Monday, June 2, 2014

Donuts are Good For You

by Staci L. Smith

Well, this kind of donut is not bad for you anyway.  If you know me at all, you know I love using donuts in my designs, and I make a huge amount of them as components as well.  I love the round shape, the negative space the hole creates, and most of all, I love the endless possibilities.

Not everyone shares my passion though.  Some people just don't know what to do with them.  So I thought I'd share some tips and inspiration for using donuts in your work. 

I wish I had pictures of my earliest work.  One of the first things I did with donuts was use it as a toggle clasp.  Alas, I do not.  But I did find this sample online.  I love how she used the flower donut as a toggle clasp!  

Necklace by Karen Grosset Grange

Donut by Blue Mud Studio

If you don't do seed beads and can't make that kind of toggle, you can make one out of wire, or even use a center drilled stick pearl as a toggle.

You can also use wire to make a bail on a donut bead.  You can do a simple wrap around look- this one is just wire wrapped around the top a few times, and I make a large wire wrapped loop for a bail.  Then I did the same on the bottom to create place to add a charm.

Staci Louise Smith

Below an old style of pendant I loved making, it involved a wire bail, with a spiral...then I would dangle charms from the spiral.  A great way to dress up and plain donut.

You can also get fancy with the wire work like Dana Hickey did

or like these pretty little earrings by Stacie Florer 

Another options is to bezel them, either in seed beads

Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers

Or bezel them in metal

 Staci Louise Smith

Staci Louise Smith

You can even prong set them- this is great especially if they are thick, highly textured, or you just want to leave as much of the donut showing as possible

Collaborative piece by Staci Louise Smith and Lisa Peters Art 

Another option is using fiber to tie your donuts into your design.  You can use waxed linen, silk cord and leather, just to name a few.  (ok, leather is not fiber, but I thought I'd group it here)

Waxed Linen Cord used as a bail from the donut onto leather cord
Staci L. Smith

 Plain old leather looped through the hole, through a large hole bead, and as a cord
Staci L. Smith

Silk Cord or something, tied through the donut on these earrings by Marcia Dunne
It really makes them light and dainty, and compliments her wire work and small beads perfectly

Here is a piece I made a couple years ago, called Khaleesi, after my favorite Game of Thrones Character.  I used a large donut, with a smaller donut inside, and linen cord to add the accents to the piece.

Someone who is always SUPER creative when using donuts (or any focal for that matter) is Keirsten Giles

She used wire and sheet metal to make high end bails for her donuts, and it absolutely makes the bail part of the main design of her piece.

Another design that I adore are these bracelets by Judith Boyer.  I really like how she used the donuts, to make an symmetrical bracelet.....and the genius of it, is that the multiple strands will be heavier, and land on the bottom of the wrist, allowing the donut to be on top as the focal bead.

Lastly, I like to use donuts in my pieces, using them among other donuts and beads, either in a choker style or a long dangle.  It is achieved by using wire to wrap them into place.

I figured I'd share this technique with you, since I get asked all the time how I do my wire for the above style pieces.

You begin by taking a nice long piece of wire and a donut.

Make a wire wrapped loop, and go through and around the donut, wrapping back around the base of the loop.

Now take the wire and feed it over the top and through the donut hole again, so it comes out on the bottom of the other side.

 back view

Now make a wire wrapped loop on the other side, wrap the wire around the base, and come back over the top of the donut

Feed the wire through the hole again, it will come out on the other side from the bottom

Wrap the excess around the base of the loop and cut, or, you can continue to go back and forth a couple more times, depending on the look you want.

Wrapping donuts this way allows you to use them in designs, and control how they hang.  By having wire on both sides, your donut will not flip around on you.  It also creates a look of the donut floating in the wire.  Essentially, you are doing a figure 8 through the donut.

I hope this helps to give you some inspiration and encourages you to use donuts in your designs. 

Please be considerate, the examples here are peoples original designs, are are not to be copied, but, merely a jumping point for you try something new.  Be inspired, but give it your own flavor, make it your own.  

Some of the art bead donuts in this post and just some of my favorite places to get art bead donuts are listed below 


Carol Dean Sharpe said...

Love me some donuts!!!! :) Great possibilities explored in this post, Staci!

Carol Briody said...

Thanks for all of these wonderful design inspirations! I have a whole box full of gathered donuts (from over many years!, the non-edible version!). I've never really known what to do with them!? So they've languished in my bottom beading drawer...I think I will have to pull those babies out!

Anonymous said...

Don't think I've ever designed with a donut...they terrify me! But this post has given me some encouragement and inspiration, so thanks!

Unknown said...

Great inspirational post. I too have some unused donuts just waiting to come alive.

Honey from the Bee said...

All are stunners! I used to use them a lot and then not. I may just go back and look at the ones I still have in my stash. Love the post!

lunedreams said...

What a great post! I LOVE your bezel-set donuts, Staci! Also LOVE Marcia Dunne's earrings, so delicate and graceful, and your "Khaleesi" piece is stunning! I also fell in love with Judith's bracelets when I saw them on Facebook. Thanks for including me!

Karin G said...

There is so much to learn from this post, I love all the wire wrapping over donuts, I 'll have to try that. And thank you so much for showing my necklace.

Shai Williams said...

Thank you so much for the ideas and the tutorial. I have had a donut that I love but couldn't figure out what to do with it. Well you solved that dilemma.

Ann Schroeder said...

Great post! Thanks for the inspiration and the wire wrapping tips. I can't resist donuts, but I'm not always confident in using them. This will help.

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing!

baymoondesign said...

Great post! Who doesn't love donuts!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of prong setting and the back looks as good as the front. I haven't tried bezel setting either, so that's two new ideas to try.

Laurel said...

Great article and the example jewelry is all gorgeous! My favorites in the donut world are mother-of-pearl squares, rectangles and rounds. I love putting other beads inside them, but then they do have stringing holes in them. So many new things to try!

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