Monday, November 24, 2008

Ring Around a... Napkin

My daughter Gabby never tires of crafting. I guess she inherited it from me; and I inherited it from my Mama. So last week when I was organizing my crafts closet (yes, there are that many crafting materials in my home!) I came across some leftover beads from my jewelry making days two years ago and thought, "what could I possibly do?"

With the holidays just around the corner (come to think of it, this may be a tad late for Thanksgivng but there's still Christmas) I thought... entertaining... turkey... family feast... napkin rings! Okay, I admit the thought didn't come that way... I just had to find a way to use up hundreds of dollars worth of unused beads (please don't tell my hubby). The project also had to be something my 6-year old could do with me since I was already doing too many crafts on my own.

And so, using thick jewelry wire and 2 pairs of pliers (one with the rounded tips, the other a wire cutter) that I bought long ago in a crafts store Gabby and I went to work. I first cut out a 7-inch section from the thick wire using the cutter. With the round edge pliers I then curled one end of the wire into a teardrop shape. Then (this is where Gabby came in) I had my daughter arrange beads into her desired pattern until the length of the design stretched 6 inches long.

After Gabby finished with her pattern, I asked her to shoot the beads into the wire according to her design. Once all the beads were used up, I carefully (don't drop it or your child will cry with frustration!) held the uncurled edge of the wire and made a teardrop shape using the curly pliers. I tried to make the teardrop as close as possible to the edge of the last bead so as to "lock" the beads into place. I then curled the beaded wire into a 2 inch spiral so that it would curl around a napkin.


To achieve a look wherein beads seem to be "floating" on the wire, design a pattern with fewer beads so that they have gaps between them when placed on the wire ring. Buy "crimping beads" at the jewelry section of your crafts store (you will also need regular flat-nose pliers). Then, as with the easier variation above, cut out your wire and make a teardrop shape on one end. Insert your first bead into the wire followed by a crimping bead. Using your flat-nose pliers flatten the crimping bead until it locks into its position. Leave a small 1/2 inch or so gap between first crimping bead and then insert your 2nd crimping bead and flatten. Shoot in the 2nd bead of your pattern followed by another crimping bead. Flatten the crimping bead, too, so that you lock the design bead into place and it does not move on the wire.

Continue with this sequence: make a gap, flatten crimping bead, design bead, flatten crimping bead, gap, crimp, bead, crimp, gap... etc. until you reach the last 1/2 inch of your wire. As with the easier variation, curl the end of the wire into a teardrop to "seal" the napkin ring.

Confession- we don't use cloth napkins (we use the Costco paper napkins) at home and we rarely entertain. We did this more to enjoy the "making" than to enjoy the end product. I'm sure I will take them out though this Christmas when I host my first Christmas dinner in our new home. Gabby will definitely love to see the reaction of our guests when they find out who made our one and only set of napkin rings (that is, after I buy our first set of cloth napkins)!
Happy Holidays!