Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Learn to drill stones! My new FREE class from Beaducation.

A few weeks back I posted some tips about drilling holes in stones and other objects to use in jewelry making. It is a good skill to know as it allows you to modify pieces that you might already have so you can incorporate them into your designs.

It can get confusing however. Which tool to use? What bit to use? How to start? Securing the bead? So many questions. Well, fret no more. my new video from Beaducation has the answers.

You learn how to use a variety of tools and make bails for the drilled pieces. Just like this:
Class Photo from Beaducation.
It was such fun hanging with my Beaducation peeps. Filming is always fun and Lisa and Aisha make it even better. Here we are getting ready.

 And here I am filming the preview. Lights, camera and action!

I use some diamond drill bits in the video. You can find them in my Etsy store here and here. Beaducation has a whole list of what you need on the website class page. (Link below.)

Ready? You can view the class right here,

or check it out along with all of my other FREE classes on Beaducation.com.
Drilling Stones & Found Objects
All my other Beaducation Classes

Have fun and let me know what you make. I can't wait to hear how you like it!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Indigo and Ice Dye. A perfect combo!

What a fun way to say farewell to summer. This weekend the hubs and I took a well-deserved break at our friends Emily and Ed's lovely place on Clear Lake in Northern CA.

It was lovely. Restfulness is a perfect breeding ground for creativity and Emily is one of the most creative people I know. She knew the perfect way to entertain a creative friend... Bring out the dye pot!

Before we hit the road, per Emily's instructions, I stopped at the fabric store and bought a bunch of white fabric. I chose some nice quality cotton, canvas duck and ticking with a blue stripe.

The first thing we did was indigo. Indigo is magic. The color is so luscious and rich. The fabric comes out of the dye bath an electric, bright chartreuse and turns into a deep, rich blue right before your eyes. We used this kit from Dharma Trading. At nine bucks, it's a deal and provides hours of dyeing fun.
I was an indigo novice, but under Emily's tutelage it was a piece of cake. Follow the package directions and mix the dye in a bucket. Let it sit for a few and you are ready to turn everything you own blue. We laundered our fabrics before dyeing to remove any sizing from the fabric. I did a few tied pieces of fabric. I used twine and rubber bands to hold accordion folds in place and dropped the whole thing in and gave it a few stirs. The color saturation depends on how long you leave the fabric in the dye. I suggest making a few test pieces. I kept mine in for 5-10 mins and dipped a couple twice for more intensive color. When you are ready, remove the fabric from the dye bath (wear rubber gloves, or have blue hands...your choice) and squeeze excess dye back into the pot. Undo the ties and hang to dry. The color will develop more as the cloth dries.

Like I said. Magic.

Next we did something that was completely new to me. It was a dyeing method that Emily had done before with our friend Lisa, owner of Baubles & Beads in Berkeley, CA. I had seen the results and loved the effect.

First you start with a piece of fabric, shirt, pillowcase... whatever. Wet it in a pot of soda ash solution to prepare it for the dye and then tie, fold, pleat or just bunch your fabric on a surface that will allow draining- like a baking rack on sawhorses.

 Like this.

 We used this dye from Dharma. It's a powdered dye. It comes in a bazillion colors. Find them all here. It was really easy to use.

 Lay your bunched or tied fabric on the rack and cover it with ice cubes. Then get a plastic spoon and sprinkle the dye on the ice. I used about three colors per piece. Don't use too much. Just a light sprinkle over the ice. as it melts, the ice distributes the dye. Add more ice and dye as needed to saturate the fabric. It's a pretty loose process. Just let the muse move you. We left our stuff for a couple of hours. The heavier canvas took a bit longer and a bit more ice and dye.

You can see how the color spreads when the ice melts. When it looks good, untie the bundle if needed and rinse until water runs clear. We washed all of ours in the washing machine with the recommended detergent and done! We washed the indigo together and the other like colors together. The detergent helps to set the colors and prevent the dye from running.

From this...

...to this. This is a t-shirt that my husband made.

More finished pieces...
 on cotton.
And canvas. Looking forward to the "next steps" with these pieces of cloth.

I see a lot of cool tote bags in the future. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You can do it! Drill holes in stones.

Seriously. Nothing gives me a bigger feeling of accomplishment than drilling a hole in a stone. I mean, the possibilities are endless if you can drill a stone. You can make a hole bigger to wrap with heavy-gauge wire. You can use a pebble that you found to make a pendant or drill a bead to rivet on a ring. Like this.

I have been working on this technique to add to the projects in my upcoming book (Spring 2016, FYI. More details to come) but I wanted to share some tips with you, since drilling is such a handy skill to master.

I use these diamond drill bits found in my Etsy store. Use them in your Dremel, flex shaft or drill press. Here are some tips to consider when drilling:
  • Always use diamond drill bits wet. Use an old plastic container as a water reservoir. Hold the stone that you are drilling underwater close to the surface and drill. 
  • If it's not possible to drill underwater, dip the tip of the drill frequently (very frequently) in water to keep it cool and lubricated. Also dip the object being drilled. If you see dark grey colored dust around the hole as you are drilling, that means that the drill and object are too hot and you are close to breaking your project and drill. Dip immediately if this happens.
  • Hold the drill bit at a 45-degree angle as you begin to drill. Apply slight pressure and as the drill begins to pierce the surface, rotate the tool upright to 90-degrees and continue to drill. This will provide a "seat" for the drill bit and prevent it from skittering over the surface of the piece you are drilling. 
  • Drilling makes dust. Wear a dust mask while you work to prevent breathing particles in.
  • Wear safety glasses. Objects can fly right out of your hands as you drill. Take care to protect your eyes.
I have a class coming up that is all about drilling a variety of objects plus a whole bunch of techniques using the rotary tool. You can join me at BeadFest in August in my Pierce, Set, Texture and Polish: Rotary Tool Basics class on Thursday, August 20.  Check out all of the classes on their website. Class is filling, but there are a few spots left. 

I also have a FREE class coming up soon on Beaducation.com that demonstrates how to drill on a variety of pieces. I'll share it as soon as it is available.

I encourage to to give drilling a try. I know you have a rotary tool hanging around your tool box. Break it out and experiment! And don't forget to let me know how it goes.