Earlier this week I sat down for a crafting night with Emma. Beading and art jewelry beads are one of her favorite crafts thanks to some lessons from my mom. I don’t consider myself a jewelry maker, but I am very fascinated with it, especially by inked metal designs like those from Vintaj. I have building up quite a stash of supplies and tools lately and have decided to teach myself jewelry making. Armed with a pair of really great instruction books from Vintaj (see the links in the supply section below) I set out to create. I shared a photo of my work in progress on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter and got several a few requests for jewelry tutorials. I will warn you, I am not an expert, but I will share what I discover along the way!
The first piece I am sharing is a floral domed pendant. To create this piece you will need a round Vintaj Natural Brass blank. This one didn’t have a size listed, but it is about 1 1/2″. You will also need a Vintaj Sizzix Deco Emboss folder, I chose the Fern Fronds pattern and a die cut machine. I use the Vagabond, but a BigShot or BigKick will work too. I also used a metal flower and leaf charm from Vintaj, a jump ring, and a Nail Head Rivet. I also used two small acrylic flower beads that I bought at a local bead store.
Place the metal blank in the Deco Emboss folder on top of the part of the pattern you would like to use.
After passing through your machine, the blank will have the design embossed on it. You can use either side of the blank. The design will be embossed (raised) on one side and debossed (sunken) on the other. If you use the embossed side, the color you add will be in the recessed areas around the main design (ie the areas around the leaves). If you use the debossed side, the color will be in the main design (ie in the leaf).
Use a paintbrush to apply Vintaj Patinas (Ranger Ink) to the metal pieces. Patinas paints are formulated to adhere to metal and have a permanent finish when dry. They dry very quickly also, so you will want to work fairly quickly with them. The longer they cure, the more permanent the finish. When working with the Patinas, squeeze a small amount out at a time. A small amount goes a really long way. The amount I show above is actually too much! You can mix colors on your craft sheet or on the piece. Colors will mix when they are wet.
After applying a first coat, I like to use a dry paper towel to blot the paint. Blotting helps remove excess paint from the raised areas.
Allow the pieces to sit for just a moment until they are only slightly tacky.
Use a Vintaj Reliefing Block to buff the metal. Reliefing will remove the Patinas from the raised areas and will bring back the original brass finish.
You can layer on other colors on top of dry Patinas for a layered look without the colors mixing.
On blanks I like to Relief the piece after each new layer of color.
On detail pieces like the leaves, I tend to just blot with a paper towel after each color instead of reliefing. I think adding multiple layers of color give pieces like this a lot of interest and help keep the color from looking flat. I also like to dab the paint on in blotchy-like pattern instead of painting it on in strokes. I think it blends better after blotting.
When I do relief on pieces like the flower and leaves, I like to hit the edges so that the metal shows through the color making it look worn and aged and not just painted.
After reliefing, you can go back and add detail with Patinas. For this pendent I wanted to add color to the flowers to make them stand out more and to tie them into the beads. I used Marine to give them a very soft blue base.
Layer on Verdigris using a dabbing technique so as not to completely cover the lighter blue below.
Bab a small touch of Quartz to each flower also.
Dab the Patinas with a paper towel to blend and help remove any excess.
Use the tip of the paint brush to lightly add a bold punch of color to the tips of the flowers to make them really stand out. I used Ruby.
To create a dome effect in the blank, place it one of the bowls of a dabbing block. A dapping block is a wood cube that has different bowls on each side. Each bowl varies in diameter and depth.
The block includes a wooden punch that has a smooth rounded end. To create the dome, you place the blank in the bowl and then hold the wooden punch over it. You hammer the top of the wooden punch. Move the wooden punch around on the blank as you continue to hammer. I find that when I think “tap, tap, tap” instead of “bang, bang, bang” I end up with a nicer looking dome. This isn’t a one or two strike process. Be patient, slow, and steady and you will totally reshape the metal blank.
When finished, your blank will be curved just like the dapping block bowl. You would think that this process would change or affect the embossing, but it doesn’t at all. The force used to create the embossing is far greater than the dapping process. Those little “tap, tap, taps” won’t change the embossing.
If you would like a glossy finish, you can coat the pieces with Vintaj Glaze. For my piece I added glaze to the blank but left the flowers and leaves in the matte finish.
To assemble the pendent, bend the leaves and flowers slightly so that the back of the embellishments sits in the center back of the domed blank and the leaves and flowers sit on the rim of the domed blank. Use a fine tip marker to mark the placement of the hole in the center of the embellishment on the back of the domed blank.
Use an awl and a hammer to punch a hole through the center of the domed blank on top of a rubber dampening block.
Use a small round metal file or bead reamer to file and enlarge the hole.
Use a metal file to smooth any rough edges on the back of the domed blank.
Insert a nail head rivet through the back of the domed blank. The head of the rivet should set against the back of the domed blank.
The post of the rivet should stick out through the center front of the domed blank.
Place the flowers and leaves embellishment on domed blank with the post of the rivet sticking through the center of the embellishment.
Add the large flower bead to the stack.
Place the smaller flower bead on top of the stack.
Place the assembled stack on top of a bench block placed on top of a dampening block.
Use a pair of flush cutters to trim the rivet to about 1/16″ above the flower.
Use a pointy end ball pein hammer to tap the rivet until the tip of it flares out. This is another “tap, tap, tap” process. If you hit the stack too hard you can crack the flower bead like I did above. If that happens, use a flush cutter to snip the tip off of the rivet. Add a new rivet and a new bead and try again. Continue tapping until the rivet is flared and the stack is secured to the domed blank.
Setting the nail head rivets took me several tries before I felt like I had it down. I thought I had it and then photographed this tutorial and broke the bead! Part of the issue with this piece is that you are trying to hammer down into the center of the flower without smashing the flower petals sticking up. If you have something like a nail set in your garage you might try using it. The rivet in this piece is tricky, but isn’t the finished look so worth it?
Add a jump ring to the hole in the top of the domed blank. If your blank didn’t have a hole, simply use a pair of hole punch pliers to add one. They snip right through the metal.
It is hard to decide what my favorite bit of this pendent is… the colors, the floral elements, the unique shape… I can’t pick a favorite part! I think it just all works so perfectly together to create a piece that is so feminine!
But that domed blank is pretty cool!
I love how much depth the dome adds to the pendent and how it lets you peek under the flowers.
(happy sigh) I really, really love the way it turned out! Since I recreated my original for the tutorial, I now have two. I think I will put one in the mail to my mom for her upcoming birthday and keep one for myself. She inspired Emma’s love of art beads and inspired my love of gardening. I think it is the perfect gift for her!