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PCC Chat
Memory Bracelets
with Carol Chapman

Click Here to Download a Zipfile of this Chat

January 22, 2000:

.Dianne> Carol, when I made cylinder beads for the memory wire, they were too stiff to put on...any suggestions?
.CarolC> If you want to use the cylinder beads you already have, you can 1.Put them on headpins and dangle them from the bracelet, either by looping the tip of the headpin around the actual wire of the
.CarolC> bracelet, or by dangling the clyinder from the loop at one of the
.Dianne> ends of the memory wire bracelet.
.CarolC> 2. If you want to put the whole cylinder bead on the curved mwire, cut it into several shorter beads and string them on in the same order as the original longer bead.
.Dianne> Have you ever tried curing beads while strung on the memory wire?? Would that work?
.CarolC> I have never done it that way. One of the earliest clay people did make 'bangle' bracelets with a single long cylinder going in a single circle on memor wire.
.Dianne> Oh, I bet that was cool.
.Dianne> Another idea that I have for these bracelets--they are bright and loud--
.CarolC> I'm trying to remember which of the early books it is in.
.CarolC> ...idea...
.Dianne> is to do some wire wrapping in some you have ideas about this?
.Dianne> I am not sure if I could wire wrap a bead and put it on the bracelet or wire wrap a portion of the bracelet wire itself. I have brightly...
.Dianne> colored art wire.
.CarolC> I have never done much wire wrapping, but any kind of filler bead is good to have when you start making Mwire brcelets.
.Dianne> What kind? Seed beads??
.CarolC> What about wrapping a cylindrical tube of the art wire, maybe 1/4 inch each, and stringing those colored little cylinders between the clay beads?
.Dianne> oh, yes, that would be so sweet.
.CarolC> By the time a turn of wire is strung with beads, it is about 7in around...
.Dianne> ?? I don't understand what you mean.
.CarolC> and I think the nicest looking bracelets are 3 or 5 turns...
.Dianne> Oh, ok.
.Dianne> I cut my wire with 4 loops.
.Dianne> Is that right?
.CarolC> so that means 21 or 35 inches of beads...or 28 for 4 loops
.Dianne> What size beads??
.CarolC> glass seed beads, etc. or Czech glass beads (rondels, for example) come in very handy!
.Dianne> Ah, I I can set up my beads on my bead caddy by inches.
.CarolC> Size 6 seed beads (e bead size) work well in the center of the bracelet for spacing the clay beads.
.Dianne> I haven't tried them yet, but will #10 seed beads work....oh, I do have some sweet little #6.
.CarolC> Yes, #10's will usually fit on the wire.
.Dianne> Terrific!
.Dianne> The #6 are glass ghost beads.
.CarolC> Ihave made lots of bracelets with just glass beads. If the two outer turns (the edges of the finished bracelet) are #10 beads, it looks really nice.
.CarolC> Since clay beads tend to be larger, #6's and #8's seem to predominate.
.Dianne> Yes, I thought I would use my larger button beads for the outer turns.
.CarolC> I usually use the larger beads for the center.
.Dianne> Oh, ok, I see what you are saying outer turns are like 1 and 4 loops.
.Dianne> How do you finish the ends? I was thinking that I would do something dangling..but haven't get a picture in my head yet.
.CarolC> Do you string your bracelets directly onto the wire? I like to string the whole bracelet on monofilament first.
.Dianne> Oh??
.Dianne> This is the first time using memory wire...;)
.CarolC> Finishing the ends: Any which way you can, and it always looks barely passable, no matter how well you do it; the wire is so hard and brittle that you just have to make the best little loop you can
.CarolC> and then live with it.
.Dianne> I remember someone talking about claying the ends in some way??
.CarolC> You can dangle a small (or large) bead on a headpin from the Mwire loops.
.CarolC> If the bracelet is all glass beads (so no problem with the firing temp) I frequently wrap a little 'string' of polymer clay around the loops on the ends of the bracelet.
.Dianne> Oh, now that sounds interesting.
.Dianne> My bracelets will be a combination of pc and glass, perhaps some wire.
.CarolC> I have also heard of epoxying a half drilled bead onto the end of the wire instead of making a loop at all; I wouldn't trust that; I want my loop, then I'll work froim there.
.Dianne> Ok, I appreciate your advice on that.
.CarolC> Another thing I like is to paint the end loops with either "Paint It Pretty" acrylic pens (the kind that are supposed to color metal) or with just regular acrylic paint.
.CarolC> Do you suppose you could wrap fine-gauge art wire around the end loops in the memory wire?
.Dianne> Oh, I have some terrific metallic acrylic paint. I could try the art wire.
.CarolC> I think it just comes down to experimenting and doing whatever works for you.
.CarolC> What are you using for pliers and cutters?
.Dianne> Yes, but your perspective helps me focus on where to go and what to try.
.Dianne> I have a variety of pliers and cutters that I purchased through that wire place...can't think of the name.
.CarolC> The very best pliers to use with memory wire are the ones that cost about $3.95 at your local hardware store.
.Dianne> What kind??
.Dianne> Just regular pliers??
.CarolC> The wire is so hard that it will ruin the good pliers and cutters from the wire place or R&T. It will also ruin the elcheapos from the hardware store, but they only cost $3.95, so who cares.
.Dianne> Thank you for that piece of advice. Now I am forewarned...hmmm, wonder where those darn pliers are? :>)
.CarolC> The pliers I am thinking of are the needlenose pliers with a wire cutter at the junction of the jaws.
.CarolC> Use the cutter to cut the memory wire, the needlenose jaws to make the looops in the ends.
.CarolC> Another thing to consider:
.CarolC> Instead of cutting your 4 loops before you make the bracelet...
.CarolC> take a piece of one of the fat red elastics that comes on, for example, bunches of celery.
.CarolC> Thread the piece of rubber band onto your whole coil of memory wire, and push it along the wire as you string the beads on.
.CarolC> When all the beads are strung, then make your loop in the end where you just placed the last bead...
.CarolC> then go to where the piece of the rubber band is holding the other end of the beads, make sure the beads are settled firmly against the loop you just made, then cut the wire from the 'slinky', being
.CarolC> sure to allow about 1/4 inch for the final loop.
.CarolC> Less wasted wire that way.
.Dianne> Oh, fantastic. Thank you so much!! Your advice is so good.
.Dianne> I will be keeping it on hand while I make my first bracelets too. I will let you know when they are up and posted.
.CarolC> I'm sure you will do just fine, Dianne.
.Dianne> Since I have you all to myself, may I ask another question??
.CarolC> go ahead
.CarolC> I have made so many memory wire bracelets because they seem to be one of the things that sell really quickly almost anywhere.
.CarolC> ...and if they're mostly glass beads, they are so durable that they don't get dirty or damaged when people handle them.
.Dianne> I think, if all goes well, I will make some for the Grand Rapids shop..they like arty pieces. I have a series of collaged necklaces that I make -- they includes using several mediums -- I really
.Dianne> want a classy clasp..and would like to make one myself that would go with a very contemporary, "out there" style of necklace.
.CarolC> How many strands? Would the standard barrel clasp be heavy enough? If so, I know a quick trick that works really well.
.Dianne> I used the standard barrel on the first one and the weight is fine. I am using beadalon and art wire so the necklaces are fairly rigid. The barrel is too 'shiney'.
.Dianne> And, too standard.
.CarolC> That's why I like this trick.
.Dianne> Yes, yes?? All ears and eyes here.
.CarolC> I'm talking about the cheap, strong barrel clasp that has the raised ridges of little 'teeth' around it.
.Dianne> Oh let me check real quick.
.CarolC> ...if you unscrew one of these clasps, you will see that it has two paralell ridges around each piece.
.Dianne> Yes, those are the one that I have.
.CarolC> Good. Now, if you take a tiny little piece of polymer clay and roll it into a tiny little log about an inch long and about as big around as a small pencil lead..
.CarolC> then wrap the tiny little log around the clasp between the paralell ridges of little teeth, going around the clasp maybe twice, maybe three times, but staying between those paralell ridges...
.CarolC> ...then roll the clasp on your work surface..
.CarolC> you end up with a neat little smooth inlay of polymer clay in whatever color goes with the rest of the necklace.
.CarolC> If you do this little inlay between both sets of the paralell teeth, it looks really good, and it's so easy to do! If a little of the clay gets into the teeth or spills over, just scrape it off with
.CarolC> the blade of an exacto knife.
.Dianne> Carol, so you keep the teeth free of clay??
.CarolC> Dianne, I don't necessarily keep the 'teeth' free of clay, but I think the clasp looks neater if the little inlays are bordered by the rows of teeth.

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