Thursday, December 15, 2011

Making a metallic masterpiece

I can't wait for tonight's episode of "Project Accessory." If you read my Zippy Upcycling post, you already know my favorites on the show (Nina Cortes and Christina Caruso), and I'm excited to report they are both still on it.

Nina, the one I've had my fingers crossed for from the start, nearly won the last challenge (if she had, her necklace and clutch would have been manufactured as part of Kenneth Cole's accessory line). Inspired by her amazing chain necklace (which can be seen on page 5 of 6 in this link), I put together a more simplified version to wear around here (to holiday parties and such, rather than on the show's more glamorous runway).

At the top of this post, you can see what I used to make mine: just a simple copper chain with black details, a section of thinner copper/black chains, copper loops and a clasp, as well as metallic embroidery floss in both silver and white gold.

First, I attached a loop and a clasp to one end of the chain, using a 3-in-1 jewelry making tool. Then, I decided how long I wanted the necklace to be and attached another loop at that point.

I centered the section of smaller chains, and using two small copper loops, hooked the two ends of the section to the middle of the necklace.

It looked pretty cute like this, but to really jazz it up and make it my own, I added silver and white gold embroidery floss to the mix to mimic the multi-colored metallic chains in Nina's creation, in a less expensive and understated manner (I figured I could always remove them later, if I ever want to go back to the more basic version of this necklace).

I cut the embroidery floss into strands that, when folded in half, would still be slightly longer than the small chains. I attached them one piece at a time by threading the loop on the folded end through a chunky link in the center of the necklace, and then guiding the two end pieces through that loop/pulling them snug into place (I alternated the silver with the white gold for more dimension, filling in the entire area behind the small chains).

To secure the latched pieces of embroidery floss, I tied a small knot at the base of the loop. Then, I frayed the ends (actually, metallic embroidery floss seems to naturally unravel itself) for a fuller effect.

Lastly, I trimmed the floss pieces with a pair of shears to mimic the angled shape of the small chains. What do you think of the finished product? I liked it so much that I wore it out that night (and for the next few days and nights, too).

For dramatic effect, I left the whole length of the chunky copper chain intact, so it would hang down my back, similar to how Nina added long multi-strands along the back of her creation (I wish I could find a photo of the back of hers).

Unfortunately, this is my real mommy world, and the length of the chain didn't quite suit my lifestyle (I think Hayden wanted to use it as a leash; maybe I'm better off with a mommy necklace like this one or this one, currently on OpenSky - don't forget about the contest we're participating in right now, which has been extended until the end of next month).

In the end, I cut off the excess chain, satisfied with the focal piece in the front, rather than the extreme length in the back.

I'm still happy with the results. It's always fun to make your own versions of what you see in the magazines and on t.v. I wonder what will inspire me in tonight's episode :-)