Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Became of the Blue Recycled Dryer Sheet? Blue Moon Ruffles

Blue Moon Ruffle Earrings! That's the design I came up with for my third recycled dryer sheet.  Utilizing both used dryer sheets and recycled bottle caps, this is an eco-friendly creation.

This was the sheet that I painted using an iridescent/metallic blue acrylic paint.  I used dye on my other sheets.  The pain gives the sheet more body, and like the dye, it permeates through both sides.

I cut four strips from the painted portion of the sheet to use for the earrings -- two for each.  They were each about 1/2 inch wide.  I used a very fine, metallic aqua, filament thread and sewed a tiny running stitch along the top edge of the strips, joining two strips together with the line of stitches.  Next I used a delicate silver metallic thread to make a second line of running stitches just below the first, using those stitches to also secure a row of clear glass, blue-lined beads on both sides.  Finally, I added a row of running stitches in a cobalt metallic filament below the other two.

I flattened two "Blue Moon" Beer bottle caps to use as the base for the earrings.  I painted them with silver metallic acrylic paint and coated them with an acrylic gloss.

I gathered my strips into ruffles and attached them to the edges of the bottle caps with Fusion adhesive.  Then I created a circular, crocheted motif for the center of each earring, using thin silver braid, together with the cobalt and aqua metallic filaments.  I added a row of stitches in silvery-blue thread to the edge of each circle. Tiny blue glass seed beads were crocheted into the design, and a clear crystal disc bead and small iridescent blue tube bead were added to embellish the center.  These circle motifs were attached to the center of the bottle caps/inner edge of the ruffle using the same adhesive.

Finally, I crocheted two short chains using blue nylon-coated beading wire and silver colored copper wire, embellished with clear blue glass beads and the crystal disc beads.  I attached one end of each chain to a silver star earring post and one end  to the bottle cap on the back of ruffle/crochet circle.

That completed the earrings.  They really capture the essence of a star-studded sky on a clear summer night.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hearts, Stitching and Shine in New Recycled Dryer Sheet Earring Design

Yesterday, I finished the second pieces in a new series of jewelry created by recycling old dryer sheets.  For this design, I used the sheet that I died with cranberry-colored ink.

After thinking for a while and looking at available materials in my stash, I decided to go with a heart motif.  I think it was probably the color of the dryer sheet that put that image in my mind.

I decided to use the cranberry as a backdrop for the design and make the heart, almost like an applique, from Angelina fiber.  Choosing gold, deep magenta, a bit of teal, and a bit of transparent iridescent fiber, I used my iron to meld them into a small fabric swatch.

Because of the gold fibers, I decided to go with gold tone findings and chose larger gold hoops (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) to showcase the heart design.  I traced around the outside of the two hoops to define my working surfaces on the dryer sheet.  Then, I was able to cut my hearts to an appropriate size from the Angelina fiber fabric.  I decided to go with 4 hearts and decorate both sides of the earring.  (I kind of hate it when I have to worry about which way my earrings are facing to determine if they look good.)

I used just a dab of Fusion glue to adhere the hearts to both sides of the dryer sheets, in the center of the circles I'd drawn -- lining them up to match front and back.  Then I brushed a decoupage-type gloss over each side of the sheet (allowing time to dry between sides).  This ensured that the hearts were well-adhered to the sheet and provided a more durable finish.

At this point, I debated about whether I wanted to add some type of beaded embroidery to embellish the surfaces, but discarded that idea because of the need for both sides of the surface to look finished and essentially identical.  I decided to use a simple running stitch, done in metallic thread, to achieve a design that would appear on both sides in the same way as I worked.  I chose a variegated thread from my stash that mirrored the colors in the Angelina fibers. I lightly traced a circle border on each surface and covered that in the the running stitch and then did the edge of the heart motifs.  Looking at my work, I felt it still needed a little "something" and chose to add the three tiny red seed beads to the hearts as my finishing touch.

Using my Fusion glue (which I love because it is non-toxic, works to adhere almost any surface very securely, dries clear, and cleans up with water if you catch it before it dries) I cemented the gold hoops to the one side of the dryer sheet, aligning them with my earlier outline tracing. Once the adhesive was thoroughly dry, I trimmed the dryer sheets to the edge of the hoops and added gold ball hook earring wires.

Done!  These are the finished earrings, which you can find for sale in my Artfire studio: Gossamer Glimmers Heart Hoop Earrings -

In this photo, you see both sides of the earrings.
I think one of the best things about using dryer sheets is their translucent quality.  As you can see from the photos below, the light travels through them, giving a very light and airy effect.  You can really see the texture and the way the fibers pick up the color of the dye.

I still have the blue and green/gold sheets to play with.  What can I do that's different? Hmmm......

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Playing Around With Used Dryer Sheets - Again

Back in March of this year, I wrote about recycling used dryer sheets to create jewelry and at that time, I created two pair of earrings.  Both of them sold, so I thought maybe I should try playing around with dryer sheets again -- try to see what other kinds of design ideas I could come up with.

First, I prepared some used dryer sheets by giving them color.
The cranberry and butterscotch sheets with colored by brushing them with alcohol-based inks.  The color saturates both sides of the sheet.  The blue sheet was painted with metallic blue acrylic paint, which also shows through nicely on both sides.  The green sheet was colored with alcohol-based ink in lettuce and then swirls of metallic bronze/gold were added with acrylic paint.

I chose to start with the butterscotch sheet because I came up with an idea for creating sunflower earrings. The color was perfect -- golden and rich.

I cut the sheet into small strips and threaded three strips each onto two pieces of brown copper wire, leaving loops of dryer sheet as I worked.  I then closed the wire into a very small circle and spread the loops around the circle to create a ring of petals.

The centers I created by crocheting 28 gauge, permanently-colored, brown copper wire in a small chain, adding a brown glass seed bead into each stitch.  The chain was formed into a spiral.  I added two centers to each petal loop, one on each side, using adhesive (4 altogether), so that whichever direction the earring is facing, the flower design is evident.

I added antique copper plated, lever back earring wires, attaching them with the copper wire and embellished the juncture with a golden, iridescent bead.

My Sunflower Earrings with Beaded Centers are available for purchase in my Artfire studio for $12.

Stay tuned!  I will be posting my designs for the other dryer sheets I colored over the next week or two.  Please let me know what you think.