Monday, December 29, 2014

Craft Project: Matchbox jewelry box construction photos

I thought you might like to see some photos that I took during the construction of my first matchbox chest. These aren't meant to be complete instructions for making the boxes. They're just to give you an idea of what's involved in making them.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Craft Project: Homemade "Matchbox" Jewelry Boxes

Red Turquoise and Mustard Floral

The original inspiration for these little jewelry boxes came from Laura Carson's blog post about her "Chest out of Matchboxes", which you can read HERE. She has a wonderful video showing step-by-step how she made hers. I love the look of her whimsical boxes but ran into a few issues with the way hers are made. There's nothing wrong with hers but they weren't quite what I wanted to make for myself.

First of all, she added all sorts of cute embellishments to the outside of her box. I quickly realized that it would cost a fortune to buy all of that stuff and I wanted to design and print my own special paper on my printer instead of buying store bought scrapbook paper. The local craft stores didn't even have most of the kinds of stuff she decorated hers with.

Secondly, she used real miniature matchboxes that once contained actual matches. I had some of that kind on hand and knew right away that they weren't going to do. They were far too tiny to be useful for storing bracelets and earrings, which is what I wanted to use mine for. Also, real matchboxes are very flimsy. I think that Laura's matchbox chests are purely decorative and I wanted mine to be functional as storage. I just happened to have a pattern for making little matchboxes from scratch so I enlarged it to make larger drawers. Mine are actually quadruple the size of Laura's and four of the real matchboxes will fit inside one of my drawers perfectly.

Once I'd decided not to spend a lot of money adding embellishments, I set out to create some pretty papers to cover my boxes with and added my own touches of whimsey to some of them using digital graphics.

Below is my very first attempt at making a matchbox chest. It was just an experiment to see how it would work but it turned out so well that I still use this box to store some of my earrings. I made it nearly two years ago and it hasn't fallen apart other than the faux "doily" that I'd glued to the top coming off. It came unglued one day and I just decided that I like it better without it.

Vintage Roses Box
Just for fun, I put little odds and ends inside each of the drawers but they're not real. They're only pictures of objects printed right on the paper that I lined the drawers with.


Here's a view of the top with the faux doily. I made it as a separate piece draped over the top and glued it in place. I added the objects to the top of the doily in Paint Shop Pro, which is the graphics program that I use for all of my graphics work. 

Some of the boxes that I have made are covered with pretty floral wallpaper designs that I found online. For several of them I created my own floral patterns from scratch. I made a collage "mask" using all kinds of vintage line art images and placed it on a variety of colored floral backgrounds. I've made quite a few of them in different color schemes but all with the same vintage collage on them.

A fun thing that I've done with some of them that I gave as gifts was to put tiny presents in the drawers. I made some smaller matchboxes and covered them with printed gift wrap with a faux bow on the top.

For the framework of the chest, I use heavy black card stock. I make the six sleeves for the drawers and then glue them together. The drawers are also made of black card stock and the printed designs are glued on later. For my earlier chests, I printed the designs directly onto white card stock but that used a lot of ink. Black works better because it gives the illusion that the framework is thicker than it actually is. When I used white card stock, I had to blacken all of the edges with a black permanent marker. Even with the black paper, there are some parts that need to be blackened as well.

After the framework has been assembled, I cut scraps of matboard and glue them to the top, bottom, back and sides of the chest. Before gluing the back piece on, I have to cover the back of the chest with a piece of card stock to give the matboard something to adhere to.

The top and sides of the chest are then covered with the pretty floral paper that I've printed from my computer. I printed the designs on card stock for my earlier chests and I used glossy photo paper from Dollar Tree for the later ones that I made. I like them both ways. The shiny ones have the look of lacquered boxes and the ones with the matte paper almost look like they're covered with vintage old wallpaper.

The wooden feet are made from unfinished wood pegs that I buy at the hardware store. I paint them black with acrylic paint. The knobs on the drawers are blue jean buttons. Below you can see that some jean buttons are better than others. The ones on the right are from Walmart and those had to be glued in to keep them from pulling off. I ordered the ones on the left from an Etsy shop and those are much better quality and also prettier. I ordered them from Turkey but even with shipping they are much cheaper per button than the ones from Walmart. Unfortunately, that Etsy shop seems to be gone now but thankfully I've got a good supply of the buttons.
For jewelry boxes that are made entirely from paper, they are surprisingly sturdy. Best of all, they cost me under $5.00 to make. Below are photos of the jewelry boxes that I've made so far. All but two of them were given as gifts. I would have posted about them sooner but I had to wait until after Christmas so as not to spoil the surprise.
Aqua & Brown Box
Button Box
Purple & Orange Floral Box
Mint & Rose Box
Mocha Floral Box
Old Roses Box
Pink Lilies Box
Sage & Pink Box
Vintage Grunge Box
Baroque Floral Box

Monday, December 22, 2014

Playing with my beads...Rose and Green Samples

I recently saw the pretty "Tampa Bracelet" on Etsy, and thought I'd see if I could work out how it was made. After making one motif, I ran into a problem with my beads causing it to warp. But, I really liked the colors that I'd used in my sample motif so I went through my beading patterns to find something else to make in the rose and green color scheme. I wanted to combine both of the SuperDuo colors that I'd just gotten recently: "Polychrome Copper Rose" and "Jet Red Luster". "Jet Red Luster" isn't either black or red. It's a dark metallic green.

I actually found several patterns that called for two SuperDuo colors as well as either bicones or some other special beads that I have in either green or rose. I've got a couple more patterns to try yet but I wanted to take photos of what I have made so far while the sun was shining yesterday. Note that the "Athena Bracelet" actually calls for fire polished beads but my Chinese bicones fit perfectly. Bicones also worked very well in the "Harmony Bands" sample in place of the seed beads in the corners. Again, I used Chinese bicones so I can't say if Swarovski bicones will work or not since they're quite a bit smaller.

I've listed the beads as well as the names of the patterns below. The pattern names link to the sites where you can get the patterns. The "Dragonfly Bracelet" sample is probably my favorite but I also really like the "Harmony Bands" and "Athena Bracelet" samples. I'm not keen on the bicones in the "India" sample. I like that pattern better with fire polished beads or druks.

Sample #1: Dragonfly Bracelet

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Red Luster"
  • Tila beads "Opaque Matte Olive Rose" (TL-2035)

Sample #2: Athena Bracelet

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Red Luster"
  • 4mm bicones "Green-Pink-Yellow - #C50" (Beads One)

Sample #3: Tampa Bracelet

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Red Luster"
  • 3mm bicones "Green-Pink-Yellow" (Chinavoski)
  • 4mm bicones "Green-Pink-Yellow - #C50" (Beads One)

Sample #4: India Bracelet

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Red Luster"
  • 4mm bicones "Green-Pink-Yellow - #C50" (Beads One)

Sample #5: Harmony Bands

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Red Luster"
  • 3mm bicones "Green-Pink-Yellow" (Chinavoski)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bracelet of the Day: Art Deco Chain

My Christmas beading is finally done so now I've got some time to play with my beads in between the other things I have to do between now and Christmas. While browsing some Pinterest boards a few days ago, I came upon THIS beautiful beadwork sample:

From La Bijoutisse - Le blog de Coco

The blog is in French but I get the impression that this was just a sample that she was still working on for a beading workshop. While I love the center motif, it's a bit too large for a bracelet. But, I really like the pretty little "chain". I think it might be handy for connecting small bracelet motifs or something. I've figured out how to make it and also came up with a variation that became today's Bracelet of the Day. Adding a couple of extra beads to each link in the chain, to make them slightly longer, gave the links a sort of Art Deco look, hence the name of today's bracelet.

Bear in mind that there is no pattern available for this bracelet or the chain. To protect Coco's copyright, I can't post the instructions that I wrote down for my own use. It's not hard to figure out though. For my bracelet, I made two separate lengths of "chain" and connected them in the center with a couple of extra seed beads. To attach my clasp, I used 8/0 seed beads in place of the two 11/0 seed beads on the end of the first link in each section of chain. I inserted jump rings through the 8/0 beads for my magnet clasp.

Below are all the various samples that I made while figuring out the stitch. Rather than list each different color separately, I'll just give you a list of all of the colors that I used. You should be able to tell by the color names which beads they are in the photo.

  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Antique Silver-Nickel" (464A)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Duracoat Galvanized Pewter" (D4222)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Light Caramel Ceylon" (593)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Matte Silver Lined Pale Rose" (0023F)
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Inside-Color Montana Blue/Oxblood Lined" (TR-11-363/c")
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Silver Lined Milky Montana Blue" (2102)
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Opaque Lavender AB" (412)
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Gold-Lustered Pale Wisteria" (TR-11-455/c)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Playing with my beads...Twin Oliver Bracelet

I came upon THIS interesting-looking bracelet on Pinterest recently and wondered if I could figure out how it was made. It didn't take too long to work it out but afterward I found the pattern for it for sale on Etsy HERE. Once I saw the original pattern, I realized that the woman who made the bracelets in the Flickr photo changed the edging a bit. She actually improved it in my opinion. The thing is that I couldn't see how the clasp was attached and there is a clear photo of that part of the bracelet on Etsy. So, I added a clasp to my second sample.

After trying several combinations of SuperDuo colors, I've discovered that some work better with this design than others. My first sample with matte SuperDuos lays nice and flat. You can't see it in the photo but the larger sample with glossy beads is quite warped when I pick it up.

The bracelet is a little wider than I like and it's kind of bulky. However, I really like the edging on it and might try to incorporate that into another design sometime. I mainly wanted the challenge of trying to figure out how to make this one just for the fun of it.

  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Metallic Bronze Antique Gold" (225)
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Grey Picasso"
  • SuperDuo beads "Blue Turquoise Bronze Picasso"
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Olive Bronze Picasso"

  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Hybrid Light Beige Picasso" (11-Y306)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Matte Metallic Tarnish" (11-2091)
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Ultra Green Luster"
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Green Senegal Matte"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Free Video Tutorial: Queens Jubilee Earrings

On June 2, HERE, I blogged about the bracelet above that I'd made using some beautiful blue montees that Dolly Smith sent me. I love that bracelet and I wanted to make myself a pair of earrings to go with it and use some of the leftover montees on them. I have four left so I could even make two different pairs of earrings. While looking through my folder of YouTube video tutorial links yesterday, I noticed that Kelly Dale's "Queens Jubilee Earrings" have montees in the centers of them. Although she used larger montees, I thought I might be able to make mine work with a little tweaking. I also didn't have any 6mm round black druks so I used some 6mm black fire polished beads instead. They did work but the result was a lot of open space around the beads.

Because my montee was smaller than what Kelly's pattern calls for, I had to connect it to the earring with three seed beads on each side of the "cross" instead of two. That worked just fine. While I like the unique shape of the earring I wasn't happy with the way the seed beads looked. There was way too much contrast between the bright bronze seed beads and the black bicones. All I could see were the seed beads as you can see below:

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (15-457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (11-457)
  • 3.9mm "Blue" Montee
  • 6mm fire polished beads "Black Jet"
  • 3mm bicones "Black"
  • 4mm bicones "Black"

For my next experiment, I tried some 6x8mm royal blue rondelles that were about the same color as the montees. They did fit the earring a lot better but I still don't like it much either. It's a little too gaudy for my taste and there's still too much contrast between the dark beads and the seed beads. Oh, and I added an 8/0 seed bead at the top of this earring for a jump ring.

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (15-457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (11-457)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (8-457)
  • 3.9mm "Blue" Montee
  • 6x8mm rondelle "Royal Blue"
  • 3mm bicones "Black"
  • 4mm bicones "Black"

I wasn't quite ready to give up on Kelly's pattern so I thought I'd give it one more try using druks and bicones that would be about the same color tone as the seed beads. I'm really pleased with this sample and I will make a pair for myself. The design is a little busy and fancy-looking but in a fun sort of way. It's grungy and sparkly at the same time and I love that look. I did have to come up with a substitute for the center montee and I figured out a way to use a 3mm druk. The result is very soft and feminine.

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (15-457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (11-457D)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (8-457D)
  • 3mm druk "Bronze"
  • 6mm druks "Opaque Gold and Smoky Topaz Luster"
  • 3mm bicones "Silk AB" (I got these from China)
  • 4mm bicones "Champagne Silver AB" (I got these from China)

The two changes that I made to Kelly's pattern were to the top loop and the center embellishment. For the top loop, I exited the 4mm bicone as Kelly directs but I picked up three 11/0 seed beads, an 8/0 seed bead and three more 11/0 seed beads and went back around through the bicone to make a loop. I went around the loop again and skipped the 8/0 bead to make it pop out. I reinforced the loop several times.

For the center embellishment, I actually added it at the end because I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I first started making the earring. I'm pretty sure that it will work to add it in the beginning when you would normally add the montee. I started by coming out of a 6mm druk going toward the outer edge of the earring on what would be one of the sides. I picked up twelve 15/0 seed beads and went diagonally across the earring and through the outside hole of the druk on the opposite side. This put me in the right position for adding the string of seed beads that would cross in the other direction from the top to bottom of the earring. For that string, I picked up four 15/0 seed beads, a 3mm druk and four more seed beads. I once again went diagonally across to the other side and went through the druk on the bottom of the earring. I wove back around through the two strings of beads a couple more times to pull them nice and snug. When I added the first string of twelve beads, it looked like it was going to be too many beads but it wasn't. That's because the druk in the center of the crossing string of beads pushes the bottom string of beads down into the hole in the center and makes them fit just right.

You can watch Kelly's video HERE or you can buy the pattern from her Etsy shop HERE. You can get an idea of the size of the earring in the picture below:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Playing with my beads...New SuperDuos

Yesterday I got to try out a bunch of new SuperDuo colors. I chose some of my favorite patterns to make the samples. All of the SuperDuos are from Aria Design Studio on Etsy.

Before I show you the samples, I want to mention that quite often Aria's bead photos are much darker than the beads look in reality. One of the colors that I just got, but didn't use in any of the samples below, turned out to be identical to the color that I blogged about on December 3rd HERE. I made the "Persian Fans Earring" sample with some "Crystal Grey Rainbow" SuperDuos that I had just bought at a local shop. The ones that I got from Aria are called "Bronze Iris Matte" and I had no idea they would turn out to be the same beads. Here is the photo from Aria's shop:

And here is how they look in real life:

I'm actually not disappointed that they are the same color because I love it and will use them for something. Now for the samples...


  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Orchid Aqua"
  • 3mm druks "Bronze" (1)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Mid Amethyst Luster" (2)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Stone Amethyst Luster" (3)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Matte Amethyst Bronze" (4)
  • 4mm rondelles "Opaque Purple - #C90 AB" (5)
  • 4mm rondelles "Violet AB" (6)
  • 4mm rondelles "Mauve" (7)
  • 4mm druks "Amethyst" (8)

UPDATE 1/24/18: A free pattern is now available and the new name for this pattern is "Lizbeth Band". Visit THIS post to download the free pattern.


  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457D)
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Green Senegal Matte"
  • SuperDuo beads "Chalk Rembrandt"
  • 4mm fire polished beads "Brown Picasso"

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Green Iris Matte"
  • 3mm druks "Bronze"


  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Light Bronze" (457L)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Light Bronze" (457L)
  • SuperDuo beads "Gold Copper Iris Matte"
  • 3mm druks "Gold and Smoky Topaz Luster"
  • 3mm druks "Bronze Antique" (Nirvana Beads)
  • 3mm druks "Jet Matte"


  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Opaque Green Luster Iris"
  • 3mm druks "Dark Travertin"
  • 3mm druks "Green Luster"
  • 3mm druks "Jet Copper Picasso"


  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Copper Rose"
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Montana Blue/Oxblood Lined" (TR-11-363/c)

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Green Turquoise Senegal Matte"
  • 3mm druks "Jet Copper Picasso"

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (457)
  • SuperDuo beads "Polychrome Black Currant"
  • 3mm druks "Jet"