Thursday, February 14, 2013


A little behind the times perhaps, but  spending way too much time reading/looking at Pintrest, I started seeing some of the most beautiful wedding bouquets made from vintage brooches and earrings.    Some of them are just spectacular.     You will not see anything that well constructed here......but.....because I do like a bit of "pretty, sparkly, shiny" along the lines of  Bower birds collecting blue stuff for their nest, I have been studying studiously - say that fast - how to prepare jewellery for this type of work.

As it is  not likely I will have a use for a bejewelled bouquet (looking at 30 years of wedded bliss shortly),   I have decided that I still  need a sparkly bunch of flowers of my very own.   This tutorial will show you how I dealt with wiring jewellery bits  to make something pretty  that will look lovely in a vase or any other use you choose.   I still have lots of jewels to wire, so this part is just a how to make the flower, after that go wild.   I will show you my final pieces in another post.  (As opposed to the jam jar they are balanced in now!).

With all the interest in vintage jewellery (especially brooches) I would imagine they  will become expensive and hard to find.    I have no access to such treasures so I improvised.    There are many costume jewellery outlets around and I have bought most of these bits and pieces from places such as Colette (my favourite, nicely priced), Diva and Equip.   These are all shops selling costume jewellery to young trend setters!   Styles change quickly so you can often find nice pieces very cheap in the sale section. 

So what do I need you ask?
Jewellery of course - look for flowers, leaves or pieces that look flowery!

Stem Wire - I bought two gauges - 22 and 18 gauge.   The higher the number the thinner the wire. For most of the pieces I used the 22 gauge.   It seems reasonably solid and holds some of the bigger jewellery bits.  

Pliers - I have an assortment  - the pink ones are great for lopping off rings that aren't needed!

E 6000 glue.    I bought my first tubes at Spotlight (for those in Australia) then I found a shop on EBay that sells it with no postage.
First prepare your wire.   Select the gauge you like.     I cut my pieces of wire in half - if you are not sure how you are going to group your pieces when finished, you may wish to leave them at full length.    
Using the fine point of the pliers, put a piece of wire between the grips and then carefully wind around the points.   You are going to make a flat spiral. You will only need to wind a couple of times unless you are planning on using for a big piece of jewellery.  

Crush it flat (for want of a better word) until the spiral looks like this ......

This piece will be attached to the back of the jewel.

In this next photo, you can see I have added a glob of E6000 to the back of the jewel.

Now press your spiral end of wire into the glue.     Keep it flat, and keep the spiral in the glue.   I had all sorts of things under the wires to keep the spiral in the glue.

Now this leaf had a couple of extra rings where it joined to other parts of a necklace.   I trimmed these off with the pliers.    Get as close as you can.

 Now to glue the stem on to the back of the leaf, I made the spiral, then fed the wire from the back through the loop at the end and then bent it back.   I did this to make the piece sit flat whilst the glue dried.  Once I was happy with the way it was sitting, I put the glue in place and pressed the spiral back in to the glue.     I left my pieces to dry for a good 12 or more hours.

Now to get some shape into the stem.    If you just bend the wire without taking care, it will come away.     I found the best way to handle the wire bending part is hold the jewel firmly with your thumb on the spiral and then bend the wire into the position you want.   It is probably best to bend it 90 degrees first of all and then you can fiddle with the finer details later.

I had a number of tiny flowers that couldn't be glued using the appropriate coloured wire, I looped it over the front of the flower and then twisted the wire to form a stem.    I think the wire I used for this job was 30 gauge.    It came on what looked like a bobbin.

For this frog button, I twisted some of the green florist wire around and through the button loop.   It sits well.  

 The butterfly was glued with the spiral method.   He had no antennae so I made some up out of gold wire.

The leaves can be further decorated with tiny bug charms such as this butterfly or you could also glue some smaller flowers at the end where the loop is to make that disappear!

 So there you have it.   Now all you need is a floral arrangement class and you are good to go!

I so wish I could actually wear some of the great costume jewellery that is on the market at the minute, but alas I turn it all to black and in turn, I usually end up with gross earlobes because I react badly to the posts.   So in a moment of brilliance - yes I know someone else probably already told you about it - I bought myself some small gold earrings - not too thick and now I use these as the base for my new ear ring collection.    I add a split ring or two - depending on how they hang -  and then I look for jewellery that can be refurbished to go on the hoops.    They will still discolour eventually because I just kill them, but at least I can add some serious sparkle to my wardrobe.

I look forward to hearing from you  and seeing what you do with this tutorial.
Sue xxx

1 comment:

  1. I found you! The tutorial is great. Good idea as to how to attach some of those tricky pieces. I love them all sitting in the jar, you're right, you need to get them under glass.
    Too bad they didn't have these choices when we got married, you're celebrating 30?, and I'm celebrating 33 this year. There was nothing like this when we got married. Lucky brides now days!


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