Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recycling Fun

Once again, I'm trying to plan my summer classes at the libray.  For the last three years or so, I've done a jewelry-making class for teens and tweens.  I've done typical crafts like macrame`, making polymer clay beads, and shrink film charms, but this year I wanted to try something different.  I've been seeing a lot of supplies in the craft stores for making charms and pendents out of bottlecaps.  I had even bought this book put out by Klutz a few years ago for my daughter for her birthday.  It came with clean, new bottlecaps, cut-out circles you can glue inside, and cute little figurines like horses and penguins, shown here.  It came with a small bottle of a glaze much like Mod Podge's Dimensional Magic.
I bought some magnets to glue on the back of the bottlecaps so they can be used on the refrigerator or in a school locker.  You could even put a magnet on a cord and make a necklace with a bottlecap pendent that can be changed out. 

But this all seemed too complicated and expensive to do at the library.  How could I simplify it?

Well, while I was out shopping with my youngest daughter on Mother's Day, I came across this cool tool on the wall at JoAnn's jewelry department.  It punches holes in metal!  If it works, I could punch a little hole at the top of the bottlecap and simply put a jumpring through it to make a charm or necklace!

I tested it out this week and it works great!  It goes through the metal like butter and leaves a small, neat hole!  I dug up a few old beer bottlecaps I've been saving and came up with these:
I used old National Geographic magazine photos for the backgrounds and printed up some inspirational words.  I took little silver stars out of the stash of sequins at the library.  I added the glaze and let them dry overnight.  Aren't they cute?  I'm not sure if we'll use recycled beer bottlecaps for the kids at the library (kind of condones the use of alcohol, doesn't it?), but it's a pretty inexpensive craft all around!

At home, I played around with some old postage stamps for a swap I joined called "Going Postal."  I decoupage the stamps on small, flat wooden shapes as well as on oval and round beads.  Here are the finished charms:

Finally, I got ideas from a swap the yahoo group held that I did not join, a swap with the colors blue and brown.  It didn't sound very appealing to me until I started to think about denim and suede.  It seemed very 60's and 70's, and much more fun than I originally thought!  I may make up a few "bohemian" style bracelets and try to get them into my Etsy shop.  I began playing with any blue and brown materials I had.  I made a peace-sign cane out of polymer clay, rolled it smaller, and sliced it up into 1-inch charms.
 And I played with other wooden beads, denim, ultrasuede fabric, shrink film and buttons.  Here's the results:

I think it's going to take some time to gather materials to make enough charms to fill this bracelet.  I want it done yesterday but I'll have to be patient with myself.  They're forecasting a beautiful weekend and I'm not sure how much time I'll want to spend indoors (hey, maybe I"ll truck some of my supplies out to the deck... after the housecleaning and other chores get done!)  Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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