Black Comet Earrings

A quick post about a quick pair of earrings that I made –

Black Comet Earrings | Anita

I had some blackened translucent polymer clay left over from my image transfer attempts for the coasters that I made recently. I used these for a couple of charms, and made an earring pair by adding in a bunch of bead components that I’d made a while ago – now they kinda remind me of comets (albeit tiny ones! 🙂 )

For the charms, I used a small shape cutter on the clay sheet. Each charm has a ‘bail’ that is a large jump ring partially sandwiched between two shapes. I pressed a texture sheet a couple of times on the bottom half of each charm, and liberally applied white chalk on the surface. After baking the charms, I lightly sanded away the white at the top, leaving behind an ‘antiqued’ pattern on them.

For the ‘tail’ of the comet earrings, I used bead components that I’d made earlier this year. I attached a bunch of 3 components to a small jump ring, then added the charm in front of the bunch, and finally an ear wire before closing the jump ring. Done!

Hope this is a sign that my jewelry mojo is coming back… 🙂

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Image Transfer: Coasters

I’ve not participated in challenges lately due to my creativity having become sluggish, but this month’s theme at Art Elements – Stars by Laney Mead, brought forth some tiny sparks in my right brain. 🙂 By the time I thought of joining, I’d already created some Diwali gel prints using the only stencil in our stash that has some star shapes in it, so I hoped other ideas would appear soon.

I considered various ideas involving beading, wire-weaving, faux soutache with polymer clay, and gel printing, but none clicked. Then, I came across some old printouts of star shaped patterns that I’d thought I’d use for image transfer jewelry using polymer clay. Since I was still woefully short of jewelry ideas, I settled on making a set of coasters instead.

Polymer Clay Coasters using Image Transfer

Don’t see too many stars? That’s because I ran out of prints…

 

The ‘sure’ idea

I wanted colorful bases for my coasters, and instead of spending time and the little energy I had on Skinner blends, I brushed a variety of chalks on plain, unbaked circular clay sheets. (Now that was fun. :)) I transferred the star pattern image onto a sheet of translucent clay, intending to adhere it face-down on a coaster base so I could bake the whole setup and then sand+buff the translucent surface. However, before I could place the translucent sheet on the circle, the sheet just tore apart. Argh, the horror!

Since I’d transferred images onto clay before, I’d been pretty sure that this would work, and now I didn’t have enough copies of the star prints left to form a ‘proper set’ of 4, so I opted to just use a different pattern for each coaster instead.

An alternative

The translucent clay just didn’t want to work with image transfers, so I started looking for alternatives. Liquid polymer clay can be used as a medium for the transfer – but surprisingly, it didn’t produce great results on my unbaked sample bases or baked ones. Then my sis suggested transparent matte gel, and it worked brilliantly! So I applied the gel on my baked coaster bases and stuck the paper on it pattern-side down, and waited for the gel to set completely. I then got the paper soaking wet and gently rubbed it away from the base, leaving the pattern behind.

Finally!

As usual, things just had to work a bit differently on the final pieces than on the samples. 🙂 The ‘gently’ part turned out to be difficult, and I rubbed away the pattern at a few places on two of the coasters. By the time I was on my second piece, I noticed that the pattern would appear pretty vibrant and clear while wet, even if traces of paper showed up everywhere while dry. So for my last two pieces, I decided to just leave all of that stubborn trace paper be, and waited for the pieces to dry fully. Then I poured some resin over the coasters, and voila! Vibrant, patterned coasters, just the way I want. They’re still curing as I write this post, so I haven’t tested them yet; I hope they work well and last a long time.


I was pretty sure I won’t have anything done for this challenge, and even though only one of the patterns has any resemblance to stars, I hope this little something is still better than nothing. Thank you, Laney, for the heavenly theme! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other guests and the Art Elements team have come up with; let’s go blog hopping!

Guests:  Jill Divya Alysen Kathy Tammy Cat Samantha Anita (you’re here) Karin Sarajo Rozantia Kimberly

AE Team: Jen Jenny Niky Laney Claire Cathy Marsha Caroline Susan Lesley

Diwali Gel Prints

Our Diwali consists of hanging paper lanterns and lighting lamps, and we continue with the lanterns for 12 days until another festival, Tulasi Pooja. This festival has us worshiping the sacred Tulasi plant. Following this, the lanterns finally come down, and go into the attic until next year. 🙂

I made some gel prints to represent Diwali, and I think a few of them also apply to the 12 subsequent days. The lanterns might finally be off now, but it feels wonderful to have these prints remind me of the festivals!

I used stencils for both the background and the foreground. Getting the prints to come out well in as few attempts as possible is still a trick I haven’t got the hang of, but I’ve noticed that once they start turning out good, they keep turning out good for a while…

I might still be in a jewelry funk, but I’m glad there’s still some creativity in me to channel in another direction while I wait for the jewelry mojo to return. 🙂 If I keep at the gel printing, I’ll probably start an art journal instead of picking up random pieces of paper.

Table Makeover

My break from jewelry making continues, and I thought I could spruce up my work table while I’m not using it to work on jewelry. The front of this table’s drawers were white earlier, and though I didn’t really dislike that, some color would definitely make the table cheerier to look at. My sister has a few jars of chalk paint that she’d used a while ago to give a new look to some furniture in her room, and I borrowed a few of these paints for my redecoration project.

Before starting the paint job, I removed the drawers from the table, and wiped them clean with soapy water followed by clean water. I then masked the sides of the drawers. The drawers are made from MDF, and have some slight texture to them that I wanted to retain, so I didn’t sand them.

Table drawer makeover with chalk paint

Table drawer makeover with chalk paint

My first painting attempt didn’t go as I’d planned, and I even ended up with an accidental splotch of paint that spoiled the look of the piece, so I wiped the surfaces clean with water again. (This is a welcome advantage of chalk paints for clumsy new painters like me – do-overs are pretty easy.)

For my second, and final, attempt, I was a bit more careful with the paint. I also changed my original design just a little bit. I think I also got a bit more comfortable with the painting process, and the result was much better than earlier.

I painted the bottom half of the length of the drawers with a lighter paint. Then, I painted the top half with darker paint. I added a random pattern of circles to the lower half by brushing the rim of a small sized lid with bright paints and pressing the lid onto the painted surface. Finally, I added another coat of darker paint to the top half since it was still looking uneven. It’s still uneven on closer inspection, but that doesn’t matter much to me.

The advantage that I mentioned earlier – of chalk paint reacting to water even after application – becomes a disadvantage when the project is finished 🙂 so I ended up applying a layer of wax on the drawers, and buffed it very slightly, to increase the paint’s staying power.

I’m pretty happy with the result, and love the new look of my table!

Something New…

I’ve been seeing a dip in my creative mojo as far as my usual pursuits are concerned. Instead of trying to channel energy into forced jewelry making, I tried out random new things – not really jewelry-related – for a creativity lift. One was some basic weaving, and the other, gel printing (or mono printing with gel plates.)

Gel printing is a lot of fun, and I think it’ll be super-addictive if I keep at it. Acrylics are a staple in our arsenal anyway, and my sister already owns a Gelli Plate, so it was a no-brainer to get it all together on my work table and have some unplanned fun.

Gel Printing Trial

Gel printing itself is very simple – the most basic process involves applying an even coat of one or more colors of acrylic paint on the gel plate, placing a paper sheet face down onto the plate, lightly burnishing the paper to transfer the paint onto it, peeling back the paper and admiring your print. Stencils or stamps can be used to add visual texture and definition to the print, and layering your prints makes complex prints possible. Even the leftover pattern on the gel plate can be used to get a ghost print, which in itself could turn out interesting. So many possibilities!

For this session, my very first, I played with just one texture – a mesh bag. It took me a few tries to use the brayer/roller right. (The brayer is used to spread and mix colors as a thin layer.) Very soon, I ended up with some hardened paint on a part of the brayer, which I spent an afternoon removing – if left as is, that uneven paint layer would make future brayer applications uneven.

I’ll need practice if I want the prints to turn out better, but right now, the idea is to not think much and just enjoy a creative break, and this is the perfect activity for that. Each print turns out different, and the slightly unpredictable nature of the results make it easy to let go. I’ll definitely do more gel printing, though I have no idea what I’ll do with the prints! 🙂

Crackled Earrings

I finally used a couple of lentil-shaped hollow beads from the bunch of items that I’d created almost a year ago using crackled veneer. And what a charming pair of earrings they make!

Crackled Hollow Lentil Bead Earrings | Anita

For these earrings, I tied strips from two different fabrics to a large jump ring that I passed through the top of the crackled beads.

There was still something missing though, so I made two bead rings, each from around 40 non-uniform 11/0 seed beads. I added each ring behind the fabric for some intrigue.

The fabric is not very drapey and it sticks out, so I used a tiny bit of E6000 to adhere the ends of the black strips to the bead below, while leaving the peach strips be.

Since I used beads that I made earlier, it felt like I finished in a jiffy. As if to compensate, I ended up adding the earring findings only after a day or two. 😉

That’s it really, this assembly project was a total no-hassle one. I love these earrings since they look good, are extremely lightweight, and are fun to wear.

Ode to Autumn Earrings | We’re All Ears Challenge

This month’s We’re All Ears Challenge at Earrings Everyday is all about Autumn. And of course, that means leaf shaped charms! 🙂 I used polymer clay, alcohol inks and Perfect Pearls for mine.

Ode to Autumn Earrings | Anita

The charms

On a yellow-tinged white sheet of polymer clay, I stamped leafy textures from a texture sheet, from which I cut out leaf shapes using a cutter. I also rolled up a snake, and from its pieces, added tiny stalks to the tops of these leaves. I then dripped alcohol inks – sunset, flamingo and watermelon colors – onto the sheets, ensuring they got into all the niches. Using a Q-tip, I removed some ink from the raised surfaces.

After the ink dried, I brushed gold colored Perfect Pearls into the lower half of the charms, again, ensuring that it went into the recesses.

I pressed lightly textured sheets to the back of the charms for better finishing, since the alcohol ink was messily smeared over the back too. After smoothing surfaces and edges and poking tiny holes at the top, off went the charms into the oven for a 25-minute bake.

After the baking, I lightly sanded the raised surfaces to remove more of the alcohol inks and the Perfect Pearls, leaving a colorful canvas of autumn colors and golden shine!

The earrings

I used a length of red wire to match the color scheme of the charms. For each earring, I strung a pre-wired gold loreal seed bead to the wire, placing it near the hole at the top of the leaf, and wound the wire around the leaf’s stalk. I finished the winding with an eye loop. Addition of an earring finding completed the assembly.

I love how much fun these earrings were to make, and how much fun they are to wear!


Do head on over to the reveal and blog hop at Earrings Everyday to see a plethora of autumn themed earrings from talented artists!