Rectangular Coil Earrings Enclosing Translucent Rice Paper Tubes

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These translucent Rectangular Coil earrings are characterized by a delicate rice paper tube that is enclosed within a protective coil. The tube is only one layer of rice paper thick, and kept hollow to maximize its translucent quality.

In creating these beautiful earrings, it is necessary to form a rectangular coil. To accomplish this, I wrapped 18 gauge nickel silver wire around the jaw of square mandrel pliers. The rectangular coil that results from winding the wire on square mandrel pliers can be stretched to form a uniquely shaped coil with squared corners. This  rectangular coil not only functions as a beautiful structural element, but also serves to  protect the enclosed rice paper tube.

Step 1

To create the square coil, I tightly wrap 18 gauge wire around the smaller jaw on a pair of square mandrel pliers.

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Wrapping the 18 gauge wire around the small jaw of the sqaure mandrel pliers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

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The coil removed from the pliers

This is what the coil looks like after it has been removed from the pliers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

The coil needs to be stretched out to form a rectangle, but before I do that I form the bottom spiral and top loop.

Forming the bottom spiral and top loop

Forming the bottom spiral and top loop (the earrings are pictured upside down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

Having formed the spiral and loop, the compressed coil can be stretched to whatever length that is preferred.

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Stretching the coil to desired length

 

 

 

 

Step 5

The next step is to measure and cut two pieces of rice paper that will fit inside the newly formed coils. I wrap the rice paper around an object such as a toothpick, or a thin plastic tube to facilitate the process of inserting it into the coil.

Cut and insert rice paper into the coils

Step 6

The inserted rice paper tubes both have been dampened with water.

Dampen the rice paper tubes with water

Dampen the rice paper tubes with water

Step 7

The earrings are positioned on an improvised support. This makes it easy to apply the watercolor paint. Watercolor is only applied to the bottom of the rice paper tube.

Apply watercolor paint to the bottom of the rice paper tubes while they are securely supported

Apply watercolor paint to the bottom of the rice paper tubes while they are securely supported

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 8

Allow the watercolor paint to completely dry before applying the final layers of varnish. This image shows the application of a 50% diluted mixture of polycrylic varnish with water.

Applying diluted varnish

Applying diluted varnish

 

Applying the varnish with an applicator eliminates the possibility of damaging the rice paper.

Apply at least 3 coats of varnish to the outside, and inside of the paper tube, and heat the piece in a preheated toaster oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit between coats.

 

 

 

 

The finished earrings

The finished earrings

 

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More videos you might like:

 

The Basic Earwire
Upside-Down Heart Earrings – Part 1
Upside-Down Heart Earrings – Part 2
Making Rice Paper Earrings
The jewelry objects that you see created in these videos are original designs by Ross Barbera. These designs may be copied for your personal use only, and may not be offered for sale or exhibition without written permission from Ross Barbera.

©2013 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.

Posted in Rice Paper Jewelry, Watercolor earrings, Watercolor jewelry, Wire earrings, Wire jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Tips on Preventing the S-Link Necklace from Coming Apart

 

Having recently devoted a blog article to tips on constructing the “Egyptian Link Necklace,” it seemed like a good idea to also provide a few suggestions that will improve the look of the S-Link necklace and help to ensure that it does not come apart. Every so often, I receive comments from people who have viewed my video on “How to Make the S-Link Necklace”, stating that the necklace separated while wearing it. They inquire about a solution to this problem.

  • The most likely cause of the S-Link necklace separating is a partially opened hoop on a bridging link that connects the S-Links. The photograph below illustrates an example of this.

Most likely cause of problems – a partially open hoop on a bridging link

Simply making sure that the hoops on the attaching links are completely closed will eliminate this cause.

Assure that hoops on attaching links are completely closed

 

  • An S-Link necklace falling apart might also be the result of improperly formed S-Links.

The image below shows improperly formed S-Links. Whats wrong? The space between the inner and outer curve of the S-Links is too wide. Spaces that are too wide eventually result in S-Links separating.

The space between the inner and outer curve of the S-Links is too wide!

In forming the S-Link it is very  important that the outer curve of the link is almost touching the inner curve, with minimal space existing between the inner and outer curves, as you can see in the photo below.

Note that the outer curve of the link is almost touching the inner curve

 

  • Properly formed S-Links can have their look enhanced with hammering. The next photo compares two S-Links. The link on the left has been flattened by hammering with a chasing hammer on a steel block. Working the link with a chasing hammer eliminates that “raw” look, and greatly enriches the over-all handmade beauty of the individual links and necklace.

 

Here is a variation of the S-Link that I will be releasing in a new YouTube video demonstration during the winter of 2012/13:

This variation includes flattened S-Links incorporated with watercolor paper and linked with rice paper bridging links.

 

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More videos you might like:

Greek Link Earrings
Earrings Based on Spiral & Figure 8
Egyptian Link Earrings
Spiral Hoop Necklace w/Purple  Beads
Heart Link Necklace
The jewelry objects that you see created in these videos are original designs by Ross Barbera. These designs may be copied for your personal use only, and may not be offered for sale or exhibition without written permission from Ross Barbera.

©2012 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.

 

Posted in Basic wire construction, Link necklaces, Other Paper Solutions, Repairs, Rice Paper Jewelry, Watercolor jewelry, Wire and Watercolor Paper Jewelry, Wire jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Constructing Unit Form Necklaces

  

The example illustrated here was inspired by my “Greek Link.” To see the original  design, please watch my video on “How to Create the Greek Link.”

The Unit Form Necklace illustrated here evolved from my experiments with pendants that combined wire and paper. Having made a series of pieces exploring this  combination using both rice paper and watercolor paper, I saw the potential to use a basic shape as a unit form that is repeated to create a necklace.

Constructing jewelry objects using different types of paper resulted in very different looking jewelry objects. The rice paper pendants are characterized by a luminous, translucent quality, while the pieces made with watercolor paper resemble enameled metal.

To make the necklace shown above, I designed the basic shape that was repeated to create the Unit Form necklace. The shape represents a variation on the Greek link. In this variation I eliminated the spiral part of the link and replaced it with a simple inner curve. The original Greek link was formed with 8″ of 20 gauge wire. For my variation I used 6″ of 18 gauge wire.

The challenge in creating this necklace was to replicate the unit form as many times as was necessary to construct the necklace. To achieve this, I needed to make a simple tool that would guarantee an exact copy of each link needed for the necklace.

 

 

 

A view of the wire secured by the hole, and wrapped around the dowel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shaped wire has been removed from the dowel.

 

 

 

After removing the wire from the dowel, I continue to form the basic shape by creating the small central spirals.

 

 

 

The final wire forming step is to forge the shape with a chasing hammer. To do this, I position the “link in progress”  on a steel block and hammer the piece until a visually effective flattening of the wire is achieved. By restricting the hammering to only one side of the shape, a slight curvature results which enhances the look of the shape.

 

 

The unit form link is now ready for the next step, which is the application of the watercolor paper.

 

 

Here is another example of a unit form necklace that required the use of a jig to construct the basic shape. This is a work in progress.

 

Here is the jig used for duplication of the link variation. This jig made it possible to easily reproduce the heart shape. Coming soon - watch You Tube for my detailed videos on constructing “Unit Form Necklaces.”

 

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More videos you might like:

   Making Rice Paper Earrings  
   Earrings With Dangling Flairs
   Greek Link Earrings
   Earrings Based on Spiral & Figure 8
The jewelry objects that you see created in my blog and videos are original designs by Ross Barbera. These designs may be copied for your personal use only, and may not be offered for sale or exhibition without written permission from Ross Barbera.

©2012 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.

Posted in Basic watercolor jewelry construction, Basic wire construction, Link necklaces, Watercolor jewelry, Wire and Watercolor Paper Jewelry, Wire jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tips on How to Connect the Egyptian Links Once the Individual Links Are Made

I sometimes receive this comment from viewers who watch my YouTube video,  “How to Construct the Egyptian Link”   :

“I was able to make the links, but am having difficulty connecting them.”

Although I demonstrate how to connect the links in my video, sometimes the viewer  cannot figure out how to position the links for connecting.

Before the links are actually connected, I always advise my students to make only 4 or 5 links at a time, and connect them before continuing on to make additional links. Forming and connecting only a few links at a time will verify that they are being made correctly, and ensure good results in the end. If one finds it extremely difficult to connect the links, this usually indicates that something is wrong. Properly made links are easily interconnected using minimal effort. Making only a few links at a time and connecting them before making more links will eliminate the possibility of wasting time and materials; this cautious approach will enable you to discover “early on”  if there is something structurally wrong with the links.

Tip #1

Each circular loop that is formed after bending the wire in half needs to be exactly the same size for every link.

Tip #1 – loops must all be exactly the same size

 

The pliers have been marked for exact bending position

To guarantee that each loop is the same size, I mark my pliers to indicate the place that I will position the wire for bending.

Positioning the wire where the pliers have been marked

Having marked the spot, the wire will always be positioned at the same point on the round nose pliers.

Tip #2

Before connecting the links,  it might be helpful to line them up like the photo below. This is the position that they need to be in so they can be connected together. Please watch my video on “How to Construct the Egyptian Link” for complete instructions on forming the links.

Tip #2 – preparing to connect the links

Tip #3

This image shows a link being inserted into another link. Notice the angle that the link is being held. To start, insert the circular hoop of one link into the first link.

Tip #3 – link being inserted into another link

 

The inserted links should look like this.

Pressing down the hoop with the thumb

 

Firmly hold the spiral end of the link with flat nose pliers.

Use your thumb to press down the hoop part of the link.

 

 

 

Never use pliers to press the links!

Continue to add and press down the links. Never use pliers to do this pressing!! It will overly tighten the links and stiffen the necklace. Only use your fingers.

Top View

Finished Necklace

When all the links have been added in the manner that I have just described and the necklace is complete, I continue to work all the links down using my thumb and forefinger until all the links are nicely flattened.

©2012 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.

Posted in Basic wire construction, Best Practices, Link necklaces, Wire jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Jewelry Pliers Should Not Mark Up the Wire

I have received many inquiries both in workshops and online regarding how to prevent the pliers, used to shape wire, from leaving marks on the wire’s surface. Viewers have asked about the use of nylon pliers to eliminate this problem, or about the application of different kinds of plastic tape or other materials to eliminate the cause of the marking or scratching of wire.  I have seen the damaging effects that pliers sometimes have on metal wire in my classroom, usually resulting from roughness and burrs on the pliers’ surface.

Does this mean you need to switch to nylon pliers or wrap the jaws of your pliers in tape or some other material to eliminate the marking? Absolutely not. Unless your pliers are severely damaged, or you are using the wrong type of pliers to construct your wire jewelry (utility pliers with teeth) the problem is almost always easily fixed.

The most common cause of marking or imprinting on the metal wire is usually a thin burr along the edge of the pliers, or nicks and scratches on the face of the pliers.

The easiest way to resolve this is to:

1. Use a flat jewelry file and run it along the face of the pliers to eliminate the burr and nicks. Usually the burr is extremely thin and easily removed. Do not file more than is necessary! Too much filing can also damage the pliers.

2. After the imperfections have been eliminated, buff the jaws of the pliers using 240 grit sandpaper.

In class I have employed these simple steps on many occasions to fix a student’s chain link jewelry pliers.

The dark outline that I drew on the face of these pliers indicates where the burr usually occurs.

Using a flat jewelry file, carefully file down the burr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


To finish smoothing the face of your pliers, buff the surface with 240 grit sandpaper.

Good quality pliers will completely eliminate the problem of marking up the wire. Below is a pair of Lindstrom pliers that I use. Notice the smooth face, and the pliers rounded edge. This rounded edge and smooth face completely eliminates the possibility of marking the metal.

I recommend using good quality pliers, such as these Lindstrom pliers.

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More videos you might like:

Greek Link Earrings
Earrings Based on Spiral & Figure 8
Egyptian Link Earrings
Silver Earrings with Spiral and Coil
Silver Spiral Earrings with Blue Beads
Simple Wire Hoop Earrings

Posted in Basic wire construction, Best Practices, Tools and supplies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fixing the Egyptian Link

Egyptian Link Necklace

The Egyptian Link Necklace  is composed of individually interlocked links, making it very resistant to coming apart. If one of the links becomes damaged or somehow separates, and it becomes necessary to replace a link, the following steps illustrate how to accomplish this.

Removing the damaged link

Step 1

Simply cut the damaged link, and remove it from the necklace.

 

 

 

Step 2

To replace the damaged link, it will be necessary to form a new link using the same length and gauge wire that was used to create the links in original necklace.

To begin the replacement of the damaged link, it is important to only form the new link to the stage of development that you see illustrated in the following photograph. Please see my review video “How to Create the Egyptian Link Necklace – a Review”  if you need to brush up on the steps involved in making Egyptian links.

Step 3

The partially formed link will need to be attached to one end of the necklace first. The photo just below illustrates the top view of the target link that the new link needs to be attached to.

Top view of target link

Step 4

The next photo (right side) shows the bottom view / “linking view” of the necklace with the partially formed link attached.

Bottom view with partially formed link attached to the target link

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top view / “spiral side” up view of the necklace with the partially formed link attached

 

 

Step 5

Before forming the spirals, the 2 lengths of wire that will be shaped into the spirals need to be inserted into the other half of the necklace.

The photograph just below shows a view of the necklace with the spiral side up.  Study the image careful, and make sure that your Egyptian Link necklace is aligned exactly the way it is in the photograph.

Attaching the necklace before forming the spirals

Step 6

Begin forming the spirals.

Begin forming the spirals.

Step 7

Form the spirals to match the existing spirals that make up your Egyptian link necklace.

Form the spirals to match the other existing spirals

Step 8

The final photo shows the repaired Egyptian Link necklace with the new link in place. It is important to make sure that the spirals are formed in the same style as the original spirals.

For my example, I wound the center of the spiral for the new link tighter than the original links that make up the necklace. I did this for illustration purposes only.

Necklace with repaired link. I wound the new link tighter so that you can see which one it is.

Watch for new videos on my You Tube Realisticart Channel!

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      More videos you might like:

     Egyptian Link Necklace – Part 1
     Egyptian Link Necklace– Part 2
     Figure 8 Link Necklace – Review

 

 

Posted in Basic wire construction, Link necklaces, Repairs, Wire jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Neutral pH Adhesives versus Elmer’s Glue-All

     I use Elmer’s Glue All primarily in the classroom because my students prefer it over the archival brands. The reason for this is its low odor. When using archival, neutral pH adhesive, students will often complain to me about the glue’s smell. Therefore in an effort to maintain a healthy  classroom studio environment, I’ve eliminated the use of materials with strong odors.

Elmer’s Glue All does adequately provide the adhesive and structural qualities needed to construct strong paper jewelry objects, and the glue responds very well to the heating that my process employs.

The piece illustrated above was made during the early 1990s using Elmer’s glue, and so far shows no signs of deterioration.Only time will tell if the low pH of Elmer’s glue has a damaging effect on the watercolor paper used to construct this watercolor paper pendant.

There are a few good archival glues that are available which contain the necessary  structural properties to create “Watercolor  Paper Jewelry.”  If you would like to explore this alternative, the adhesive that I recommend is Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive.  This glue has excellent adhesive qualities, and I also use it in my work for building watercolor paper jewelry.

Watch for new videos on my You Tube Realisticart Channel!

Subscribe to my Newsletter! – Sign-up box is on the upper right side of this page! —>

      More videos you might like:

    Watercolor Paper Bracelet – Part 1
    Watercolor Paper Bracelet – Part 2
    Making Watercolor Paper Earrings
Posted in Basic watercolor jewelry construction, Best Practices, Pendants, Watercolor bracelets, Watercolor earrings, Watercolor jewelry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments