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When in doubt, Craft It Out!

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There actually wasn’t going to be a post today as nothing has really inspired me in the past few days and the only idea I had was resisting me today, but I will try to tackle it tomorrow.

I figured I might as well share what I’ve been doing and (unfortunately for some)  I’m still feeling crafty.

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As some of you may know, I’ve been trying out making cabochon and resin jewellery for some time, with mixed results.

I’ve been ordering elements from Beads.pl (a Polish online shop) and they’ve been accumulating at an alarming rate in my DIY basket (yup, that’s a thing!), so it was high time I rolled up my sleeves and got to it.

I decided to make a brooch that will be pinned into my new warn autumn coat, and who better to accompany me on my daily duties than Mr Thornton (I’m officially addicted to that image!).

I also opted for a ring with a Tamara Lempicka Art Deco image, a pair of Fairy Pin Up and Roy Lichtenstein earrings and other bits and bobs.

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I had a cabochon for the brooch, but the other pieces are covered with Diamond Glaze which is one tricky mother, let me tell you!

I’ve learned a lot from the last time I made jewellery for RA Vegas Week, so let me share some observations.

The process is quite simple so how can things go so wrong?:

I find the images I like, scale them and print them out on thicker paper.

During RA Vegas Week I used a cream cardboard with tiny ridges, thinking it’d look vintage,  but I think that was a bad idea, smooth is best.

Many sites recommend you seal the image with MicroGlaze before you tamper with it, however, it’s actually quite pricey and I question the necessity for it.

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Firstly, by applying it (I use my finger), you are already smudging the print a tad.

Secondly, fluff and dust cling to it, so you end up clearing it off with your finger.

Lastly, I don’t know how long it’s supposed to dry because after an hour (I am very impatient) it was still wet.

After the first batch I abandoned priming the image and there’s no difference, so I’d ditch this step.

Anyway, once the image is printed and primed, you can move on to the next step.

If you’re using a cabochon, glue it to your image, hold it down till it sticks and let it dry.

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If you will be covering your picture with resin, or in my case Diamond Glaze, it’s time for the ultimate mind f*ck, meaning cutting out the image to size.

I usually prepare a template beforehand and then draw out the rough size using a pencil.

It’s important to only trim little bits at a time, you can always shave off more if it doesn’t fit.

What’s important at this stage is to have a needle handy: once the size is almost perfect and just needs a tiny trim, it’s beyond annoying to pull the picture out again.

Once it’s perfect (or in my case, almost perfect) glue the image onto your jewellery.

I use Diamond Glaze, which is also quite expensive, but I heard that any glue that dries transparent will do.

If you’re making a ring, brooch, or anything else that doesn’t lay flat, make sure you think of a way to prop it up.

Seems like a logical idea, and yet last time I ended up applying the resin and THEN thinking how to keep it level (a lemon was the answer).

Now I usually make a tiny tube using cardboard and that holds things in place.

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Once your cabochon dries, it’s time to cut it out, although luckily the glass will cover up any rough edges.

Again, take your time carefully shaving off the edges.

Once that’s done, glue it to the jewellery and Voilà!! It’s done.

With the other jewellery the mind f*ck fun isn’t over.

Carefully pour the resin / Diamond Glaze onto your image, starting from the centre outwards in a circular motion.

You need to take it slow, but if some bubbles appear, pop them with a needle or, if they are stubborn, push them to the edge (and hope for the best).

Word of warning, bubbles may appear while the Diamond Glaze is drying.

I’d recommend not fiddling with it though, it’s easy to mess up the smooth surface at this stage and bubbles will be the least of your problems.

Once that is done, cover your pieces with a plastic cup so they protected from dust and fluff and wait 12 to 24 hours for them to dry and harden.

It really can be a fickle thing, but I guess that’s what makes it fun, but only if it works.

If it doesn’t it’s frustrating enough to make you tear your hair out!

My favourite from the bunch was the ring with a Tamara Lempicka image:

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On the whole, I think cabochon jewellery is a bit easier and the risk of messing up big time is much lower, having said that all my Thornton silhouette jewellery never comes out quite right.

There’s also something to be said about the glossy simplicity of Diamond Glaze, so it’s tough to call.

The earrings I made are adorable and came out quite well.

 I asked an old friend to model them for you😉

I used a Roy Lichtenstein painting and cropped the image.

Remember that if you are sticking a cabochon onto a picture of a face, make sure it’s centred.

The cabochon edges are rounded and will distort even the prettiest features (I learned that on a picture of poor Thorin).

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I also have some other more RA/Thorin stuff done, but I’ll keep it a secret until closer to The Hobbit DOS première.

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BTW, while I was putting together this post, I actually got one more thing done from my crafty list.

I’ve always been frustrated at the quality of pictures I take to show stuff like jewellery on the blog, so I decided to make my very own DIY Photo light box.

I’ve been defending a cardboard box for over a month from getting binned, tried to get my hands on white tissue paper (for some unknown reason they seem to only sell it packed with all of the other colours of the bloody rainbow…), pulled out my craft knife (me and sharp objects don’t mesh).

Everything would be fine if it wasn’t a bloody gloomy day and there’s no natural light to speak of, so the images are either too bright (when I use the flash) or too dark.

Anyway, here are some other things I made:

The not quite right but good enough Thornton brooch:

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We’ve been reading more paper books recently, so a bookmark is very much needed:

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See, that’s why I always say that whenever I go DIYing, things turn out OK, but never perfect ;)

There may be not one decent picture for today, but one of these days, camera and photos, I’m going to have the upper hand!

About AgzyM

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". A fangirl through and through, anglophile, and admirer of beauty whereever I can find it. I love books and art, and spend too much time admiring Richard Armitage and other amazing British actors.

37 responses »

  1. love it love it love it. I thought you did a splendid job with your previous jewelry making efforts, of which I was one of the beneficiaries (and the brooch in question actually now adorns my handbag and is thus worn every day… It thrills me to have RA so close to me, every day :-D)
    While I really like the results of your hard labour, I have to admit that this kind of craft is not something I will ever try. I am the most impatient crafter EVER. Things have to work quickly for me. Waiting for paint to dry is just torture for me. And if I don’t already have the ingredients and tools for the craft in my house, then I will never attempt it because I am just too impatient to wait for deliveries. So kudos to you for being patient and meticulous. The earrings are gorgeous, the brooch is very classy, and the bookmarks are the perfect Christmas gift. Your friends and family are lucky to have you – if you are actually sharing your crafty results with them.

    Reply
    • Apart from the Bazinga bookmark, which is for Magzy, I’m not sharing a darn thing with anybody😉 Having said that, I may have, maybe, made a little extra something for when I meet some friends in London this December😉 Maybe…
      Regarding patience, that’s how I messed up the Thornton image. I was checking if the glue had dried, the answer was clearly no.
      BTW, any advice on how to take pics of jewellery on a dark bleak day like today? I tried adding artificial light, but it reflected. The flash literally whitened everything out, but not using it made everything grey. It’s really frustrating!

      Reply
      • Hehe, yeah, I am a greedy crafter myself… But oh, the London trip has suddenly received added attraction. Remember last year when I said I had brought something along for you guys and then couldn’t find it in my bag? Well, it had been in my bag all along, I was obviously just too excited to keep calm and find it. Hmph.
        Re. photo advice: Photographing reflective things like jewelry is one of the hardest task for any photographer, including pros. You won’t be able to eliminate the reflections fully. If anything, you need to light the object from front below to avoid reflections.
        Best advice when photographing your (non-shiny) craft exploits – photograph in natural light, i.e. near the window, and use a piece of white paper as a make-shift reflector. (Sorry, not meaning to push my blog again, but I wrote two blogposts on photography for craft-bloggers – have a look http://craft-werk.blogspot.ie/2010/03/photography-tips-for-bloggers.html)

        Reply
        • Yay, I can’t wait! I was planning on doing something last year, but I held it off for too long and there just wasn’t enough time right before my trip. This year I just need to remember where I put stiff and throw it in my suitcase🙂
          Re the post: That’s great advise. Actually, it’s brilliant and it covers all the problems I’ve experienced. I unfortunately don’t have a separate flash (I’m proud of myself that I actually know where the flash on /off button is located in my camera), but using the cardboard to bounce the light is a good one. I’ve bookmarked this post and shall refer to it next time I need shots.
          Unfortunately, because it’s so dark, the white tissue paper in the box I so lovingly crafted actually ended up blocking the light instead of dispersing it and yet artificial light ended up being way too intense. I don’t like the grey effect mine have, but I promise to do better next time🙂

          Reply
          • Glad I could give you some practical advice there. Flash is really annoying unless used with a bit of thought. And don’t worry if you don’t have a separate flashgun. You can diffuse the light of your flash by simply sticking some Scotch tape over it, you know, that cellotape stuff that is translucent. Does the trick.
            I am intrigued by your white tissue box… can you take a picture of that? Was that meant to be a box into which you place the item and then point the camera into it and shoot? Maybe it was not big enough?
            Grey effect: Could possibly be edited out by simply doing a one-click auto correct in the editing program of your choice?
            Oh, and if you have any specific questions – do not hesitate to ask. I love passing on the knowledge (in case you hadn’t noticed that yet ;-))

          • Here’s the link:
            http://www.flaxandtwine.com/2013/02/diy-photo-light-box-finish-fifty-project.html
            It seems like a great idea, but it seems to be blocking out the light rather than defusing it. I wondered if maybe my tissue paper is too thick, but then I figured it wasn’t once I accidently punched a hole through it when I was transporting the box closer to the window😉 (me crafting is just pure slapstick…). I’ll try taping the flash because that is one strong bugger. Now I’m waiting for a sunny day to test bouncing light off a sheet of cardboard to light an object up from both sides.
            BTW, was too lazy to run the images through PS to adjust the light😉

          • By the way, I just reread you and noticed something I had not quite understood: When you photographed your jewelry in your lightbox, did you fire the flash??? Cos that is exactly what you do NOT do when you shoot in a lightbox. The point of the lightbox is that you avoid using flash… The light box is meant to illuminate the object evenly from three sides, no shadows, no flash… Try again!

          • I tried both ways, but had to delete all of the flash pics because it illuminated the objects to an alarming level😉

  2. I adore the Thornton brooch. I think, considered the excellent output, you could really start a little selling of artistic jewelry and bookmarks!

    Reply
    • I’d hate to take money from poor innocent people😉 It really is so much fun and quite addictive. I’m always on the lookout for new snazzy images that would make great earrings and such. The Thornton image has been resisting me and there’s always something wrong with it, but I shall prevail😉

      Reply
  3. I’m the same as Guylty. They’re all terrific, but I think the book marks are especially neat.

    Reply
    • I usually use my Kindle, so when I read a paper book I end up using the most embarrassing things as bookmarks. Now I just need to limit myself by reading one paper book at a time😉

      Reply
  4. From a fellow jewelry maker, beautiful, just beautiful!

    Reply
  5. Great stuff here – the Tamara ring, the earrings, the page holders…but the Thornton Cameo! I am coveting. How many have you made?

    Reply
  6. …and…Thornton Cameo Bookmark, maybe? I’d buy that on Etzy.

    Reply
  7. Wow! Impressive! you are very talented!

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Richard Armitage Legenda 102: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage

  9. Dobra robota😀 Marzy mi sie taka prawdziwa kamea z tym profilem😉

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Fandom Love, Part 2 | Guy-lty Pleasure

  11. I love your style. Thanks for the tips and letting us learn from your hard won experience.

    Reply

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