluminum cans, here is my rendition. 
Aluminum soda cans aren't any thicker than index stock, just a different material that behaves in it's own way. It will rip, fold and get indentations on it the same way as paper but with aluminums reflective nature it's far more noticeable.

3 Aluminum Cans, I used Green Sprite Cans
Anodized Aluminum Jump Rings
Glass Beads
24 Gauge Copper wire
18 Gauge Copper Wire
Art Bead
Metal Eyelets, found in the scrapbooking section
Sharp Scissors
Mini Anvil
Ball Pein Hammer
1/8" Paper Punch
Eyelet Punch Tool
Round and Chain Nose Pliers
Sharpie Marker
Paper Pattern
Glue Dots
Any other tool that helps!

1. Cut the top and bottom off of your cans as straight and cleanly as possible. After cutting so many cans you will find a technique that works for you. You may want to practice on a can that you do not intend on using for this project. 

My method: find the side of the can with the UPC code. Take a knife and carefully push/cut through the can at the top and bottom, making a slit. Holding the top of the can in your left hand put the tip of your scissors into the slit and begin cutting. Holding tightly onto can try to keep your scissors straight and pointing upwards, turning the can as you cut. The tension will be forcing you to cut downwards. After you have successfully cut off the top, cut the can from top to bottom to the other slit. This cut helps to ease the tension of cutting the bottom off. Hold the bottom of the can with your left hand, insert your scissors and start cutting. Even up the edges.

2. Make your pattern. I used a scrap piece of paper. Trace your pattern onto the can and cut out.
3. Roll your half circle can into a cone shape. Tape it in place. At this point you will need to punch your first hole for the eyelet. Measure up from the bottom the can. Calculate the size of your jump rings and space from the edge. Mine measure 1/4" from the bottom. Place your eyelet, using the eyelet tool and hammer strike the eyelet to spread and form. I put in 2 more eyelets above the bottom one and it's a challenge. You can choose to use glue, glue gun or glue dots to hold down the seam. If necessary trim the bottom.
4. Measure on the curve edge where you are going to punch holes for the dangling beads. Mine are 1/4" up and spaced 1/2" apart.  Punch the holes and dap in the eyelets.
5. Measure 6" of 18 gauge copper wire for the hanger. Form loop or curly cue then slide a bead that will prevent the wire from coming out the top and help the aluminum keep it's shape.
6. Place your art bead in the wire on top of the cone. Place a glass bead on top of the art bead.
Helpful hint: I used the eyelets in the large holes of the beads for a more attractive look and keep them from flopping side to side.
7. Bend the wire 90º, then wrap the wire around your round nose pliers to form a loop. Use a paintbrush handle or dowel to form the hook. With your round nose pliers form a loop on the tip of the hook .
8. Cut the top and bottom off of the 2 remaining cans. Flatten out and measure in quarter inch increments  to cut strips for the curly branches. Cut the cans into strips. 
9. Using a popsicle stick or other item you like better, curl the can as you would ribbon. Color side up, place your stick approximately an inch up, scrape the stick quickly to create the curl. This may take a couple times to make the curl. They can be rolled up and adjusted by hand later after they are attached.
10. Starting at the bottom and in between to eyelets, place the first row of curly strips. My glue dots are singles so I cut them in half to glue the top and bottom of the curl strip to the cone base. Place the nexxt row 3/4" to 1" up and between the first row. Repeat for the remainder of the rows.
11. For the 1" dangling beads cut 2.5" of 24 gauge copper wire. Make a curly cue on the end of the wire then bend 90º and slide bead on. Bend wire at top of bead 90º, make a loop with your round nose pliers and wrap wire. 
12. Attach the dangling beads with anodized aluminum jump rings alternating colors.

I promised I would show my Ornament of the year while I was participating in the blog hop. 
I had to abandon the original design. Here is the new design.
Funky Snowman

My question this Studio Saturday is:

"If you could have one bead artist fill up your stocking, who would you pick?"

Leave your answer to the question on and you could win 
Thanks to Heather for this giveaway. I want to win it!

Have a wonderful holiday
may you have peace within.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Repost-How to Make Decorative Ornament Hooks

I posted this last year. It seems fitting to post again this time of year.

As we get closer to the holidays it's time to start thinking about gifts. I always make ornaments every year. I can't seem to get out of it and everyone expects one every year. Here is a Decorative Ornament Hook that can be used to hang many things. Using copper looks great and it's inexpensive.

Start with 4" piece of 18 gauge copper wire. I picked a spool up at Ace Hardware. Don't try to straighten the wire too you will put kinks in the wire that you can't get out.

With the curve of the wire facing away from you, use your round nose pliers to make a small loop at the end of the wire. Always roll your wire away from your body.

Using the handle of a large paintbrush, about 1/2" up the loop end of the wire bend the wire over handle. Do this by smoothing the wire as you bend it. Bring the wire slightly under the handle and begin curving the other end to form an "S".

Begin making the coil on the end by using the large end of your round nose pliers to create an open loop.

Complete the coil by rolling it upwards towards the top of the hook with your fingers.

I like my hooks hammered. Use a hammer and a striking plate to hammer the small loop and coil.

Completed Hook.

Combining your hook and ornament.
Cut 10" of sheer ribbon. I get mine at Michaels. To give the ornament and ribbon a nice finished look and to keep the ribbon from doing the annoying split, I slide a 10mm glass donut over the ribbon. Fire Mountain Gems has a great selection. The clear glass donuts go best with all ornaments.

Don't forget to add your artist tag so everyone knows they have a hand crafted item by you. This one is 1" x 1"

Tie the ribbon onto the bottom of the hook using an overhand knot. This keeps your ornament and hook together and secure.

You have a beautiful finished product hanging from a handmade copper hook. Colored wire works wonderful also. Just don't hammer it.

18 gauge wire will hold most ornaments. The heftier the ornament the thicker your wire needs to be.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

May you have peace in your life.
Not asking for world peace, just peace in your life or within yourself. Enough to make your piece of the world livable in rough times. It's pretty rough for many.
I've had this design in my head since last year. It just never made it's way out.
This was going to be my ornament of the the year. I have been making ornaments every Christmas for many years. 
Every mold for buttons, pendants or ornaments have their own quirks you deal with when you are making your art. 
Why do you make molds? Well, for consistency Virginia. Plus it makes my life easier.
This particular mold was making my life miserable. It was taking way too long to produce one ornament. Frankly, I have way to many I need to make with a looming deadline.
I needed a little peace in my life on this one...find your happy place and breath.
I came up with another design after my husband had to say "you did this to yourself." Well yeah. Design yourself in a corner and see if you can get out. I really cornered myself on this one. I wasn't feeling the love on the second design. My son came up with an idea and I took it from there. I was feeling the love on the third design. Now if I can just produce enough because that deadline didn't quit looming just because my mold was messed up.
I will show you the new design Christmas Day here and at Art Bead Scene.
My turn for Studio Saturday on Christmas Day. 
I am happy how the only Peace ornament turned.

Peace out 
Thanks for visiting.

Hop over to see what everyone else made.
The blog hop participants:

Wednesday begins Art Bead Scene's 12 Days of Christmas - we'll have 12 free projects from our editors from now until December 24th.  Just our way of saying thanks for another great year at the ABS!