Jewellery Skills ~ Jump Rings

Jump rings are those round metal findings that are used to connect all sorts of elements together in your mixed media artwork and jewellery projects. They come in a huge variety of colours and sizes.

The key to using jump rings is how to open them; the skills for using a jump ring are easily learnt and make your life much easier when adding jewellery elements to your work.

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1. To easily open, insert and close jump rings, we need both flat nosed pliers and pointy nosed pliers.
mixed media jewellery elements

2. Hold jump ring with flat nosed pliers, with split close to end on pliers
mixed media jewelleryUse pointy nose pliers to hold other side of ring. Look closely; the ring tends to already be slightly open, to one side. Twist ring open in this direction.
mixed media jewelry
We are opening the ring with a sideways motion; NOT opening up the ring – it must be sideways; this gives us the best chance to being able to close the ring again and not deform the ring out of shape.

3. Now ring is open, you can thread it through eyelet.
mixed media jewelry

4. To close the jump ring, take hold with flat nosed pliers again. Use the pointy nosed pliers to bend the ring back the way it came. You may need to over bend the ring to allow for the springback in the metal. Check the ring; if is still isn’t closed, bend a little further and check again.
mixed media jewelry

I hope this helps you to get started with playing with jump rings and jewellery elements. We will be featuring a project soon that will bring together all you have learnt about using jewellery elements in your mixed media art.

Happy creating!

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Jewellery Tools – Pliers and Wire Cutters

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When I first started adding jewellery elements into my mixed media art, I really felt like I had started on a whole new journey; new terminology, new tools, new shiny metal things and wonderfully, wonderfully coloured beads, of all shapes and sizes.  Once I overcame the excitement and looked at what I really needed, it came down to three basic tools.

Flat nosed pliers
Flat nose pliers are needed for holding the metal bits while manipulating them with the pointy nosed pliers. The flat nose have a good surface area to firmly hold jump rings and other fiddly bits.

mixed media art jewellery elements

Pointy nosed pliers
The pointy nosed pliers are used for bending and twisting the metal bits while they are being held by the flat nosed pliers. The pointy noses makes it easier to hold the small area of the metal element and move or bend it. The rounded end is also good for making loops in wire and pins.

mixed media art jewellery elements

Wire cutters
For a while I refused to buy wire cutters as I thought the cutting section on the flat nosed pliers would be sufficient. I soon discovers that the wire cutters on the pliers aren’t as sharp as proper wire cutters and tended to squash the wire, rather than cut cleanly. Using wire cutters makes cutting wire and chain simpler and gives a nicer finish.

mixed media art jewellery elements

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Using the two types of pliers together makes opening and attaching jump rings an easy process. In our next article we will look at the basic jewellery skills we need to add jewellery elements to our mixed media art.

mixed media art jewellery elements

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Hope you are enjoying our series on adding jewellery elements to our mixed media art.

Happy creating!

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Jewellery Elements – Setting Eyelets

Incorporate jewellery elements into our mixed media art introduces a whole new world of embellishments and tools, as well as new skills. In this series we will look at the basic tools and elements needed to get us started.

Previously we looked at the basic tools we need to begin using eyelets in our mixed media art work. Here we will continue with the skills needed to add eyelets into our work.

Eyelets

Eyelets come in a range of sizes and colours. To get you started, I’d suggest buying a bulk set of gold or bronze with 1/8″ diameter.

mixed media art embellishments

These will complement many different pieces of work. The colours can be changed by using a metallic leafing pen, like Krylon.

mixed media art embellishments

While there are lots of pretty colours out there (many of which I have bought!) I find that I don’t use them unless I have bought them for a current project. Those pretty colours can be distracting.

With the different diameters, the eyelets also come in different lengths. If you are planning on using the eyelets into thick board, the consider choosing a longer length. For most mixed media artwork, the standard sizes will be okay.

Making the hole
Take the eyelet you want to add and check the size compared to the hole punch.
mixed media art embellishments
The body of the eyelet needs to fit neatly but the head needs to nestle onto the work surface. A little movement in the hole is okay but too much will make the eyelet move when setting. This makes getting them in the right place a little tricky, making a pair or row of eyelets look untidy. Once set, eyelets are very hard to move.

Lightly mark the position on your work where the eyelet is to go.
mixed media art embellishments
Line up the punch, hold it straight up and down, and hit it firmly with a hammer. If the punch hasn’t gone right through, line it up again and hit it a few more times.
Embellishments in mixed media artmixed media art embellishments

Getting the hole positioned exactly where you want it takes a little practice, so do a few test holes on scrap cardboard to get the hang of it.

Setting the eyelet
Check the eyelet size against the setter diameter to check the setter head will fit into the shank of the eyelet, without being too sloppy.
mixed media art embellishments

Put the eyelet into your work with the head onto front side you want visible. Turn the piece over and lay it flat onto the mat.
mixed media art embellishments
Check the position of your work and the eyelet. Place the setter into the end of the eyelet and hit it firmly with the hammer.
mixed media art embellishments
Have a look at the tail; if it has opened more that halfway, hit it with a hammer to flatten it. If it hasn’t move much, use the setter again.
Embellishments in mixed media artmixed media art embellishments

Using a Crop-a-dile
Using a crop-o-dile is a similar process. There are two sizes to choose from (1/8″ and 3/16″), so chose the one that fits your eyelet best. Lightly mark where the eyelet is to go. Line up the punch side and make the hole.

Then put the eyelet through your work, insert it into the right sized setter and gently squeeze the crop-o-dile to set your eyelet.

There you have it; a finished eyelet!

mixed media art embellishments
Repeat the process with next eyelet until they all are set.

Happy creating!

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Jewellery Elements – Eyelet Tools

Incorporating jewellery elements into our mixed media art introduces a whole new world of embellishments and tools, as well as new skills. In this series we will look at the basic tools and elements needed to get us started.

Here I have used eyelets to join two sections of this wall hanging together.

eyelets as embellishments

Here I used eyelets to reinforce the corners to hang beads in making this Christmas decoration.

eyelets for decorations

Tools needed for eyelets
Eyelets are those fantastic embellishments that originated to reinforce a hole in fabric or paper  and allow us to thread things through.

The tools needed to start using eyelets will require an initial outlay and can be expensive. Like any tools, you do get what you pay for. Once bought, these tools can be used again and again.

Hole punches
To add eyelets into our mixed media artwork we need to make a hole that is the right size for our eyelets. They come in a range of diameters and lengths and need a hole to match the size.

I have a universal hole punch set, which has interchangeable heads so I can make different hole sizes, anywhere on my artwork. To go with this, I need a hammer and a mat to protect the work surface.

mixed media art

mixed media art tools

The bees-knees of hole punches is the Crop-a-dile punch – this has two different hole sizes and punches with ease through a range of cardboard thicknesses. It is much quieter than the hammer and punch approach.

crop-o-dile punch

Eyelet Setters
Eyelets need “setting” by splitting the end and laying them flat, so the cardboard is clamped between the head and tail of the eyelet. We need a setting tool to do this.

These also come in different sizes to suit the eyelet. The one I use is a Making Memories brand with interchangeable heads. To go with this, I need the hammer and a mat I use to punch the holes.

mixed media art tools

Again, the bees-knees of eyelet setters is the Crop-a-dile , which can also set the two different sizes that match the hole punches. This works really well with the soft eyelets.

I hope this article has got you thinking about incorporating jewellery elements into your artwork. In the next article we will show how to make the right hole for your eyelet and how to set it to get a great finish.

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