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30/07/2015

DIY Woodworking Projects Can Save Money



With today's current economy, many of us are always on the lookout for a variety of ways that we can save money and make our hard earned dollars stretch further. Do you consider yourself to be at all handy when it comes to building things? If so, then I am very happy to be able to tell you that I have a wonderful idea for you! How about making your own DIY Woodworking Projects? This is not only a great way to save money, but putting together your very own DIY projects can truly be a lot of fun too!

There are many different things you can do for DIY Woodworking Projects, and there are even DIY kits that you can purchase that contain all of the supplies needed for your DIY projects all in one convenient package! Some ideas for DIY Woodworking Projects that you may want to consider are birdhouses, lamps, clocks, furniture, jewelry boxes as well outdoor projects such as gazebos and lawn ornaments just to name a few. DIY projects often cost significantly less than purchasing these items at your local store or hiring someone else to come to your home and make these items for you. Additionally, completing DIY projects can give you a real feeling of pride and accomplishment by knowing that you personally made something that is both beautiful and functional.

Another thing that is great about DIY projects is that they often make excellent gifts for friends and family. Your loved ones are such to cherish the gifts you give them that much more if they know that you invested not only money but also time and effort into personally hand crafting their gifts for them. Homemade toys are often especially appreciated, and more often than not they will get passed down from one generation to another as a cherished family keepsake.

Making DIY Woodworking Projects can also be an excellent way not only to save money but to make money as well. If you have a real knack for making things, you could easily start a nice little side business selling your hand-crafted items. A good way to start out making money with your DIY Woodworking Projects would be to tell your friends and family about your new business venture and ask them to spread the word to anyone that they think might be interested in purchasing your items.


 

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28/07/2015

How to Make Awesome Lampwork Beads



If you are involved in jewelry making, it may be very easy to find all of the supplies that you need, but if you are very deeply involved and wish to save on the cost of supplies, or even if you wish to feel the satisfaction that comes with accomplishment you may even wish to make your own lampwork beads. There may be scores of other reasons why you may wish to do your own lampworking. One of the reasons to make your own lampworks beads, is that you may not be able to find a special bead for a custome made item, so it may be a very good idea to learn how to make lampwork beads.

The process is not difficult, and you can begin with a few readily available items. You need to work in a well ventilated area, with cool water nearby. Be sure that you have a fire extinguisher on hand. In addition to the necessary tools, include protective clothing and safety glasses.

For the basic process, where you can practise, you will need a tungsten pick, a torch, precoated mandrels, and a kiln, which are all available at arts and craft stores. Before getting involved you will need to do some research and reading about lampwork beads to find out more.

When you are ready the first step is to fire up the torch, and slowly bring the glass which is usually supplied as rods in contact with the flame. The heat is applies to the glass until a blob is formed at the end of the rod. To keep the blob from falling off, you will need to keep turning the rod continually.

With a good sized blob, you can now heat the precoated mandrel, and deftly wrap the molten blob around the mandrel. You may need some practise at turning both the glass rod and the mandrel at the same time. The flame may be stationery, and you can move the rods around. While spinning the mandrel, you can form a doughnut shaped bead on the mandrel.

To continue making lampwork beads, you can add some decorations with pre-made stringers. The glass stringers should be heated very slowly, while keeping the bead warm to prevent cracking. Again some practise and dexterity is needed to keep heating two rod simultaneously.

Once you have applied the decoration to the bead in you desired pattern, the next and perhaps the most important step is the annealing process. The annealing is usually an automated process that can take as much as 4 hours if you are in a hurry or overnight if you are not. The kiln keep the lampwork beads at elevated temperatures until it solidifies, and slowly reduces the temperature, so that there is no stress that is applied to the beads as the glass expands and contracts when heated or cooled at quicker rates.

 

 


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23/07/2015

Making Beads for Handmade Jewellery


For centuries, men and women have adorned themselves with precious metals and jewels. Today the modern jewellery designer uses a variety of materials, that may include, glass beads, gemstones, polymer clay, resin and textiles, to name but a few.

Firstly let's look at glass beads. The first glass was formed 40 million years ago by heat and immense pressure from erupting volcanoes. Nobody knows when the first man made glass came about, though it is believed to be around 3500 BC, with the oldest bead dating back 40,000 years. Glass is a versatile material that can be moulded and stretched to form different shapes; it can also be etched, polished and cut.

Millefiori glass, developed by the Romans, was made by fusing many glass rods together to create a cane. Once heated, these canes were stretched to miniaturize the pattern; slices were then cut from the cane to decorate the beads. In the 13thcentury the Venetians, who were very secretive about their glassmaking, moved the entire industry to the island of Murano. Although the Venetians dominated the glassmaking industry, other Europeans also manufactured glass beads, Czechoslovakia being one of them. Czech glass beads date back to the 11thcentury and are renowned for their excellent craftsmanship. Made from quality glass the vivid colours will not fade and are consistent throughout.

Glass making tools and materials are now readily available, with many talented lampworkers, making individual glass beads. The glass used for bead making is sold in rods and comes in a variety of transparent and opaque colours. Lampworkers use oxygen-propane torches to heat and melt the glass rods onto a stainless steel rod called a mandrel. Once the glass is heated it becomes soft and can then be formed into different shapes, using a variety of hand tools. Once the bead is formed it needs to cool slowly or it will crack if it is cooled too quickly. To do this the beads need to be placed between layers of insulating blanket or vermiculite heated in a slow cooker. Beads can also be annealed in a kiln to slowly cool.

Another material that can look like glass is resin, though it carries less weight. Resin belongs to the plastics family and is made from organic polymers that can occur naturally in tortoiseshell, horn and amber. Clear casting resin can be used to trap flowers and other inclusions and can be built up in layer. It can be coloured using translucent paste and can be poured into moulds of any shape. Once cured it can be filed sanded and drilled to give the desired finish.

Polymer clay is another material that can be used for bead making. It is soft modelling clay, made from particles of polyvinyl chloride, combined with plastisizers, fillers, colouring agents and gels. There are a number of brands available, in a large range of colours that can be mixed to give an even greater colour palette. It is cured by baking in a conventional oven and once baked it can be sanded carved and drilled.

Before the clay can be used, it must be conditioned to distribute all the ingredients. This can be done by twisting and rolling by hand or passing through a pasta machine a number of times. You can tell if the clay has been conditioned enough by folding it in half after it has been passed through the pasta machine. If it cracks on the fold, it needs further conditioning until no cracks appear. Once conditioned it can be coloured using alcohol inks, acrylic paint, pigment and metallic powders. Polymer clay also comes in liquid form and can be coloured using pigment powders, then used for stained glass effects and to add texture to the beads.

 

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