Hey, everyone! Carolyn Hasenfratz here with some initial letter charms I made for a swap. I decided to use a sewing notions theme and make a few extras for myself and a couple of my other friends who sew. I started by making a paper collage as a background for initial letter stickers. Then I cut sections out of the collage that fit an assortment of jewelry pendant trays with glass domes. After adding initial stickers to my little collage pieces I glued them into the trays and glued a glass dome over the top with clear-drying glue. I added jump rings to the top loops of any charms that didn’t have a hanging loop built in.
The style of collage I’m going to show you is one I have used over the years for a variety of purposes. I’ve covered the outsides of shadow boxes and storage boxes, made backgrounds for computer graphics and web pages, made parts for greeting cards, journals and other paper craft items as well as backgrounds for mixed media jewelry pieces. I have collections of papers in envelopes that I have categorized with different themes so that they are ready when a suitable project comes along. I combine a lot of found papers with decorative papers and embellishments from craft manufacturers. Sometimes I also add in pieces of paper that I’ve rubber stamped with words or images that fit the theme.
Materials used to make the charms:
7gypsies Gypsy Paper Pack Collection – Gypsy Seamstress
Stickers and paper ephemera with a sewing notions theme
Plain card stock for the collage base
Jewelry pendant trays
Glass domes that fit the pendant trays
Clear drying glue
Scissors, Decorative paper edging scissors
Metal ruler, Glue stick, Squeegee or bone folder
Tissue paper, Ball point pen, Jewelry pliers
Here are some samples of previous collages I’ve made that use this technique so that you can get an idea of how to combine images to make your own theme.
Prepare the Gypsy Seamstress papers and other paper ephemera by tearing and cutting them into a variety of sizes, highlighting interesting parts of the papers. Make a variety of sizes, ranging from about the size of a playing card to smaller than a postage stamp. Make more pieces than you think you will need so that you have enough to cover different size gaps in the design. I tear some pieces using the metal ruler as a tearing aid, cut some with a decorative paper-edging scissors and cut others (especially the tiny pieces) with a plain scissors to vary the edges and give the collage a distressed look. This is a great way to use up some small paper scraps.
Randomly pick up paper pieces and glue them down with the glue stick around the outside edge of the cardstock or just stick them down if using stickers in your design. It helps to periodically burnish the glued pieces with a bone folder or squeegee tool so that they are glued really securely with no edges curling up. I usually work on more than one collage at a time so there are lots of opportunities to fit the right piece of paper into the right spot.
Keep working your way to the middle of the collage until all the blank spaces are filled in. If any parts of the collage look a little plain, keep adding small pieces of paper and stickers to liven up any dull areas. This collage is meant to be cut up or used as a background – it is not a finished piece of art that would benefit from having one or limited focal points in the design. I’m intentionally spreading the focal points evenly all over the piece.
I encourage you to make a digital scan of your collage and save it before you start marking it up or cutting it apart. A good high-res image of your collage can be printed out later to use it in a lot of other future projects.
Take the glass dome pieces you are going to use for your charms and place them on the collage you just made. Move them around to find an interesting composition, keeping in mind where your intial sticker will go. When you find one, trace around the glass with ball point pen.
Cut out your shapes from the collage, cutting just inside the ball point pen line so the pen marks don’t show. Put a dab of your glue in the metal charm tray and press in your paper shape. Many kinds of glue will work as long as they dry clear. If you are not sure you can test one charm and let it dry before you glue a whole bunch of charms. Add a little more glue to the middle of the paper piece in the tray and press the glass dome over it until any bubbles or gaps are pushed out to the edges. If any glue oozes out, wipe it off with a tissue. Let your pendant dry.
If needed, add a jump ring to the top of the charm for hanging on a chain. I like to use fairly large and strong jump rings so that I can suspend the charm on multiple chains for different outfits.
You are done! Time to enjoy your new charms.