Monday, April 9, 2012

Mustard Ampersand {Guest Blogger}

 Hello! I’m Bailey of Mustard Ampersand and my corresponding Etsy shop, and I’m so excited to be guest posting on A Law Student’s Journey! Kitty and I go way back to when we lived across from each other in the dorm our freshman year of college, and while it’s weird to think that we’re both doing all kinds of adult things now, it’s also fun to look back at how far we’ve come since we were eighteen.
A little about me: I’m 23 and I graduated from college almost exactly a year ago in Oklahoma, where I grew up. Since I interned in NYC in 09, I knew I wanted to move back, so as soon as I could afford it, I packed up everything I had and moved last December - just about five months ago. It’s been a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t change a second of it. Right now I’m living in Brooklyn, working for myself and about to start working for Anthropologie, and I couldn’t be more excited. Living in New York has been everything I’ve dreamed of and more, and I’m excited to see where life takes me next.
Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite tips and tricks for dealing with leftover earrings when I lose one of a pair. I used to just throw them away, because really, what can you do with a single earring? But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year of making jewelry, it’s that literally anything can be repurposed into a fun charm or made part of a necklace. And that’s what I’m showing you today - how to turn a single earring, be it hoop, stud, or dangle, into a necklace charm.
First, you’ll need the earring (duh), a necklace chain, a jump ring, and a pair of round flat nose pliers. Now, if you’re a beginner, you can use a chain from another necklace or buy a necklace chain from any jewelry or hobby store. If you know your way around making a necklace, I’d recommend cutting whatever length of chain you want, putting a clasp on the end, and getting out a jump ring.
On the left you’ll see the three earrings I’m going to use, and on the right, my handy mini jewelry tools. I prefer the mini tools to big ones because I tend to work in small proportions - you can buy this exact set at any craft store for about $15 for all three, or about $5 per tool. I’m about to upgrade, but really, for minor amateur work these are perfect. I use the round flat nose pliers the most, and if you have that one, that’s what we’ll be using here today - the conical shape lends itself best to creating loops in wire. If you have anything similar lying around, that’s great, too - but I use these tools all the time for everything, so I always advocate picking one or all three up, if you can. You might also want a jump ring, unless you want to string your necklace directly through the loop you’ll make in the wire. Your choice!
I started with the dangling bird’s nest earring and took my tool (the one on the left in the above picture) and curled the end up. How you curl your wire here is pretty much up to you - I just wanted to give mine a little flair. I curled the end out, and then curled that part up and in. Had I been thinking, I would have slipped my jump ring over the earring back before I started twisting it, but I didn’t, obvi. However, I was very pleased with how the wire curled, and it’s a fun, unique look for a charm.
As Kitty mentioned in her wire hanger tutorial, once you bend wire, it’s almost impossible to bend back. So I’d recommend planning out your twist before you start, or you’ll have to get yourself a new earring wire!
After this, you’re done with most of the work. From here, open your jump ring, connect it to the chain, loop it around your self-made closure here, close up the jump ring, and you’re done! What? Yes, really. I told you this was easy! And now you have a fun little necklace!
Now, we’re going to take a quick look at how to do this for a stud earring and a hoop. You just bend under the earring back to make a loop, hook on a jump ring and the chain, and you’re done! Seriously, so easy.
The process is pretty much the same, but you’ll have to be a bit more careful with the wire this time. Since it’s from an earring back, it’s a little bit more prone to breaking off than regular jewelry wire, but I had no problems with mine - just take your time and you’ll be fine!
It’s kind of ridiculous how easy that was, isn’t it? Brilliant. Last but not least, we have the hoop earring. Since putting a plain silver hoop earring on a chain would be pretty boring, I dug up some heart charms I had lying around and slid them on over the wire part of the back before I got started. The jump rings are a little too big for this hoop, so I’ll probably replace them later, but they work for this tutorial.
For this hoop, I simply curled the wire part of the back under and looped the jump ring through that. This hoop had a spring closure on the other side, but I pretty easily dismantled and removed it. It left a little behind, but I actually prefer that because it’s a little wider than the hoop, which would keep a small jump ring from just sliding off the end. Attach it to the necklace, and you’re good to go!
Couldn’t be easier, right? And there you have it! Three simple necklaces made from leftover earrings. If you wanted to get really wild, you could gather two or three leftovers together and connect them with a mid-sized jump ring to make a multi-charm necklace!
And if you want to see some super low quality phone pictures of how two of the necklaces look on, here you go!
Thanks so much for reading through, and I hope you learned a thing or two! The bird’s nest and fleur de lis necklaces are available for sale in my Etsy shop, if you’re interested, so please feel free to click through and check everything out!
And just for A Law Student’s Journey readers, you can take 20% off any wire word or bird’s nest necklace with the code WIRE20 - I can make anything custom, so if you have any questions, feel free to message me and mention that you came from LSJ!

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