Sunday, November 25, 2012

Felt pillbox hats

Made this for the Lady Mother (that's her modeling it on the bottom).  The feathers and rhinestones are from my local crafts store.

Followed this Threadbanger tutorial.  Easy to follow along, but the band is a bit too long.  I ended up cutting off a couple inches or so (wasn't paying enough attention to remember).

Later I made one for myself.  Wore it to school on one of the few free-dress days we get (bleh uniforms) and it was a huge hit!   I lost track of how many people commented on it.

I also wore it with my second steampunk outfit at Comikaze, even though it's not quite Victorian...

Button rings

The "stones" in this set of rings are made from some old buttons.  Simply cut off the part on the back that would normally be sewn on a garment using either a jeweler's saw or a pair of wire snips.


Sterling silver shank, backplate, and wire.

Considering that this ring was the result of a too-big shank that I didn't want to waste, I am very happy with how it came out.  I wear it frequently, both with my steampunk costume and with my Muggle clothes.


Sterling silver, tab setting.

This necklace gave me a cut.  It was a practice piece, so I didn't bother looking for a nice, thick gauge of silver.  The first thing I grabbed was really thing (maybe 24 or 26 gauge, which is tiny!).  As I was sanding it, it slipped and cut into my thumb!  Whoops.  Thankfully, it was more annoying than it was painful.

Anyhoo, the only soldering this required was a piece of wire for the spiral and a jump ring.  The tabs were cut out of the backplate.


Sterling silver bezel, brass wire bits set in resin.

This is one of my favorite necklaces that I've made.  It's simple, but interesting.  My class was focusing on resin setting, and I had a bit of extra bezel wire from another project.  Poof!  Insta-necklace.

The pendant was super easy to make because it only required soldering twice: closing the bezel and attaching a jump ring.  From there, I cut out many pieces of brass wire and set them in the bezel with resin.


Sterling silver bezel and ring shank.  Stones?  Not a clue, as per usual.

Can you see the spider hidden in one of the stones?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Copper charm set

Copper charm bracelet and earring set.

I took a wire wrapping class last year which turned out to be a really good investment, because now I find that almost everything I do requires some wire wrapping.  It was a great choice to take a class to learn the basics.

We started by making charms for a bracelet, which you can see above.  I made a few extra of each charm, because I was not sure if I wanted to make a bracelet or an anklet.  I decided on a bracelet, so I used the extra charms for a pair of earrings, which was another great choice because I have gotten so many compliments on them!  They are one of my favorite pairs of earrings, and they go with just about everything.

Cast silver, beads.

This was my first attempt at cuttlefish casting, which is really easy and I highly recommend.  It's relatively quick and it gives the piece a unique texture (that I tired to capitalize on).  The one downside is the smell.  Burnt fishbone smells gawd-awful.

I emphasized the texture by placing the pendant in a sulfur solution to darken it, then using a piece of steel wool to polish the raised bits.

I also made a clasp for this necklace, but it got corrupted when I put it in the pickle because some stupid idiot thought it would be a great idea to stick a penny in the pickle pot.  (A pickle pot is a heated pot, normally a crock pot, containing a slightly acidic solution that cleans a metal piece after it has been soldered by removing some of the flux and oxidation.  The first rule any one learns about using a pickle solution is to NEVER, under ANY circumstance, put something other than copper tongs and your piece in the pickle pot.  A pickle pot will strip the layer of copper off a penny, which is mainly zinc, and the copper will coat whatever else is in the pickle pot.)

Sea glass necklace

Silver wire and white sea glass.

I made this necklace just to get some practice in prong setting, so to make it more "exciting" I also made a matching clasp.  Hence, this is a necklace rather than a pendant because the pedant cannot be removed from the chain, though normally I would consider this a pendant.

Spirals seems to be a prominent characteristic of my wire wrapping.  Completely unintentionally, too.

Jade cuff bracelet

Sterling silver wire, scalloped bezel, backplate.  Green and pink jade.

This bracelet is simple, but elegant.  I cut out shapes in the backplate after soldering the bezel on.  I like how it has a secret, that only the select few know about the hidden design.  It's really cool when you hold it up to the light.

You might recognize the sun from Tangled.  It's such a beautiful stylized sun.

Copper pendant

Oxidized copper, silver wire, thirteen bright red beads.

I cut out a single shape on copper sheet metal, drilled thirteen holes (it felt like a gazillion), curved it around a ring mandrel, soldered jump rings on to the top, then soldered the two ends together.  Then it was just a matter of tarnishing it in a sulfur solution, wire wrapping the beads, and attaching them to the pendant via jump rings.

Blue earrings

 These are technically part of a set, though I think only because they are all blue stones.

I found the beads of the dangling earrings in my teacher's box of found stuff.  They're not technically beads, but it's easier to call them that.  The top ones look a bit like elephants.  I had to drill two holes in each to wrap the wire through.   I used bronze wire between the beads and silver wire for the smallest ear wires you may ever see me make.  I had to practice wrapping the beads together a few times before I got them to look the way I wanted.  Unfortunately, the weight of the beads makes the earrings too heavy for me to wear. :(

The large stud earrings have two posts on the back for double-pierced ears, like mine.  And, bearing in mind that no two double-pierced ears are alike, I used my own piercing as the model for the distance between each post.  To keep track of which goes on which ear, I cut a small L or R into the back of each.  One of my favorite things about these earrings is that they hide the fact that I've got two piercing which may come in handy if I'm ever in a situation where too many would be inappropriate.

The single, small earrings is only because I like the stone, which has a face carved into it.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Sterling silver bezel, backplate, and ring shank (the part that goes around the finger.  I had no idea it's called a shank...).  Turquoise stones (ha! Finally I know!).

Inspired by the turquoise jewelry of the Navajo.  I used straight stamps to texturize the backplate and shank.

I am really happy with how these came out.  I really achieved the look I was going for and the only mistakes are technical ones.

I set the bezels too close together, so the solder ran up the sides, which means I can't close the bezels fully around the stones, as you can see in the first picture.

I also stamped a bit too hard a bit too close to the edge on the backplate, so it make a weird kinda dent on the edge, which you can kinda see in the second picture.

I could not for the life of me get the ring shank to be the right size.  I knew I wanted the ring to sit in the middle, so it had to be on my middle finger.  I made two ringshanks.  The first one was too big, so it became a different ring.  The second one was too small, and I could not upsize it enough.  Finally, someone had the idea to cut the ring shank, open it, and then solder it to the backplate.  That person is a genius and deserves a medal and most definitely was not me.

Also, rather stupidly, I decided to test a stamp on the ring shank OF THE FINAL PIECE.


Sterling silver wire, no idea what kind of stone (as usual).  Prong set.

For my first time prong setting, I am rather happy with how these came out.  However, it would not have hurt if I had taken an extra moment to set them with four prongs rather than three, because they are a little wobbly.


Earrings.  Sterling silver bezel, backplate, and ear wire.  Purple stone (no idea what kind) and sea shell beads set in resin.

The original plan was to use butterfly wings (no animals were harmed in the collecting of the butterfly wings).  I thought it would be really cool if, rather than making a giant pendant with an entire wing in it, I would cut up a wing into squares and show off the most interesting parts of the wing as earrings.

Don't do this.  First, butterfly wings are beautiful as complete, as they are.  Second, the wings are FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE TO CUT NEATLY.

Needless to say, I got, erm, frustrated, whilst attempting to handle these tiny wing bits that were really light and really delicate.


Argentium silver, so they won't tarnish.

The sad thing about these is that one of the ear wires is not silver throughout.  I got it from the scraps box (silly me) without realizing that it was silver-plated copper.  When I went to sand it, the copper showed through.

Fortunately, that little blemish can be fixed as soon as I remember to take the damn thing in to the studio.  I will just cut off the bad ear wire, make a new one, and solder it on!

Below you can see some of the beginning sketches for it.


This pendant is wire-wrapped fused glass.  We have a bunch of fused glass pieces lying around from a workshop YEARS ago, some wire, and a new book about wrapping wire.  What was a girl to do?

The main part of the piece is actually the spider web wrapping on the back.  The larger wires holding it wrap around to the front to hold the glass in place with a disgusting number of spirals.

Interestingly, my brother made this piece of fused glass at the workshop, as part of a family holiday during the Thanksgiving break a few years ago.  I wrapped it in wire last Thanksgiving break.  And now here I am, posting about it on this blog, over my Thanksgiving break.  How crazy is that!?!

Shoe Review

I bought these shoes from the Gentleman's Emporium, which sells everything from Victorian menswear, womenswear, Steampunk clothes and accessories, and Wild West everything (though I'm fairly sure that the clothes cross over from genre to genre).

I got these shoes from Gentleman's Emporium because I wanted to be sure they would be good quality and comfortable, but I did not know that they themselves get the shoes directly from Funtasma.  You can get them cheaper from Funtasma through Amazon.

I tried making spats for them following this tutorial, but failed rather miserably.  First I made them too small, then I messed up the buttons and buttonholes, then tried closing them with velcro, which did not end well.  I'm rather traumatized now from my attempts at making spats.  However, I found this tutorial from Festive Attyre, which I will most definitely follow the next time my costume calls for spats.  Or whenever I feel like it.

Steampunk Eyepatch

Part of the steampunk eyepatch project.  Copper.  This is the piece that makes the eyepatch eyepatch-y, so it will go in front of the eye.

Please note that the lacy design is not my own.  I am terrible at drawing, so I found this design with a Google search.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Steampunk eyepatch

This is the concept sketch for a steampunk eyepatch.  I like to hold on to my original ideas so I can see what changes I make on the final piece.

Turtle Earrings

I made these earrings for my sister, who was once obsessed with turtles, before I realized that a) she doesn't wear jewelry very often, and b) she doesn't have her ears pierced.  Well, I tried....  Mine now, I suppose, but I rarely wear anything I make.

Turtle-wise, though, I think they're cute.

Sterling silver sheet and wire, some green stone... my source says it's malachite.  I used a scalloped bezel wire, which added an interesting tough.  My favorite part is the wire around the bezel -- I think it adds an elegant look to the design.  The ear wire is store-bought.  Trust me, you will know when I make them, because I make them HUGE.  Relatively.

These won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition.


The orange skirt is made from sheer fabric we have lying around the house.  I have no idea how we came to have so much of it.  Anyhoo, I cut two half circles and sewed them together (you can see how it makes a circle skirt).  Making a circle skirt is relatively easier than making a skirt with rectangular panels because you don't have to gather at the waist or deal with sewing many panels together.  Though I do have to say, I found this to be difficult because of the length of the bottom hem (the circumference of the larger circle) and also because, according to my sister, this fabric is very prone to ripping, so I was taking care to treat it gently.

Since the fabric is sheer, I made sure to get an underskirt at Goodwill.  I took this picture after I ironed it, and let me just say that ironing it made the biggest difference.  It doesn't even look like the same skirt anymore.

 Here's a pic from Comikaze of the skirt and underskirt with the overskirt and bag.


I call this pendant "Woodland Tiger" for some reason.... maybe because it is shaped like a leaf and has a cat's eye stone?  Woodlands and tigers?  I don't know what I was thinking.

Nevertheless, this was the first piece I ever made that required soldering and it felt like it took me forever to make.

It is two pieces of sterling silver sweat soldered together, one sheet with bits cut out and the other (the "backplate," as I learned it is called) with an extra-long stem that I folded over backwards to put the chord through.  I oxidized the silver that peaks through from the backplate to emphasize it, but it doesn't come out well in the photo.

This piece won an honorable mention in the 2012 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition.


This started life as a long skirt from Goodwill.  It was too big for me around the waist, so I took it in by putting some darts in the back and adding a waistband.

I stuck some small tabs in the waistband so I can hang accessories (chains, ray guns, etc.).  These ones began as small strips of fabric around three or four inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.  Fold a strip over like double fold bias tape so that there are no raw edges, starch, press, and sew down the open side.  Then, pin them to the skirt and sew over them when you add the waistband.  I pinned them in such a way that the two sides that make the loop were next to each other, but you could do it any number of ways.  Just be sure that the raw ends are tucked nicely into the waistband before you sew.  That way, the yucky ends are hidden and the tabs are secure!

I also created bustles by pleating the skirt along the side seam that already existed and sewing them down.

My grandmother has collected buttons from various projects for well over fifty years.  I found these brass-colored plastic ones in her amazing collection and "aged" them using sharpie and nail polish remover.


This was the very first real piece of jewelry that I ever made.  It is a simple sterling silver pendant, with a bird cut out.  This is not my favorite creation, but it holds sentimental value.

The bird is based on a petroglyph (rock engraving) carved by the native Pueblos of New Mexico from the Petroglyph National Monument outside of Albuquerque.

I like naming my stuff, so this is called "Petrified Cliff."  When I was on holiday with my family in New Mexico, I was convinced my mother was saying "petrified cliff" before I saw how petroglyph is spelled.  Thus, the name of the piece.
I got a collared shirt from Goodwill because, strangely enough, I don't have any old ones I can cut up.  I cut a boat neck, hemmed it, cut off the sleeves, and then shirred them, basically following this Threadbanger tutorial.  The important stuff starts around the 4 minute mark.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I found this bag at Goodwill.  I like it because it's smallish and I can wear it with my steampunk costumes.  I cut slits in the back so I could slide a belt through.

Wire Sculpture

Wire sculpture.  I got the idea from a spoon I saw once.  The spoon was bent into a turtle shape, with the legs, neck, and tail folded underneath.  I tried to recreate the general shape here, but in a different medium (wire).  The tails weren't long enough to fold under, with led to the raised body you see here.

I used 16-gauge (I think -- I don't quite remember) sterling silver wire for the skeleton of the legs, tail, and head, and then a much smaller gauge for weaving the beads onto them.  The shell part is copper sheet metal soldered to a sterling silver bezel.  I drilled holes into the top copper piece for the wire of the shell to go through.  The beads are whatever I found in the bead box that I liked.  They're mostly glass.