Learn resin casting & sculpting with Cynthia Thornton

Check out this online course to learn resin casting and sculpting from Cynthia Thornton. Summer is always a good time to learn something new before getting busy with the holidays!

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I played around with resin once but found it difficult to work with, probably because I didn’t actually learn how to work properly with this medium.

Resin casting
Resin Sculpting & Casting Techniques with Cynthia Thornton

Then I found this online class about Resin Sculpting & Casting Techniques taught by Cynthia Thornton, the founder of Green Girl Studios. I love all of the Green Girl Studios beads and pendants, so this is a great teacher to learn from.

Sculpting & resin casting

This Craftsy online class taught by artist Cynthia Thornton guides you through every step and teaches you how to sculpt a polymer master, then make a silicone mold to use in resin casting. Here are some of the things you will learn:

  • Essential polymer clay techniques
  • How to craft a variety of shapes and whimsical creations
  • How to replicate any piece by making resin molds with silicone
  • Tips for smooth, consistent resin results
  • How to use custom dyes, paints and metallic finishes
  • How to seal your work for long-lasting beauty
  • How to mount resin creations to pendants, buttons, hairpins and more!

Better yet is that with Craftsy online classes they are there for you forever! You can access them anytime or anywhere if you need to refresh your memory on a certain step.

Learn resin casting and sculpting
Learn resin casting and sculpting, make your own resin molds create decorative pieces to use as pendants, buttons and more.

About Cynthia Thornton, the Instructor

Cynthia Thornton studied fine art and 3-D illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design. She worked as a sculptor in a variety of industries, and then founded Green Girl Studios. Cynthia is the author and illustrator of the book Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed Media Jewelry With Metal Clay, Wire, Resin & More. Learn more about Cynthia and see some of her limited run creations in her Etsy shop.

Jewelry drilling safety tips and techniques

Important jewelry drilling safety tips and techniques that every jewelry designer should know are explained by guest blogger Joe Smith from The Bead Traders.

Jewelry has long been a highlight of the culture and structure of ancient civilizations.

Jewelry-making dates back 3,000-4,000 years, and the resulting pieces have been used by historians to connect civilizations to their culture’s fashion style and period.

These pieces of art and history tell historians about the ways and lives of the people who wore them, almost as much as fossilized bones and other artifacts provide the same information.

The jewelry trends today are ever-changing, yet still they represent the same things as jewelry from other cultures of the past. Jewelry is still a form of art, a form of expression by the creator and the person who wears it.

A variety of beads for jewelry

Jewelry can tell a story, just like it did in the past, except the stories are current to the people and society of today. You can find innovative and exotic forms of jewelry with beads, gemstones and crystals for almost every pallet in many different stores and online shops. It’s literally everywhere!

Important safety tips and techniques for jewelry drilling

by Joe Smith

Many people give and receive jewelry as a gift, whether it’s for a holiday or for no specific reason at all. With jewelry being as prominent in today’s culture and business as it is, many people have taken to creating their own jewelry.

Jewelry drilling is commonly used in jewelry-making to add decoration by inserting small holes for decoration or to situate another part of the jewelry, such as wiring, into the piece.

Whether it’s for a small jewelry business or a jewelry-making hobby, there are 8 important safety tips and techniques that every jewelry maker should know and use.

Wear the right protection

As with any craft or trade, wearing the right protection is always the first step in ensuring a safe and successful job.

  • Goggles: Jewelry drilling is often done with a rotating drilling machine. Its fast rotations lead to flying bits of jewelry and debris, so it’s important to wear goggles for eye protection while drilling.
  • Gloves: Jewelry makers wear latex gloves or leather finger guards during the drilling process. Alternatively, you can use finger tape for a more flexible feel.
  • Proper Lighting: Make sure to drill in a well-lit area to allow for optimum vision and control on the piece and the drill.

Gather the right supplies

Usually, the drilling process for beads and jewelry pieces is the same and use these common items:

  • Some kind of drill
  • Something to keep your piece stable
  • A shallow container of water, under which the actual drilling happens. Water keeps the drill tip from overheating, and also cleans off any stone debris while working on the piece.
  • A buffer between your piece and the bottom of the water container, so you don’t accidentally drill a hole into it.

Start with a dent

A good technique to use before jewelry drilling is to make a dent or mark in the area of the piece where the hole will be made. This dent serves as a guide for when you’re ready to make the actual hole. When you make the dent, use a much smaller bit to test out where the hole should go. Dents can be made with a variety of tools, including an automatic center punch or prick punch and an engraver.

The key to making a good dent or mark is to use a very small and precise tip. This is beneficial because you can easily move the position of the hole once it’s made, as long as it’s small. Moving the hole a few millimeters is all it takes to get it into a perfect position, if done correctly.

Jewelry Drilling Tools

Choose the right drill for the job

If you’re drilling a wooden bead, any drill will do to go straight through the piece. But drilling gemstone beads is more about grinding the stone away to make a hole, rather than just going straight through it. Make sure to use the appropriate drill to avoid scarring the piece. Afterward, a variety of different tools can be used to buff and polish the finished piece.

Keep your piece stable

Keeping your piece stable is important to making a clean-cut and accurate design. There are lots of different ways to keep your piece stable.

  • Use putty to hold it in place and reduce the chance of the stone breaking off or chipping in the back when the drill pushes through the end.
  • Use a block of wood slightly larger than your piece that’s lined with foam, this also serves the same purpose as the putty.
  • Invest in a drill that come with a stand and includes a piece that holds your stone in place during the process.

Use a small tip

It takes more than a steady hand to move your drill through your piece in an efficient and stable manner. But this is also another key to getting that perfect hole. The first thing to do is to use a smaller tip at the beginning of the drilling process. The small tip slowly opens up the hole and reduces the chance of the drill getting caught or scratching the material. Once the hole is made go back a second time with a bigger bit to enlarge the size.

Let the drill do the work

It may be tempting to push the drill into the stone and help along the process, but that does more harm than good. Working slowly and patiently allows the drill to gently shed away the stone, instead of leaving a jagged mess. You only need to guide the drill to let it do its job; no extra force is required.

Exotic Jewelry Necklaces

Increase your control

Maintaining control over your drill is the make-or-break point in every jewelry maker’s career. If you can’t control your drill, the jewelry will suffer. Improving your skills on practice objects is the best way to increase control and efficiency with your drill.

You can buy accessories for your drill to increase stability. Add-ons like a foot control lever help to keep the drilling process hands-free, as well as give you control over the speed and intensity of the drill.

Create what you love

All of the above jewelry drilling tips combine to bring you closer to creating the jewelry you love to make in an efficient and safe way.

Leave a comment with any other important tips!

Bling for Spring! Swarovski crystal project ideas

A little bling in the spring makes everything sparkle better! Swarovski Crystal Beads not only add sparkle to jewelry designs, but below are a few more ways to bedazzle projects and take them to the next level!!

Project ideas to add sparkle and Bling to everything!
Project ideas to add sparkle and Bling to everything!

Add some bling to clothing

Bling out clothing
Bling out clothing with designs made of Swarovski crystal

When I was young metal studs were the in thing to add to jeans, handbags and other clothing. I loved decorating with those, but using crystal would have been so much cooler!!

Try adding Swarovski crystals to clothing in a unique design and then dress it up with other craft materials like organza ribbon, ricrac or even fabric scraps.

Iron on bling
Use iron on crystal on the back of a jacket

Create a one-of-a-kind sparkly design on the back of shirts or jackets with Iron-On Crystal Transfers – Made with Swarovski Crystal Components!

Embellish everything in the house

When it comes to home decor, the sky is the limit for adding a special sparkle with Swarovski crystals.

blingy wine charms lampshade and gifts

Dress up a simple gift bag with a charm or bracelet made with Swarovski crystals. Another idea to make a gift really unique is to use beautiful Swarovski crystals to embellish gift bags.

My favorite projects are fancy Wine Glass Charms made with Swarovski crystals or decorating an old lampshade with flowers made of Swarovski crystals.

Fire Mountain Gems website has a variety of project tutorials for just about anything you can think of!

Summer projects for teens

Summer will be here soon and crafty teens can spend free time expressing themselves by adding crystals to all their gear!

Blingy cat on phone
Create designs on cell phone covers with Swarovski crystal and glitter

My daughters have blinged out their shoes, headbands, notebooks and their Cell Phone Cover with Swarovski Crystals! These are perfect crafts for tweens and teens of all skill levels.

What is the most unusual way you have used Swarovski crystals in a design project?

Easy to make black leather bracelets or necklace

Leather bracelets and necklaces are always in style and are a more casual type of jewelry to wear every day. It’s really easy to put together a new look for your arm or neck with the versatile Carlo Biagi black leather cord.

How to make black leather bracelets or necklaces

  1. Pick out your favorite beads or charms
  2. Slide them onto the leather cord
  3. Tie knots at different points on the bracelet or necklace to hold the beads
  4. Measure for your neck or wrist and then tie another knot!
  5. Easy Peasy


Use any type of leather cord, approximately 40″ long so you can wrap or tie in any way you choose.

Leather bracelets example with charm
Example bracelet with beads & charm

String on some beads or charms, tie a few knots and you have a really cool custom jewelry bracelet or necklace!

black-leather-necklace
Example slide necklace with just a few beads

Need a different look at a low-cost? With just a few beads you can create a fashionable lariat style necklace! It’s easy to change whenever you want!

Beads are sold separately and are only shown in pictures above as an example. Leather cord will also work with Chamilia, Pandora and other popular large hole beads.

How to use cell phone charms

Cell phone charms used to be all the rage! That was a short-lived trend because newer cell phones have no place to hook them. Meanwhile crafters and bead suppliers have jillions of them left over.

Likewise, when I was trying to sell my wares at local craft shows years ago, I created some cell phone charms with an assortment of really nice sterling silver bead designs and Swarovski crystal.

Guess what? I still have some of them! They are nearly impossible to sell since no one is interested in them any longer.

So what do you do with them now?

Green Cell Phone Charm
Retired cell phone charm that I used to decorate an incense bottle

Great idea for cell phone charms

I love incense and have several types of incense burners in my home, including bottle incense holders.

They come with a large split ring and golden cord that hangs on the side. You put the incense stick into the split ring and then insert the stick in the bottle so that the smoke comes out of the top and the ventilation holes on the side.

Incense-Bottle-2

Over the years the silver split ring had become blackened from the smoke and the little golden cord had become frayed. So I took one of those unwanted cell phone charms and attached it to a new split ring. See how nice it looks?!!

Phone charms are a great way to add a little beaded decor to just about anywhere. Check my Etsy shop to see which ones I have left 🙂

Other uses for cell phone charms

  • Purse Decoration
  • Zipper Pull
  • Ceiling Fan Pulls
  • Giveaways with orders
What great ideas for decorations with beads have you had lately? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your ideas!

Where to find the best wire wrapping tutorials

I love to wire wrap when I have time and I have discovered the best wire wrapping tutorials by Donna Spadafore at Gailavira Jewelry.

Beaded Cross Pendant and other wire wrapping tutorials

Beaded-Cross
Beaded cross ornament for Christian Gifts

I happened to find this beaded cross tutorial by Gailavira (which is free, by the way) so I downloaded it, grabbed some practice wire, extra beads I had and started making crosses!

I found this tutorial to be very informative and easy to follow, full of easy to see directional photos and well written steps.

Similar to the reasons for why I love making rosaries,  making these wire wrapped crosses was wonderfully satisfying and rewarding.

I made one into a bookmark by adding hemp cord and matching beads, then sent it to my mother. She in turn gave it to one of the clergymen at her church, who was amazed and told her he would cherish it forever!

Beaded-Crosses-two
Beaded Crosses using wire wrapping tutorial by Gailavira

Each step-by-step wire jewelry tutorial at Gailavira Jewelry will teach you how to make beautiful wire wrapped custom jewelry to wear, give as unique gifts or include with your beaded designs and other jewelry making ideas.

I bought the sword pendant tutorial and can’t wait to sit and make some cool jeweled swords for gothic style necklaces and mens jewelry.

There are also several FREE tutorials including basic weaving and how-tos for wrapping briolettes and making headpins! Check them out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.