Author: Albert

Decoupage for Accessories

What is decoupage?

You have probably heard the word “decoupage” before. It comes from the French verb “découper”, meaning “to cut out”. Decoupage is a way of decorating various objects and is the perfect opportunity to give an old jewelry box a new look or bring an outdated vase with its ornaments peeled off back to life. In the basic sense, you glue the customized decoupage paper of choice to a specifically prepared surface and create a look that is unique, personalized and amicable to you. Here are the basic steps you need to take while decorating any object and further on we will discuss how to apply them to accessories specifically:

  • Once you select an item you wish to decorate, make sure the surface is clean, smooth, does not have dust on it;
  • Select pictures and cut them out first using scissors and then a craft knife for precision. Color any white edges with a crayon that matches either the background or the picture;
  • Arrange the pictures carefully before gluing them to the surface;
  • When you glue them, make sure to even out the wrinkles. Do it carefully, with a barely wet sponge, to avoid soaking or ripping thin decoupage paper;
  • Varnish the surface. Allow the varnish to dry carefully between each layer. Depending on the thickness of the paper, you might need anywhere between a couple and a dozen layers to make the surface durable. Wipe away the dust between every varnish to avoid bumpy surface.

These steps can be followed to turn any boring object into a fun, playful or elegant accent of the house. However, this technique is also commonly used while making jewelry.

Decoupage and accessories

Decoupage and accessories

Making jewelry using decoupage can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. One way of doing it is buying ready-made shapes that you wish to turn into earrings or a necklace and simply gluing pictures to it. However, this way you cannot claim that you have made the accessories yourself as half of the job has already been done for you. If you want to truly discover the beauty of arts and crafts when it comes to jewelry making with decoupage, consider taking these steps. First, decide what surface you want. If you wish to make long-lasting accessories that can endure various situations, you might want to learn how to make shapes out of wood or other similar materials. However, understandably this might not be a viable option for many. Modelling clay is a great alternative to that. Choose polymer clay as it dries into semi-durable and solid shapes. You can use various tools and forms to achieve any shape or form you want. Depending on what kind of jewelry you are making, create a small hole somewhere before the shape gets dry so that you can hang it in some way. Then cover it in the paper of your choice and let it dry.

You should have numerous chains, hooks and other elements to turn your decoupaged form into an actual piece of jewelry. Choose them carefully so that they are not relatively too big or, vice versa, not large enough to support the clay. Bend them, attach them, and voila, a beautiful pair of earrings you have made from scratch!

Bracelets vs Watches

Employing accessories to decorate human body has long been a very self-evident part of everyday life. The preferred type of jewelry oftentimes depends on the lifestyle people lead, their personality traits, how physically active they are. Bracelets and watches, although both mostly worn on a wrist, communicate different messages and serve different purposes, thus it is interesting to consider what that would mean to you before deciding to decorate yourself with an accessory of one kind or another.

Bracelets

A beloved accessory of ladies and gentlemen alike. It makes the wrist look elegant and adds a nice accent to mostly any outfit or any occasion. The term bracelet originates in the Greek term “brachile”, which means “of the arm”. Besides being an elegant accessory, it can be used to communicate various messages. From all the way back to the ancient times, bracelets have been used as recognized means to convey symbolic meanings that are important to the person wearing it. For instance, the Scarab Bracelet, one of the most well-known symbols of ancient Egypt, represented rebirth and regeneration and carries an important meaning in terms of the society that lived in a valley defined by seasonality and constant regeneration of natural resources the river offered.

Nowadays, the varieties and purposes of a bracelet are vast. Many precious metals and stones are used to make elegant, simple bracelets that accompany people’s attire in formal gatherings or add sophistication to everyday look. The increasing popularity of alternative healing methods caused various minerals and gems to become one of the main materials for bracelet creation as wearing them is believed to bring certain health benefits, sense of calmness and inner peace. Bracelets can also be used to express bonds of friendship and commitment. Something as simple as a hand-crafted string bracelet can carry significant personal meaning as two people have made a statement of being close by wearing them together. Taking all of that into account, a bracelet is the perfect accessory for those looking to introduce some sort of symbolism or elegance into their looks.

Watches

Watches

Watches are perfect for those who consider themselves practical among many other characteristics. From back in the day, when mobile phones were not an option for constant time-checking, watches were a must-have attribute for all of those living a busy and well-planned out lifestyle. It is important to mention that wrist watches are not the only ones out there. Chain watches were a lot more popular some time ago and were carried in the inner pocket of a jacket or pants to provide constant access to telling time.

Nowadays, while it is still loved by those who need to structure their day very precisely, watches have also become a means to communicate sense of luxury and wealth. Brands such as Rolex or Chopard make watches that are not only extremely reliable but also cost a fortune due to the materials they are made from and the luxurious connotation that the brands carry with them. Thus, if you wish to embrace the practical side of your character or add a useful yet luxurious accent to your look, watch might be the more suitable accessory for you.

All that being said, no one ever said that the two cannot go together! Combine them in any way you like to make your look even more unique.

The History of Jewelry Making. Part 2

Renaissance

Interestingly, most of the artists known to be responsible for the Renaissance artistic expression – Antonio and Piero Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi – started off as apprentices in goldsmith’s workshops, showing that jewelry making was just as prominent in causing the “rebirth” of Classicism as any other form of art. The jeweler’s work reached exceptionally high levels, especially in Italy. Jewelry in general became an inseparable part of most people’s lives. Naturally, as jewelry making traditions became more established and the jewelers gained more impressive skills, the worth of many pieces of jewelry vastly exceeded that of raw materials they were made out of. Due to that, the tradition of collecting significant pieces and displaying them for the affection of the public eye was first established.

Jewelry became extensively integrated into other forms of art, especially painting. Elaborate pieces were an intrinsic part of painting people of high social status, both men and women. As exhibited in paintings, another turn that jewelry making took had to do with women’s haircuts. They are seen with detailed decorations in their hair made out of precious metals that were in harmony with complex braids. Paintings also show that bejeweled clothing, from chest plates to hat brims, has become more and more common, and in general people that didn’t necessarily belong to the highest social classes started wearing jewelry a lot more extensively and in greater quantities at once.

Modern Times

Modern Times

The approach of Baroque brought about even more improvements when it came to cutting precious stones and thus a gradual change in how detailed a piece of jewelry could be. Together with the technical means to work them, diamonds, most women’s best friends, exploded in popularity and became the protagonists of jewelry creation. That being said, while the technicalities allowed for more elaboration, the number of pieces being worn at a time decreased, especially among men.

Towards the beginning of the 18th century, significant numbers of Brazilian diamonds were imported into Europe. The already popular precious stone became even more desirable, however, due to its inherent value, it was not accessible to most. Consequently, diamond imitations became a widely used means to create impressive jewelry. The obsession with diamonds led to a change in the concept of jewelry in general – in many cases the accent was the cut or naturally-shaped gems and stones and the metal work around it was minimized to the point where it was almost invisible.

In 19th and 20th centuries, jewelry-making became a matter of mass production as all people wished to have access to it. Requirements for jewelry to classify as valuable were set, many artistic commercial firms as well as niche boutiques were opened to satisfy the needs of all. World Wars brought about changes in how humans view the world, and that was to some extent reflected in the jewelry as well. Cubism, Futurism and other artistic movements lead to such intricate, avant-garde pieces of jewelry, that it transformed the notion of accessories to what we see them as today – pretty much anything that offers people a possibility to express themselves, make statements, emphasize certain features or simply make their looks more detailed.

The History of Jewelry Making. Part 1

Jewelry, as an important aspect of people’s lives, has been around for longer than most of us probably realize. Although the first attempts of humans to decorate themselves manifested as body painting, jewelry came not long after and remained as one of the most prominent ways to express one’s individuality, self-identity and simply brighten up one’s looks.

Ancient History

The first ever attempts to make jewelry came in the form of shells, fish teeth and coloured pebbles – pretty much anything humans could get their hands on that didn’t require elaborate craftsmanship. As humans acquired more elaborate tools to help them with everyday tasks, the jewelry also became more detailed; they started carving and combining various natural elements, such as wood, animal tusks and bones, animal skins and bird feathers, to create impressive works of art to be worn. Limited forms of jewelry, such as necklaces and bracelets, transformed into crowns, earrings, brooches and belts, all of which added to the quality of life of most ancient civilizations.

Antiquity

Antiquity

As civilizations shaped themselves oftentimes in isolation from one another, many cultural aspects took diverse routes across the world. The Greek, the Egyptian, the Sumerian and the Roman, among many others, were some of the most prominent civilizations when it came to impressive jewelry making traditions. The jewelers got carried away when it came to decorating the tombstones or port-mortal clothing of queens, kings and pharaohs; Sumerian queen Pu-abi was found in her crypt, her entire upper body covered with a robe made out of gold, silver, agate and other precious stones and metals. And indeed, right after precious metals were discovered, with time more intricate and valuable jewelry became a more and more prominent addition among the wealthier members of society. Jewelry became a way to distinguish the wealthy and the poor, those with a high social status from those living in difficult conditions, to exhibit the ultimate power of those in charge.

The Middle Ages

Most of the previously mentioned civilizations conceded their roles as cultural hubs to others, most prominently the Byzantine, the Islamic, the Teutonic cultures. Religions, most notably Christianity and Islam, became significant influencing forces when it came to the jewelry people crafted and wore. Wide conquests and larger exposure to other civilizations brought about changes in jewelry-making in almost every corner of the world; trade allowed for more materials to be used everywhere and every culture was influenced by the newcomers, be that in the times of war or prosperous cooperation. This period is also classified by the prominent changes in how jewelry was seen in general; more and more men started adding accents to their looks on general basis, many artisans departed from classical styles, forms and shapes and instead began creating jewelry that to some extent made statements by their elaborate ornaments and non-conventional looks. It should also be mentioned that the mixing of cultures spread the tradition of burying the dead ones with their jewelry in many parts of the world.

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