March 7, 2012

Steampunk Jewelry

A sample of the pieces, right before they are baked
    As promised, I have a new craft for you, based on a steampunk aesthetic. Basically, this is a brass/metallic look including gears, sprockets, wires, etc. Steampunk is based upon an alternate version of reality; an idea of how our world would have developed differently if Victorian England had relied more heavily on steam power rather than developing electricity. There are tons of sources out there to describe how this look came about, so check some of that out for a better explanation. 
My craft zone for steampunk jewelry projects. You can see clay, embossing powder, as well as tools (in the soup can)
     My mom keeps checking out books on this aesthetic used in crafting and one of my really good friends recently went to a steampunk/scifi convention in Dallas that really got me into the idea. Especially when it comes to costuming and jewelry, I love make-believe and whimsy. This craft lends itself well to the beginner. Gathering all the little tidbits is probably the hardest part of the whole creative process. Luckily for me, I am a compulsive craft/object hoarder, so I often have lots of junk lying around dying to be played with and put in a project.
For this project, you will need:
·         Sculpey (in at least one color)
·         A bezel (in this case, I used a bracelet and a pocket watch)
·         Little pieces of this and that (lots of watch parts- gears, clock hands, faces, watch band holders; beads, jewels, and buttons, sections of vintage pictures, etc.)
·         An oven
·         Embossing powders (optional)
·         Needle tool (optional, but helpful)
·         Needlenose pliers (optional, but helpful for small pieces)
1.       Starting with your sculpey, break off a small piece of the clay (enough to fill up your chosen bezel/holder plus a little extra).

2.       Knead the clay between your fingers until it is pliable. If you got a good piece from the store, this should be an easy process. If it is brittle and dry though, add just a little bit of criso (less than a pea sized amount) and work that in until it is blended and your piece is pliable.

3.       Once you have the sculpey ready, start shaping it to fit inside your bezel so that the clay covers the inside rim.

4.       Gently work the clay in to your bezel until it fits and looks the way you want (either flat or rounded to the rim; the blue one is slightly rounded and green dips below the rim in the pictures below.)

I always start with the bigger pieces first (in this case, the button and larger gears), then I add detailing and bling

5.       Next comes the fun part, decorating! I drew some pictures of how I wanted all the little pieces to fit together, but this isn’t entirely necessary. Just add what looks good and keep layering this until you have most of the bezel covered in little bits.

On this piece, the embossing powder is the gritty, bronzy substance at the top and near the beads; it will turn gold with heat
6.       Next, I embellished the free spaces I had. First with the needlepoint tool, making little marks (you can see this more clearly in the blue piece than the green one) and then brushing on a little embossing powder

7.       Set your oven to the recommended setting and time based on how thick your clay is and get ready to bake (I think mine needed to bake for 15 min. or so). If you put anything plastic in the clay, take it out now and glue it back in after it is all baked that way it doesn’t melt or release any noxious chemicals in the oven.  Tada!
This is a picture right before they went into the oven. I put them on a sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet.
Disclaimer:  Also, I will admit that I spent a day or two before doing this project scoping out pretty, but broken watches at the flea market and breaking them apart for all their individual pieces. If you do this, pick non quartz watches (they have less in terms of gears/mechanics) and be careful! I had a spring or two pop out with the force of a mac truck. I want you to keep all your eyes and pretty faces intact while working on this project.

No comments:

Post a Comment