Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Earring Rack & Jewelry Holder

I want to preface this post by saying I know that this style of earring rack isn't that original.  My sister made something similar when I was in elementary school, even.  This is just my method and personal twist.

Supplies You Will Need:
-Plastic Cross Stitch Grid
-Ribbon (around 5/8" wide) - Preferably a new spool
-Copper Wire (mid-gauge size)
-Sewing Needle
-Thread to match Ribbon
-Wire Cutter - Jewelry Tool
-Needle nose Pliers - Jewelry Tool (not pictured)
-Round nose Plies -Jewelry Tool
-OPTIONAL - Sparkly Bits or Cabochons (and E6000 glue)
-OPTIONAL - Paperclips/Binder clips
To start out, cut your cross stitch canvas to the size you want.  For this tutorial, though, I recommend keeping it square or rectangular.  Make sure you trim off any little bumpy bits that may be left behind.
Next, we're going to play with copper wire and make hooks!  You're going to want to cut pieces approximately 1-2" long (I don't actually measure anything, so I'm not exactly sure how long mine were). 
Then you're going to want to take that piece, and fold it in half.  You may need to use your needle nose to help flatten it.  It should look something like this, now:
Next, take the wire piece, and put it all the way on the low end of the round nose pliers, with a bit of a tail sticking out. (vertically, like shown above).  Use your needle nose pliers to take that tail, and bend it around the round nose. You should have enough plus a LITTLE extra to make it around the rounded part.
Then, determine how long you want the hook to be.  Once you know that, hold the wire with the narrow end of the round nose and pull around in the opposite direction of the first hook using the needle nose.
And then, because that's kind of hard to explain, this is what your finished hook should look like!  Take your wire cutter and trim off any little tail pieces still hanging off the small end of the hook.  Determine how many hooks you need and repeat (I put one hook through every 5th hole).

To put them onto the canvas, simply pop them into the grid (DO NOT use the 1st or 2nd grid piece on either side).
 Pinch the small hook closed with your needle nose pliers, and you've got a hook on your racking!
Once you're ready for the next step, you should have a line of little copper wire hooks, like this one!
Now, we're going to start sewing!  Take and knot off your thread (I was using a thin, gauzy ribbon so I knotted my thread 3 or 4 times, to get a nice large knot) and thread your needle. 
Starting at the MIDDLE of the TOP start stitching on the ribbon.  Do not cut the ribbon, just leave it on the spool.  I recommend using the grid as a guide for your stitches.
When you come up to a corner (within 2 or 3 holes) knot off before you sew it.
When you get to the corner, fold the ribbon over onto itself, making a little fold.  Sew it in place.  The very corner piece of the grid will probably stick out, but that can be remedied later.
Continue all the way around, using the same method on each corner.  I recommend taking your time and being patient along the bottom because your ribbon and thread will get caught on the hooks.
When you get back up to the top, carefully line up the ribbon you're sewing on to the ribbon you started with.  Once you get back to the middle (you may want a little bit of overlap) tie off and cut the ribbon!
If at any point, you're having difficulty keeping the ribbon flat where you need it, use a paperclip or binder clip to hold it in place.
When you're done, it should look something like this.  If you look, you can see that the corners on the grid are still sticking out from under the ribbon.
Next, determine approximately were the middle on the top of your grid is.  Take a piece of 1 1/2" wire and crease  it lightly at the middle.  Center the crease above the middle of the grid, and stick the ends though.  Using your needle nose to bend the ends up.
Trim off those nasty corners (I suggest using a small precise scissor so you can get as much off as possible.  Then add something to cover the seem where the ribbon meets at the top.  I just made a simple bow and sewed it on.
OPTIONAL - Using E6000 (or some other epoxy based glue) glue on any sparklies, cabochons or any other bits and bobs you'd like on the ribbon.  The cabochons were pulling away at the corners, so I just used a paperclip to help keep them flat against the earring rack.  Let dry for at least 12 hours!
Here it is all finished.  I didn't put much on it because this one isn't for me, it's a gift.  However, with lots of goodies, your earring rack will look like this:
That one's my original I made a few months ago.  So, in addition to being able to hold LOTS of stuff, it looks pretty on the wall!

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