Thursday, 12 April 2012

Decorative Pins Tutorial

Today I am going to dedicate a post to my Decorative Pins as I have had so many questions about them here on my blog and also on other blogs I have commented on.

I started out using only long (5cm) dress makers pins but the trouble is as you practise and become less of a novice, you want to put on more beads and before you know it, the pins are much too short.  So I searched the web for the best prices, as I wanted to buy a minimum of 250 pins.  In the end I actually bought from a few different suppliers to test the quality and styling. 
The longest pins that I found and my favourite, come with beads already on the head.  I don't like them, personally, so I just cut through the beads using good wire cutters to remove them.  Then I am left with just a 9cm steel pin. (No.1)
For this pin you have to prepare it by gluing a top bead on the pin and waiting for it to dry overnight before starting the actual decoration of your pins.  If you don't want to do that then you can buy three other types of pins.
The first one is a pearl topped pin that is 7cm long and often can be found in different colours but I find white or ivory the best as they can be used with any other colour beads (though I usually cut them off too).   (No.2)
A second alternative is to buy Decorative head pins from craft suppliers and just glue on extras to your liking.  I will put a link to Sam's shop in the 'Places to shop' list below.  (No.3)
The third alternative, is an actual jewellery making head pin that has been sharpened.  Now these are wonderful as they have the flattened end to stop the top bead falling off.  This means you can decorate immediately, HOWEVER they are not steel pins, they bend very easily and they are the most expensive.  They come in both gold and silver finish and with protectors (if required) and in different lengths.  (No.4)
For those of you who want protectors for your pins, you can buy earring backs (dome style) and they work perfectly,  the proper protectors are very expensive (can be as much as 20/30p (USA 32/48c each).  I tend to put all my pins into the adhesive of any flowers or ribbon on my card or even into the card of a matt/layer.  I only use protectors if the pin is the embellishment itself.
REQUIREMENTS (before you start)
Waste piece of acetate, old saucer or small tile........A few cocktail sticks...........E6000 glue............... Cotton cloth (eg; torn up tea towel) or kitchen roll-wiping up any glue.....Beads/Pins of your choice.
Drying your pin is best done with them upside down:-  I use a couple of mini bulldog clips, a box with no lid, funky foam about 3in deep and as long as the box. Clip the foam to the outside of the box, and carefully slide the wet pins into the foam upside down as you make them, until the bottom bead touches the foam. This will help to keep the beads close together as they dry.
If you cannot find anything to pin them into upside down, then you can lay them out flat on an old cotton tea towel (do not move until they are dry or you may end up with gaps between the beads!) 
Steal Pins:- Decide which bead you want as the top bead, this is better with a very small bead (seed bead or tiny pearl) or a bead with a small hole.  Using the glue as described below, just glue on the one bead so that it covers the top of the pin (not the sharp end), slide the pins sideways into the foam to keep them flat as the bead dries. Leave untouched overnight to harden or at least 4-6hours.  Do a batch of these ahead of time so you can get straight into the Decorating next time.
1. Prepare you foam or other drying equipment.
2.  Design your bead on the pin without any glue.  Then rest pin down while you get glue ready.
3.  On a piece of acetate or old tile, squirt out about a petite pois pea size amount of E6000 (do not be tempted to put out more, it will start to dry quicker than you can finish your pin!)
4.  With your left thumb at the end of the pin, slide the beads down to the bottom, out of the way (you can remove them all if you prefer and slide them on as you need them). Using the cocktail stick pick up a tiny amount of glue and wipe it around the area where the first bead will sit. Push the first bead up on over the glue.  If a little seeps over, gently use a clean stick to wipe excess away or pull bead back down a little and replace by twisting to get the glue 'under' the bead.  Now decide whether you want to glue every bead or perhaps every two or three beads.  (I do all except any metal shaped beads- like wings etc).  For each bead after the first, you can help create a stronger bond by putting a little of the glue onto the part of the bead that will attach to the previous one or where it will be hidden by a bead cap or spacer.  You need to ensure you have glue on the pin and on the end of the bead that touches the next bead.  Any 'strings' of glue are easily pulled away before or after drying so don't worry.
5.  Continue gluing until all beads are in place then carefully keep the beads pushed together with your fingers and place into the drying position chosen.
6.  Leave to dry overnight, without moving, or for at least 10-12hours to ensure a firm hold.
No.1 Pins  Amazon.(My favourite and by far the cheapest)
No.2 Pins  Amazon. (My second favourite)
No.3 Pins  Creative studios (Sam Poole's shop has the Pins that Sue uses- shorter pins)
N0.4 Pins  Sparkles (Easy to use, but bendy and a bit expensive)
No.5 Pins  I have just found another site that sells 65mm pins with a pearl head click HERE to see what they have in stock.
Protectors  EBay.
Glue No.1 (E6000)  EBay  (Always use a cocktail stick with this so you control the amount and can easily twist to remove any stringy bits.  This one is my favourite as it's a thicker consistency and rubs off easily.  The downside with this is that it does have an odour, but it doesn't bother me, so up to you)
Glue No.2  EBay,  (A very good glue with no odour, but runny and sometimes you need alot to make a good strong bond on larger beads)
Spacer beads   3/4/5mm metal round silver or gold beads & metal filigree beads
Spacers   4mm or 6mm round flower decorative flat spacers are lovely though diamante rondells are lovely too.
Bead Caps/Cones   4mmx7mm cones for use with 6mm beads  -  6/7/8mm caps to match size of beads you use.
Beads,  Spacers,  spacer beads and bead caps/cones are cheapest on eBay but alot of craft shops on line also sell them so have a look around and compare prices. I must be honest I buy bits and pieces from different shops within EBay and also from lots of on line shops like Beads Direct,   Aldridge Crafts,  Cuddly Buddly,,  Beads Unlimited etc. etc.
Here are a few links to get you going, but please, please look around a bit; Ebay may be the cheapest but lots of craft shops have other wonderful alternatives too:-
Filigree Metal beads  -   Tebitan Silver wings (beads)  -  4mm Silver Metal spacer beads  -  Silver & Black Rondell Spacers  -  Gold and Crystal Rondell Spacers  -  7mm Silver Beadcaps  -  5mm wide Silver Filigree Bead Cones (can be opened slightly for larger beads with plier-but be gentle. The bead only needs to sit 1-2mm inside it).

Last important note:-  Try your first pin using inexpensive beads (esp glass ones, so you learn to glue heavier beads) and just four or five will do to get you used to the amount of glue needed and drying times etc.  Like every other craft, it's about practice.  You will eventually be able to use just about any bead and make something truly beautiful.  
My next venture is 6inch pins for focal borders.  Watch this space.

If anyone wants to try this craft, but doesn't want to buy the bulk packs of everything, contact me on the email below as I have starter packs that you may prefer to begin with. Then if you don't like it you haven't wasted a fortune. The kit will include everything to make a variety of pins, including some of the more expensive beads and metal hearts, connectors etc to give you a good idea of what making them will be like.  All you need to invest in is glue.  To start off you can always use Glossy accents as your glue (or jewellery glue if you have it) but I think the E6000 is the best investment if you are going to do more.   (Please remember, glossy accents is very runny and so keep the pins pushed into something, hanging upside down, to let them dry or the beads will move).
Well that's it I think.  I am sorry it was such a long post but I wanted to get down as much as possible to help those interested in making their own.  They are not hard to make at all and I love to spend a evening in front of the TV just designing my pins.  I usually do about 40/50 at a time now.  Look in the sales and charity stores for old jewellery that can be broken down for beads etc. and don't forget your jewellery boxes!!
If I can help with anything else, please don't be afraid to email me and I will see what I can do.
I hope today finds you well.  I'll be back later with something a bit different.
Regards Linda x


  1. Wow your post is amazing. Have seen Sue use pins on a lot of her cards and thought I would like to try same but didnt want the expense of buying ready made ones. Have had seed pearls in my stash since day one and never used them lol. Now I shall have a go starting with long dress pins - also in stash. Thanks Linda

  2. Thank you so much for your post, truly inspirational

    I have wanted to try my hand at making these fancy pins but did not know where to start

    Love your designs

    Keep up the blog its great


  3. Linda

    I have tried several times to email you but being rejected

    Can you post your email address please

    many thanks

    1. Hi Vie,
      I am so sorry that you have had problems with emailing me. I always link my email address to the word 'email' in my posts (it will be in a different colour - you should be able to just click it and it should open in your mail composer). I will go and check it now as maybe I have made a spelling error.
      Here it is in full for you:-
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I have been so nervous about doing the blog and especially tutorials as I am such a chatterbox and I tend to overwrite things; so all the encouraging words mean the world to me. Thank you to everyone. Big, big hugs Linda x

  4. A great post Linda, very useful. I am always nervous of using sharp pins as my cards get sent to households with children, so would always look to put some sort of protector on the end. However, I guess a really large glue dot or foam pad should suffice. Anne

  5. Thanks so much for sharing, Linda. I've just started using pins and this is very helpful. You are a "giver".
    Cathy - Drogheda Ireland

  6. Brilliant Linda ! have already started trawling amazon and eBay. Thanks for your inspiration.

  7. Hi Linda,
    Thanks so much for sharing. Don't know if I'll ever get round to making any myself but love your inspiration. I wish I had started crafting so much earlier in my life!

    1. Hi Desiree,
      Don't be afraid to start whatever your age. I am fifty and partially disabled now and I was ready to give up, but crafting, in many different forms, is what keeps me going. I now feel I have something special in my life, not only for me but for those who may benefit from my creations. I have an aunty who started cardmaking at 89, so we are never too old to try. If you fancy trying something different but don't want alot of expense ask those who do it to help you with a starter kit, that way you don't have a big expense if you don't like it. I have just amended this post to include an offer of a starter kit because of your comment. So if you are ever interested you know where I am. If I can help in anyway with any crafting please just ask, you never know I may be able to help and if I can't I may 'know a man who can'. Take care and enjoy your crafting. Regards Linda x

  8. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the tutorial. Your pins are beautiful.
    Chris x

  9. Oh girl!!! These are simply gorgeous!!!! Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial!! I can see you have put a lot of thought and preparation into making these most amazing pins!!!
    Hugs, Dena

  10. Christine Harrop13 April 2012 at 08:17

    Hi Linda,

    I have been busy and not checked in for a couple of days so I missed your comment about the box frames. Sorry! I don't have a blog but I will try and take a picture or perhaps scan and send it to you.

    I love these pins and have bought some and used them on a few cards. I love the idea of actually making them so thanks for your great tutorial!

    Loving your blog!! Christine x

  11. My Dear Linda,
    What a pleasant surprise:) I'm so glad you taken the plunge in starting your own blog and sharing your great talent with us all.

    These pins are so stunning and regal looking! Fit for a queen...WoW
    I knew there was something special about you when i first spotted your comments on Sue Wilson's blog!! You had me in "stitches" (Pun intended) and then to find out we both have disc problem, that makes me like you
    even more!!

    It was so kind of you sending me a link to your amazing blog! Love the layout and the tutorial. I'm definitely going to have a go when i get the all clear from my surgeon, can't wait!
    I have now subscribe and would respond to your email shortly.
    Good luck my friend.

    Big Hugs Bim x

  12. Hi Linda
    Your tutorial is very informative and very easy to follow. The pins you have shown are really beautiful.
    Eileen x

  13. Hi Linda your pins are beautiful my friend bought me some from Sam as a gift but I would love to have a go at making some, well done on you blog great detail off to subscribe or try too (not to sure how to do it on my phone but will give it a try) hugs Fiona P xx

  14. These are so pretty Linda, very elegant.
    Hope you got your stamp ok. Hugz Fleur xXx

  15. What a fabulous and informative tutorial! I like to make my own stick pins too, however, they don't come close to the elegance that your's display! Thanks so much for the links too...I find too often that I just don't know where to find certain things! I usually shop in the same places, so any mention of other retail outlets is welcome information! Thanks again for this!

  16. Wonderful tutorial, Linda! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and sources with us. What a wonderfully creative person you are!!!

    Victoria (Vickie) Merrick
    (Tuttle, Oklahoma, USA)

  17. WOW!!!! This is such a wonderful tutorial. You explain everthing so clearly and thanks for all the links for the best places to buy from. I really want to give these a go sometime. It's my birthday next month so hopefully I receive a few pennies to spend on supplies. I can't wait to have a play!!
    All the best

  18. I now this is a bit cheeky after all this time, but can you tell me where to buy pointed head pins, I am struggling to find a supplier, that is if you still do this....many thanks...Ursula x


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