I have griped publicly before about how much I loathe repeating a design. So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to me that I have decided to make not one more, but TWENTY more, of a necklace of mine that seems to have gone viral on Pinterest.
I had only made a few of these, and didn’t want to make any more (plus I didn’t have any more of the beads), but after about the 20th request, I began to think that maybe I was missing out on an opportunity. So I thought, well, what if I just made a whole pantload of them and listed them until they’re gone? Oddly enough, the thought of figuring out the most efficient way to produce all the findings and components had a certain intellectual appeal to me. So I outlined a game plan for creating all the fiddly bits.
As I started working on the first batch of fiddly bits (largely on my lunch hour–I work a full time day job– either in my car or in an empty office at work), I realized I had really underpriced the necklace–this was a lot of damn work. Whenever I had made this necklace before, it was only one at a time and I usually had enough stuff on hand for it (except for the pendant), so it was easy to overlook how much labor was going into it.
|My Self-Inflicted Serfdom (I’m the one in the middle with the hoodie)|
First, the double-sided, etched, riveted pendant involved tracing heart shapes onto raw copper sheet, cutting them out with my shears, sanding the edges and faces, degreasing with a mixture of citric acid crystals and Dawn dishwashing liquid, choosing patterns from my hoard of digital files, printing them onto Press n Peel sheets with my laser printer, ironing the pattern onto the copper hearts, covering the backside and edges of the hearts with Sharpie ink (to protect them from the etchant), etching them, cleaning off the ink and toner resist with acetone, pickling, and scrubbing with steel wool. I also had to create the tongues of metal that would form the bail, using 12 gauge wire and a hammer. That all done, I assembled each heart pendant, fastening two heart shapes back to back with two rivets and the bail. Then I antiqued them in liver of sulfur, hand buffed, tumbled, and sealed with lacquer. (Obviously I failed with the above intellectual challenge of “figuring out the most efficient way to produce all the findings and components.”)
Egads, am I done yet? Not hardly!!
Then I had to make 40 headpins (cutting, torching, pickling, scrubbing, antiquing with liver of sulfur), but made a little extra for possibly coordinating earrings and charms on coordinating bracelets (that might be a pipe dream; it makes me tired just thinking about it…)
And 200 beadcaps (hole punching, punching out the disc, embossing with hammer and brass texture sheet, doming, antiquing in liver of sulfur, tumbling, sealing with lacquer and paintbrush).
And 40 charm dangles for the front (wrapping the beads onto the antiqued headpins, hand buffing with steel wool, tumbling, lacquer sealing with a little paintbrush), and 20 dangles for the clasp (wrapping magnesite brios with wire, antiquing, hand-buffing, tumbling, sealing with lacquer and paintbrush).
And 40 connector rings and 20 clasp rings (coiling 12 and 14 gauge copper wire, sawing into rings, hammering/texturing, wire wrapping, antiquing in liver of sulfur, hand-buffing, tumbling, dipping in lacquer).
And 20 clasp hooks (cutting lengths of 14 gauge wire, hammering flat, shaping into hook, filing/sanding the ends, antiquing in liver of sulfur, hand-buffing, tumbling, dipping in lacquer).
And 80 coil crimp ends for the leather (coil 18 gauge wire, antique in liver of sulfur, hand-buff, tumble, attach to leather sections with pliers, lacquer coat).
And a few hundred jumprings (coil wire, saw, antique in liver of sulfur, tumble)
Egads, am I done yet? What, I have to assemble it now??? (I find myself procrastinating about this last part.) This was probably not the best design to produce in quantity but it’s the only one people have been asking for over and over again.
When I was starting on like the third batch of fiddly bits, I thought to myself, this is stupid, you’re making like a dollar an hour here. You should be using commercial metal compo—NOOOOO!!!! I MUST MAKE (ALMOST) EVERYTHING MYSELF!!!! With that (silent) primal scream, I realized I really, really want to make as many of my own metal components as possible, and if I could, I would make them ALL myself. I would especially like to be able to make my own metal beads, and Precious Metal Clay makes the most sense to me for that. And as soon as I can figure out how to clone myself and send the clone to my day job, that’s what I’m going to do. Anybody know any good Mad Scientists?