Well! What clever readers I have! A number of you figured out my latest Mystery Thing. Here it was:
No, it's not licorice. Here's the answer:
It's called spline. It's black rubber tubing that holds window screens in a metal frame. I think the ribbing makes it much prettier than plain tubing in this bracelet design. (I know, I know - if you're not from around these parts, you are completely rolling your eyes. We have bug screens on our windows. All our windows. In California, it's the law.)
Winners winner winners! In the category "First Correct Guesser Who Also Remembered to Include An Email Address," congrats to Lorraine! And in the category "Most Creative Guesser Who Also Remembered to Include An Email Address," I am giving the nod to Cara, who wondered, Is it black Play-Doh that's been through one of those presses that makes it a funny shape? I will contact you lucky duckies anon.
Now a tutorial. Super basic - it's the simplest memory wire bracelet you can make. Never tried memory wire before? It's fun, takes a bit of hand strength, but you will LOVE it. Ready?
Cut a piece of memory wire, long enough to make several wraps around your wrist, plus at least 3 inches extra. Memory wire is extremely macho - be sure to use serious macho wire cutters, not your good jewelry snippers.
Make a loop on one end. Again, let me stress the high testosterone level of this stuff. It takes effort to turn a loop in memory wire. If you can't get it at first, snip off the mangled end and keep trying!
Snip your spline (or any tubing, it doesn't have to be this exact stuff) into little segments:
Now go ahead and string beads and tubing onto the wire. You can do a regular design, alternating tubing with just one bead pattern, as in the blueberry one...
But don't be afraid to do something free-form, or make extra loops, as in this example:
To finish, you need to turn a final loop. I find it easiest if you have extra wire to grip, so stop stringing your beads a few inches before you get to the end. With your round-nose pliers, grasp the wire up tight next to the last bead. Then pull the extra wire up, over and all the way around to make a loop.
Snip off the extra tail. Your loop will probably be a little gappy. Insert the pliers and turn it closed, or try to squish it closed from the outside. I like to add little bead dangles to each end, it makes such a cute finish:
There ya go. Another Mystery Thing done, and I lose again! Everyone is officially authorized to laugh and point.
Go ahead. I'll wait.
Next time, I SWEAR I'm gonna get you.