Back to Basics

Headpins? Hairpins?

Today’s post was inspired by my dear friend Carol, who told me that she was excited to see me wear my new headpins. In my hair.

Uh oh. These are too tiny for that.

We had a good laugh about ‘tiny headpin hairpins’ and I realized that I needed to go into more detail.

Headpins2015-04-06-09.24.46

Carol’s comment, plus this one on my Facebook page:

“I would love to see what you do with these beads, they amaze me, and yet my imagination fails me beyond that.”

made me realize I need to talk about the various ways lampwork beads are used, too.

What Do You DO With These Beads?

When I started making beads in 2003, I sold them on eBay. That was the main lampwork market back then. In 2006, I opened my Etsy shop. Both markets focused on the beads – used by jewelry designers and hobbyists who wanted to create their own jewelry pieces.

Later, I added a “wire it up” listing for people who wanted a bead, but didn’t know what to do with it. I still wire them up as pendants, earrings, or charms.

Here is an example of a pendant wired up:

wiredup-pendant

Not everyone wants to wire up or wear beads as jewelry, though.

Some of my beads are big enough (most of my roosters are ~2″ wide) to use as mini suncatchers. Other beads, like the bone beads, are used as purse, cell phone, or dog collar charms.

Back to Headpins

I have made my own headpins over the years – it is the central “core” of silver wire that the bead is wired up on.

My process is a bit backward. I begin with the topmost element, adding each component, then start wiring at the base of the pendant first.

In a nutshell:

  • Add a silver daisy spacer, crystal, lampwork bead, bead cap or daisy spacer to my wire. Tip upside down.
  • Then put a small loop in the end of the wire (so beads do not fall off). *Commercial headpins may have a loop, flat head, ball, or another decorative embellishment.
  • Tip the whole ensemble upright, and wire up the top loophole.
  • Add a jump ring, and it is ready to wear or hang.

Wiring up this way saves wire. No waste!

Glass Headpins

Glass headpins are new for me. I am still in the research and development phase but have many ideas to try out. 🙂

Headpins2015-04-17-16.27

I am using recycled copper wire. This is interesting because it is much smaller gauge (diameter) than I usually make beads on, and, unlike my normal steel rod, copper gets HOT.

For me, a few pros of glass headpins are:

  • Fewer components (daisy spacers, crystals, etc.) are needed.
  • The glass is a nice pop of color, in any shape I want, at the end of my finished piece.
  • The glass is permanently fused to the metal.
  • I don’t have to remove them from the traditional steel rods (called mandrels) and clean them = more time to create.

Headpins in Action

I wired up a few of my test headpins to show how they can be used — paired with other lampwork beads or as a small charm.HeartHeadpin2015-04-17-17.07 OliveDropHeadpin2015-04-17-16.56 LeafHeadpin2015-04-17-16.44.48

Questions?

Please feel free to email me or post on the Facebook page with bead questions like this. I will do my best to answer them here.