Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Making a String of Bells

Yesterday I strung the bells, completing another goal.  I took pictures to show the process.

These are the 3 brass bells.  They sound slightly different, so they they arranged with the highest pitch on the left and the lowest on the right.  The lowest bell will go at the bottom of the strand.

This is a top view of the brass bells.

This side view shows the clappers and also the shape.  Each bell is slightly different.

This is a side view of the brass bells.

These are the 6 clear crystals.  They are left over from the rainbow window ornament project.

There are 9 dangles in total, 3 bells and 6 crystals.  I decided on the pattern crystal, crystal, bell, crystal, bell, crystal, bell, crystal, crystal.

These are the 6 clear crystals for the strand.

This rainbow strand will hold everything together.  It's made of some synthetic material, so I used a lighter to melt the cut ends so they won't fray.

This is a strand of rainbow nylon to hold all the dangles.

I had a package of big brass jump rings in my jewelry making supplies.  These will be added to the crystals, because the hole at the top of each crystal is too small for the cord to go through.  Jump rings are essential craft supplies with many uses.

A jump ring is basically a round loop of wire with a gap where the ends meet.  To use a jump ring, open the ends either by prying them apart along the length of the wire, or by twisting them sideways, of which twisting usually works better.  Sometimes you can do this with fingers, but it's easier with pliers or a special opening/closing tool.  (This video shows a ring-type jump ring opener, which I hadn't seen before.  There are also loop-opening pliers and loop-closing pliers.)  Thread the wire through the hole of the object, then close the jump ring by reversing the process you used to open it.  Getting the ends to stay flush can be a bit tricky.

This is a package of big brass jump rings that I already had in my jewelry making supplies.

Each crystal has a small hole at the top.  I threaded a jump ring through the small hole to make a bigger hole that will fit over the strand.

A jump ring has been attached to the crystal.

Each crystal now has a jump ring through its top hole.

Each crystal has a jump ring through its top hole.

I started out by attaching a bell to one end of the strand.  Then I remembered that the pattern was supposed to start with a crystal.  Fortunately this is easy to fix.

I started with a bell on the end.

I attached a crystal to the end of the strand using a lark's head knot.  The easiest way to tie this knot is to make a loop, push it through a hole in the object, then pull the ends through the loop.  Watch a video of the process.  There is an alternate end method for when you only have one free end.

The first crystal is attached to the end of the strand.

I have attached the second crystal above the first crystal, this time using an overhand knot.  This one has a few variations too.  The important part of using an overhand knot to attach dangles on a strand is that you need to make sure the loop of the dangle is in the bottom loop of the overhand knot, so that the crossing ends of the knot above that loop will secure the dangle in place.

An advantage of the overhand knot for this use is that it's pretty secure for lightweight objects but is also easy to adjust if you decide the position isn't perfect.

The second crystal is attached to the strand.

The first bell has been placed above the bottom two crystals.  If you look closely you can see that the bell has a slightly wider spacing than the crystals, so that when the bell hangs down, it will look like even spacing.  This trick applies to other slighly longer dangles such as tassels, tube beads, or rectangular mirrors.  Round or square dangles usually look best with even spacing.

The first bell has been placed above the two crystals.

The third crystal has been added above the bell.

The third crystal has been placed above the bell.

The second bell has been placed above the third crystal.

This is about as far as I could show in one piece without wadding up the strand, so I'll skip ahead a bit.

The second bell has been placed above the third crystal.

Here is the strand with everything on it.  There are 3 bells and 6 crystals.

I have also added a paperclip hanger to the top end, again using a lark's head knot.  I put the knot on the lower loop of the paperclip, and bent the outer wire end slightly outward to make it easier to hook over the edge of the flowerpot where it will hang.

Notice that there is a lot of empty space at the top of the strand.  I wanted it to have some clearance at that end, so I kept fiddling with the spacing of the dangles as I filled in the strand.


It wound up being too much space at the top end.  Here is the strand hanging from its flowerpot, along with a spiral mobile and a beaded strand.  The new one is toward the left.  If you look closely, you can see that there's a lot of empty space at the top.

So I took it down and adjusted the the spacing again.  To do this, I identified the middle bell, folded the strand in half, and positioned that bell in the middle of the strand.  Then I folded each half in half, bell to crystal, to find the middle where each other bell should go.  I adjusted the remaining crystals accordingly.  It took some tweaking to get a good layout because the bells were longer than the crystals, but eventually I got a version that I liked.

This is the first attempt at hanging the strand.

The final version hangs from its flowerpot beside the west bay window of the living room.  I scooted the older beaded strand a little to the right.

The strand hangs in its final configuration from a flowerpot in the west bay window of the living room.

You can easily make crafts like this.  All you need is a handful of dangles and a nice strand to hold them together.  If the dangles have big holes like the bells, then you can tie them right on.  If they have small holes like the crystals, then thread a jump ring through the small hole to create a bigger hole that your strand will fit through.  You could also just fasten the jump ring around the strand, but that's usually more hassle, only worthwhile if you don't hae a loose end to work with.
Tags: crafts, how to, photo, photography

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