Thursday, March 3, 2011

From 1928.

I have two things to share today.  A crazy-easy tutorial!  And a mini safety lecture for crafters.  Let's start with the crazy easy tutorial, shall we?

So I found some beautiful vintage faucet handles, salvaged from a Miracle Mile boarding house built in 1928....


And I made some necklaces.



They look big and bold, but these handles are aluminum, so they're actually surprisingly light to wear.  After properly preparing the vintage handles, here's how I created the pendants, using no jewelry-making tools, and nothing but two buttons and a piece of string:






That's it!  Crazy easy, right?  Add some cord to hang it, and you've made a cool, pretty vintage faucet handle necklace.


Here's a slightly different style, with a mother-of-pearl flower instead of a button. 




The fleur had one center hole, so I tied a french knot in the middle of a piece of string, and fed both ends down through the hole, ending with a 2-hole button in back as before.  The knot holds the flower in place, and it's kind of decorative, too.


Now who wants to hear a mini safety lecture?  Whee!  Fun!  Okay, just read it, it's good for you.  Like broccoli with no butter or cheese sauce.

You guys, I am always reading this kind of thing on craft blogs: "Check out the old chippy/painted/weathered/distressed/shabby chic treasure I found at my local yard sale/flea market/street corner/salvage yard/dumpster.  It looks perfect in my kids' room/kitchen/bathroom/front porch/living room/nursery!"

No, no, no.  (Picture me with librarian glasses at the end of my nose, frowning like a disapproving rabbit, swatting those people's hands with a ruler.)  We all know that any painted thing, dating from 1978 or earlier, is likely to have lead paint.  It's important to handle these chippy painted treasures with care.

What to do.  First, wash them carefully with soapy water.  Let them dry completely.  Don't use sandpaper on them.  If you want a freshly painted look, great!  A primer and two coats minimum, and you have sealed in the old paint and made your treasures safe for use.

But if you want to retain the chippy look, as I did with my faucet handles, do seal them with at least three coats of a clear sealer


Acrylic or polyurethane sealers live in the paint department of any craft, art supply or hardware store.  I like to use a matte finish, so they still look rusty and weathered and old.   Since I am making jewelry which may directly touch the skin, I always treat vintage painted objects with TEN coats of clearcoat, front and back.

Okay, lecture over!  (Picture me pushing my glasses back to their normal position, smiling kindly, while using my ruler to measure something strange, that will probably become my next Mystery Thing jewel.)

C'mon, that wasn't too bad, was it?  Love you guys.  See ya next time!

24 comments:

  1. Nice lecture!!!!!:-)
    these necklaces came out so nice, I love that one with the flower!!!

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  2. LOVE!!! They are so lovely, especially with the embellishments you chose. Where did you find them again?
    Thanks for the lecture, you little disapproving bunny, I find it really important to be told these things. Not that I'd ever found 1928 faucet thingies, but if I did, I'd snatch them up and wouldn't know that they might be poisonous. x

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  3. This is one of my favorites so far! So easy--- if you find old handles. Just shows me that I have to start looking at oddball things through a more artistic eye. Thanks!!

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  4. Great point about the lead based paint on old furniture. The necklaces are awesome!

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  5. oh! what a great idea with the handles, love it.
    and thanks for the safety tip, it needs to be repeated again and again cause a safe crafter is a happy crafter :)

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  6. Shiny!!! And NOW I know why - 10 coats of polyurethane! That will do it to anything! that keeps the look, but keeps the wearer safe. They look heavy, but they aren't? Way cool!

    Great way of reminding us to be careful around all of our special finds, especially when we are so in AWE of them, we forget reality and the dangers that could be there - like lead, snakes, spiders.... dinosaurs...

    Love the necklace! Keep them coming. (what are you measuring????)

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  7. heyyyyy...after so many days...you write!!welcome...
    well i am really used to for lectures in university,so i can easily read yours..hehe...Ok Teacher,we will do the same..thanks for the nice tips..necklace is having unique look!!!

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  8. what a wonderful statement necklace! Loveeee! and that lecture wasn't bad in the least.

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  9. These are wickedly awesome Michelle! I love your bold ideas.

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  10. Oh. Gorgeous. Your pendants are so pretty and perfect! Also like how simply they came together. I can do that, yes way.

    I don't like when eye-glass-wearing rabbits disapprove with me. At all. But I can see why they would in this case especially. Safety is so important! And it's nice to know that you care enough about us, your fellow crafters, to give us this important lesson. Thanks Michelle!

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  11. Lovin' those necklaces. Glad to hear that they are the light aluminum kind and so prrrrfect for one of your great transformations.
    You are so very right about the chippy paint. I have several cans of the matte sealer (their stock loves me) When in doubt, say YES to the can.

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  12. Great advice and cute, cute, cute necklaces!!! Have a wonderful weekend!! :)

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  13. No no, it's a good tip! But did you have to infer that 1978 is vintage? I graduated from high school that year...geez.

    The faucet handles are ultra cool.

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  14. Too true, too true. You know, with every post of yours, I am just awed by your creativity. Some posts I like better than others, but this one looks just amazing, especially the flower ones. They truly look like something you would find in a vintage store. Awesome stuff. :)

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  15. Fabulous tap necklaces!! And thanks for the lecture too! I read it very carefully and stored it away for future reference! :)

    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  16. I love the one with the flower in particular. It's a nice little combination.....a flower and the tool to help water the flower. :-) Also, I am always glad for a good safety lecture (see my "about me" section on my blog and you'll see why!!) :-) I mde the mistake of picking up a really spectacular old white chippy table last summer....and before I thought twice about it I took a sander to it........BAD idea. I stopped mid-sanding and had a DOH!! moment. Tested it for lead and found it was filled to the brim. Definitely a good (and kinda scary) lesson in refinishing old furniture. Thanks for the reminder!!

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  17. AWESOME necklaces!!! Especially the one with the flower!

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  18. My favorite is the little one with the mother of pearl flower.

    Good safety reminder.

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  19. That's a great idea about the clear sealant. I had just been avoiding old paint, but I love the look!

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  20. I love how you can make jewellery out of anything! These are great

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  21. Wow! I LOVE these! I love the hardware! I have some old stuff I could probably sand and use, now i know why I've been collecting them. ;)and my daughter thought I was just keeping junk! I am a new email subscriber too, found you through Jembellish. Can't wait to troll through your site and make some fun stuff! Thanks!

    Ever so often I run a post on my blog that shows others what I've found on the web lately. You will probably show up in one of them. :) Love your creativity, great stuff!

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  22. I might make them for others but for myself....... not sure! I like the one with the flower the best! They are sorta... awwwww, sure I'd make em and wear em!!!!

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  23. I'm so happy to see that you use alternative methods for constructing your jewelry with vintage parts rather than mangling them by cutting, gluing or otherwise defacing said vintage items! I collect antique and vintage buttons and I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone use a valuable button in a craft which they sell for less than the collectible value of the button! To make matters worse it was constructed in a manner which destroyed the button. It's truly a shame but I'm so VERY happy to see that you tie and wire on your buttons and parts. Keep up the good work!!!

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