Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hanging Extra Long Beads ... Without Extra Long Headpins

I am having so much trouble making it to the torch this week and last. Just insanely busy. And then there was Monday. If Monday's bead was a fish - I'd have thrown it back. Yep - bead in the singular. Two hours on a single bead and it was ghastly. That is a process I like to call "polishing the turd" - when nothing you do makes it any better. We've all been there.

However, I did learn that if you fume gold over blue (encased opaque blue) - the pink tinge added to the clear by the fuming actually makes the blue appear purple - so not entirely a loss.

On an entirely different note - I do have this nifty tip for those of you who, like me, tend to make really loooooong beads - much longer than can be hung by any commercial headpin.

First of all - as you build your collection of long beads - you figure out that you can use wire, make a loop in the end, and string your bead like that. No brainer. You can even add a decorative doo-dad. No problem.

Then you toy with the other wiring options, make spirals in the end, wire wrap around the bead, yada, yada, yada. Fine.

Then you learn to make your own headpins - woohoo - you already have a torch, and you sit down with a stack of pieces of cut wire and melt up the ends. Ah ha!

But somewhere, way down in the back of your brain, is still the nagging thought - what if I wanted to use a regular headpin?

Well - try this. Take your regular headpin, add your bead cap or whatever, and make a small, wrapped loop, a short way up the head pin. Doesn't have to be too neat, should be as small a loop as you can manage.

Then, loop some of your wire onto the loop in the headpin, and make a twist - so the two are attached.

Now thread THAT into the bead.

You may have to use your pliers to mash the loops down into ovals to fit into your bead - and this probably won't work for beads with a 1/16 hole - but if you are making mega long beads (over 3 inches) - you probably aren't doing it on a skinny 1/16 mandrel. Just a hunch. ;-)

Voila - as long a headpin as you want - with a nice, neat end.

You can now finish this off however you please. (Check out my how-to on Modern Modularity jewelry over on the beadFX site for ideas on swapping your beads on and off chains, accessorizing them, and etc.) (Modern Modularity - Chains)

And the unexpected benefit is that it will be a tightish fit (pull through and snug up with pliers if need be) - so that your bead will not swivel around on the head pin and display - inevitably - the wrong side.


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