Saturday, December 7, 2013

Beaded Tea Infusers

The power is now (thankfully!) back on, but yesterday I had a bit of a quandary. My Kindle was out of power, my laptop had to be set aside for emergency phone charging, and I pretty much only had good light at the kitchen table. What to do?

Well, I decided to get started on some Christmas gifts I hadn't gotten around to yet. I took pictures during the project, so if you're the crafty sort this might be a nice way to spiff up some simple teaware for the people on your list. 

This was the finished product. As you can see here, I started with some basic tea infusers. I was so excited when these went on sale, I goofed and bought the extra large ones. It's too late to do anything about it now, but I hope the people on my gift list have very large cups to accommodate them! 

My supplies, fairly neatly laid out. If I hadn't already had a bit of a hoard going on with beads, I would have chosen some nice coordinating styles of different sizes. Also needed were:

* Headpins
* Round nose and flat nose pliers
* Wire cutter

First things first - I removed the hook on the end of the tea infuser's chain. You could leave it on for two reasons:

1. You're using pre-made charms or keychains and can't attach to the chain otherwise.
2. You want to be able to remove the beaded section later for easier washing... wish I'd thought of that earlier!

Next, fill your headpin with all sorts of wonderful things! As you can see here, I didn't need the full length of this headpin, so I cut it off about 1.25cm above the top of my beads.
Now that you've got the headpin cut to where you want it, grab your round nose pliers. Place the very top of the headpin around the ring-size you want (smaller near the front of the nose, larger towards the back) and start to spin around. Stop when you have created a full circle.

Right now your circle will look a little lopsided. To straighten up your loop, now you need to move the round nose pliers to the other side of the wire and tilt it back to the other side a little. 

Now that you've created your loop, you need to attach it to the chain. Use the flat nose pliers to tilt your loop open to the side. 

Note that you don't actually change the curve of the loop. You're just opening it enough to fit the chain inside it.

And you're done! With the first drop at least. You can add additional ones if you like. I was feeling a little... decorative, and it may have gotten out of hand!

And from here it just becomes like a sickness... wouldn't it be cute with one more? How about a tiny little drop. Eeek!

Here's another gander at this finished version. Remember that you can always click on the pictures to see them larger and in greater detail!

For the heck of it, here's one more. I think this one is actually one of my favorites, because I love the play of amber and shell together. It makes me think of my rather awesome mom.

And again we come to a possible stopping point, but I just can't do it! More frippery must be added!

And this one comes to an end as well. I used a little pre-made drop to hang down over the shell, and I really liked the effect. 

Altogether, I think I made fourteen of these little beauties. Should I do this project again, I might gather some simpler charms that could either go well with the beads or stand on their own. This would also work with keychains, so I could do something that's more specific to someone's favorite show or hobby. I did have some steampunk keys at one point, but I couldn't find them with the power out.

The only real caveat to this project is the washing. It will be a bit tricky, and best all around if your tea drinker only washes the infuser and keeps the beady bobbly bit nice and dry. Not all beads like water, and the headpin can become tarnished over time. I really will consider detachable ones next time.

So, immediate family... anyone want to call dibs their favorite? ;)

1 comment:

  1. Those are awesome, makes me wish I still made jewelry and had lots of beads because I would make a bunch