The far left are some gear earrings I got at a place called Claire's. I had been looking for a pair to go with a Steampunk outfit I've been slowly working on over the course of a few years. These ones were perfect. I'm not much for large earrings, and these are nice and small. They were originally stud earrings, but my ears are sensitive in the fact that I can't wear something in them for five seconds before they turn a warm lobster red, spew pus everywhere, and want to fall off (that's a bit of an exaggeration, they don't so much "spew" as "ooze"). So I clipped off the stud part, added some jump rings, and attached some hooks that are more comfortable and kinda sorta don't really match. (The teeth of the gears still get caught in my hair, though.)
Second are probably the pair I'd have to say got me started. I found a great set of five, various size wings at Walmart, and these are the medium-sized of the bunch (there were two smaller and one big.) I really wanted to make a pair of wing earrings for a friend for a long time because we both love Maximum Ride so much. I got these, made some, then had some really tiny cherub wings leftover and the big, single wing. I made the single large wing into a charm for a single-string drawstring bag for her and then used the cherub wings for earrings for her little sister. I loved how my friend's wings turned so much that I bought a second set, made my own earrings from the medium size, the large wing into a necklace, and the cherub wings together as a matching necklace for the little sister.
|Typical earrings from Claire's|
The bronze-looking wings are also from Claire's. What I like about that store is that they have tons of earrings and they're always huge and ridiculous and have a whole bunch of crap hanging off anywhere from 3 to 10 lengths of chain. I'll buy a couple, tear them apart, and use the clusters of one earrings to make a whole bunch of less crazy earrings instead. These started out as a bunch of small bronze chains with three of each wing dangling per earring. I brought it, took it apart, and used just the wings as three individual pairs of earrings.
The blue ones are I think silicon of some sort (I can't remember) and actually pretty lightweight and sturdy, I picked them up for about 10 to 15 cents apiece and added the rings and hooks to them. They were a little tricky because the holes in them are really small so I needed thin rings. I had a darker blue pair and some black ones, both of which I gave to a friend.
YEAH LET'S GET SOME MANLY EXPLOSIONS IN HERE! I'VE GOT SOME STEAKS ON THE GRILL COOKING FROM SHEER EXPLOSIONS!! KNOW WHERE I GOT THOSE STEAKS!? I FOUND THE MEANEST, UGLIEST BULL COW OUT THERE AND KILLED IT WITH MY BEAR HANDS BEFORE DRAGGING ITS CARCASS BACK TO MY MONSTER TRUCK!!! I THEN DROVE THROUGH EXPLOSIONS TO GET TO MY BARBECUE GRILL AND BODYSLAMMED THAT COW DOWN ON IT TO COOK!!!! !!
The necklace on the left in this picture is the largest wing from that wing charm pack, and the one on the right is actually a piece from a wind-up clock that I had taken apart a number of years ago. I'd have to say that one was my first Steampunk necklace before I made the Junklace.
It's more complicated than just slapping some feathers together. Each one has its own size and shape, and I wanted two that were the right shape, size, and color. That wasn't easy and it took me a long time to gather just the right two (making sure to clean them well, of course.) They still didn't feel organic enough, though, so I looked at some pictures online and decided to go with a three-feather style, salvaging some chain material from the bronze three-wing earrings I had split apart. These ones are much more natural in their movement.
When making jewelry, metal choice is important. I have here 3 different colors that some people would just call "silver." On the far left is a black chain for comparison. Next is a dark silver or grey-ish silver, which I had bought and later realized it was too dark. The next one was the right color silver I needed, though I like the chain of the middle one the best.
The earring hooks are also there to show an even lighter color of silver. The hooks on the left match the chain next to it and are my favorite for crafting because they don't hurt my ears at all. The ones on the right I had bought and realized the silver color was too bright, plus they are a cheaper material and hurt my ears really bad, so I will probably just throw them away in the future, they're that bad. On the left here are those same earrings, plus two different bronze-type earring hooks. I bought the bag on the right for my gear earrings and realized they were the wrong color, so I had to go back and get the bag on the left. Seriously, when you're making jewelry, take the piece you're working with to reference the color you're looking for.
YEAH! EVERYBODY LOVES ZOMBIES!! I RAN INTO SOME ZOMBIES WHEN I WAS AT THE GROCERY STORE! SO I WHIPPED OUT MY SHOTGUN THAT I ALWAYS KEEP WITH ME WHEN I GO TO THE GROCERY STORE FOR JUST THIS VERY REASON! THEN I BLASTED THEIR FACES OFF! THEN, SUDDENLY OUT OF NOWHERE ONE GRABS MY ANKLE FROM BEHIND THE INSTANT RICE SO I SMASHED ITS FINGERS AND THEN BLASTED ITS TEETH RIGHT OFF! AFTER THAT I RANG UP MY PURCHASES AND RAN OVER MORE ZOMBIES WITH MY COW-STAINED MONSTER TRUCK ON THE WAY HOME AND HAD SOME RICE-A-RONI!!!
Most come in multi-packs and most of the time you want only one. These are all ones that I haven't found a use yet that I got as a pack when I wanted one in particular. The wing hearts came from the wing-charm sets, and I honestly have no idea what to do with them since I'm not a big fan of hearts and the hole goes through the top and bottom part of the heart, like a bead, so they can't work at a centerpiece for a necklace.
You can do more with charms (/findings/pendants, etc etc) than just make them into jewelry. Perhaps one of my favorite uses are bottle-neck decorations. The tallest bottle is a small wire of glass beads with a simple metal cross. I wanted it to look a bit like a rosary. It's way too tiny for a necklace or even a bracelet, but it's perfect for a bottle. the smaller bottle on the right is a rock charm I've had forever and only recently found a use for it.
Of course, sometimes you have the exact opposite problem, you have a project idea but can't find exactly what you're looking for. You'll see some of my smaller project ideas in my next post.