Adding Jewellery Elements in Mixed Media Art

Introduction

Bringing beading skills and jewellery elements into our mixed media art adds a whole new level of embellishments. They add interest to our pieces and allow us to use the elements to join pieces in ways we would normally struggle with. The two main elements we will cover here are eyelets and jump rings.

This cute wall hanging is held together using jewellery elements, which also add a feature, as well as being practical.
This cute wall hanging is held together using jewellery elements, which also add a feature, as well as being practical.

Tools to get you started

The tools needed to start using eyelets will require an initial outlay and can be expensive. Like any tools, you do get what you pay for. Once you have purchased them, these tools can be used again and again. Adding eyelets into our mixed media artwork means we need to make a hole that is the right size for our eyelets. They come in a range of sizes, both lengths and diameters, and need a hole size to match. I use a set of hole punches that has interchangeable heads so I can make different hole sizes. To go with this, I need a hammer and a mat to protect the work surface.

Eyelets also need "setting" by splitting the end and laying them flat, so the cardboard is clamped between the head and tail of the eyelet. We need a setting tool to do this. It may be a range of punch-like setters that need a hammer to use, or a plyers type tool, especially designed to set the eyelets.

To add the jump rings to eyelets, you will need two pairs of pliers, both flat nosed pliers and pointy nosed pliers.

Learning to set eyelets is an important skill when creating mixed media assemblage.
Learning to set eyelets is an important skill when creating mixed media assemblage.

Eyelets

Eyelets come in many diameters, lengths and colours. To get started you can begin with a small range of eyelets and then expand your collection as you begin to use them more often. I suggest beginning with gold ones, at 1/8" diameter. These will suit many of your projects. You can also use a metallic leafing pen to change the eyelet colour to match other embellishments.

You will need to make a hole in your mixed media piece to add the eyelet into. The hole needs to be the right size so the body the eyelet can fit through and the head sits onto the top surface. Learning to get the hole into the right place will depend on the type of hole punch you are using, so practice on an offcut of cardboard before you begin adding holes to your mixed media artwork.

When you have a hole, place the eyelet into it and set it into place. Look at the tail of the eyelet to check it is sitting flat on your artwork. If the tail is sitting up, hit it again with a hammer to flatten the tail down.

You need two pairs of pliers when adding jump rings. Once you have mastered the knack, you will be ready to go!
You need two pairs of pliers when adding jump rings. Once you have mastered the knack, you will be ready to go!

Jump Rings

Jump rings are those metal rings used for joining jewellery elements together. They also come in a range of sizes and colours but to begin with, choose a colour that matched the eyelet you have.

To open the jump rings, we need to hold it with the flat nosed pliers, with split close to end on pliers, then use pointy nose pliers to hold other side of ring. Twist ring open in the direction the ring tends to already be slightly open on. This a sideways movement and we are NOT opening up the ring - it must be sideways; this makes it easier to close the ring again and not squash it out of shape.

While the ring is in the open position, you can thread it through the eyelet. Close the jump ring by taking hold of it again with flat nosed pliers and use the pointy nosed pliers to bend the ring back the way it came. Check the ring to see if it is closed; if is still isn't closed, bend it past the mid point and check again.

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