Garage Sale Toolkit
Someone else's trash can be your treasure if you like to hit neighborhood garage sales or local secondhand shops, like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. These are excellent places to load up on old jewelry that you can take apart and make something old into something new. Use wire and other beads to connect the mismatched jewelry items you've found.
Clean-up tool This is a common tool for anyone who works with clay, not just metal clay. In fact, if you have any ceramic shops around you, more than likely they carry this tool as well other similar tools for cleaning up clay. If ceramic shops are a thing of the past where you live (ah, the 1970s were fun), then plenty of jewelry suppliers and metal clay vendors also sell these, so they are pretty easy to locate. The handle part in the middle is made of wood. On one end of this wooden stick is a pointed metal piece that's pretty sharp, so you can use it to clean around sharp edges of the clay or actually cut away clay when necessary. On the other end is a sort of shallow metal scoop, which isn't as sharp as the pointed end but still useful for getting into areas of the clay component and finishing off areas of it. You'll want to clean any clay pieces with this tool when the clay is still wet. Once it's dry, this tool is not going to work that well for you. Figure 2.15 shows this tool...
You need to find a room that you can clean up and close off, at least while you are working on your clay. For me, that is the guest bathroom. I clean off the countertop and sink areas, making sure all pet hair is gone, close the door so I don't have any furry visitors, and work away (see Figure 4.1). Granted, this isn't very popular with my pets and I have seen more than one paw shoved under the door, but so far, it is my best option for finding a place to work that is clean and private. I mean how much more private can you get than a bathroom
Craft knife A craft knife, such as an X-acto knife, is perfect for cutting out small pieces of clay. Make sure the blades are nice and sharp and kept very clean. You don't want to contaminate the clay. You can pick up a craft knife at all kinds of places such as your local craft store (of course), hardware stores, and I've even found them at the dollar store. When you do buy one, remember to also pick up extra blades. Once you start using your knife regularly, it doesn't take that long for the blade to dull, especially if you use it for other crafts besides clay. So, you want to make sure you always have at least a few new blades on hand. Otherwise, you will not get a clean cut, and that can be very frustrating because it will require more clean up later for you. Figure 2.2 shows a simple craft knife you can find at most craft stores. Files Metal files are useful for filing off rough areas left on your fired pieces. While you do want to do clean up before you fire your dried clay, you...
Check out thrift stores and flea markets for rhinestone clip-on earrings. They're perfect for recycling into charms. Also let friends and family know that you're on the lookout for old screw-on earrings, and ask them to save them for you if they ever decide to clean out a basement for that all-important garage sale.
Jewelry projects can require many, often expensive, tools. Before you decide to invest in expensive specialty tools, which you may only occasionally use, raid the garage workbench, toolbox, junk drawers, local hardware stores, auctions, garage sales, antique shops, and flea markets. Learn to adapt and make do with what's available.
THOUGH YOU CAN clean up your clay jewelry pieces at various points in the process using an emery board, fine sandpaper, or jeweler's file, it is a good idea to try to clean up sooner rather than later. And the initial clean up I am talking about is done when the clay is still wet, right after you have formed it into your jewelry component by using any number of techniques, such as cutting it with a metal clutter or setting it in a mold as previously described. As an example, sometimes when I use a metal cutter on the clay and pull away the unused clay from around the outside of the metal cutter, there may be a little bit of a ridge around the piece where the cutter did not cut precisely enough. I'm talking about a very small amount, too small to really cut away. So, smoothing the clay is your best option to clean something like this up, and there are a few ways to go about doing this. No matter which way you decide to try to smooth out spots in your wet clay, do as much as you can...
Jump rings are used for all kinds of different purposes when making jewelry, and they are surprisingly easy to make. You'll need some wire, something round to wrap the wire around like a small wooden dowel or a pen or pencil (I used a pen in the demonstration pictured), a good pair of flush-cut wire cutters, and a jeweler's file. The wire cutters are important in this process because you want to be sure to make good, clean cuts with them. If your wire is cut so that the ends of the wire are straight, then this will mean less clean-up work with a file later on.
Making Money With Garage Sales
Is your home bursting at the seams with stuff? Is every closet crammed so full that any one of them is a death trap waiting to be opened? Has it been years since the last time you parked the car in the garage? Never fear, help is on the way. You need to get rid of some of that stuff. Dont you dare call it junk. Remember, one man or womans trash is another ones treasure!