I had a pretty crazy December - lots of stuff going on with work and family (more than the typical holiday season,) and I didn't quite get around to sending Christmas gifts to all my friends. So this month I'm making Chinese New Year gifts! (Sounds much better than Belated Christmas Presents, don't you think?) I knew I wanted to make necklaces, and what better foundation for creating unique jewelry designs than using stencils!
I made nine stenciled statement necklaces. I don't actually need that many, but once I started I just couldn't seem to stop!
Here's a quick little overview of how these came together...
First, I got out some very old oval punches and punched out a shape that was pretty close to the size of my pendant tray / bezel. I trimmed each one just a bit so it would fit (I was already planning to cover the edges, so making it an exact fit wasn't too important.) Then I painted each one (can you tell my palette was influenced by the cold and snowy weather here in Utah?)
When the base layer was dry, I used my stencils and some gold and silver acrylic paint to add the background design. One of the things I like to do to help make stencil designs my own is to just use bits and pieces of the design. I auditioned several stencils on top of my painted ovals until I found compositions I liked, then stenciled away!
Here are the stencils I used for the necklaces... can you tell which designs go with which necklace? (Here's a little hint... I'll list them in order of the photo below, going from left to right and top to bottom.)
Decorative Folk Flower Stencil (the next one used this same design)
Decorative 6 Petal Flower Screen (again!)
Once the backgrounds were stenciled, I went through my drawers full of small pieces of broken jewelry and found little bits and bobs that I thought would work and auditioned them on top of the different designs.
Once I'd decided what I wanted to do, I went ahead and glued the background into the bezel. I was going to fill these with a clear resin, and the glue helps keep the paper from curling until the resin cures. I used Weldbond glue since I knew it would stick to metal.
With that done, I went through with gold and silver metallic paint markers and closed the gaps from the stencil bridges - I just think that gives it a more finished look.
Next, it was time to start gluing on the embellishments! I added the broken jewelry bits and then used beads and rhinestones, etc... to put borders around and cover up any gaps from the background.
Again, I used glue to put them down so that they would stay put until the resin cured. Speaking of... next I added the resin! I used a clear, jewelry grade resin (Ice Resin is a great one) and filled up the bezels. I added some micro beads and glitter here and there. Obviously that would be totally optional (even the resin could be skipped if you want!) but I love a little glitter!
I let that dry overnight... some of them had to be touched up, then it was time to add more embellishments to the bezels! Again, this step is totally optional, but you know me... layers and tiny details are a requirement!
I had lots of different metal findings and charms, did lots of auditioning to see which ones worked best and with which designs, and then started gluing everything together - I used E-6000 for this part.
While the glue was drying, I put together the chains... some were chains I'd made a few years ago that I was able to re-purpose, a few were just plain metal chains, one was a store-bought necklace that I'd taken apart and I used part of that, and a few of them I made to match the pendants. (I knew keeping all of my jewelry making supplies was a good idea!)
Here are the five gold necklaces:
Then the four silver necklaces:
Of course, I couldn't leave you without showing individual shots... you can see how the stenciling in the background isn't something you pay a lot of attention to, but it's definitely what ties everything together! Think how different they'd be with just plain colors in the background... blah!
That's it for this month... I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you ever made jewelry using your stencils? We'd love to see! (Especially if you make some using this tutorial!)
Until next time, happy stenciling!