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!

No comments:

Post a Comment