What's a girl to do when the world is filled with pretty, expensive jewellery but she doesn't have a money tree in her backyard?
I have never been one for making jewellery. Back at summer camps when all the girls would make bracelets from strands of string in their craft class, I was taking a class on starting fires. I was a tomboy in a lot of ways and my aversion to making dainty string bracelets was definitely one of those ways.
However, things have changed a fair bit in the years between. Don't get me wrong, I still like burning things, but I also have embraced the concept of looking good while lighting things on fire.
A couple years ago I was lamenting my lack of great jewellery. I had a few key pieces that I loved wearing, but I was getting into event planning, at which time my motto was, "A long as you look like you know what you're doing, people will believe you." My plan was to buy a skin-tight, hotter-than-heck red dress to wear to some fundraisers I was helping to put on, and to wear bold statement pieces to every meeting I attended ('power' jewellery, if you will). The issue was, I didn't have any bold statement pieces. I had some rustic looking necklaces that I had picked up from the west coast (my tastes still rest frequently in the more boy-ish look), I had some earrings from Italy that a friend brought home for me, and I had a few costume jewellery rings that I got as hand-me-downs from my Grandma when I was in middle school. None of those really scream, "Look at me! Look at me!"
Slowly I started adding to my collection through jewellery parties that friends have hosted; Stella and Dot and Lia Sophia now make up a fair chunk of my jewellery repertoire. I've learned that if I'm going to spend any money on jewellery, I might as well save my pennies and buy a couple pieces that I really love, rather than a few cheaper pieces that will wear out or cease to thrill me in a short time. But in all of my searching for some gorgeous pieces, I have come across some things that struck me as far too expensive considering I could very well make them myself.
If you saw my last post you'll know that I have been making bird nest necklaces from wire and beads. I got the wire from the Dollar Store for dirt cheap and I've been using spare beads leftover from other projects. I've seen these adorable little wire nests on Etsy for anywhere from $5 - $40 (and up, but those ones tend to have more expensive materials). How much did it cost to make them myself? I'd have to guess about 10 cents. And that's being generous. Oh, and my Dad thought they were cute so he took some into his work to sell for me and now I've had to make more because I'm going to run out. (I'm selling them for $5 to $8 each - not a bad profit margin).
But as I alluded to in my previous post, the big thing I've been excited about making is a Chan Luu inspired wrap bracelet. I've got ugly wrists and man-hands, which means that dainty little bracelets make me feel butch. But since I've discovered the world of wrap bracelets, I'm absolutely sold. I've bought two in the last month from Stella and Dot (their Luna and their Pyramid Double Wrap bracelets, neither of which I would recommend attempting to make yourself), but when I saw a picture of this gorgeous Chan Luu bracelet I knew instantly that this was something I wouldn't have to buy.
Now granted, I'm sure Chan Luu's have something of product differentiation - their materials are probably very high end, their method is probably flawless, their name is a lot catchier than mine... but I personally don't see that the difference in the end product is worth the $195 difference between how much it cost me to make one, and how much it would cost to buy one.
I ordered 4 strands of turquoise beads online, and 10 m of brown leather cord, for a total of about $9 (free shipping, too!). I made a triple wrap bracelet (instead of 5 loops) last night, which I did while Matt's dad was over for a visit, and the end result is that I only used, at most, a third of my beads and even less of my cord.
Pretty nice, don't you think? It's a poor quality picture, but I must confess, I'm thrilled about the outcome. So, for about $3, and an evening of work, I've got myself a Chan Luu inspired triple wrap bracelet.
The technique was pretty simple, too. Anchor the leather cord on a button or large bead that will be used to fasten the bracelet (I used a nut - classy, hey?) The beads are actually held on with a separate string, or, in my case, fishing line. Lay the center of a very long strand of fishing line under the cord. Wrap each end around the cord and thread the ends through the bead (the ends of the line should go in opposite ends of the bead. Pull the line through until it is tight around the bead, push the bead to the top of the cord. Now, make sure the fishing line strands are on top of the cord. Wrap each strand around the cord until the line lays under the cord. Thread a bead again, with the ends of the line entering on opposite ends of the bead. Continue down for as long as you'd like it to be. Remember to make sure the line is on top of the cord after each bead, and that it's wrapped around and under the cord before each bead. To finish, I just knotted the fishing line after double wrapping the last bead, and then I tied three spaced out running knots on the cord - one at the base of the beads, one at the end of the length, and one in between the two. That's all!
I wonder what I should make next...
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)