Mix It Up a Little with Mixed Media Jewelry Making Techniques

Mar 6, 2012

From Jennifer: When I was in high school, I loved to experiment with making jewelry out of anything I could get my hands on. Paper, clay, buttons, wire, you name it! Before I settled on beads, I thought that I'd be making art jewelry out of all kinds of materials. I never really gave up using mixed media techniques to make unique jewelry, and I love seeing what our Cloth Paper Scissors online editor Cate Prato is up to! Last year, Cate featured a free mixed media jewelry project from artist Belinda Spiwak that is fast, fun and a great introduction to the world of mixed media jewelry!

A couple of weeks ago I attended a reunion of women journalists who all worked for the same daily newspaper many years ago. My daughter helped me dress for the event, and when it came time for jewelry, she plucked a bead, wire, and found object necklace from the wall and handed it to me.

"This picks up the colors in your sweater," she said. "And it makes you look artsy."

And, indeed, I received several compliments on the necklace and how unusual it was. The piece, made by Belinda Spiwak, was a real conversation starter and gave me several openings to talk about Cloth Paper Scissors.

Belinda is a prolific artist and always has plenty of new and exciting ideas to share. Here are two of her techniques for making mixed-media pendants.

Mixed Media Pendant Techniques by Belinda Spiwak

Paper-Fabric Heart Pendants

There's nothing more fun than creating pendants from different materials. Since you can create them from most anything, you can let your imagination go wild. The only requirement is that your pendant be clothing friendly and easily wearable. Otherwise, you can use whatever materials you have on hand and make it however big you like it!

Materials

  • Paper and fabric scraps
  • Craft weight or heavyweight interfacing
  • Sewing machine
  • Hole punch
  • Eyelets and setter 

Directions 

1. Create a quilt sandwich with fabric on the bottom and scraps of different papers on top.  You will want to use smaller pieces of paper scraps to create contrast. 

2. Cut out the sewn scraps into heart shapes.

3. Use a small, tight zigzag stitch to close up the edges and open areas on your shape.

4. Punch a hole and set the eyelet near one of the corners for a jump ring.

5. Embellish as desired.

Coffee or Tea-stained Game Tile Pendants

You can stain game tiles with regular coffee or herbal tea. I use passion tea, blueberry tea, or raspberry tea.  Passion and blueberry make it blue/purple and raspberry is a reddish burgundy.

Materials

  • Dominoes or game tiles (such as travel mah jong)
  • Small cooking pot (dedicated for art)
  • Coffee or tea bags
  • Water
  • Rubber stamps (I used Artgirlz and Fred Mullett stamps) 
  • Permanent ink pad
  • Towel for drying
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Jump ring 

Directions

Note: You do not need to sand your tiles. Also, some will darken more than others. Embrace serendipity.

1. Drop tiles into the pot and cover with water. The tiles should be submerged about an inch below the water.

2. Add coffee or tea bags to the pot. I usually add about 4-5 scoops of coffee and 4-5 teabags to the water depending on how many tiles I am staining.

3. Heat the pot until the water reaches a rapid boil, then lower to low/medium. Let the water continue a low rolling boil for 30 to 45 minutes, adding a little more water if needed to keep the tiles covered. Keep an eye on it, as if you leave the pot on too long the resin will begin to bubble and melt.

4. Turn off the heat and let tiles sit in the coffee/tea water. I usually leave it for several hours or overnight. 

5. Rinse off residue and leave the tiles to dry completely on towel.

6. Stamp with permanent ink and a stamp. Let dry.

7. Embellish as desired and a drill hole for the jump ring.

I don't know about you, but projects like these just make me feel like a kid again! Experience the child-like wonder of letting yourself make art just for the fun of it with a subscription to Cloth Paper Scissors. Each issue is packed with wonderful ideas and techniques for making all sorts of mixed-media art, including boxes, tote bags, journals and altered books and, of course, jewelry! Subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors and re-discover just how much fun art can be!

Do you have a favorite mixed-media technique that you use for jewelry making? Leave a comment and share it with us here on the blog!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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