Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Handcrafted Metal Findings -- Book Review and Giveaway #2!

As promised, the book reviews and giveaways are still coming! It's so exciting to take a look at these publications and feel the beginnings of creative spirit start erupting!

Today I'm reviewing a fabulous book by Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson. Both women are very well-versed in writing books that give you great instructions and usable components with lots of room to vary things to your own taste. Denise and Jane also wrote the book Handcrafted Wire Findings, which I love and recommend everyone get no matter what your skill level. Their newest book, Handcrafted Metal Findings: 30 Creative Components, is another must-have, and it's available as a regular book (my favorite kind) or an e-book.

click here to buy

One of the things my clients know me for is my use of creative clasps. Imagine how my heart sank when my two favorite vendors, both who made outstanding beads and findings, shut their doors. NOW what, I thought. I refuse to use a spring clasp or lobster claw clasp on a bracelet. As my considerable stash of cool toggles and findings began to quickly dwindle, Denise and Jane's first book came out and I devoured it. Now, they add 30 more excellent tutorials to make your design work so satisfying. To say, "Oh that? I made it myself," can really bump up the appeal of your work.

Below is a representation of the types of projects you can find in the book. There are charms, pendants, large end caps for things such as kumihimo or Viking knit, bails, ear wires, and clasps, just to name a few. There are beautiful findings on the market, but there's something about making your own that gives your jewelry an extra-special something, don't you think? And with this book, you'll never be stuck trying to find just the right size, metal, or design of difficult-to-find beads, such as triple-strand spacers.

Shown -- Sugar Skull Clasp, Crisscross Bead Caps, and Buttercup Bead Caps

I chose two specific tutorials to talk about. The first one is a gorgeous toggle clasp created by book contributor Cassie Donlen. It's called the Tectonic Toggle (say that three times really fast!) and I just love it. Made with copper, it incorporates punching out the disc using a disc cutter. I have used both the Lindstrom and the Pepe and they're both great. I can say the cheaper versions just are not worth the money if you plan to do a lot with them. I took one class, punched six discs, and threw the entire disc cutter in the trash. (Of course, your experience may be completely different.) If you click this link, you'll find your first way to make this design your own -- disc shapes like hearts and ovals! 

The tutorial includes photos so you can gauge your progress as you go along. You'll learn how to dap (or make concave) the toggle, but you could decide to leave it flat. You'll also learn how to pattern the disc, or you can choose to etch it or buy pre-etched sheets of metal such as those at Metal Me This. I would consider this particular tutorial to be for the intermediate designer, but do NOT let that stop you from trying it if you're completely new to this sort of work. Practice makes perfect, and in the end, you'll be thrilled to make your own toggles!

Tectonic Toggle in Copper with silver and aluminum accents

Next are Bubble Wand Head Pins by Denise Peck. I LOVE bubble wands. Zack and I have collected a lot of handcrafted ones in various shapes over the years and I firmly believe you're never too old to blow bubbles. (Little known fact -- blowing bubbles works best in humid weather.)

When I saw Denise's design, I immediately got a lot of ideas, and I bet you will, too! Not only can they be used as head pins, but you can bend the straight wire and instantly create cool ear wires.

Bubble Wand Head Pins by Denise Peck

This project involves simple soldering that I kid you not, anyone can do. I know the thought of using flame can be daunting, but it's no more difficult that lighting a candle. You use bead wire, so you don't have to solder each tiny sterling silver ball to each other (big bonus!). After winding the wire on a mandrel the size you want, you flush cut the rings and solder them to the straight wire using a small handheld butane torch, similar to ones you use to brown the sugar on creme brulee. (Yum.) 

There's a list of suppliers at the very back of the book so you aren't left stranded, I love this page on Beaducation.com. I've used all three torches shown and each is great, and there's a handy soldering starter kit you can buy. After you read Handcrafted Metal Findings, I'd be willing to bet you'll want to jump in immediately with both feet, so the starter kit is an awesome find.

Photo via Beaducation

At the back of the book are 34 pages with detailed photos, instructions, and templates on how to do all the metal work necessary to make every project. This is actually my favorite part of the book, as it's easy to follow, visually appealing, and gives you lots of information which can take you in so many creative directions. Most times, I skip these sections of books, but this book is an exception.

So you want this book, right?
I know you do. I can feel it.

Here's what you can do in order to win -- 
simply leave a comment below!
(Sharing on Facebook or with your friends would be SO cool, too!)

Please make sure your comment has a way to reach you -
check your blogger information and 
make sure your email is linked on your About Me page!

A book will be sent to ONE winner in the United States.
An e-book will be sent to one winner elsewhere in the world
(international, yay!)

Winners will be announced on Saturday, Sept 26th.

Now the fine print:

I was not paid to write this article, and all opinions are mine. 
I was given the book to review and write my honest opinion.

By Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

About the Authors

Denise Peck is the editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine and the author of101 Wire EarringsWire Style, and Wire Style 2. She is also the coauthor ofHandcrafted Wire FindingsThe Wireworker’s Companion, and Wire + Metal. Denise lives in Pennsylvania.

Jane Dickerson is the author of Chain Style, coauthor of Handcrafted Wire FindingsThe Wireworker’s Companion, and Wire + Metal, and a freelance editor, writer, and jewelry designer. She was formerly the editor of Step by Step Beads,Creative Jewelry, and Bead Starmagazines and a contributing editor to Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine.


  1. Sweet! This looks like a great book! I'm Canadian. I guess that counts as international?? ;-) That's cool because I love the instant gratification of eBooks! If I don't win this will definitely be on my to-buy list!

  2. Ooooo - Def would love to win this one also! I want to learn how to make end caps :-)

  3. Then big hugs to you, girl! I love that you are still in the game!

  4. Wow this is something that would be fun to check out!! I need something to get me going again

  5. What a wonderful resource!

  6. Ooooh, what a treat! I agree that the only way to finish off a piece is with a beautiful handmade clasp. Looks like an awesome book! Would love to win this! martinshaw@comcast.net

  7. Hey Lori ...Well honey after a review like that who wouldn't want this book....I love unique and unusual clasp also...So plz throw my name in the bucket. Thank you so much for this chance...Bye for now sweetie and I hope you are feeling well Hun

  8. Oops Lori my email is jackiemarchant @yahoo.com

  9. Is it too late to enter?

  10. This looks like a really neat book ("Handcrafted Metal Findings")! So does the other book, "Handcrafted Wire Findings". Findings are the one thing I was always short of. Being able to make them yourself would be awesome! I know I have not produced anything the last couple of years, but I'm getting a handle, at least that's what I like to tell myself, on the pain and if I can ever get my nose out of my computer, I really want to start making jewelry again. It's funny, things around the accident, either shortly before and/or after, are either fuzzy or gone completely, but I remember what I had stopped at Jo-Ann's for right before the accident. It was some blue beads so that I could make earrings to match a necklace and a bracelet set that I had used them in and that I didn't have enough of (the beads) to make the earrings. I really need to fish those out and finish that set!

  11. That looks like a great book, always like to read your reviews.

  12. Guess no one wants to be first, so let it be me! Hope the date of choosing the winner is actually Sept. 26 so that it is not already over. Would love to use this book to jump start my creativity.

  13. I'd love this book, Lori but I must have missed the date if your post is correct in saying the winner will be announced Sept 16 since that was last weekend! Looks like a fabulous book that I'll have to add to my library somehow. It's nice to see you back in the jewelry blogosphere. You've been missed!

  14. Woop woop woop! International too - thank you! I have been eying up this book for a while - fingers crossed!

  15. Great Blog! Would love to win this book! Sharon Winstine - bayourosebazaar@gmail.com

  16. Wow nice giveaway, I would love to call this book mine;)
    Greetings from Switzerland

  17. Wow! That looks
    Like an
    Incredible and ell rounded

  18. I would love to win this book, I am interested in doing more with metal and this would help a lot! Kathy baymoondesign@gmail.com

  19. The reason I picked up wire weaving was so that I could create my own clasps. It has been my experience that a better clasp creates a better overall impression of quality and supports a higher price if you are trying to sell your creations. Next for me to tackle are end caps and bead caps.

  20. I love the projects that you showed from this book. Thanks for the chance to win it. By the way I really like the blog remodel it's crisp and easy to navigate.

  21. In hopes that the deadline date is a typo, I'd love this book. Maybe it would convince me to get over my fear of using a torch!

  22. Whoa, this looks like a great book; full of inspiration and information! I'd really love to win it. Thanks so much for the opportunity. I'll be sharing this on FB and twitter (no worries about that Lori! :) )

  23. Anonymous8:32 AM

    I would so love to have this book! I am a huge fan of homemade clasps and components. Having the how to info is a huge bonus! Pretty please count me in! Hope you are feeling better and your good days are out numbering the bad!

    Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

  24. Anonymous9:07 AM

    I'm just getting starting using a torch at home so this looks like it would be right up my alley. I really want to get to the point where I am hand making most or all of my findings. I totally agree with you on the cheaper disc cutters. I really need to save up to get a good one. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

  25. Love the findings you've featured. I would love to own this book.

  26. I am about to start learning Precious Metal Clay to make findings. This book looks awesome, thank you

    1. Well! Another book to add to my list! Thanks Lori, great review!

  27. Thank you for the thorough review. I appreciate detailed reviews when deciding whether or not to add a book to my already considerable library. This one looks great! thanks for hosting the giveaway.

  28. What a great book giveaway! I would love to win and start with some projects. I am working on making my own findings so advice and ideas is always welcome; )

  29. Hi Lori, Glad to see you are still blogging and reviewing!
    This would be a great asset to my library of must learn stuff.
    So even if I am not the lucky winner, I will be purchasing it.
    Thank you for the review!
    Take Care, Jenn

  30. I think I am hooked. It would be great to win. I like what you shared.

  31. I have "Handcrafted Wire Findings" and I use it all the time. It would be wonderful to add this book to my resources also. Thanx for the chance to win it.

  32. I would so love to win this book! I have their first one and have made a couple of clasps as I am all about unusual clasp be they purchased or hand crafted.

  33. This looks like SUCH an inspirational book and with great information! I would love to win this one for sure! Thanks for the opportunity and for sharing all the info about the contents. I'll be sharing this on both Facebook and Twitter for sure.

  34. This book looks fantastic. I'd love to use it as inspiration for some new projects.

  35. Jean Palionis8:20 PM

    I am just embarking on a new hobby. I have done bead weaving for years and I am now trying to learn wire wrapping and jewelry making. this book would really help me with other hobbies of mine as well.

  36. Lori Dear I am so happy to see you posting. You look radiant in your new avatar. Your jewelry is always beautiful and I agree that you do use wonderfully unique clasps and findings. I am not so good with a torch and metals. Creative Bliss...

  37. Anonymous2:23 PM

    OooOOOoo - How beautiful! I'd love to win!

    dyable65577 at mypacks.net

  38. This book looks very interesting. I would love to see ideas on how to make more jewelry with my unique stamp on it instead of always using manufactured findings.

  39. the books sounds like a good one. Great post. :)


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