Years ago I got a bag of these cute dog house charms in a variety of colors. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but they were just too cute to resist. Recently one of my jewelry students gave me this wonderful antique brass dog head. It's original function is a mystery, perhaps the end of a cane? The antique brass dog actually looked a bit like the dad of the puppy in the dog house, so I knew they were destined to be together!
I gave the 20 gauge wire a heat patina with a small butane torch and attached the leather neck cord with tiny eyelets. I always get a kick out of making and wearing jewelry that has a expresses my quirky sense of humor.
Why not make a necklace with a fully functional can opener as a pendant? This can opener has been in the kitchen drawer for a very long time but recently I noticed its potential as a base for a resin pendant. I used an image of a retro gal on a swing with clouds in the background, ice resin, and added a few rhinestones to fancy it up. I mixed it up with a piece of a rosary with beads and charms I had in my stash.
Yes! It really does still open a beer quite effectively and it quite a hit at parties. Creating a piece of jewelry using a digital keychain breathalyzer would also be a hit at parties but much, much more challenging aesthetically.
A friend gave me a vintage wooden ruler with a metal strip on the edge and challenged me to make something with it. I used the metal strip as a base for this pendant. Here's how I did it:
1) I removed the metal strip, created a teardrop shape then wrapped the top with wire.
2) Traced & cut the shape from a vintage dictionary page, then filled it with Ice Resin.
3) Used Glue 6000 to glue vintage rhinestones around the edge.
4) Attached the pendant to a vintage rosary.
What can you do with a big jar of vintage belt buckles from a yard sale? Other than make a lot of belts (very cool but lots of work). I figured I could use them as bezels and make pendants. A pair of wire cutters made quick work of the center strip and then I just filed it down a bit. I used my metal punch to make the holes and it worked perfectly without breaking a single one. So much easier and faster than drilling. Because this was an experiment (don't you love experiments?) I grabbed some little things that were closest to me.
A word on resin: I used EnviroTex Lite, but I think that IceResin would be a better choice for embedding "floating" items like the watch face because it is more clear. Ice Resin comes in a great little two part dispenser like epoxy now so its easy to mix up just a small amount. The EnviroTex has a slight vintage/yellow cast which can actually be useful in certain projects because it gives a more "antique" look. When I don't need a really sturdy resin I "cheat" and use Diamond Glaze because there is no mixing and its water based. Its great for a shiny topcoat/sealer or bottle cap/scrabble pendants, and safe for older kids to use.
I've been teaching jewelry making classes for about 10 years. During my last class one of my students asked me why I never wore any of the jewelry I made to class. I was a little embarrassed and finally answered very honestly "The jewelry I make to sell doesn't express who I am. Next week I'll make something that does and wear it here". Because I am a mixed media artist it was clear that I needed to make some really quirky mixed media jewelry. I found these books really helpful in my journey to make unique pieces:
Semiprecious Salvage by Stephanie Lee
Resin Alchemy by Susan Lenart Kazmer
The Jewelry Maker's Design Book by Deryn Mentock
Making Metal Jewelry by Jen Cushman