Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Make Upcycled Washer Earrings

Distressed Brass Washer Earrings
Designing and creating jewelry is so much fun.  But I also enjoy shopping for my jewelry components and findings.  Most of my components are found from various sites on-line - and I have just about as much fun choosing what to order as making the items once they are here!  I actually can get "lost" on a site imagining all the beautiful things that could be made with a particular bead, stamping, or other component.  This week, though, I decided to challenge myself a bit and try using some non-conventional components.  So while I was in my local Lowe's Home Improvement store, I visited the hardware department and picked up some round brass and zinc washers to see what I could do with them.

For these earrings, I used the following items:
Gilder's Paste is a wonderful medium that I have only recently discovered.  It can be used to change, enhance and highlight the color of many materials.  See my previous post for more about this incredible paste!

Here are the brass washers as they appeared right out of the package:

Raw Brass Washers (Before Hammering and Glazing)
Instructions for preparing the washers:

1.  Hammer the brass washings to give them texture - I used a checkered head hammer to add texture, but you can use a plain household hammer over something like plain concrete to give texture.  If you are hammering inside, use a sturdy table or surface.  I used a wood chopping block which I set on top of a kitchen counter top.  I textured both sides, but you can choose to only do one side if you like.
2.  Apply Gilder's Paste to brass washings (I used a combination of "Verdigras," Penitage," and "Antique Bronze."  Simply rub the paste onto both sides of the washer using a soft cloth - a cotton T-shirt works very well, or use an old washcloth.
3.  Let the paste dry about 10 minutes.  
4.  Then rub again with the cloth to remove excess.  Sand the surface and sides of the washer with either fine sandpaper or a nail file - I used a four sided file that had different levels of courseness and did not use the most course side.
5.  Polish with a polishing cloth - I used an unused pad from a makeup powder compact.
6.  Seal with Diamond Glaze or a lacquer sealant for metal.  (I used         )  I sealed one side and let dry about one hour, then glazed the other side.

Here is a picture of the washers after hammering and coloring, then sealing with the glaze:

Textured and Glazed Washers
To make the earrings, use any design of your choosing.  I used antiqued brass chain to loop and stack the washers together onto the earring wires. Here is a picture of my finished design:

Finished Upcycled Earrings
You could put together any variation of your choosing - add some Swarovski crystals or other beads if you like, or add different colors and sizes of washers.  The possibilities are endless!

Also, in my last post about Antiquing Jewelry with Gilder's Paste, I showed how I made a pretty carved rose pendant using Gilder's Paste.  Here is the finished design:

Carved Rose Necklace (View 1)

Carved Rose Necklace (View 2)

Be sure to visit my Etsy shop to see these designs and more!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to Antique Jewelry With Gilder's Paste

I have just begun experimenting with Gilder's Paste.  What an incredible material for antiquing and enhancing jewelry!  Gilder's Paste is a wax based medium that can be applied to jewelry and other crafts to create unique colors and patinas.  I bought mine from in several colors:  Antique Gold, German Silver, Verdigris, and Pinotage.

I am still experimenting with it but have started on a few pieces.  The first is a pendant I created using an antiqued silver stamping and a rose station carved from white bamboo coral. The silver stamping is from, and the carved rose is from

Antique Silver Setting

Carved Rose Station
I used E-6000 glue to bond these two components together and let dry for 24 hours.  E-6000 glue can be purchased at any craft store.

The result was rather plain, so I decided to embellish these pieces with some Gilder's Paste.  I applied a combination of Pinotage and Antique Gold colors to create a rosy, golden highlighted patina.

To apply Gilder's Paste, use a soft cloth (I like to use an old cotton T-shirt because it is lint free.)  Rub the paste onto the surface and let dry about 10 minutes.  Then rub again to remove excess and lightly sand - I used a manicure buffing block with medium to fine sanding surfaces.  Next, polish with a polishing cloth or use what I did - an unused pad from a cosmetic powder compact.

Finally seal the paste with a glaze such as Diamond Glaze - I substituted a glass and craft glaze from SunAndMoonCraftKits on Etsy - it is less expensive than Diamond Glaze and works just as well!  Let dry for 24 hours before handling.

Here is the finished pendant:

Finished Rose Pendant
I will post pics of my finished necklace design soon, so be sure to check back to see the finished piece!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


VICTORIAN VINTAGE IMAGES | Vintage Clip Art Vintage Ephemera Vintage Scrapbooking

I just found this great site for downloadable victorian images. These images are great for making vintage style jewelry and crafts, labels, scrapbooking and more. Images are reasonably priced at about $1.00 per download or you can subscribe for a full year at $36.00 and receive unlimited downloads.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learning to Use My New Hips

I am now 12 days post-op from hip surgery.  I have two new hips now which I am slowly getting used to.  I cannot deny it has been hard to rehab - and I still have a long way to go!  But progress is being made daily.  I will need to use my walker for about two more weeks until I see my orthopedist - can hopefully advance then to a cane.  I can drive after six weeks.  Just went up the stairs in my house for the first time yesterday - with the help of my physical therapist - scary but I did it!

Re-training my muscles to walk with a normal gait after having such an abnormal gait for so long due to the arthritis is proving to be a true challenge.  But I am intent on doing it!  I am receiving in-home physical therapy for now and will progress to more agressive outpatient therapy after seeing my orthopedist in two weeks.

Just re-opened my Etsy and ArtFire shops after having them on "vacation mode" for the past 12 days.  It is truly good to be involved with my shops again.  For now, I have not added any new designs, but will be doing so soon!

Updates to follow.