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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Apr
16

Jump Rings Made Easy

New in the Video LibraryWhen making jewelry, it’s always a good idea to have jump rings at the ready.  Having a tool to easily manufacture your own can not only save you time, but save you money. In this tool demo, learn to make any size jump rings with the easy-to-use jump ring kit.

Using a Micro Engraver

Custom designs engraved into metal produces some of the most unique and personalized pieces. Having a tool to quickly design, mark, or sign your pieces, can be quite helpful. In this tool demo, learn to use the new micro engraver to add your own personal touch to your next project.

Leaf Textures in Metal Clay

If you’re looking for a beautiful natural texture, nothing can beat designing with a leaf. Organic objects often make the most unique and stunning patterns. In this technique video, learn to use a leaf to make beautiful, textured jewelry.

Nov
7

We sent another batch of Patterned Wire to Jan Harrell for some enameling classes she was teaching. We got back a mountain of photos! Her and her students were able to incorporate a bunch of the wire into their enameling projects!

“With a dwindling amount of pure copper products being manufactured, our class of enamelists was excited to see that Cool Tools was selling a wonderful variety of stampings. Each student selected a piece to incorporated into an enameled piece of their choosing. Some of the metal was left uncovered, some given a patina and some was enameled over.

- Jan”

Each of these creations is a perfect example of thinking “outside the box” with this unique wire. Enamels and Patterned Wire work perfectly together, and open up a world of exciting design possibilities. Try out our Enamels and Patterned Wire today to make your own unique creations. Enjoy!

Ana-Lehrhaupt-Arango Belinda-Brockman Bridget-Wall Catherine-Edmonds-Coffman Debbie-Leh-Pargac Hege-Nolop Illa-Mehdinejad-3 Iris-Cool Kerry-Middaugh Liz-Bunn Lynda-Stoy-1 Lynda-Stoy-2 Lynda-Stoy-3 Marsha-Greene Marsha-Greene-2 Marsha-Greene-3 Mary-Ellis Michelle-Hall Missy-Bendiksen Nitza-Maor Patty-Scott Sally-Hintz Terri-Fromm Tish-Reed Tish-Reed-2 Vicky-Donnenberg William-Luft-2 william-Luft-3

Aug
20

We sent some Patterned Wire we had sitting around the studio to our friend Terri McCarthy at Terri McCarthy Studios in Grafton, WI. Jan Harrell, an excellent enameling artist and metalsmith, was teaching an enameling class. Jan’s work is an exploration of textures and shapes, enamel and metal finishes, shiny and dull surfaces, as well as solid and see-through forms. Her and her students were able to incorporate some of the wire into their enameling projects!

The first two pieces were designed by Scott Boyd, a student in Jan’s class. Scott was able to use our 20 gauge “Maze” Copper Patterned Wire in the first piece. This piece works great with the wire, and has just the right amount of detail. His second piece features the “Leaves” Copper Wire. This piece is simple and refined and shows how versatile the Copper Wire can be.

The bottom two pieces were created by Jan. The piece on the left uses a Copper Bezel Wire in a unique way! She even was able to add a little color in the circles of the wire for a little something extra. The last piece uses our “Round Stud” Copper Wire. Not only was she able to incorporate the wire in her piece, but she even added texture using the wire to tie it all together.

These are four great examples of thinking “outside the box” with this unique wire. Enamels and Patterned Wire work perfectly together, and open up a world of exciting design possibilities.

Enameled Piece by Scott Boyd - 2

Enameled Piece by Scott Boyd - 1

Enameled Piece by Jan Harrell -2Enameled Piece by Jan Harrell -1

Feb
1

Introducing the 2013 Cool Tools Catalog featuring beautiful products in an 85 page spread!

Order today and get one FREE.

Our new full-color catalog features stunning product photos, breathtaking jewelry, and easy-to-use charts and layouts.

Now you can browse your favorite Cool Tools Brand products anywhere, anytime.

Simply add the catalog to your cart with the rest of your order.

Order from Cool Tools today and receive a FREE catalog to help you take your jewelry designs to the next level.

Jan
4

An incredible new array of Jewel Stamps has just arrived featuring intricate new designs for amazing impressions with breathtaking results.

Our new design sheets feature stamps perfect for a variety of jewelry applications. Create centerpieces, pendants, links, and connectors with a simple touch of a Cool Tools Jewel Stamp.

Jewel Stamps are crystal clear, designer images made for creating in jewelry clays of all kinds. Impress beautifully designed, laser sharp images in metal clay, polymer clay, porcelain, and other soft clays.

Jewel Stamps are made of a durable, flexible, washable polymer for years of use when handled properly. Each 4″ x 6″ Jewel Stamp set is crammed with five designs and 3 sizes. Create keep-sake jewelry with customizable designs with ease.

Shop our impressive new selection of Jewel Stamps today to add stunning images to your jewelry quickly and easily.

Nov
19

The holidays are a perfect time to bring your unique custom designs into your home. Saving money and creating one-of-a-kind pieces are great ways to celebrate the seasons.

Create multiple ornaments in several finishes. Mix and match designs and colors to customize your creations. Make ornaments from silver, bronze, and copper clays.

Using a Cool Tools Jewelry Artist Element sheet, and few simple techniques, we’ll show you how to create simple ornaments that can be used in many ways throughout your home.

Video Project: Creating Simple Ornaments

Nov
12

Celebrate the seasons with our impressive new collection of embossed Jewelry Artist Element design sheets.

Our new selection features Autumn and Winter sheets, 4 Tree of Life sheets, 2 Crosses sheets, and 2 new Borders sheets. There’s something for everyone!

The cross is one of the most ancient human symbols and has been used for several purposes. It is frequently a representation of the division of the world, personal faith, the four elements or cardinal points, or alternately as the union of the concepts of divinity.

Winter is known by many to be a time of reflection as the seasons change and the weather turns. Winter brings celebration with our families and friends and represents hope for the new year. These winter designs feature pine trees, stars and snowflakes which can be used in unlimited ways for jewelry making and décor designs.

Autumn is an amazing time of the year and in many parts of the world, autumn represents brilliant colors, beautiful days, rewarding harvest and a transition into winter.

Shop all 35 embossing design Jewelry Artist Element sheets today and start spreading the holiday spirit!

Jul
16

93 eye-catching colors of Sculpey III, Premo! and Premo! Accent clays are here offering easy workability with amazing detail.

Versatile, pliable, and simple to work with, polymer clay offers limitless design possibilities to heighten your creative potential.

Polymer clay is also a wonderful way to explore designs without risking your precious metal clay. Work out your designs in this clay before executing in metal clay. Bake and use as a mold. Use with your metal clay to brighten up your designs.

Add Polymer Clay to your jewelry projects and express yourself with a wonderful rainbow of colors.

Check out Liz Hall’s Jewelry Design Gallery page for some inspiration on how to  make amazing jewelry using polymer clay!

May
1

Here’s how it works:

  1. Be sure you “Like” us on Facebook! Click here to visit our Facebook page or simply search “Cool Tools” while on Facebook. When you are on our page, click the “Like” button at the top of the page.
  2. Pick an Antique Mold to incorporate into your designs. At least 1 Antique Mold must be used in your piece. We offer over 300 Antique Mold designs to fit any jewelry project. Find the mold that fits you best – there are so many possibilities! We have just added a new batch to our collection. Click here to shop our new and expanded selection.
  3. Start Creating! Make any piece of jewelry you desire; pendants, bracelets, rings, anything you would like. Multiple submissions encouraged. We would love to see a variety!
  4. Post a picture of the finished piece that you have created on our Facebook wall with a brief explanation of your direction and inspiration. Be sure to take a detailed photograph so we can view your work.

After May 31st, the winners will be selected. Three winners will be chosen based on Creativity, Design Quality and Imagination! We are looking for designs that use our molds in a new and exciting way.

1st – $500 Gift Certificate

2nd – $200 Gift Certificate

3rd – $100 Gift Certificate

Contest runs the entire month of May

Good Luck and Happy Designing!

Cool Tools Facebook Contest runs from 5/1 – 5/31. Entries must be submitted on our Facebook page to qualify. Submissions are unlimited. At least 1 Antique Mold must be used in your design. Winners agree to send us their piece for professional photography, and they will be returned with a disc containing the images. Winners will be selected by Cool Tools and announced on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and our blog in June.

Dec
12

Even though I’ve pioneered co-firing diamonds in metal clay, I was not sure my big diamond would succeed because it was not the best quality stone.

The color was G (which doesn’t really matter), but the clarity was I1, which means that there were inclusions that are easily visible with the unaided eye. It had a carbon crystal (black speck) and a ton of feather inclusions (cracks). I didn’t know if the stone would fracture completely or if the carbon crystal would blow up or what the heck might happen.  The fact is, in the world of diamonds it was a crappy stone and a big risk to fire. 

Diamonds are harder than any other gemstone* and only a diamond can scratch a diamond, but firing tests that were done years ago revealed that they have a habit of vaporizing  or crazing when heated in a kiln. That may seem odd, but as a classically trained jeweler I know that diamonds can be heated directly with a torch for a few seconds without damaging them. What they can’t take is a long heating. So to me, putting a diamond in the kiln for the 30-minute burnout cycle would be insane.

In order to fire the diamond safely, I had to skip the burn-out firing, which I don’t think is necessary anyway. I ignited the greenware with a flame, allowed it to burn away, cooled it, and then fired in activated carbon for 2 hours.  The stone was totally undamaged, but it shifted in the setting during firing and is a little cattywompus, which is no big deal for me to fix. What I was concerned with was if a low quality stone would survive. And the answer is yes. My stone was unharmed.

Tips for Strong Jewelry in PMC STERLING

One of the things I’ve learned about PMC STERLING is the same thing I know about all the other types of metal clay, the longer it’s fired, the more dense and the stronger it is.

For items where strength is not an issue, fire for the least amount of time. 1 hour is sufficient for most earrings and necklaces. For rings, bracelets and delicate items (things with fine parts and tendrils), fire for 2 hours and you’ll have amazingly strong jewelry….just like cast sterling.

Even in an unfired greenware state, PMC STERLING is super strong. To make the prongs for the diamond ring I cut out a tiny ring of clay, cut the ring in quarters and let it dry. To place the prongs, I picked each one up with diamond tweezers and dipped one end in water and then held it in place for a few seconds on the ring. I guess I held one prong too tight and it broke in half. I was in a time crunch so I just put a tiny bit of water on the pieces and held those together. I can’t tell which prong I repaired, and I’ve hammered on all of them.

What is important when firing PMC STERLING is using a reliable kiln with a temperature that can be held accurately for the duration. PMC STERLING is sintered at a temperature that is just a few degrees away from its melting point. If you try to use a tiny kiln that does not have a digital controller, you cannot be sure that your work is properly sintered or melt your work by going over temperature. The Ultra-Lite Beehive kiln, the Amaco Trinkit kiln and other tiny kilns with pyrometers for temperature control are not appropriate for PMC STERLING firing. You must be able to accurately gauge the temperature for the duration of the firing.

Recommended kilns: Any of the kilns we offer with a digital controller are perfect for PMC STERLING firing such as the Paragon SC series, Caldera, Digital Firefly, Home Artist and E Series kilns. The Evenheat Kingpin 88 series and Olympic Jewelry Artist are also great choices. You’ll also need a firing vessel and activated carbon to contain your work during firing. Click here to learn more about kilns.

*Diamonds are no longer the hardest substance known to man. There are man-made nanoparticles that are harder than diamonds, but some years ago 2 substances, wurtzite boron nitride and the mineral londaleite were discovered that can handle 18% and 58% more stress respectively than a diamond.

-Mardel