Friday, September 25

An O-ring on my ear : Thrifty idea to upcycle hardware joint sealers

Jewellery crafters across the world have a common problem. No amount of beads and tools can ever be enough.

If you are a crafter with a million ideas, expenses towards beads and findings can hit the roof. How about getting that zing on the style quotient with less or no cost at all?

All it takes is a trip to the neighbourhood hardware store. Ask for o-rings.

Wondering what they are? O-rings are really miniature gaskets, donut shaped, and used to fasten joints for various hardware projects. If you are aware of the pressure cooker gaskets, just imagine tiny versions of it They come in various sizes and a few colours. Although they are integral to the hardware DIY and tools world, o-rings have found favour with thousands of crafters across the world.

They have the recyclable star, can come in not just umpteen sizes, but a bunch of materials - plastic, neoprene, rubber and the like. Plus, they are dirt cheap. I have not checked their prices in India. But just walk up to one of these stores and check out for yourself.

I got lucky with a pack of silicone o-rings. And raced to get my jewellery making pliers.

This simple project needs you to get a hang of turning the nose pliers and flat-end pliers, and the cutters. Once done with a bit of practice, this one takes just a few minutes.

Here is what you need:

-- Fish hooks among jewellery/jewelry findings

-- jump rings

-- o-rings of the desired size, in this case I made do with o-rings of 3/4th inch diameter

  (material of o-ring here is silicone)

-- another size rings, preferrably smaller, from a jewellery finding stash or store (perhaps the craft store actually sold me o-rings in plastic)

Most importantly, jewellery/jewelry pliers -- nose plier, flat nose plier and cutter

Simple steps...

Fix the jump ring to the o-ring, and next on, attach the smaller rings to these using another jump ring. If the jump ring is flexible enough, you could use your fingers to do the fixing.

After this, fix the eye-end of the fish hook to the smaller ring, using another jump ring obviously.

You will need a plier for this. as the eye-end of the hook is tiny to handle.

Your new pair of earrings is ready.

Another option, is to use eye-pin headpins among jewellery findings. If you do, make sure that the `eye' of these eye-pings is large enough to hold the thickness of the o-rings.

Otherwise, you may use jump-rings to do the trick.

I have tried this second pair using two beads that were tucked away in my beads box. 

So you need a pair of beads, and eye pins.

Insert the bead into the eye pin, and bend the part of the eye-pin just above the bead in such a way that you can make a loop.

Roll the hanging end of this loop over the pin's part exactly above the bead, to hold the bead firmly.

Note here, that once done, you will have the eye pin's eye below the bead, the `eye' formed above it, and the loop available when you insert a jump-ring to the `eye' below the bead. To this jump ring, add the o-ring. And fix a fish hook, to the loop on the other side of the bead.

Your new pair of earrings is ready. You can give it a shot, using o-rings from a hardware kit, in different sizes. Wear these as work jewellery, or gift them away. Pick up other colours of o-rings, and start off your own little projects. Mail in about your effort.


-- deal carefully with the pliers and cutters

-- if you need to cut off extra part of the eye-pin after looping over the bead, make sure you use the pliers to blunt the cut edge

-- if you do not want to use jump rings for the first pair, you can attach the two with super glue

-- when you use beads, use them above the ring rather than below the ring, because silicone rings are somewhat elastic...they may bend or assume a different shape if burdened with weight

Pictures Courtesy: Radhika M B

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