Saturday, 25 June 2011

Tutorial: Dream catcher from plastic rings

 The plastic rings found on six-packs of beer, cider, and other delicious canned beverages serve a brilliant purpose--until it comes to throwing them away.

Six pack rings (also known as yokes) have the potential to cause harm to wildlife unless disposed of properly, the general method of which is cutting the rings up beforehand.

But why throw them out anyway if you can do something with them?

As a teenager, I used the rings from a six pack (okay, four pack) of my Dad’s cider to make a very shoddy dream catcher. It hung from my cupboard door for years until eventually it became lost within a drawer.
Recently I rediscovered it, cringed at how badly it was made--and took it apart to remake it:

Though it takes a little time to make, dream catchers are fairly easy to put together and a great stash-busting project!

To make this, I used the yoke from a four pack of cider, a length of rather worn bias binding given to my by my Nan, beads and embroidery thread left over from previous projects, leather cord from a tag, plus feathers and sheep’s wool picked up on walks in the countryside.

Here’s how to make your own:

Time needed: 45-60 mins (approx)

You’ll need:
Plastic rings from six pack or four pack
Ribbon/bias binding/similar
Thread or string
Beads, feathers and other embellishments
String or cord for hanging

1. Cut the yoke into separate rings, trimming off any excess bits that stick out and stack them together. This will be your frame. Wrap your ribbon around the rings. If you don’t have ribbon, try bias binding or strips of fabric.

2. Loop the ribbon around itself at the back of the dream catcher to secure, and cut off the excess.

The next three steps follow a very similar method to that in my Hanging Heart Dream Catcher tutorial, but use knots instead of crimps.

3. Cut a length of thread (I used around 1m) and tie the end to the frame of the dream catcher. Make a loop by tying the thread around the frame again, leaving a gap. Repeat until you have gone all the way around the frame of the dream catcher. This is the start of the ‘web’.

4. Create another row of loops, smaller than before, by knotting the thread onto the centre of the loops you created in step 3. At this point you can also start to add beads to some of the loops.
Depending on the size of the loops you created, you might want to make a third row of loops connected to the second.

5. To finish off the web part of the dream catcher, pass the end of the thread through all of the last loops, pull to tighten and then secure with one final knot. This should make the web tauter.

6. So far, it should look a little like this! My plastic yoke was a bit misshapen, so it’s more of an oval shape.

7. To fix on feathers and other things:
Slide feathers through the loops of thread and/or ribbon at the back of the dream catcher.
Tie on other embellishments such as wool, bells, etc, using some of the same thread as the web.
I had a little gold leaf on a tiny safety pin, this I just pinned into the web.

8. Loop on some cord or similar to hang the dream catcher.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Tutorial: Black Flower Ring

I love rings. I love flowers. And I love black.
So when I saw a gorgeous silver and black onyx rose ring in a magazine, you can bet that I wanted it!

Unfortunately, said ring was not particularly within my price range.

So what does a girl do when she can’t afford new pretties?
She makes them herself of course!

Here’s mine:
 Black flower ring, made with black flower bead and wire

And here’s the inspiration:
 Sterling Silver & Black Onyx ring, RRP £50, Pandora Spring Collection 2011
(isn’t it beautiful?)

This post wouldn’t be complete without a tutorial, so here goes!

Time needed: 30 minutes (approx)

You’ll need:
Black flower bead with shank
Wire (I used some cheap stuff I bought on ebay; it’s very pliable!)
Flat-nose and round-nose pliers
Wire cutters

1. Cut several pieces of wire. For this ring I used six 15cm lengths of wire--the number of pieces of wire should be as many as the petals on your bead, plus one extra. Curl one end of all but one of the lengths of wire, using round-nose pliers.

2. Slip the bead onto the end of the left over wire length and bend the wire around itself to secure.

3. Place the curled end of one piece of wire in the space between two of the petals on the bead. Bend the wire slightly around the side and base of the bead. Repeat with the other pieces of wire (this is quite fiddly but don’t worry about getting the placement perfect at this point!)

4. Twist the lengths of wire together! The curled ends will probably come away from the top of the bead, which brings me to the next step...

5.  Bend the wire so the flower lies flat and use flat-nose pliers to reposition your curled ends on the flower.

6. Optional: Use flat-nose pliers to flatten the twisted ring band a little. 

7.  Wrap the wire around the knuckle of the finger you want to wear the ring on. I made the mistake of wrapping it around the base of my finger, so ended up with a pinky ring instead of one for my ring finger. Oops.
Untwist the ends of the wire so there is no overlap then wrap one of the ends around the base of the flower bead to secure, curling the end as in step one.

8. Wrap the remaining lengths of wire partway around the base, cutting off excess and curling the ends over. Use flat-nose pliers to tuck all ends under the flower.

9. If necessary, readjust the wire on top of the flower bead, and you’re done! Wear it, work it and be fabulous (and smug about saving £50).

Linking up at:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Tutorial: Trash necklace (part 2)

Following on from part one, this trash necklace tutorial uses leftover fabric and haberdashery to take the design one step further.

This time around I made two necklaces, one using scrap paper rings and one using rings made from toilet roll tubes.

Time needed: 30-90 minutes, depending on materials used

You’ll need:
Scrap paper and/or toilet roll tube rings
Ribbon or cord for necklace
Greek springs with loops (optional)
A clasp (optional)

A selection of:
Leftover fabric
Embroidery thread
Bias binding

1. If you haven’t done so already, make some rings from scrap materials as explained in part one.
2.  Cover the ring frame:

  • For a wool or embroidery thread-wrapped ring, tie the end of a length of wool around the loop (knot on the inside). Wind the wool around the ring and tie off with another knot on the inside once the whole ring is covered.

  •  For fabric, cut into strips first. Seal the edges if you don’t want a frayed look.
  • For flat things such as bias binding, ribbon and strips of fabric, use a dab of glue on the end to secure to the inside of the ring. Then wrap around the ring, sticking down the other end inside the ring (you may have to trim off a little!)
  • To get a more decorative look, glue or tie contrasting trim or thread around the covered rings.

4. Either thread onto a length of ribbon to complete the necklace...

5. Or use thin cord: cut three lengths, longer than you want the necklace to be. Knot the ends to the length you want them and trim all but one of the ends.

6. Attach a greek spring with a loop to each of the longer ends of cord. (I needed to cut the longer piece down a lot more than I showed in the previous picture!) Add a clasp to the end.

7. Thread on your covered rings and go show off your cheaply-made but fresh ‘n’ funky necklace!

Had a nice email just yesterday, the long and the short of it being that my Ancestry of Tibet necklace tutorial has been linked to over at All Free Beaded Jewelry! Yay!

Featured at:

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle


Linking up at: 


Running with Glitter

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Tutorial: Trash necklace (part 1)

Want a new, funky necklace but don’t have the cash? Get your craft on and dig out that trash!
Well, not literally. That could be rather messy.
But with a little nose through your recycling box, a bit of glue and some spare time you can have your own funky trash necklace.


Time needed: 10-20 mins

You’ll need:
Multipurpose glue
Existing necklace chain or similar

A selection of:
Scrap paper e.g. magazines
Toilet roll tubes
Plastic bag (e.g. packaging from cotton wool pads)

Scrap paper:

1. Tear into long rectangles.

2. Twist the rectangles and curl into a circle, as if you’re tying a knot.

3. Use a dab of glue to stick down the ends.

Toilet roll tubes:

1. Cut up the length of the tube and cut into strips.

2. Curl the strips around themselves, sticking the ends with glue. Use paperclips or hairgrips to hold the ends down until the glue has dried.

Plastic bag:

1. Cut into loops

2. Twist the strip once to make a figure of 8 and bend the two halves over each other to make a smaller circle. Twist so it holds its shape.
For this I used the packaging left over from a pack of cotton wool. 

Once your rings are dried, thread them onto an existing chain or similar.  Either use just one material (I found a necklace of scrap paper rings looked best) or mix them up for an edgier style! 

Use fabric to take this recycled necklace idea one step further: see part 2 here!

Linking up at:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...