Last summer I posted a tutorial for making pendants out of flat glass marbles – and I’ve been having so much fun lately making a LOT of jewelry that I wanted to revisit the idea with you. The process is so darn simple – all you need are jewelry findings and beads or cabochons. For those of you that have never, ever made jewelry before, jewelry findings are the metal chains, connectors, pins, clasps, etc that actually enable you to wear your creations. Beads have holes in them for stringing – and cabochons are essentially flat back beads with no holes in them and are glued in place instead of strung.
The other reason I wanted to post about jewelry making again is some pretty cool news. Long time readers know my kids have grown up crafting in our home, and all of my tutorials and projects for Craft Jr. have gone through a full age-appropriate trial run right here in my studio/crafting room. My oldest, who has always been a great source for teen craft ideas, is now in college. Since she is studying business, she and I hatched a plan to give her some real-world experience – in a wonderful full-circle sort of way. She and I have started an Etsy shop where will will be selling our creations – AND offering up kids crafting kits if you don’t have the supplies for Craft Jr. tutorials! Don’t worry, we’ll still post plenty of projects to make with things you already have around the house. And from now on, I will also try to make sure that if we create a tutorial from non-everyday materials, I will put together affordable kits with everything you need to complete the projects. I might not be able to get my hands on everything we use at wholesale prices, but I promise that whatever kits we put together will be both kid-friendly and wallet-friendly!
Getting back to this jewelry making tutorial – I was talking about the materials we used for these earrings, hair pins, and brooches. Here’s what we used:
The findings we used were a filigree safety pin style brooch, hair pins with a glue pad, and earring post blanks. For cabochons, I got some lovely resin flowers, some good quality rhinestone flowers, flat backed pearls, and I also found several great buttons in my sewing stash that made this extra cute (my ten year old specifically asked for button earrings… she’s got her mama’s creativity, too!). You can find all of these items separately at any craft store: Joann, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
Even though I’ve made jewelry since I was a teenager myself, even I was a little surprised at how easy it was to make these, especially the post earrings. The trick is making sure you use the right glue. This isn’t something that Elmer’s or your hot glue gun can handle. Gluing metal to plastic or glass won’t really work too well unless you use an adhesive specifically made for the job. And after a lot of experimenting, I can only honestly recommend two of them:
I actually prefer the Devcon epoxy, even though it’s a little tricky to work with. That stuff is almost like a weld! To use it, simply squeeze out a TINY bit onto a paper plate, making sure that you get an equal amount of stuff from both sides of the plunger. Then use a toothpick to mix the two together thoroughly. That toothpick, by the way, also acts as the perfect glue applicator to the backs of tiny buttons and beads!
Then you have to ACT FAST. In fact, I should probably back up and say that you should make sure you have all your findings and beads/cabochons ready to go, and that you’ve planned out what you want to glue where. Because when they say “5 Minute Epoxy” – they mean it. You literally have 5 minutes or less to glue your items in place before the compound hardens.
E-6000 is a much more forgiving glue, but is also much stinkier and sometimes doesn’t hold as well as the epoxy does. With E-6000, you put some of the glue on each part you want to put together, let them dry slightly, then stick them together (read the package directions for more detailed instructions). Then wait 48 hours to do anything with it – bummer. I’d recommend E-6000 for younger tweens, mostly because rushing to work with the epoxy is probably too much for a kid to do in such a short amount of time. But anyone 12 and up would probably want to use the epoxy, especially because it ends up being a stronger bond that will last longer.
But no matter what glue you use, once you’ve glued, well, you’re done! That is why this is such an easy yet totally satisfying project – glue, dry, and suddenly it’s like you have just taken a trip to Claire’s Accessories, but handmade – and prettier! See what I mean?
And just in case you were curious – remember when I said my kids grew up crafting? Here’s the same little lady, the very first time we made jewelry together: