Monday, October 19, 2020

Updates on Colors for the Dancing Skeleton Jewelry

Dancing Skeleton DIY Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

If you prefer to shy away from the brighter colors, try a combo with Natural Calavera and White Wood Beads
 

Wodd Beads for Dancing Skeleton DIY Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

The White Wood beads are made from natural pangantuon wood, a light weight wood with a light color and even texture, sometimes bleached for more even tone. The color gets a bit darker when worn or can be darken with a light application of a natural oil or wax such as micro crystalline or beeswax.


Dancing Skeleton DIY Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

For the Chinese Knotting Cord, I chose Beige Fine Weight for the legs and Black Extra Fine for the arms and body, and for the neck cord.


Dancing Skeleton DIY Tutorial with Calavera Skull Beads

I added extra overhand knots for the shoulders and buttocks for the earrings, but omitted the knots for the buttocks for the amulet. I also omitted the overhand knot above the Calavera beads for the amulet. I used the Beige Fine Weight for the square knot closure, even though it is a bit bulky, but no other thinner Chinese Knotting Cord had an exact color match.

 




Dancing Skeleton DIY Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

For this next piece, I made the skeleton fully with the Beige Fine Weight and chose the Beige Medium Weight for a thicker neck cord. A 1.5 mm sterling silver clasp was added to the neck cord.  


Shambhala Bracelet with Calavera Skull Beads for Day of the Dead or Halloween

For the shambhala bracelet, I chose Beige Fine Weight for the cord that goes through the beads, and Beige Medium Weight for the knotting cord. These white wood beads were rubbed with a light coat of micro crystalline wax to darken them, but just regular wear will darken the white wood a bit over time. Check the previous post for the step by step tutorial to make the Dancing Skeletons. 



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Dancing Skeletons DIY Jewelry Tutorial with Calavera "Skull" Beads for Dia De Los Muertos or Halloween

Dancing Skeleton DIY Jewelry Tutorial

I made many "Huesos Bailando" Dancing Skeleton or Bones earrings, amulets, and bracelets with "Calavera" Skull beads last year and sold them at the Chico Art Center in conjunction with a Dia De Los Muertos exhibit. I had planned to write the tutorial this year, but it is not until I finally got into the spirit of Halloween and Day of the Dead that I felt inspired to do so... 

Prior to that the smoke in the air from the California fires exacerbated the feeling of entrenchment already set by the pandemic, and until I read about candy chutes, a safe way for kids to trick and treat, we were not even going to celebrate Halloween. Now we are forging ahead, next decorating the front of the house and building a candy chute. I will post a picture as soon as it is done. 

So here is the tutorial with step by step picture. I hope you will enjoy it.


Dancing skeletons are probably the most iconic and playful symbols of Day of the Dead. They represent a life after death and those who have died engaging in their favorite activities. Since Dia De Los Muertos is now celebrated worldwide, why not make an amulet, or a pair of earrings celebrating this Mexican holiday. Day of the Dead 2020 will begin Saturday, October 31 and ends on Monday, November 2. 


Calavera Skull Beads for Day of the Dead or Halloween

BEADS
For this project you will need Calavera (Skull) Beads. The ones I have are made of out of magnesite an off-white soft gemstone with little vein lines often used to imitate turquoise. The magnesite beads are carved, dyed, and stranded on an elastic cord. The strands have 15 beads each and can be worn as bracelets as is. Each strand has 7 beads paired by color, and 1 unique colored bead. The color of the single bead changes from strand to strand. For an amulet, you will need 1 howlite Calavera Skull Bead. 

Prior to working with these beads, enlarge the bead hole with a reamer. A large fine point reamer used by hand works well for a few beads, but if you go into production an electric reamer is a nice tool to have on hand. Choices for reamer can be found HERE


Ebony Wood Beads for Dancing Skeleton DIY Jewelry

You will also need 6mm round Black Ebony Wood Beads for the amulets and earrings, and 10mm ones for the bracelets. For this piece you will need 4 x 6mm ebony wood beads. Get all the beads HERE



Dancing Skeleton DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween


TOOLS
You will need a macrame board, T-pins, a tapestry needle size 18, a bead reamer, and a thread burner. You can get these tools HERE.

CORD & THREAD
For this piece, you will need about 18 inch of Chinese Knotting Cord New Fine (966 Neon Orange for this example), and about 18 inch of of Chinese Knotting Cord Extra Fine (101 Black for this example), and 12 inch of C-Lon Micro Bead Cord in any color. 


Why the Chinese Knotting Cord in the New Fine and Extra Fine sizes? I like the arms to be a bit thinner than the legs...


STEP BY STEP


Dancing Skeleton Calavera Skull Bead Jewelry DIY Tutorial


Step 1. Make a self needle with the Micro cord with beeswax. Join both end of the Micro cord and pull along the Chinese Knotting Cord though the hole. Self needle instructions can be found HERE


Dancing Skeleton Calavera Skull Bead Jewelry DIY Tutorial

Step 2. Pull the cord though the bead. If it does not go through easily, ream the bead hole again with bead reamer. 


Dancing Skeleton Calavera Skull Bead Jewelry DIY Tutorial

Step 3. Make an overhand knot for the amulet. An overhand knot is when you fold a cord over itself and go through the loop. Skip this step for the earrings and attach the earring finding here.


Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 4. Pull the bead up. 



Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 5. With T-pins, attach the loop to the bottom of the macrame board, and the cord ends at the top using a slip knot, or if it reaches insert it into one of the slots. 



Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 6. With the tapestry needles attached to one of the black cord end, start a square knot. This shows the first half of the square knot. 



Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 7. Tie 3 square knots with the black cord over the orange cord. 



Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 8. Melt the ends of the cords with the thread burner into points and string the 6mm beads onto the cords. Clear the bead holes if needed with the large T-pin or the tapestry needle.

About thread burners: They are safer and more precise than lighters, but as lighters, they are not intended to be used by children.


Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 9. Tie an overhand knots. 

About the next two steps: If this is the very first time you do these steps, practice first on a spare cord. 


Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 10. With a thread burner, cut the cord 1 to 2 mm away for the overhand knot. 

Dancing Skull Calavera Skull DIY Jewelry Tutorial for Day of the Dead or Halloween

Step 11. Melt the end right into the knot. Smooth the melted end either with your fingers if they are heat resistant, or with the cap of the burner.  

Dancing Skeleton Calavera Skull Bead Amulet or Earring - DIY Tutorial

Step 12. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 for the 3 other cords. 

ADDITIONAL OPTIONS

Add a necklace cord: Check this video.

Dancing Skull Dia de loss Muertos Calavera Skull Bead DIY Jewelry


Add an extra overhand knots... for the shoulders... and for the buttocks too at Step 7. See neckpiece below for all the extra knots. As I made more and more pieces last year, I found myself adding little touches... 


Dancing Skeleton Calavera skull bead earrings - DIY Tutorial


Make earrings: At Step 3, add the earring findings using pliers to open the loop and close it back once the cord in inserted into the earring loop. Skip the overhand knot. At Step 4, pull the bead up leaving a small loop. The Chinese Knotting Cord colors are 546 Cyan in New Fine Weight and Black Extra Fine.

Earring Findings

I really like leverbacks made out of sterling silver, or gold filled for these earrings. Many lower quality findings have nickel in them and bother my ears. You can find these leverbacks HERE


Calavera Skull Beads Shambhala Bracelet

Make Shambhala bracelets: Use 10mm and 6mm Black Ebony Wood Beads. I have also made them as shown here with 5 Calavera Beads, and 6 x 10mm and 2 x 6mm Black Ebony  Beads, or with 3 Calavera beads and 8 x 10mm beads, with 2 x 6mm beads at the end of the slide pulls. 

Calavera Skull beads shambhala bracelet - DIY Tutorial

If you need instructions on how to make Shambala bracelets, go HERE


Dancing Skeleton Calavera Skull Bead Necklace

Try a neckpiece... like this one, if you are really ambitious, with 9 hanging skeletons in the front strung in between 10mm ebony beads, plus 2 more in the back at end the cords. 

I had fun with the Chinese Knotting Cord colors for this neckpiece, alternating colors such as a green torso for the orange skull. I made it last year especially for the Dia De Los Muertos exhibit at the Chico Art Center. It sold at the show and I have not made another one since...  so it is a one-of-a-kind. 

Check the next post for more color suggestions and combinations with White Wood Beads. 


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Woven Bracelets - Straw Weaving Method


Woven bracelets made with the straw weaving method are easy to make and fun to wear.

As to fiber choices for weaving cuff bracelets, linen was my first choice as it stays cool even in hot weather and linen is incredibly strong and long lasting. The linen I ended up choosing is grown in Normandy, wet spun in Belgium, and available in Natural and Bleached White, plus in many multi ombré colors hand dyed in the USA. A few tonal and solid colors are available as well. 

In addition to the colors options shown on the video, lots of new colors are now available:

Woven Bracelets - Straw Weaving Method

Copper Canyon Fil de Lin and Rich Silver Metallic Twisted Cord


Woven Bracelets made with the Straw Weaving Method

Marina Variations Fil de Lin and Rich Silver Metallic Twisted Cord


Woven Bracelets made with the Straw Weaving Method
Light Peacock Fil de Lin and Light Aurora Borealis Metallic Twisted Cord




Woven Bracelets made with the Straw Weaving Method

Snowberry Fil de Lin and Rich Silver Metallic Twisted Cord



More vivid colors are also available and the linen yarn can also be used for multi stand bracelets, and bead crochet bracelets...

Woven Bracelets made with the Straw Weaving Method

Cha Cha Fil de Lin and Dark Aurora Borealis Metallic Twisted Cord


Linen Woven Bracelets - The Straw Weaving Method



Samba Fil de Lin with Rich Gold Metallic Cord or Copper Metallic Braided Cord


Check the tutorial and get a starter kit HERE.

Check the linen yarn options HERE.


















Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Pantone Spring/Summer Fashion Colors Compared with C-Lon Bead Cord Colors

Spring/Summer 2020 NY Fashion Week Color Palette

“Combining our desire for stability, creativity, and more spontaneous design approaches, the color palette for Spring/Summer 2020 infuses heritage and tradition with a colorful youthful update that creates strong multi-colored combinations as well as energizing and optimistic pairings,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

2020 Pantone Spring/Summer Fashion Colors Compared with C-Lon Bead Cord Colors

Flame Scarlet –> C-Lon - Shanghai Red
Saffron –>  C-Lon - Marigold
Classic Blue –> C-Lon - Navy or Indigo - This is the Pantone 2020 Color of the Year. See post HERE
Biscay Green –> C-Lon - Ice Blue 


2020 Pantone Spring/Summer Fashion Colors Compared with C-Lon Bead Cord Colors

Chive –> C-Lon - Green Olive
Faded Denim –>  C-Lon - Light Blue
Orange Peel –> C-Lon - Popsicle Orange
Mosaic Blue –> C-Lon - Caribbean Blue 


2020 Pantone Spring/Summer Fashion Colors Compared with C-Lon Bead Cord Colors


Sunlight –> Wheat
Coral Pink –>  C-Lon - Pink Lemonade or Chinese Coral
Cinnamon Stick –> C-Lon - Sienna
Grape Compote –> C-Lon - Purple 


Spring/Summer 2020 Classics 

Versatile and naturally sophisticated, these neutral hues serve as singular color statements or as a foundation for playful color contrasts with the colors seen above. 

2020 Pantone Spring/Summer Fashion Colors Compared with C-Lon Bead Cord Colors


Lark –> C-Lon - Dark Tan or Chestnut
Navy Blazer –>  C-Lon - Navy
Brilliant White –> C-Lon - White
Ash –> C-Lon - Cocoa


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Cleaning and Restoring C-Lon Bead Cord Jewelry



This is one of the bracelet I kept for my personal collection. It is a Multi Strand Bracelet with a square knot slide closure made with C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord and 4mm Titanium Coated Rainbow Hematite Beads. I wear it a lot, it's colorful and fun to wear. A few weeks ago while vacuuming my room, I heard a bunch of clinks... that sounded like beads being vacuumed up...


Cleaning and Restoring C-Lon Bead Cord

Sure enough, when I emptied the vacuum in a garbage bag,
the bracelet was there... but is was filthy. 

Cleaning Steps 


Cleaning and Restoring C-Lon Bead Cord

Wash the piece with soap and warm water,
and rinse it under running water. 

Cleaning and Restoring C-Lon Bead Cord

Let the piece dry on a clean towel.

Cleaning and Restoring C-Lon Bead Cord

Now it's ready to wear. 

If after you wash it, you still notice that the cord is a bit greyed out, or clouded over, or you see some whitening of the cord especially noticeable on darker cord, then cleaning is not enough, add the restoration step. 

Restoration for Bonded Nylon Cord
For all C-Lon Bead Cord (all 4 sizes), Tuff Bead Cord, D&E Bonded Nylon, or any of the older brands of bonded nylon #18 such as Conso or Mastex. 

Take some isopropyl alcohol, soak it in a lint free cloth such as an eyeglasses cleaning cloth, rub the cord, and let it dry. Make sure to lay the piece in its proper position as this also blocks the piece. 

This final step with the alcohol restore the bond transparency and the restore cord memory. The bond is softened by the alcohol and dries again fully transparent once the alcohol evaporates. The cord will naturally return to the position it had when the alcohol dried.  

Bond - What is it? The bond is a polymer clear coat added to the cord after the nylon fibers have been dyed and twisted into a 3-ply cord. The coated cord is baked in ovens. Quality control is important along this process. A properly applied bond adds a clear coat that holds the fiber together and make the cord abrasion resistant.  

I usually do not vacuum my jewelry, this was a first time event, and the perfect incentive to share and illustrate the cleaning process.  These are the steps I take when cleaning my personal jewelry, or when someone send me a piece for repair that needs it too. 

Interested in making this bracelet? > Multi Strand Bracelets


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Pantone Color of the Year 2020 compared to C-Lon Bead Cord and More


CLASSIC BLUE - The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year

Calm and confident, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is a poised and self-assured blue hue, elegant in its simplicity.  Genderless in outlook and seasonless in endurance, this foundational anchor shade enables color mixes throughout the spectrum, yet at the same time, makes a strong statement on its own.

As to matches...

C-Lon Bead Cord: Try IND Indigo or the darker N Navy
> C-Lon Bead Cord (Standard - 0.5mm Ø)
> C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord 
(Heavyweight - 0.9mm Ø)
> C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord Tex 135 (0.4mm Ø)


Chinese Knotting Cord: Try 516-Lapis, 517-Washed Navy, 518-Midnight, or 519 Deep Navy. > Chinese Knotting Cord

Silks for Tassels: Try the Kanagawa 1000 Denier Silk Color KNK-153 and KNK-150
> Kanagawa and Fujix Tire Silks