Easy Crocheted Beaded Wire Bracelet

I know, like I need another needlecraftiness hobby, right?  I taught myself to knit a couple of years ago, but had never worked on crocheting. All my female relatives have were always working on afghans when I was small (and my dad would, too, losing the patience to watch my mom, he would take over her projects. I think that might have been her plan all along.). I think I learned how, years ago, but had forgotten.

Then, over the summer, I had a wild idea to make some crocheted wire bracelets.  I had to figure out to crochet first, though, which really wasn’t hard. This bracelet uses just chain stich and single crochet…how easy is that?  And it comes together in less than an hour, which makes it a perfect last-minute craft project for Christmas gifts.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 28 gauge wire (in the jewelry or crafting section)
  • about 35 medium-sized beads (like pearl-sized)
  • F crochet hook
  • Word bead or charm
  • Toggle clasp

1. Thread the beads onto the wire in the order you like, adding in the charms or word beads.

2. Make a slipknot with the wire, and begin making a chain. Work one or two beads into every other chain stitch, whatever looks good. Make about 30 fairly loose chain stiches (your bracelet should be about 7-1/2” long).  Make two extra chain stitches to turn the row, then crochet a row of single crochet stitches, working one or two beads into each one.

3. When you get back to the beginning, cut the wire, leaving a tail about 2” long. Thread it through one part of the toggle, then wrap it around itself to make a tidy end.

4. Cut another piece of wire about 2” long, and thread it through the other part of the toggle. Wire it to the other end of the bracelet, again wrapping the wire around itself neatly.

This is a very forgiving craft…by its very design, it’s rather abstract and free-form. You can use colored wire, identical beads, or a mix of seed beads, silver ones, and pearl-sized ones, as I did. It’s entirely up to you and your aesthetic sensibilities!

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These are really fun to make, and there’s really no way to make an ugly one!  I hope you’ll give them a try…and if you don’t know how to crochet, there are tons of simple to follow videos online that will get you on your way in no time at all. Seriously, I watched one ten-minute long video and I was comfortable making this.

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Pretty, Pearly Bangles for Mom

It’s true…Mother’s Day is this Sunday!  Did you already buy, make, and/or mail a gift to your mom (or any of those amazing women who have kept you on the straight and narrow all these years)?  Well, I haven’t. But, in my defense, in the last three weeks, I’ve had a birthday party to plan, Easter and all it entails, and a First Communion celebration to whip up; of course, I’ve also been trying to finish school for the term so I can have a month “off” before the hooligans are released for the summer. And I’m sure you’ve been just as busy!

Anyway, you’ll love these Pretty, Pearly Bracelets for yourself or to give someone special. I love that they’re quick and inexpensive, and you can make them in any color you’d like. Ready to see how? Here goes!

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First, you’ll need only a few supplies:

  • Bangles (these were 12 for $8, but I had a coupon, so they were even less at Michaels)
  • Embroidery thread
  • A spool of 3mm “pearls” (from the wedding section at the craft store)
  • E6000 (isn’t that a well-loved tube…and it says “Amazing” right on it!)

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Run a very thin bead of E6000 around the outside of a bangle, then press the pearls around it, snipping the strand when you’re all the way around.  Place it on a silicon mat or waxed paper to dry while you “pearlize” the other bangles. The glue doesn’t need to be continuous, but enough to hold the pearls securely around the edge.

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When the glue is pretty dry, begin wrapping the thread around the bangle.  I held an inch-long “tail” and wrapped over it to secure the starting end.  I wrapped twice between each pearl.  It sounds tedious, but really took about 5 minutes per bangle. And I was watching TV, so time flew.

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When you have wrapped all the way around, put a small bead of E6000 on the bangle and lay the thread over it, pressing it into the glue.  Let it just sit for a few minutes to allow the glue to dry a bit, then snip off as close to the glue as possible.Bangles-Glue-ChaosServedDai

And now you’re finished with that lovely bangle!  Make a set, tie them with a ribbon, and present them with a smile!

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I think I may have found a new jewelry-making addiction!

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Shrink Plastic Leaf Charms

Here’s another project I first shared on Live Creatively Inspired earlier this month. I’ve worn mine frequently and received lots of compliments, which I love!

I really do have a problem with shrink plastic, y’all (aka Shrinky Dinks)…especially the kind that works with inkjet printers. But it’s so much fun! One of my friends recently pinned some tiny little leaf charms on Pinterest, and I was a bit inspired (and, yes, I’d been longing to use Shrinky Dinks again.). And look how cute they are!

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It’s a simple process, requiring only a few basic supplies:

  • Inkjet-compatible Shrinky Dink sheet
  • Leaf punch or die
  • Digital fall print paper
  • Jump rings, a necklace, some beads or copper disks

1. Create a 8-1/2” x 11” patterned paper using digital scrapbooking paper, such as Fall Fling from Jessica Sprague’s shop. I did this in Photoshop Elements, but you can use any computer graphics program you like. This is what mine looked like:

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2. Follow the package directions to print this on both sides of a sheet of Shrinky Dink paper. Don’t forget to make the opacity only 50% or your final leaves will be way too dark. Low-tech options would be to color on regular inkjet paper using Sharpies and cut out leaf shapes, or print some clipart leaves on inkjet Shrinky Dink paper and cut it out.

3. Punch out leaf shapes. I also cut some long skinny oval leaf shapes freehand. Place your cutouts on a cardboard sheet or piece of brown paper bag and bake according to the directions. Mine took 3 minutes at 275 degrees. I pulled them out while they were still curly, instead of waiting for them to flatten back out, because I wanted the leaves to be curled.

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4. After baking them, you’re left with all these cute charms to create with…now let your imagination go wild! They’re cute embellishments for cards or to tie on a package, make darling earrings, or you can combine them with other beads and dangles to make a pendant…I love these charms!

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I was in a jewelry making mood (so I could miss some of the gore on Sleepy Hollow, which we were watching), and easily put together these two pendants. Fun, right?

Leaves-Dangle-ChaosServedDaI love wearing handcrafted jewelry, especially when it’s crafted by my very own hands…and especially when I get compliments and can say, “I made this myself!”

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TBT: Punched Paper Bat Charm

So I made this necklace last year, and I wore it frequently during October…then…guess what? I totally forgot I had it! This morning, while dressing to go volunteer with the second graders, I spied it while perusing my jewelry rack. Happily spied it, I might add.

Although this one is obviously Halloween-themed, this idea works equally as well with any small punch you might have. Or want an excuse to purchase. This was really fun to make…here’s how I did it.

I’ve had an idea rolling around in my brain for awhile that I could punch many layers of Designer Paper and glue them together to make a pendant. And I did!

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First, I punched out 15 bats from DSP. Only two have to look exactly as you want your pendant to look…for the front one and the back one. Then I used craft glue to glue them together in two stacks.

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Liberally (but not so much that it oozes out) apply glue to what will be the middle of the layers and lay a head pin on it. The put the other stack of paper layers on top of it.

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Clamp them together until completely dry. I left mine overnight.

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When the glue is dry, apply a layer of Crystal Effects (Stampin’ Up!) or Glossy Accents (craft store) to the front and let that dry completely. Repeat for the back.

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When everything is completely dry and set, run a thin bead of glue around the outside, or use 1/8” double-sided adhesive tape, and cover with fine black glitter.

To finish the bat, I used needle-nosed pliers to bend a loop in the top of the head pin, then wrapped the end around the bottom of the loop a time or two. I attached a jump ring to hang it from the necklace.

I made two other “dangles” using head pins, various beads, and making loops at the top in the same way. Then I strung the beads as I wanted them onto a silver necklace. This particular one is $1.50 at Walmart and has a magnetic clasp that just unscrews to allow you to string your beads. I love how easy it is.

Although it didn’t photograph well, the bat pendant is very glossy and then glittery along the edges. Much prettier in person…but I guess you’ll have to make one for yourself to see that! I hope you will…it took a bit of time for all the drying, but really required very little crafting skill. The trickiest part is making the loop to hang it, but I know you can do it!

“Peace”-filled Summer Bracelet

As I wandered through the beading section at the craft store one day, a string of starfish beads insisted on going home with me. Really, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Once I got them home, I mused over what to do with them for at least a month. As I was bagging up my beads for our upcoming move, I ran across some silver bar beads with text on them. “Peace” seemed perfect for a summery, starfish beaded memory wire bracelet. And here’s the result:

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To make one for yourself (or a friend) you’ll need:

  • Memory wire
  • A strand of starfish beads
  • Silver beads (mine looked like little flattened disks)
  • Sea-glass-looking beads
  • A bar bead with a word on it (I ordered mine from Consumer Crafts)
  • Jewelry pliers

To make it, first bend a small loop at one end of the wire, so the beads don’t slide off. From the other end of the memory wire, string the beads. I did silver-glass-silver-starfish then repeated. When you’re about half-way through, string the word bead on, then complete the bracelet with the same pattern of beading.  When you’re finished, make another tight loop at the other end, to secure the beads.

And you’re finished!

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“Ready for Your Closeup” Earrings

I’m a sucker for charms, so when I saw a set on Pick Your Plum back in the winter, I couldn’t resist them.  But, like all my craft supplies, once I got them I was reluctant to use them, telling myself I was waiting for the perfect project to pop into my head.  Well, it finally did…some simple little drop earrings.  And guess what?  I didn’t even have to make a trip to the craft store…everything was right in my jewelry supply drawer. Sometimes being a hoarder pays off.

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They really are the same length…I just didn’t get them even in the photo. But on with the show.

The supplies you’ll need:

  • 2 matching charms
  • Beads
  • Fishhook earrings
  • Headpins with a loop at the end for the charms
  • Jewery pliers (roundnose and/or needlenose)

These are so simple to make…you’ll be addicted!  First, attach the charms through the loop on the end of the headpin.  Next, string a few beads on the headpin.  Make a loop at the other end of the beads.  If you haven’t done that before, you can see a step by step on this post. Lastly, attach the beaded portion to your earring, and you’re done!

Ready for your closeup!

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Beaded Watch Kit

Yes, it’s another episode of Craft Hoarders, right here on my blog!  As I was cleaning out my craft room (again), getting ready to move cross-country (again), I found a beaded watch kit that I ordered from Peachy Chic a long, long time ago.  I think last fall. Anyway, rather than move the kit, I decided to take a little break from organizing and do something more creative.

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Now, it’s obviously not an everyday watch, but I love the colors and general cheerful funkiness of it.

I’m a little torn, though, as to whether to recommend you try this or not.  The kit didn’t include a watch face, so if you do order a kit, be sure to order the watch, as well.  Or you can pick one up at Michaels or another craft store.

The watch was fairly easy to assemble, but no directions were included, nor were there any on the website, which was a little frustrating. All I had to go by was a photo of a similar watch kit, assembled, on the website, so that’s what I did. I find it a little tricky to work with elastic cord…my knots never want to stay.  In an attempt to remedy this, and prevent the watch from falling apart all over the floor the first time I wore it, I tied several square knots, then added a drop or two of E6000 and let it dry thoroughly.  It seems to have worked. I cut the ends of the cord off very close to the glued knot when the E6000 was dry.

So, the bottom line?  If you’re up for a creative challenge, this was fun and satisfying pretty.  If you want a step-by-step guide, you’d be better off skipping these kits and finding ones that are a bit more helpful.  I did get this one at a great price, so that helped my level of satisfaction with it!

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Easiest Earrings Ever

Yes, I released some of the resin cabochon flowers I’ve been hoarding out into the big, bad world. But I made them into some cute earrings first, so they can travel in pairs!Earrings-in-Tin-ChaosServed

To make these, you only need a few supplies:

Cabochons (resin flowers)

Earring posts

Jewelry glue

Really, that’s it!Earrings-Supplies-ChaosServ

I stuck the earring posts into a block of styrofoam to hold them steady while I was working. I squeezed a small dot of jewelry glue (I actually think E6000 would work just fine) and let it sit for about five minutes.  Then, using tweezers instead of my big clumsy fingers, I placed the flowers on the glue.

Earrings-Styro-ChaosServedDAfter letting them sit for a few hours (because I was out eating dinner at Famous Dave’s), they were ready to package up and venture out to my friends.

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And so easy to make, you can have a pair to give every outfit a fun punch of color!

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Simple, Happy Hairpins

What girl can’t use some cute little hairpins?  They work in short, short locks or Rapunzel-length tresses. Wouldn’t this be a fabulous little addition to tuck into a gift? Or just as a little friendship gift to brighten someone’s day?

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First, a few simple supplies:

  • Cabochons (resin flowers)
  • Hairpins (from the craft store) with a little circle on the end to glue flowers to
  • Jewelry glue or E6000

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I slid the hairpins onto a paper lunch bag, just to hold them in place while adding the flowers.  I dabbed a dot of glue onto each and let it cure for a few minutes, so the flowers would stick more readily.

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After placing the flowers, I left them alone to dry for a few hours. Although the jewelry adhesive immediately glues your fingers together, metal to plastic or glass seems to take several hours. Go figure.

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Bada-bing, bada-boom, custom hairpins to brighten up a girl’s day!

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Easy Birds’ Nest Birthstone Necklace

I did mention I’ve been on a jewelry-making kick lately, right?  Well, today I’m sharing one of my favorites…a Birds’ Nest Birthstone Necklace.  If you’re my mother-in-law or sister-in-law, you might want to stop reading right now and just be surprised later!

If you’re not, here’s the tutorial…I bet you’ll be as surprised as I was to see how easy these are to make.  I’ve seen hordes of them on Etsy, but thought (say it with me), “I can make that myself!” And you can!

What I’ve not seen is a nest holding birthstone “eggs,” so I decided that would be a perfect Mother’s Day or birthday gift for some special moms in my life. For the grandmothers, I used the birthstones of their grandkids.

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The supplies you’ll need:

  • Round glass beads in the birthstone colors you need (mine were 6mm)
  • 24 gauge wire (I used copper)
  • Jump rings that match your wire
  • A ball chain or other necklace to attach the pendant to
  • Needlenose or roundnose jewelry pliers

1. Cut a piece of wire about 3 feet long.  String your beads on one end, leaving about 8” at the end.  Wrap that piece around and under the beads, forming them into a circle. Tuck the end of the wire in so it doesn’t show or stick out. This step is easiest with an odd number of beads, but I’m not planning to add another grandkid to the family just to make my crafting easier. Unreasonable, I know.

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2. Continue wrapping the long end of the wire around and around, leaving just a bit of slack. I did this by feel, instead of while looking at my work, so it would be a bit more random. Wrap back and forth across the bottom a few times, as well.

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3. When you have 8 inches or so left, wrap tightly around the “nest” three or four times, then repeat in a couple more places around the nest. Tuck the end in to hide it.

Birds-Nest-3-ChaosServedDaiHere’s what the bottom looks like.

Birds-Nest-4-ChaosServedDai4. To make it look a bit more “nest-ish,” use the pliers to twist a few kinks and bends in individual wires.

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5, Add a couple of jump rings to one of the places you wrapped in step 3, then attach to your necklace.

Easy as that, you’ll have a wonderfully meaningful gift for your favorite mom!