Thursday, August 12, 2010

A tennis bracelet.



A few posts back, I made jewelry from the rubber tips of badminton birdies, and by some miracle they turned out kinda cool. In a moment of unfortunate hubris, I declared that anything could become jewelry - and asked my readers to challenge me. Oopsie!

One of them challenged me to make jewelry from a worn out tennis ball. (Her actual comment: "I dare you!")

So I went and found one. Behold:


Using a serrated steak knife, I sawed it in half along the contour lines. Inside was a layer of tough rubber, glued to the fuzzy outer fabric with some kind of powerful, possibly extraterrestrial super-adhesive.

I muscled the fabric off the rubber, huffing and panting like Godzilla's asthmatic auntie...


Getting just one piece free took about ten minutes! Seriously. Afterward, I had to take a nap. When I woke up I stood back and pondered my material...

What I loved was the subtle, curvy shape. And I thought: cuff bracelet! So here's what I did.

First, I painted the fuzzy surface.


I used latex, but acrylic or fabric paint would work, too. I did one in chocolate, one in vanilla; each took several coats.

Now to figure out a clasp. I came up with two styles. For the first, I spread fabric glue on the center section of a length of ribbon...


Glued the ribbon to the cuff and let it dry. The ribbon ends become a self-tie fastener. Check them out:


They work on a little teeny wrist -


And on a large wrist, too.


For a different style of clasp, I poked a hole in each end...


Added jump rings, some chain, and a small lobster clasp. Now I had an adjustable lobster closure, like this:


Okay, the basic cuff was done. Now came the fun part: embellishment! These cuffs are a blank slate. Here are just a few ideas.

Big brooches (just pin them on):



Polymer clay flowers and butterflies (hot glue):





A beaded wire spiral (sewn on from underneath).


Here's my favorite. Chocolate & vanilla bracelets...


...shown here on Kim and Jane, my wondrous, patient, chocolate & vanilla BFFs. Thanks for modeling, you guys!

So that's my tennis bracelet. It was a lot of hard physical labor, but I'm very happy because I rose to the challenge, and because I discovered this great shape. In a future post, I think I'll do a little tutorial on replicating this cuff - except without the tennis ball.

Or the nap.


P.S.: Thanks to Rose, from Fine Craft Guild, for the suggestion. Didja think I couldn't do it?

35 comments:

  1. What the... oh come on, girl, is there anything you can't do??

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  2. I love the one with the pear pendant!! Very gorgeous and perfect for fall.

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  3. really M...okay i have to find something to dare you with.....wow girl thats cool. I like the polymer clay butterflies on the brown one and the buttons on the last two. They are all cool in there own way. They do have that nice curve shape perfect for a braclet.

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  4. Ok, I have to admit when i first saw the title for this over on Tea Rose I was thinking these were going to be some junky thing even my 4 yr old wouldn't wear, but oh my goodness! They are really incredible! Really pretty and super stylish. The beaded wire spiral is really cute. I might have to make one like that for my mom.

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  5. This is the kind of crafting that I would consider "an extreme sport."

    You deserved that nap, girlie! Thanks for sharing! These bracelets are beautiful!!! :)

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  6. Hi, You had me smiling....I like the way you think. I don't think there's anything that can't be repurposed! Great creative mind.
    Keep up the good work.
    Betsy

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  7. This is the neatest craft ever!!! Sooo creative! I'm loving your blog and I'm so excited to be your newest follower..I love new friends at FrouFrouDecor! I'd also like to invite you to my link party/giveaway..every Friday! Hope to see you there!
    XO's
    ~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

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  8. i like a girl who doesn't back down from a challenge. tennis ball shmennis ball... you showed her! way to go, michelle. :)

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  9. Who would ever know that was a tennis ball! It looks fabulous!

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  10. Just goes to prove that crafters can make something out of mothing each and every time!

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  11. I featured your project on my blog today, come grab a button if you'd like:)
    http://justsewsassy.com/2010/08/13/feature-friday-and-my-first-boutique/

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  12. Way to bring it. I love all the ideas.

    http://froufrugal.blogspot.com

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  13. So awesome. Now what about a tutorial for your lovely polymer embellishments. Cannot wait to make this!!!

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  14. So you really can make jewelry from anything.. :)
    I love the play on 'tennis bracelet'..
    The choc and vanilla versions are my personal faves..

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  15. wow that is fabulous! i will have to try it one day. what did you use to poke the hole for the jump ring?

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  16. Hey, at least it wasn't a double dog dare...those are serious! You made it, though! And it's amazing!! I love your tennis bracelet (as evidenced by my overuse of exclamation marks)!

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  17. Another fab project: your jewellery is always inspiring and fun. I've started making more of my own jewellery and love it, it helps that I work in a bead shop too! I posted about you on my blog - http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com - I hope you like my pieces :) Elly

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  18. Absolutely amazing creativity! I can't believe you thought to use a tennis ball AND that you made unique & chic jewelry with it..too fab!! :>

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  19. WOW! This is SOOOO cool!! I am sooo impressed!

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  20. How weird is it that our little lodger came home with a tennis ball yesterday??? *rubs hands and sharpens knives*

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  21. Super impressed...great job! Be sure to visit my blog for a great giveaway!

    Sarah ***Visit my blog for a GIVEAWAY and new linking party!***
    http://bloggingwhilewaiting.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-wednesday-party-link-up-giveway-too.html

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  22. Well you are one very creative gal. I applaud you and your talent they are wonderful. Bravo

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  23. I just finished wresting the rubber off of four tennis balls and I sure am tired. You have inspired me to make a bracelet. I'll let you know when I finish creating it.

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  24. Oh my! You are totally creative! I love it!

    I featured you here:
    http://firefliesandjellybeans.blogspot.com/2009/02/blog-post.html

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  25. I like the beaded spiral! And the bracelets are genius, of course.

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  26. Om goodness-now this is creative, what fun, thanks for sharing!

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  27. Now that's what I call different! you are very imaginative!

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  28. Hey, Michelle, this is ROSE FROM FINE CRAFT GUILD.

    oF COURSE, i THOUGHT THAT YOU ** could ** do it, and ** would do it ** if I would dare you.. ;-)

    Listen, I'm featuring your today on our blog as 'best recycling jewelry' Grab a button to show off the honor.

    ... and while there, share another greatly innovative tutorial... we love to invite you to keep coming up with more.

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  29. WOW! I love a challenge, and that was truly challenging, but you did a fine job of meeting it. I can't wait to try a few myself. I knew all that junk I'v been saving would come in handy. Now, where is that hot glue gun?

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  30. P.S. I forgot to mention, I love your blog, you are not only creative but witty and fun.I really got some good chuckles from reading your post. Thanks for sharing your humor, we can all use a good laugh!!

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  31. Love it! You're so clever and fun. I love your blog, too!

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  32. Very nice, i recently have purchased many good bracelets at Tennis Bracelets

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  33. Hai Mich! I haven't seen you for ages at the Fine Craft Guild - linky parties! Ever since I dared you to make a bracelet out of an old tennis ball, that is. Anyhow, we just re-designed our site yesterday, and started a new series 'a stitch above', both of which I know you will really enjoy. So, come on over when you have a moment, and party with us! Till then !

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Why not leave me a little comment? It is great Karma - and every single one is my favorite comment EVER.