Zipper Ring Tutorial

I love big statement rings, especially ones you can make yourself. This zipper ring is so easy to make and I think it came out great. You need very little supplies and you don’t need to know how to make jewelry. Give it a try!

The only materials you need are:
A ring base (I found a pack of them at Jo-Ann Stores)
A small piece of black felt
A 9″ metal zipper. (You’ll get 2 rings from the zipper, so if you have a second ring base you can make 2!) I used a black, all purpose one with silver teeth that I found at Jo-Ann’s as well. It had a little sticker on it that said “coats”.

You will also need scissors and a glue gun.

The first step to making this ring is to unzip the zipper and cut off the bottom with your scissors to separate the two pieces.

Now trim off the fabric as close to the metal zipper as possible.

You may need to snip even closer a second time once you remove the fabric. Hold one end of the zipper with one hand and take your other hand and pull down from top to bottom to remove any frays. Start coiling the zipper, making sure the beginning is nice and tight.

As you coil the rest, hold the coil flat with your thumb and forefinger. As you coil, keep it close with some tension, but not as tight as when you began. If it’s too tight, the coil will not stay flat.

Once you get to the last row, apply a thin line of glue with your glue gun to the last 1/2 inch. Make sure you don’t glop it on or it will show and be hard to get off the zipper teeth. If your coil keeps coming apart at this step, you can glue at intervals but make sure you only use thin glue applications that won’t show. Sorry that pic is so blurry!

When your zipper coil is finished, cut out a circle from the felt that is a little smaller than the coil. Glue the felt onto the underside of your zipper coil with your glue gun. Now glue it to your ring base and you are finished!

See how easy that was? You can totally do this.

Any questions, please feel free to ask!

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Mini Chili Pepper Piñatas ~ A craft for Cinco de Mayo!

As Cinco de Mayo approaches, I thought I’d show you how to make these fun little piñatas that look like chili peppers. The kids (8 & up) can help you because they are easy peasy. They are perfect for a party and can be filled with whatever your guests like. I filled some of mine with candy and some with pumpkin seeds (to resemble the pepper seeds). The kids just rip open the “pepper” and enjoy the treats inside! This would also be fun to make for the whole class (but get those kids to help!).

This is how big they are when finished:

Aren’t they neat? I found this idea in a Family Fun magazine years ago and I think this is the first year I remembered to make them before Cinco de Mayo came and went!

Here are the supplies you need:

  • Empty toilet paper tube
  • 9 inch x 9 inch square piece of green tissue paper – one square for each pepper (check the dollar store)
  • 45 inch length of red crepe paper/streamer – for each pepper (check the dollar store)
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue stick
  • Treats to fill the piñata, like M&M’s, Skittles, pumpkin seeds, etc.

Start by making a cut along the length of the toilet paper tube. Roll it into a cone shape and tape it closed.

Take your 9″x9″ piece of green tissue paper and lay it flat. Lay the toilet paper cone on top of it, down near the corner. Roll the tissue into a cone shape as well, keeping the point closed and secure.

Secure the tissue cone with tape in a few spots and remove the toilet paper cone from inside. (You will use the same toilet paper cone for all the ones you make.)

Fill the tissue cone with candy or other small treats, about 5 inches up from the bottom. You need to leave some room for the pepper “stem”. After it’s about 5 inches full, tightly twist the top closed to make a stem. If it’s too long you can snip it a little. If it’s not staying twisted, just stick a little piece of tape on the stem to keep it in place.

Cut a 45 inch piece of red crepe paper, and fold it accordian style every 5 inches. (Fold it one way and then back the other way). Take your scissors and make 1/4″ slits, but leave about 1/4″ at the top. Do not cut all the way up – you will need this 1/4″ of uncut paper to glue to the pepper.

Unfold the red crepe paper and lay flat. Take your filled tissue chili pepper and place it on the red paper as shown (with the pepper’s point at one end of the fringe):

Using a glue stick, put some glue on the uncut top edge of the red crepe paper fringe. I did this a section at a time so the glue didn’t get everywhere on my work surface. Slowly wrap the fringe around the pepper in a tight upward spiral, sticking the glue down as you go. You want to make sure you cover the green paper as best as you can, and wind it in a spiral fashion.

Wrap all the way to the stem and trim off any excess fringe. If there are any strays sticking out in your fringe, you can cut them when you are finished…and/or bend the pepper into a curved shape.

When the glue is dry, the piñatas can be ripped open by bending them with a little pressure!

And that’s it! The more you make, faster this will go. If you are making a bunch, cut your green tissue squares and your red crepe paper lengths ahead of time.

What a fun and colorful presentation these mini chili pepper piñatas would make sitting in a bowl or on a platter for a fiesta!
~Micha

 

 

Braided Ribbon and Chain Necklace Tutorial

I’ve been wanting to make this necklace for a long time ever since I saw it on Happy Go Lucky‘s blog. I had to do a few things differently, though, but it came out great. I just like how it can be dressy or fun & casual. Maybe your Mom or sister would like one for Mother’s Day? It’s really very easy to make with the tips I provide so let me show you how to make one!

You will need:
1) At least 40″ of chain, found at craft stores. I chose a silvertone cable link chain. You don’t want something too thin or it will get lost in the ribbon, but it shouldn’t be heavy either.

2) At least 80″ of ribbon. I used black, 1/4″ satin ribbon from the craft store.

3) 2 small circles of felt, about 1 1/2″ in diameter.

4) Fabric for your flower. I picked up a remnant that seemed like it would work well for this – it was a black, silky knit fabric. It wasn’t marked what kind it was, but it was thin and had a little shimmer to it, like the ribbon. You can use anything that won’t fray, but try to get something thinner than a t-shirt knit, maybe with polyester in it.

5) A flower template. You can just make your own, and make sure it has 5 or 6 petals. Mine measured about 2 1/2″ in diameter.

6) Needle nose pliers ~ you will need to cut the chain (or you can use your wire cutters if you have them) but also you need to be able to open up one of the links. It really helps to have 2 pairs of needle nose pliers for this. I have a regular needle nose pliers and I also have extra long needle nose pliers. Don’t worry if you don’t have two, you can still do it. If you plan on making more jewelry, I’d recommend two pairs.

7) Your trusty glue gun.

Optional: Pin and cushion for braiding. (see #5 in the instructions)

Instructions:
1) Start off by cutting a length of ribbon 80″ long. (You can make it longer if you want – it all depends on where you want the necklace to fall. You’ll see in one of the photos below where this falls at this length.

2) Cut your chain to 40″ long.

Your ribbon should be twice as long as your chain.

If you don’t have wire cutters, use that lower part of your pliers.

3) Thread your ribbon through the first chain link.

4) Now pull the ribbon through so that the chain sits halfway down the length of the ribbon.

5) You are ready to start braiding the ribbon and chain together. I found this very difficult to do at first because the ribbon is slippery and the chain is heavier than the ribbon. I had an idea which really helped. I grabbed one of those map pins and one of my couch pillows and stuck the pin through the first link of the chain, and then into the cushion. See photo below. (Make sure you won’t see the hole in your pillow when you are done!) This helped tremendously! If you have a nail in your wall holding a picture, that would work too! Take down the picture temporarily and make that nail useful. I also thought of using a pin and cork board. Whatever works for you…

Braid the ribbon and the chain together.

Go all the way to the end, but leave a little bit of ribbon to be able to tie a couple of knots.

6) Your lengths might be slightly different at this point, so trim off any excess chain with your pliers or wire cutters and make it even with the ribbon. Slip one side of the ribbon through the next to last link on the chain and tie both ends of the ribbon into a knot, and then tie another knot.

Cut off any excess ribbon.

7) Grab your pliers (like I said 2 pairs works better) and open up the last link. Do not open it up sideways/left to right. You want to open it up forward and back. This way it will allow the link to go back to its original shape. If you open it up sideways, you will distort the link and run the risk of it opening up down the road. I wish I had a better photo to show you, and I only have one pair of pliers there because I had to take a pic with the other hand! If you have pliers in both hands, it helps. Otherwise, try to hold the link with one hand, and push the pliers either forward or back to open the link.

8) Connect the last link with the first link of your chain. Close the open link the same way you opened it, forward and back the opposite way. Do not worry about the ribbon knot because the flower will cover that.

9) Now you are ready to make your flower! I thought this post would be too long if I included all the information and photos for the flower, so I posted a tutorial last night.

Refer to my (easy) fabric flower tutorial to make the flower for this necklace…

10) When you have made your flower, heat up your glue gun and glue the back of the flower to your braid necklace — over the part with the knot to hide it. Glue the second circle of felt (the first one is already on the bottom of the flower from when you made it) over the chain and onto the other felt circle on the bottom of the flower. You want to cover the glue spot and the braid and make it look more finished. Sorry it’s so hard to see in the following photo…It was getting late in the day!

11) Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

I have a suggestion for you to avoid the necklace from sliding around. (I can’t stand adjusting things throughout the day!) I tried a little glue from my glue gun on the underside of the flower and up at the top of the neck to keep it from sliding. Just put it on and get an idea of where you want the flower to sit so you know where the top would be. This works a little, but not good enough for me. I plan on grabbing some silicone caulk and putting a little bit on those two spots. So if you’re feeling ambitious…

Here is a photo with the length of ribbon and chain I used. If you want yours longer, increase the length I gave you. Just be sure it’s long enough to go over your head. Remember, I used a lighter fabric for my flower, not a t-shirt like in the flower tutorial.

Happy Braiding!
~Micha