Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Random.Org Has Spoken

Random.org has spoken.  Congratulations Erin Kennedy you are the winner of this fun Frenchie Ornament and your very own copy of the Vintage Frenchies Collage Sheet.  Contact me at
aksapphirerose@gmail.com with your contact info so I can get your prize in the mail.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who left a comment.  I really enjoy reading all your comments and appreciate all the kind words.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Frolicking Frenchies

On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 Frolicking Frenchies.

(And Happy 12-12-12) 

Alpha Stamps has been hosting a 12 Days of Christmas extravaganza.  I hope you have enjoyed all the fabulous work created by the Design Team and Guest Designers.  Today I get to share my project with you and it’s one that I’m super excited about.
I used the Set of Layered Chipboard Ornaments from Alpha Stamps to create this fun mobile.

Front side of Ornaments 1-4 

I started by covering the chipboard ornaments with coordinating papers.  I used papers from the same collection so that they would all go together.  I loved the vintage feel to these papers and they went perfectly with the Vintage Frenchie Collage Sheet.  I then went on an embellishing spree and added all kinds of paper flowers, charms, cut outs, dresden borders, and glitter.  (see below for a complete list of materials used). 

Back side of Ornaments 1-4

For ornaments 1-4 I used 2 sets of ornaments and created two-sided framed ornaments.

Front side of Ornaments 5-8

Back side of Ornaments 5-8

For ornaments 5-8 I used one set and used the center cut-out. I mounted the cut out to the back of the ornament with foam mounting tape to give it some dimension.  I also used a gold krylon marker and vintage photo distress ink to color the edges.
For ornaments 9-12 I created window ornaments with the Layered Masonite Ornaments and ICE resin (I used one of each shape).  I will share with you how I created these ornaments since it is fun and really simple.
Cover the back of your images with some decorative paper, as you can see from the photo above you will be able to see through the ornaments.  I used some gold foil tissue paper from my Christmas wrapping stash.  I used rubber cement to glue the papers together.  Once the glue is dry trim around your images. When using images in resin I  recommend using the card stock sheets from Alpha Stamps as the images are color safe and don’t run in the resin.
Cover one side of the ornament with blue painters tape (the tape does not stick to the resin).  You want to make sure the tape is taught and sealed around the ornament opening.  I held the tape to the top of the ornament with one finger and pulled it tightly down towards the bottom of the ornament..  It will take two pieces to cover all the ornament openings so make sure that the seam is pressed together, you don’t want any gaps in the seam for resin to leak under.  Then rub around the inside opening of the ornament to get a good seal.
I sprinkled a little glass glitter first so that the collage images would not stick to the tape and placed my trimmed images and charms in the ornaments.  When you are happy with how the ornaments look set them off to the side.  I work on a piece of cardboard so that way if there is any spills or leaks my working surface doesn’t get ruined by the resin.

Now it’s time to mix up a batch of resin.  To do all four ornaments I used ½ oz each of resin and hardener.  My 4 oz bottles of resin came with some measuring cups and stir sticks.  Before pouring anything I marked my little mixing cup with a sharpie for easy measuring  It is important to have equal parts of resin and hardener.  I first like to pour the resin and then the hardener, that way if I pour a little too much resin I can add a little more hardener.  VERY gently mix or fold the resin and hardener together this can take up to 10 minutes or longer.  You don’t want to create air bubbles in the resin.  The resin is mixed when it is completely clear.  Let the resin rest for about 5 minutes to get rid of some of the air bubbles, you can gently tap the cup on your table to help the air bubble rise to the top and pop. (Sorry for the blurry image)

Let’s begin to pour the resin.  I poured my resin into a small plastic squeeze bottle that my local bead store carries (it’s a one use deal, not very earth friendly, but it really is a great tool for pouring just the right amount of resin).  
When using paper images in resin, I like to put a thin layer of resin down first and then float the image into the resin, this ensures there is resin underneath the image.  Remove your images (here you see I removed the charm as well).  Start in the center of an ornament gently squeeze the bottle and create a spiral of resin.
When there is a thin layer of resin filling the ornament set your image into the resin.  You will need to poke it down into the resin, I did this with  a snippet of left over wire, but a round toothpick works just as well.  Remember not to push it all the way down to the tape, it is really important to have resin underneath the image.  If you removed any of the other components, put them in now and arrange them how you want using the toothpick or wire.  Add more resin if needed.  Start with just a drop or two and let the resin spread out.  You don't want to overfill the ornaments and have resin spilling out over the top.  You want to make sure every component is covered in resin.  Let the items set  for about 5 minutes to see if any air bubbles formed.  If there are any bubbles you can gently move the it to the side of the ornament to pop it.
I then sprinkled more glass glitter on the top of the ornaments and set them aside to cure overnight.  A very important  DO NOT do this note.   DO NOT CURE YOUR RESIN IN A TOASTER OVEN.  The first batch of ornaments I did bubbled so badly I had to discarded them.  It’s best to let these set and cure on their own.  

I gently removed the tape after about 6-8  hours of curing. The resin was still soft but could be handled if I was gentle with it.  Since I’m an impatient crafter I went ahead and fired up my toaster oven to 150 degrees and cooked the ornaments for 10 minutes.  I still got a little bubbling but it helped to harden the resin enough that I could start to embellish the ornaments.

I added fold over bails and glued them with E6000. I then added mini rose buds in ivory that I dipped in Tattered Angels Glimmer paint in Chandelier and clear acrylic bead sprays. I also rubbed on some Gilder’s Paste in Antique Gold and since they still needed a little something more I painted on a thin coat of the Chandelier glitter paint.  I also added some of the masonite tree cut outs that I covered in avocado and dark chocolate liquid pearls.
I assembled my mobile using 14g copper wire that I colored with Victorian Gold Metal Patina Paint from the Treasure Heirloom Collection.  To do this I applied some of the paint to one of those little felt pads that comes with the ranger alcohol ink blending tool and ran the wire through it.  It’s a little messy but the color turned out fabulous and fits the vintage feel I was going for with the mobile.
I cut the wire into 14 inch lengths and added a loop to the center.  I did this by marking the center of the wire with a sharpie markerI then placed that mark in the center of my round nose pliers as close to the box of the pliers as possible.  I bent the wire down in a "U" shape (photos to come), and then pulled the right side over to the left and the left side over to the right.  To make sure the wire was balanced I placed the loop over my pliers.  If you find the wire is unbalanced, you can trim a little wire of the heavier side.

To attach all the different arms of the mobile together I made two sided eye loops.  I had to tweak them a little bit to get the arms to turn right.

I then attached an ornament to each end of the wire with chain and jump rings.
I had one pair of ornaments that was very unbalanced.  To fix this problem I added a couple of the cast brass beads with loops (I think they look great and fit in well with all the other bits and pieces).
And just because they turned out so great here is a close up of the glammed up paper flowers that I dipped in the Chandelier glitter paint.

After assembling the mobile I kept going back to it because "something" was missing.  It finally hit me, there needed to be a pretty dangle in the center.  I created this sparkly snowflake from Swarvoski crystals and a metal snowflake shape purchased at my local bead store.

Here is a close up of the crystal snowflake.
Thanks for visiting!  I hope you enjoyed my project and if you haven't already go check out all the fabulous work created by the Design Team!

Here is a list of all Alpha Stamps products used:
Collage Sheets:
Vintage Frenchies
Santa and Children
Winter Birds
X-Mas Cards & Small Books
Snow Collage Sheet
Snug in their Beds
Angel Sisters 
Set of Layered Chipboard Ornaments
Layered Masonite Ornament -Long Scalloped
Layered Masonite Ornament-Wide Scalloped
Layered Masonite Ornament-Classic
Layered Masonite Ornament-Star
Star Mix Cut-Outs
Pine Tree Cut-Outs
Reindeer Antlers Stencil
ICE Resin
Antique Bronze Christmas Charm Set
Brass Snowflake Charms
Candy Cane Charms
Christmas Bell Charms
Large Brass Snowflake with hole
Holly Charms
Small Fold over Bails - Antique Gold
Clear Acrylic Bead Sprays - Asymmetrical and Teardrops
Glittered Holly Berries - Red and Green
Mini Rose Buds - Ivory
Old Fashioned Roses - White
Small White Apple Blossoms
Tiny Paper Roses - White
White Roses with Heart Shaped Petals


Leave a comment on this blog posting Dec. 12-Dec. 16, 2012 and you will be entered to win this lucky 13th Ornament I created (it's not called a bakers dozen for nuthin') and your very own copy of the Vintage Frenchies Collage Sheet!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

12 Days of Christmas at Alpha Stamps

This year Alpha Stamps is hosting the 12 Days of Christmas!  Yep, your eyes read that right.  The fabulous Design Team and been busy busy busy creating some great art.  Over the next 12 days a different Design Team Member's art will be revealed for all to see.  I have been extremely busy the last few days getting my project done.  NO peeking now, you will just have to wait for day 12 to see mine.  In the mean time go see what the fabulous Caroline created for day One!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Riveted Spider Pendant and Charms Tutorial Part Two:

Dimensions of pendant are 3 1/4" long by 1 1/4 " wide.  Dangle adds about 1/2"  to the length
Hope you all had fun playing with texturing and practicing your riveting technique.  This week we will dive into making the actual project components and putting them all together to create the Spider Pendant and Charms. This week  I will go over how I stamped words on the square washer as well as on the round blanks.  I will also go over punching holes in charms and riveting them.  For the purposes of this tutorial it is assumed that you have already textured, antiqued, and polished a number of the square and round brass and copper stamping blanks.

Before I get started I’d like to talk a little bit about sheet metal gauges and which is best to use for what type of project.  Most of my experience is with 24g sheet metal.  This is the “go to” gauge for using as your base metal.  It is malleable enough to texture but sturdy enough to handle having things riveted to it and be worn as a bracelet.  I do not recommend using the 26g as your base pieces, it is just too soft.  I mainly use 26g to make what I call word charms that can then be riveted to a 1x1 inch blank (which is 24g) or heavier gauge sheet metal. I find it only takes one or two strikes with my short stubby hammer to get nice clean images and words on the 26g sheet metal.

Supplies you will need:
Bench Block and pad, I use a 2.5 x 2.5 bench block, the pad is optional but it helps cut down on the noise made when using the block (an old cut up computer mouse pad works as well)
Chasing Hammer
Rubber Mallet or Rawhide Hammer
Short stubby utility hammer or 1lb or 2lb brass mallet
Chain and round nose pliers
Flush cutters
80 grit nail file,  metal file, or fine grit (330 or 600 grit) sandpaper
Pro-polish pads
Ultra-fine sharpie
Drafting or graphing ruler
2-Hole Metal Punch (I refer to it as a double sided screw punch)
Hole punch pliers either 1.5mm or 1.8mm
Alcohol wipes (used for getting finger prints and sharpie markers of the metal)

Optional Supplies:
Texture Hammer (s)
*More Alpha Stamps Products used are listed below each example

Riveted Spider Pendant

Alpha Stamps Products used  for the Pendant and Necklace:
Antique Bronze Spider Charm Set one of the large ones, a note about the sets from Leslie “these come in sets of 5 charms but not all the sets are the same. You will get a mix of 5 different spiders... but not sure which of the 9 shown in the photos will be included”  I got lucky and got the skull body spider, isn’t he cool?
1Pewter Spider Charms  (or you can use on of the small spiders from the Antiqued Bronze Spider Charm Set, but I liked the contrast in metals)
4 6mm Metal Rondelles Black Oxide
8 1/4 Inch Rivets copper or brass
Brass Jump Ring Mix (7 from the mix)
5x3 mm chain  or another linked chain of your choice

Bead dangles for pendant and necklace:

Step One:  Preparing the 1x1 square copper washer



Before we can stamp the words, we need to mark where the 6mm rondelles will go as well as the spaces for the words.  I  am going to warn you, I am not a ruler person.  I have never learned how to use a ruler properly, hence why I use a graphing ruler for everything.  I know the rondelle is ¼” wide, how do I know this?  I set it on my ruler to measure it (okay I can use it for simple measurements).  It fits perfectly in a ¼” by ¼” square on the ruler grid. 

 I marked the corner grid on my ruler with a sharpie marker as well as drew a diagonal line through the center.  

Starting with one corner of the square washer, making sure it was on the diagonal, I lined up the marked grid on my ruler making sure the diagonal line was centered in the corner of a washer.  I then drew lines on each side of the ruler to mark the corners. I did this for all four corners.   


There is about ½” between the lines to stamp your letters in.  Stamp the words before you punch your holes as stamping letters can distort the rivet holes.  To stamp the words creepy crawly place the square copper washer so it’s diagonal on a bench block (remember no pad).  Take the first letter punch, hold it so the letter is facing you upright (the same position as if you were stamping a word on a straight line) and center it between the two sides of the washer, making sure no part of the letter is hanging off the edge of the washer, strike the punch with your utility hammer or brass mallet (DO NOT USE YOUR CHASING HAMMER FOR THIS STEP, IT WILL MAR YOUR HAMMER AND RUIN IT)

See how the letters are at the perfect angle, that’s because placing the copper washer on the diagonal places it at the correct angle for perfect letter placement.  Repeat until you have the words creepy crawly spelled out between your marked lines.  

Remember you may need to play with placement of your punches to learn how they line up. Hopefully you were able to get some practice in with your set of metal alphabet punches as you really need to practice so you get to know them and become friends with them.  I’ve had mine for three years and we still have occasional disagreements. This technique  really is all about practice practice practice.

Now make the rivet holes and punch them in the four corners of the washer.  I just eyeballed my holes, making sure they were centered between the marks.  After the holes are punched clean the piece with an alcohol wipe and antique it.  Your copper washer should look similar to the photo below.  

For this sample I used aged bronze Metal Patina from the Treasured Heirloom set .  I dropped it straight  onto the washer from the bottle and wiped it away with a small piece of paper towel.  Set aside to dry.  This is a great alternative to using liver of sulphur and a great way to add color to your pieces.
Step Two:  Preparing the first 1x1 square blank for riveting with a charm

Punching holes in charms is really very easy.  All you need is the double sided screw punch and charms that will fit into the punch.  I highly recommend using the double sided screw punch for punching holes in charms.  The 1.5 mm or 1.8mm metal punch pliers are not up to the task of punching holes in charms and you may ruin them.  You may be asking why punch holes in charms when they have loops?  Well sometimes those loops are not in the right place or are facing the wrong direction for the design of your project,  If that is the case you can simply use flush cutters and nip off the loops (as you will see I did in some of the other charms).

Lets begin punching our first charm.  I was lucky and got the skull body spider charm.  I knew the minute I saw him, I was going to punch out the three divots in his feet and use them as rivet holes.  Remember for riveting purposes you want to use the small 1.5mm side of the screw punch to make your holes.  Carefully insert the spider charm into the punch, line up the first divot and screw the punch down creating a hole.  Remember you don’t want to screw the punch down all the way, you just need to go far enough to punch a hole in the charm.  See wasn’t that easy, like cutting butter with a warm knife.  Okay more like cold butter with a cold knife, but it wasn’t as hard as you thought, was it?.  Repeat this for the remaining two holes.  
Your charm should now look like this

Now mark the rivet holes on the 1x1 square blank, I used a brass blank.  Lay the charm on the blank so the loop hangs off the corner (this is going to become the bail), using an ultra fine sharpie mark the three rivet holes.  Next mark the rivet hole for the copper washer.  Lay the copper washer on top of the square blank like in the photo below and mark the rivet hole with the sharpie marker.  

Now punch all four holes. 

your blank should look like this

Step Three:  Riveting a Charm  
Riveting a charm is pretty simple.  Just remember riveting is a gentle tap, tap, tap, not pound, pound, pound.  You only need enough force to spread or flare the rivet.  If you are worried about harming your charm, you can pad the top of your bench block with a  small scrap piece of soft leather.  Using the charm you just punched the three holes in feed a rivet through the middle hole and the corresponding hole in the square blank.  Flip the piece over, pinch the stack together so it is tight and trim the rivet down to size, remember you only need about 1 mm to 1.5 mm of rivet, this rule doesn’t change because you are riveting a bulky object.  Carefully set the pieces face down on the bench block.  You may need to apply some pressure to the piece on the bench block as the rivet will slip back into the hole.  Now set the rivet with the riveting hammer or chasing hammer.   Do not set the rivet completely.  The charm may slide a little bit and you need a little bit of play to be able to slide it back into position.  See wasn’t that easy?  Now set the remaining two rivets and go back and finish setting the first rivet.  Remember to take the rounded end of your riveting hammer and smooth out the back of the rivets to make sure you have completely set the rivets. Congratulations! You have just riveted your first charm. 

Lets complete the third component.  For this you will need 1 1x1 inch brass square blank, 1 ¾” inch round copper blank, and the pewter spider charm.  Start by punching a hole in the round blank.  For this charm you will use the loop that is attached to the charm.  Place the spider charm on top of the round blank where you want it and mark the hole with a sharpie marker.  Next punch the hole with either the double sided screw punch or the metal punch pliers.  Now mark the rivet hole on the square blank and punch that hole.  You will also want to punch the rivet hole on the top corner of the piece for the copper washer.  As in the earlier step mark and punch that rivet hole.  If you are going to add a bead dangle to the bottom you should punch that hole as this time.  Use the larger side of the double sided screw punch centering it in the bottom corner and punch the hole.  You should now have two 1.5mm rivet holes and a larger embellishment hole.  Feed the spider charm and a ¼” rivet and set the rivet.  As before you may want to check the piece out before you completely set the rivet to make sure everything is lined up the way you want.

Step Four:  Assembling the three components into the pendant

For this step you will need 4 ¼” rivets and 4 6mm black oxide rondelles.  We are going to assemble the piece from the top down.  Starting with the top charm (this is the one with a 1.5mm hole in the bottom corner), feed a rondelle on to a rivet and then into the hole in the bottom of the charm.  Next insert this stack into the top hole of the square copper washer, making sure your words are facing the right direction.  Just to reiterate, your stack should be, 6mm black oxide rondelle, top component piece, square copper washer.  Pinch your pieces together tightly and trim the rivet to size.  Place face down on the bench block and set the rivet, making sure the square copper washer is correctly lined up before you completely set the rivet.  Next attach the bottom component to the copper washer.  Follow the previous step and set the rivet.  All that is left is to rivet the two 6mm rondelles to the left and right side of the square copper washer.  

Step Five:  Stamped skull charms

To create the stamped skull charm strips create a 3x3 grid (so you have 9 equal sized squares) on a 1x1 inch square brass or copper stamping blank.  To do this I used my graphing ruler and drew lines about ⅓ of an inch apart with a sharpie marker, you really just want to make sure the stamping blank is divided equally.  I then stamped a checkerboard design using the skull and crossbones metal punch.

Wipe of the marks with an alcohol wipe and antique and polish the blank.  I then cut the square into strips with metal shears and edged the three strips with the rounded side of a chasing hammer (just like you did to edge all your textured square blanks from part one of the tutorial).  Use the large side of the double sided screw punch and punch holes in the top of the three strips (set one aside for future use).

Step Six:  Making the bead dangles

For the bead dangle you will need to make 5 bead wraps with the following: 2 faceted jet rondelles, 1 6mm lime AB cathedral bead, 1 6mm tangerine AB cathedral bead, and 1 8mm round filigree bead. To make bead wraps check out Teri Calia's great tutorial on how to make bead wraps.  Open a jump ring and feed the beads on so that the filigree bead is in the center.  Feed the jump ring in the hole you previously punched in the bottom of the pendant and close the jump ring.

If you wish to make all the dangles for the necklace you will need to make the following wraps:
5 6mm cathedral lime ab beads (4 stacked with a 4mm copper rondelle, 1 without a rondelle)
4 6mm cathedral tangerine ab beads stacked with a 4mm copper rondelle
4 faceted jet rondelles
2 8mm filigree beads
2  stamped skull charms  (I sandwiched them between 2 4mm copper rondelles) Photo close up of skull strips

Step Seven:  Assemble the necklace

Using a linked chain of your choice attach the completed pendant to the chain with a brass jump ring, I used the larger of the thick gauge rings.  I then attached the bead dangles and skull charms with the thinner gauge jump rings.  To complete the necklace I attached a small bead dangle to the clasp with a jump ring.   

Stamping on the round

Lets have a little mischief and “mayham”

For this charm you will need the following materials:
1 1 Inch Square Stamping Blanks in copper or brass (textured)
1 1 Inch Round Stamping Blanks copper or brass (untextured)
3mm Alphabet Metal Punch Set
1 1/4 Inch Rivets
1 8mm Copper Rondelles - star

To stamp on the “round’ as I call it, you first need to pick out your words.  Everyone who knows me, knows what a horrible speller I am.  As you can tell from the above “mayham”.  A nifty trick for helping make sure words are spelled correctly before they become permanently stamped into metal, have a sticky note pad nearby with the words you want written on to use a reference.  I wish I had come up with this idea before “mayham” came into my life.  So misspelling aside, let’s begin learning how to stamp on the round.  It’s not as complicated as you would think.  

Really, it’s not.

With a 1 inch round blank on your bench block (remember no pad for alphabet or design punches!), place the “m” alphabet punch in the 12:00 position on your blank, making sure the letter is facing towards you.  Line up the punch so it’s just at the edge of the round blank, but not hanging off the edge, and strike with your utility hammer or brass mallet.  

Turn the blank counter clockwise ever so slightly so that you have a clear spot in the 12:00 position, carefully line up your second letter, making sure you are not off the edge of the blank and stamp/punch the “a”.  Continue to do this until you have completed the words mischief and mayhem.  I’m sure folks with engineering geometry degrees could use some wonderous mathematical diameter + radius = pi equation, or some such thing, and come out with a way to have perfectly spaced letters and words.  As you can see my letters are not perfectly spaced  (heck there’s even a misspelling) and sometimes they “wander” a little bit.  It is Halloween after all, having kooky letters just adds to the overall charm of the piece.  This is especially true if I haven’t played with metal for bit.  Don’t forget to antique and polish the blank after stamping your words.  To add some fun to the piece I used a ¼ inch brass rivet stacked with a 8mm copper star rondelle, and riveted the whole thing together through the center of the round stamping blank.  I did off set it a little bit on the square stamping blank so that at a later date I could punch a hole in the top and make it into a pendant and not punch a hole through the middle of my words.

Now it’s up to you to play.  

Below are some other samples I created.  If you want to turn these into pendants you can use some simple ball chain or even cording and turn any of these charms into a lovely pendant.

Spider pendant with bead dangle:

Materials used:
1 Antique Bronze Spider Charm Set small charm from the set
1 6mm Metal Rondelles -Black Oxide
2 4mm Rondelles -copper

Creepy Spider Charm

 Spider web and Skulls charm:
Antique Bronze Spider Charm Set I used the small spider on the spider web charm, as you can see on this piece I cut the loop off the charm and punched a rivet hole in the charm
Metal Patinas Weathered Copper

Trick or Treat

I cut a 1x1 square out of the 26g copper sheet and stamped the words trick or treat with alphabet punches and punched the skull and crossbones.  I then trimmed the words out making an oval shape.  I textured the edges with the rounded end of a chasing hammer, painted on Metal Patinas in Weathered Copper, let it dry, then took a 180 grit nail file and sanded of the paint.  This gave the metal a cool satin finish and distressed the paint.  

Skull and Crossbones charms:
Below are two options for using that leftover skull and crossbones brass strip from the pendant project
leftover skull strip from pendant project
2 4mm Rondelles -copper

I really hope you enjoyed my first metal tutorials and found them helpful and inspiring.  There are a lot of great resources out there for metal and beads.  You may want to check out a couple of my favorite sites beaducation.com and fusionbeads.com.    If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send me an email and I will try my best to help you out! 

I would like to say a quick thank you to my good friend and beading/metal cohort Chris for being my guinea pig with this tutorial.