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Jewelry Making Blog

The Rich History of Glass Beading for Jewelry Making
Monday, April 13 2015 00:00

Glass Beads History for Jewelry Making


The Rich History of Glass Beading for Jewelry Making

Glass beads aren't just fascinating to modern jewelry makers and wearers. They have been popular throughout the ages, and have had many uses.
 

Glass beads have functioned as money, material for art work and status symbols, as well as jewelry. Groups as diverse as the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Vikings and Native Americans used them for trading.

Although there are many variations on bead creation, historically there were three basic ways of creating glass beads.

The first type resulted in wound beads. To create these, bead makers heated glass to soften it, then wound it around a clay-coated wire and shaped it further.

The second manner of bead making, invented in ancient India, resulted in drawn glass beads. Bead makers pulled a strand from a gather of glass to function as a hole in the tube. The glass was then cut into individual beads, and cooked or rolled in hot sand to shape the edges.

The third technique of bead making resulted in molded beads (which originated in the Czech Republic). Bead makers heated thick rods of glass and fed them into machines that stamped the glass and pierced it with a needle to make holes. Beads were then rolled in hot sand to soften lines.

It was recently discovered that the Egyptians and the Danes traded glass beads during the Bronze Age (3000 years ago). Danish women wore amber and blue beaded bracelets to ensure they would be reunited with the sun on its eternal journey. The blue beads were actually made in the same Egyptian workshops that created glass beads for the Pharaoh Tutankhamen!

Whether jewelry making with glass beads appeals to you because of their history, or simply their beauty, we offer the very best in both color and quality. Contact us for the supplies to help you make your own work of art.

 
Wire Cutting and Jewelry Making Finishing Tips for the Beginner
Sunday, April 12 2015 00:00

Flush Cutters WigJig Jewelry Making Tool


Wire Cutting and Jewelry Making Finishing Tips for the Beginner

Many jewelry designs use wire of some kind so this article will discuss safe handling and finishing tips for those new to using wire.

There are two main types of cutters used in jewelry-making: flush (or side) cutters and end cutters. Flush cutters are the most commonly used since they allow you to get in close and they leave a fairly smooth finish. If you look closely at them, you’ll see that one side is flat and the other has a trough. Be sure that you measure the wire up to the flat side. If you try to measure against the other side, your wire will be too long by the depth of the trough.

End cutters (or nippers) can only “nip” the end off of wire so they aren’t as versatile; they also tend to leave rougher ends than side cutters. They’re most useful for thicker or harder wires which might damage side cutters.

When cutting wires, always keep safety in mind. Cut ends can go flying if you aren’t careful. One way to keep them contained is by cupping your free hand over the wire as you cut it. That way the cut piece has nowhere to go and will fall right where you’re working. Don’t cut a piece that’s just fractionally larger than what you need; either cut it exactly to size or at least twice as long as you need. That way the leftover piece will be long enough for some future use.

Here’s a quick tip for cutting even lengths of chain: hang the first cut piece from a headpin, attach the first link of the remaining chain to the same headpin and hold the headpin horizontally. Now you’ll be able to cut a second piece that’s identical to the first.

Once your wire is cut, you’ll want to smooth the ends so they don’t scratch the wearer. You can use either a file or a cup burr for this job. A cup burr has the added benefit of easily rounding the ends of the wire for a nice finish.

We hope these tips will help you get off to a good start on your jewelry-making journey.

If you would like more tips to help you on your way, check out our blog or contact us - we’re always happy to help new jewelry makers get off to a great start!

 
Beads, Beads, Everywhere - Storage Is a Must!
Saturday, April 11 2015 00:00

Beads, Beads, Everywhere Storage Is a Must Blog


Beads, Beads, Everywhere - Storage Is a Must!

BEADs are tiny, often round, and prone to disappearing into carpets and crevices of all kinds. Don’t let them disappear just when you need them; here are some storage ideas to keep your beads and findings neatly organized and handy.

There are plastic boxes with dividers available which allow you to sort your beads (and findings) by color, size, type of material, or intended project. Dividers which can be repositioned will allow you to configure the spaces to best suit your needs.

Boxes with rounded bottoms make it easier to remove the beads. Some boxes have a mix of rounded and flat compartment bottoms - it’s easier to remove larger beads from the flat sections. If you intend to travel or take classes, look for boxes which fit into a travel tote. These are usually available where fishing supplies are sold.

Once you have your beads out of their boxes, use a bead board to keep them under control. If any of them do manage to escape, rubber band an old stocking to the end of your vacuum hose. They’ll be picked up by, but not go into, the vacuum. Hold them over a bowl before turning off the vacuum and the escapees will be recaptured!

Wall-mounted flip down storage bins from the hardware store work great for organizing larger findings. Get the kind with clear bins and you’ll be able to see your findings at a glance. An expanding file is handy for keeping your wire neatly organized by type and size. Label the tabs and you’ll never again have to guess what kind of wire that is!

Hopefully, these ideas will help you get your supplies organized so you can spend more time creating jewelry rather than hunting for your beads and other supplies. If there are other jewelry problems you need help with, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always glad to help. Also, be sure to check out our Hot Deals page for great beading bargains!

 
Taking Care of Yourself While Making Handcrafted Jewelry
Thursday, April 02 2015 00:00

Taking Care of Yourself When Jewelry Making Blog


Taking Care of Yourself While Making Handcrafted Jewelry

It’s easy to get so caught up in making that beautiful new piece of handcrafted jewelry that we forget to take proper care of our most important tool - our bodies! There are some things we can do to end a jewelry-making session feeling less cramped, strained, exhausted and dehydrated.

1. Choose a comfortable place to work

Some people like working at a table, desk or workbench while others prefer working on a tray in their lap. Whichever you choose, make sure you’re working at a comfortable height. You shouldn’t be hunched over your work; nor should it require you to keep your shoulders raised in order to reach it. An adjustable chair will let you sit at the most comfortable height for your particular workspace.

If you prefer working on a tray in your lap, look for a tray with an attached beanbag pillow. If you can’t find one of those, try setting your tray on a pillow in your lap. The tray should sit high enough that you don’t find yourself hunched over it to work.

2. Make sure you have good lighting

It’s important that the place you choose has good lighting. Natural lighting is best, but if you do most of your work after dark, there are some great lamps available which are adjustable to just the right angle to best see your work. Using a daylight bulb will allow you to see the true colors of the beads so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises once the piece is finished.

3. Take frequent breaks

Take a break every 20-30 minutes. Our eyes can easily be strained when working on tiny or glittery objects, so look at something larger and farther away every 20 minutes. This will allow your eyes to relax and refocus; you’ll see better when you get back to work and end the day with less eyestrain. A high quality magnifier like the OptiVisor can also help reduce eyestrain. Your other muscles also need a chance to relax and stretch. Stretching is particularly important for your hands. Flex and straighten your fingers to help relieve them of cramps. Stand up and walk around for a couple of minutes to get your circulation going. This is a great time to get a drink and maybe a snack. It’s easy to forget to eat and drink while making jewelry and dehydration will affect your ability to think clearly.

If you forget to take breaks, try setting an alarm - especially one that is persistent and won’t quit on its own. Oven timers work great for that!

Try these tips and you may find yourself getting more work done with less strain on your body at your next jewelry-making session. If you want even more helpful tips, contact us and don't forget to check out our blog; it’s full of helpful information.

 
Who Wouldn't Want Some Spring-Themed Earrings in Time For Spring?
Tuesday, March 31 2015 00:00

Spring Themed Round Wire Chandelier Earrings by WigJig


Who Wouldn't Want Some Spring-Themed Earrings in Time For Spring?

Spring is right around the corner, and with a new season fast approaching, it's also time to don some new jewelry to make an awesome Spring fashion statement. And what better jewelry to custom make for Spring time than some gorgeous earrings, composed of all the pastel Spring colors one could ever want.

With WigJig's vast amount of colors and styles to choose from, you can customize your earrings with gorgeous beads that will just scream "Spring" every time you wear them. And as if just the beads alone couldn't entice you to go and create the Spring-themed earrings of your dreams, WigJig also has an assortment of colored wire that will just give your earrings that extra 'pop' of Spring color that they needed! Take their Mint Green colored wire for instance - How wonderful would that look on a pair of Spring earrings? Along with some light yellow beads and perhaps some pink beads?

To give your earrings that little extra bit of fancy, WigJig offers a variety of Jig kits. Jig kits allow you to fashion their colored wire into beautiful swirly jewelry, adding in spirals and whatever else your imagination can create. With these kits, you can use a multitude of their colored wires to create the Spring pair of earrings of your dreams.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today on your very own pair of Spring-themed earrings with the help of WigJig.com. For any other information, or any questions you may have, don't hesitate to contact us.

 
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