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......

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