I love making mixed media pieces and blending different elements into one piece of jewelry. I picked up some turquoise nugget beads when I was on vacation last summer – it’s my daughter’s birthstone – and I thought Spring Bling Week would be a great time to get them out and start working with them!
I have been fussing with a different style of end caps recently and I have two things to say – first, I LOVE the polished look they lend a piece – I recently used them for the first time on my Woven Wrap Bracelet. And second… they are not as beginner-friendly as I like. So today’s tutorial comes with a disclaimer that I will walk you through how to use them and they really make your piece look professional, but there is a bit of a learning curve and you will want to have some bead-stringing experience for today’s tutorial. Mixed media pieces also mean you need all the kids of supplies for all the kinds of jewelry-making you’re about to embark on, so it can be quite a few supplies… but if you love jewelry already, I’d wager you probably have all these things already.
What I used in today’s bracelet:
- A bracelet chain
- 30 inches of hemp twine
- 6 inches of drilled turquoise beads, beading wire, wire 2 guards and 2 crimp beads
- 2 end cones, 6 inches of 16 gauge wire, and round-nose pliers
- A clasp (I used a large lobster clasp)
Ready to get started? You’ll need to start with one of your end cones. I demonstrated this in a little more detail in my Woven Wrap Bracelet tutorial, so if you are still confused after reading this, you may want to check that one out, too. But take about 3 inches of heavy gauge wire and make a loop at the end with your round-nosed pliers.
(Take a moment to make sure the loop-part fits withing your end cone before moving on.) :) Make another one to finish off your other bracelet end.
I don’t think it makes any difference which strand you attach first, I’ll just show you the order I went in. You could also use any number of strands, leave out the hemp, add more beads – really, it’s up to you!! I started with the hemp and tied on 3 ten inch strands. I used a dot of glue to secure my knot before trimming the ends. I braided them, but not until the end to make sure it was the same length as my other two strands.
Next, I removed the clasp from a bracelet chain and added that to my end cone loop. I did remove about an inch of chain as well – the end cones and clasp add an inch or so of length, so you only need about 6 inches’ length on all of your bracelet strands. Go ahead and attach the other end loop onto the other end of your chain.
Third, I added a strand of beads. I just cut about a 8 inch length of beading wire and attached that to the loop as well. When you’re using wire, it will hold up over the long run much better if you loop it through a wire guide (the little U-shaped piece) and you can close it off with a small crimp bead. Then, just string your beads!
I beaded about 6 inches, the same length as my chain. when you get to the end, close it off in the same way as what you started. Last – braid your hemp or twine if you are using it, and when you reach the same length as your other two strands, tie it off on the closing end of your bracelet.
Now your bracelet should look about like this. Not so pretty, is it? This is where the end cones finish it off. Slide one over each wire end.
You’ll make another loop with your round pliers to close it off.
Add your clasp (I used a lobster clasp) to one of the ends.
Using these end cones is a style that takes some patience to finish, I’ll admit. It’s not hard to do, but it’s a little fussy when you try it for the first time. But it’s well worth the effort to do finish it off properly and professionally, it’s a much nicer look!
Stay tuned for more tutorials right here all week, and you can check out a couple more jewelry projects today from Natalie at NorthShore Days and Rebecca at My Girlish Whims – just click the thumbnail photo to visit them!
Don’t forget to check out the other awesome bloggers contributing this week, too!
Holly from 504 Main
Kate from Cheap Crafty Mama
Kara from Happy Go Lucky
Rebecca from My Girlish Whims
Natalie from North Shore Days
Amy from One Artsy Mama