Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine Glass/Mug Charms

The first beading-not-jewelry project I'll be showing is for the wine glass/mug charms. I'm going to be referring to much of this jewelry terminology under the assumption that you know what you're doing as far as jewelry construction goes. If terms such as "simple loop" and "wrapped loop" mystify you, or if you are unsure how to properly open and close jump rings (or if you weren't aware of the fact that there IS a "proper" way to do that!), go to or to get some basic jewelry instructionals. Actually, I learned virtually ALL of my basics from almost 9 years ago when I first started making jewelry. Tammy's got a soft place in my heart because of it. ^_~

Here's what you'll need to make charmies like mine:

-Silver plated chain of any kind with holes big enough to add bead charms (I'm using chain that lies flat which I picked up at JoAnn or Michael's)
-Jump rings, preferably 18 gauge, about 5-5.5 mm O.D. (outer diameter) (I get mine from these are silver plated)
-2.5mm silver plated beads
-Silver plated headpins
-Various beads (at least enough different ones to make all of the charms different since the point of these is to be able to tell drinks apart--they CAN'T be the same!)
-Basic Jewelry Tools (flat nose, round nose, needle nose pliers, wire cutters)

On the charms below, I made sure that each of the large, bottom beads were different from one another, then I filled in the rest as I desired to do so.

-Cut a length of chain. I made mine 3 links long. Attach a jump ring to the top of the chain. Attach a large bead to the bottom link with a wrapped loop, slipping a silver plated bead to the bottom of the headpin if your bead hole seems to large for the end of the headpin. (I do this quite often, even if I'm just a bit worried.) This keeps the bead on, but also gives the look of the expensive ball end headpins without the expense!

-In the image above, you can see the middle green charm is the one I'm working on. I circled the other charms I made around so that you could see how I arranged beads for different charms. Basically, I put the largest bead on the bottom and arrange the extra beads in pleasing combinations (I hope!) from biggest to smallest up towards the top. I also arranged the top layer of beads relative to the inner layer of beads, meaning the smaller bead of the top row went on top of the smaller bead on the middle row and vice versa. This gives a nice drape to the cluster. Taking the time to play with and arrange your beads before you start attaching them really saves you creative frustration later.

-Attach the two lower beads to the middle link of the chain with wrapped loops as shown.

-Attach the final two beads to the top link of the chain with wrapped loops as shown.

Making the Wine Glass Charm Rings

I hunted all over (at two stores, and called a third, which is usually about the extent of my "all over" when I'm hunting, since I have to carry my 3 year old along with me) and couldn't find ANY premade wine glass charm rings. The closest I found was at Michael's with premade earring hoops, but they were sold in packages of 60 with varying sizes and I didn't want that because some were too big, and some were too small and only a few were just right.

I didn't check Fire Mountain Gems, which probably has them (because they have EVERYTHING!) mainly because I was in the mood to make them TODAY and didn't want to wait to get something shipped.

So, I just sort of came up with how to make these on my own. I'm sure that I'm not the first person to do this (VERY sure, in fact... Tammy might even have a better tutorial somewhere over at, but here goes. I also tried to use stuff you'd probably have around your house. So any jewelry snobs who want to criticize my technique and say I should have used a ring mandrel because it's the PROPER tool (*sniff, sniff*)--to you, I say, "BLAH!" I DO have a ring mandrel, but decided to use a highlighter, because the average jewelry hobbyist doesn't have a steel ring mandrel sitting around.

You'll need...

-20 gauge wire (I used silver colored craft wire)
-Thick thingie to wrap the wire around (either a big highlighter or one of those big dry erase markers or permanent markers will work pretty much perfectly)
-Basic jewelry tools (flat nose, round nose, needle nose pliers, wire cutters)

-Cut as many 3" lengths of wire as you need. I recommend doing your very first ring with a 6" length of wire. Complete it according to the steps I'm laying out, then measure what you have left over. Subtract that length from the original 6" and you have the measurement you need to make a complete ring. Always add at least 1/4" to that for variations, and to give you room to complete final steps.

-Make a simple loop at the end of your wires, as shown above.

-Here's the big highlighter I used to make these. For ease of typing, I'm going to call this the "mandrel" from now on. Wrap your looped wire all the way around the mandrel. Lay the loop itself flat against the mandrel, then pull the wire tail all the way around, curling it all the way to the end. Do it as tightly as you can, but don't hurt yourself. Let go of the ring. It will spring back a bit, but that's okay.

-Grip the tail of the ring with your pliers as shown above. Let the edge of your pliers rest against the end of the loop. Don't be stretching the ring open. If your tail is all short like this one, grip it with another pair of pliers and bend it straight up so that you don't hurt your fingers.

-When you do this, your ring should look like the above picture. Clip the tail close, but not TOO close, to the ring. Leave about 1/8" of wire bent above the ring, like the picture below. Allowing the bend to be at the end of the loop rather than perfectly centered lets the ring stay closed when you close it because the tension of the wire keeps it pulling against the loop, which keeps it closed.

Here is one completed set of Wine Glass/Mug Charms... Some lucky relative is getting these for Christmas. (Sorry if I just spoiled it for anyone...)

If you're feeling lazy/don't like as fancy of a look, make your charmies like the ones below, using a single large bead instead of clusters. Just attach the wrapped loop component with a jump ring to the rings.

Here are a couple of pictures of these babies in use. Man, I want to keep them now and use them for my party on the 24th!

And one last note on using these: Don't open the loops wide to slide them onto something. Just allow them to open, then gently press against the object you're slipping them onto (the thinnest part of the wine glass/SIDE of the mug handle) and allow the opening to just slide open and then closed again, then latch them. Oh, really one more thing... This works out best (ESPECIALLY on the mugs) if you're doing it when the cups are empty. I just figured it out for the photos. I'm so glad I didn't do this at a party or something and spill hot chocolate or tea everywhere. I'd say have them on the glasses/mugs already when your guests arrive to save time.

Alright, that's it... I'm on to more Christmas presents. I've made two sets of charms and one purse charm so far. But I'll post on that tomorrow or the next day. After all of this typing and photo editing, I'm ready to not be on the computer for a while. ^_~

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