IKEA 101 for the Hobbiest

I have a stong organizational gene and passed it along to my daughter. Sara is a willing travel companion when I mention a shopping trip to just about anywhere. Recently, she needed new furniture and I invited myself along for the ride to IKEA. Ok, I drove and she bought lunch.
I had a simple list that I created with the IKEA app. The app is really handy for making a list in advance of your trip. It also gives you the location for picking up your items in the store and a total of all the stuff you bought. My daughter’s list was extensive so I kept it simple to save room for her much needed furniture. I came home with some great finds and I’m pretty sure I need a trip back for the rest.
If you’re a crafter of any kind, good light is priceless and sometimes a little tough to come by. Winters here in the midwest mean cloudy, grey days. I have Ottlites but I often need a boost from another light. The swing arm lamps (TERTIAL) are inexpensive ($8.99-$14.99) and versatile. I have one on my bead table, wire working table and my desk. They clamp on or in the case of my wire working table, I secured it with screws to the wood surface.
Drawers and Storage
There is no shortage of storage options at IKEA. I have some great ones already but I still need a few new pieces to replace the old, not-so-appropriate bits of furniture. I didn’t know about this drawer unit (HELMER) before I got there but I’m glad I spied it. It was only $39.99 and pretty easy to put together. It has little wheels on the bottom and six drawers. I keep it close to my table to grab supplies I use all the time; you can’t keep everything on the table top.
These boxes (TJENA) were an impulse purchase. They were on sale for only $3.19 each and have 12 sections about 3”x3”. They fit my bracelet collection perfectly. The black is no longer available but the new collection of colors are $3.99 each. I sure hope they bring the black ones back.
My renewed obsession in wire working creates another storage dilemma. There is the wire, tools, jig and its accessories. I found this box while waiting for my daughter to work out her closet storage options (it was going to take a while). This box (SAMLA) comes in a variety of sizes. I went with the 6 gallon size (15-1/4x11x11”) box with the insert and cover. The only downside is the cover doesn’t snap on the box. Since I don’t carry around or store little beads in it, it works well. These were also on sale and the three pieces were less than $7.
I didn’t get this one but Sara did and I think I need one. The KALLAX ($64.99-8 space unit) is a shelf unit that you can attach a workspace to. You can also get inserts for the “cubbies” to add drawers or doors. Sara added drawers to one cubbie and filled in the lower spaces with flexible storage cubes. She also attached a workspace. I was impressed with how easy it went together; it looked intimidating. You can remove the workspace if necessary or get adjustable legs if you want it higher. At this point I’m going to recommend at least getting the $9.99 drill from IKEA for putting your furniture together, your hands and arms will thank you later.
Besides the trip to IKEA the Christmas season produced some wonderful gifts. My son, paying close attention to my wish list on Amazon , got me a new Wubber bail making tool and a flat pliers organizer. The organizer keeps the tools on the table lined up so I’m not burying them under other stuff on the table. You might say, it’s a tool landing pad.
My husband, also following my suggestions for a Christmas gift, got me a TUL Notebook. It’s an over-the-top binder of sorts. You can get different discs to accommodate your pages. There’s a special hole punch so you can add just about anything to your paper collection. I got the purple leather cover and 2” discs. It’s hefty but it’s such a cool looking binder. You can see it sitting on the HELMER storage unit in the picture below. I think I need the storage unit just to hold up the notebook.
Now that everything is so neat and tidy, I think I can find the stuff to make something fabulous…or get distracted, start six new projects and get nothing done.

Steel, Paper, Scissors…

The year…2011. I had no idea when I took a weekend class with Brenda Schweder, I would get so hooked on working with steel wire. We used basic tools and got resourceful with everyday items to form shapes with the humble wire of steel. I loved how you could just play and not worry about wasting expensive wire. Steel wire is readily available, economical and easy to work with (that is, after you get past the cleaning it up part).

Fast forward a couple of years, Brenda creates the Now That’s a Jig (NTaJ) with threaded parts so everything stays put on the grid. It can handle steel wire and works really well for non-ferrous (silver, copper, brass) wires. After the investment of the jig starter kit, you can add all kinds of pegs and shapes to create endless configurations of wire. I’ve had my NTaj for a while and never realized all the potential it had. Now with the help of Brenda’s live Facebook videos, I’m getting the jig out of the box and experimenting with shapes.

Inspiration for my latest project came from a studio visit Brenda did with Maike van Wijk. Maike works with steel wire and attaches pretty papers with hot wax. A long forgotten bottle of Diamond Glaze seemed like a neat way to get a resin-like finish and was a good alternative to using hot wax to attach paper to steel wire. Diamond Glaze also works as an adhesive and can be watered down to make a thin glaze applied with a brush to protect the pretty papers. Why have I not been using this stuff more? It didn’t take more than a couple of tries to get a good result. This is super simple and worth a try for anyone, even a beginner. The worst thing that can happen is if it doesn’t work out you lose a little paper and glaze.

Start with a shape
This is where the Now Thats a Jig comes in handy. Pick a shape, any shape as long as it isn’t too big. After wrapping your wire around the jig shape, make sure your wire piece is nice and flat. A little hammering should take care of that. I’m fond of this tear drop shape at the moment but I’ve tried others with good results.
Tear drop shape for the Now That’s a Jig.
Pick your paper

Making paper choices might just be the hardest part. You can use almost anything. Beware of thin paper, it will get wavy when you add the water-based glaze over it. Small shapes work best with thin, older papers. Scrapbooking papers are nice because they are on heavier stock and can handle the glaze in bigger shapes.

Stick it together and fill it in

I add a little glaze to the outline of the shape as an adhesive. Attach it to the paper of choice and fill it in with more glaze. A little tip, when you squeeze the bottle do it over a gluing mat or some other surface you don’t care about. You’ll notice a little bubble comes out first and you don’t want that floating around on top of your piece. If you get a bubble, use a toothpick or straight pin to move it off the surface. Use just enough glaze to cover the surface; easier to add glaze than to try and remove it.

Now you wait

Ok, maybe THIS is the hardest part. Let it dry. Don’t touch it unless your finger print is an integral part of the design. It’s going to be ready in a few hours. Best to walk away and start another project, walk the dog, do the dishes or catch up on some daytime tv.

Finish it off

Cut the excess paper away from the shape. I like using a small appliqué scissors to cut the paper away from the wire shape. Depending on how you’re going to use your little piece, you can add even more fancy paper to the back to finish it off. Maybe the back of your paper looks good enough, it’s all up to you. After everything is totally dry, add loops to the top for hanging.

I’m fond of making earrings lately so I need to give a shout out to Judy Menting and her inspiration and Facebook live videos for helping me add to my ear wire skills. Her Dancing Tea Cup Alphabet is pretty neat too. She has live videos on Facebook daily if you want to get creative with swirly bits of wire.

Finished pieces with custom ear wires.

Your turn to go be a handufacturer! Try something new, make a mess and have fun. I leave you with the links to my wire wrangling friends that have been so generous with their time and talents…

Where to get your Now That’s a Jig (NTaJ) – https://www.etsy.com/shop/brendaschweder
Brenda Schweder Jewelry Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BrendaSchwederJewelry