Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to Make Domino Jewelry

How to Make Domino Jewelry

Level: Beginner/Easy

Vintage wood dominoes (click to learn about the history of dominoes)

Jewelry made from recycled materials is earth-friendly and all the rage. The exciting part about making jewelry from recycled materials is that the supplies you need are most likely already right in your own home!

One type of jewelry that is super-stylish and easy to make is domino jewelry. Dominos are fun to craft with and they can easily be made into either pins or pendants.

I created this domino pendant from a copy of a vintage St. Patrick's day post card

To make domino jewelry you will need dominos (either the old fashioned wooden kind or the newer, plastic kind), miscellaneous papers (think collage elements such as copies of vintage images, ephemera, scraps of pretty paper and words or text cut from an old book or magazine, wallpaper scraps, old cigar box labels, etc.), scissors, a decoupage medium, a sponge brush or small paintbrush to apply decoupage medium, jump-rings (for pendants) or pin-backs (for pin brooches), and a strong adhesive glue. 

Optional additional embellishing materials include colored pencils, pens, markers, glitter, sequins, small beads, flat buttons, and bits of lace.

I usually like to decorate only one side of the domino and leave the numbered side (the side with the dots) untouched or mostly uncovered. That way when you are wearing your pendant you can turn it over and show your friends that it’s a domino!

For this domino pendant I used an illustration and text from a damaged antique book

To begin, first choose your base paper. That will be the largest piece of paper that will cover only the front, or plain side of the domino. This will be the foundation for your finished design. To create your paper base, lay your domino on top of the paper and trace around the domino with a pencil. Then remove the domino and cut out your base paper.

Using a small paintbrush or sponge brush, apply a thin coat of decoupage medium to the plain side of the domino following the directions on the decoupage medium. Next adhere your base paper to the domino and gently press to adhere, being careful to remove all bubbles and lumps - and set aside until completely dry.

Mod Podge is one type of Decoupage Medium

Now comes the fun part! Select images or snippets from your papers and arrange them in a collage-like manner to your domino’s base paper. Use a very thin coat of the decoupage medium to adhere your elements to your domino. Let your creativity be your guide.

Here’s a tip: I like to start with the larger pieces of paper and then add smaller snippets to that piece in a layered fashion.

When finished, set aside until completely dry. Once your artwork is complete, apply another coat of decoupage medium to seal the piece and let it dry completely. To make a domino pin brooch, adhere a pin-back to the reverse side of your domino with a strong adhesive. To make a domino pendant, adhere a jump ring to the top edge of your domino with a strong adhesive.

Another pendant made with an illustration from a damaged antique book.

With a few basic materials and a little creativity, you can create your own recycled material jewelry that is fun to make and fun to wear!

P.S. - Oh, and be sure to learn how to play dominoes before you make domino jewelry, as you can be sure people at least one person who sees your awesome domino jewelry will ask you, "How do you play dominoes, anyway?" (click here to learn!)

Advanced Technique: Resin Coated Domino Jewelry

Level: Advanced
To achieve a glossy, glass-like finish you can coat your domino with resin. Working with resin is an advanced technique that requires a bit more time, patience, as well as safety precautions.

I used a copy of an antique Valentine to make this domino pendant, and then coated it with resin

What is resin jewelry?

The Dick Blick Art Materials website describes it best:
"Resin jewelry is made from liquid plastic that turns solid when a hardener is added....Resin has a wonderful appeal for its glass-like properties from crystal clear to translucent glowing hues."

Click here to learn more about the properties of resin.

Before you begin: Resin can be hazardous. It is extremely important to carefully read and follow all directions that are included with the product you are working with. It is also recommended that you do not work with resin around children or pets. You should also read all MSDS (safety data sheets) for any hazardous mediums that you are going to work with. I recommend purchasing materials from businesses that include the MSDS safety data sheets with your purchase.

Before coating a domino with resin, complete all the steps above under the How To Make Domino Jewelry, stopping after applying the finishing/sealing coat of decoupage medium. (do not adhere pin-back or jump rings to your domino.) Allow finished domino to dry overnight.

Working in a clean, dust-free, and temperature controlled area (according to resin packaging directions), prepare the resin exactly according to package directions. Be sure to cover your workspace with newspaper to protect all surfaces, and have paper towels on hand in case of any spills or messes.

Allow resin to set and dry according to package directions. Once completely set and dry, follow the directions above to adhere your pin-back or jumpring to your finished domino.

Image was embellished with glitter before resin was applied

I hope you have a great week 
Love, Laura

My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at

copyright ©LauraBethLove 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Mudlark: A Broken China Mosaic Bowl

This sweet little orphaned bird was once one of a pair of small salt shakers. 

Now he’s got a brand new home - among some shards of history...

Built upon a vintage wooden bowl, this mosaic nest of sorts tells a colorful story of potteries long closed and abandoned. The majority of the pottery used for this piece was collected by my uncle, hand-picked at low tide from the banks of the Thames River in England between the Globe and the National Theatres. Some of the shards in this piece date as early as the 1700’s.

Like collecting seashells along the shore of the ocean, the banks of the Thames offer colorful shards of broken china and pottery – reminders of the once thriving potters that populated the area. Collecting these shards is known as mudlarking - as beachcombing refers to ocean shores, mudlarking refers to river banks - and it’s history runs deep.

A century or two ago, the term Mudlarks referred the very poor of London who scavenged the riverbanks along the Themes collecting anything they could find that might have some value. Mudlarks were most often children or elderly folk -those without income who needed to scavenge to survive.

They looked for coins, bottles, pieces of pottery or coal – the sorts of things that might have been discarded or fallen off of a ship. They would collect these found objects and then sell or trade them for food.

Nowadays you can still comb the shores for pottery shards, but is said that all that is found on public ground is property of the Queen!

Happy Hunting!
~ Laura

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Visit to Blue Ridge Flea Market

My summer wouldn’t be complete without a few visits to the Blue Ridge Flea Market in Saylorsburg, PA!

This is one of my very favorite flea markets and one the best places in the Pocono area to shop for antiques and vintage treasures. It’s about a thirty minute drive from my home, so I consider myself one lucky chick!

Today the temperature was in the 90’s but that wasn’t going to hold me back. It had been a while since I had last been to this market and I was excited to discover some new goodies!

The first two parking lots were full (as they always are) but way in the back grove parking area (which is the best place to park anyway because of its scattering of old shade trees) I was pleasantly surprised to find it empty of cars – yay! – it was going to be a good shopping day!

Empty grove=more stuff for me! :-)

Flea market ahead!

One small view of a very large complex

Of course the very first thing I came upon was two stacks of monogrammed vintage china. I had to laugh because just yesterday I blogged about this exact same china and mentioned how hard it is to find! Seven bowls, four plates, each with a beautiful floral rose design and bright capital letter K initial monogram. Their condition was new, and I knew they were from the 1940’s. How much? I asked the man…$2 for all? SOLD!

My first great find

At that point I could’ve gone home a happy girl, but I was only five minutes into it. A short while later and up a few rows I spied two pretty, antique English transferware dinnerplates that closely resembled the Flow Blue patterns that I adore…How much?....$2 each or you can have them both for $3…SOLD!
Cha-ching and woo hoo!

My new lovelies

I don't think this was an antique, but it was neat none the less: a decorative ship's figurehead or maidenhead complete with her very own treasure chest... Arrrgh

My 5-year-old daughter wanted to drive this mini car home!

Ahhh my favorite part... little boxes, on the hillside...

little boxes full of....silverware! And boy, was it HOT to touch! Everything was sizzling from the sun.

What? You can't find your keys? Here they are!

When I got to this point it was seriously like: What to my wondering eyes should appear?...Keys! Hundreds and hundreds of glorious keys! Short keys, long keys, fat keys, skeleton keys, lots of rusty keyness!

Ahhh, vintage chandelier crystals! These are super good for craftin'

Various taxidermy oddities (note the bears on the roof of the van)

A few handfuls of vintage silverplated flatware, antique skeleton keys and vintage chandelier crystals were among my best finds... all will be put to very good use in some new projects I have brewing for the upcoming holiday season!

A few of my new keys and crystals

Some of the vintage flatware I bought

What do you think?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vintage Monogram China Made Into Jewelry!

I love these vintage ads!

Vintage advertisement for monogrammed china

I just LOVE vintage advertisements. I especially love vintage ads featuring china or flatware! I always find myself squinting at the ads I come across, trying to make out the china pattern or silver pattern, wondering if it’s one I have in stock for my jewelry making.

I think on two occasions I’ve found ads for patterns that were the same as or very similar to dishes that I had in stock…One was a Limoges U.S.A. ad for a set of monogrammed floral china. I love these old initial monogram patterns. Over the years I have found some orphaned pieces here and there but for the most part these patterns are hard to find!

Here are a few pieces of jewelry that I created with damaged vintage monogrammed china:

Necklace pendant from vintage A monogrammed china

Vintage and antique monogrammed china is hard to find, but once in a while I come across some that is cracked or chipped or damaged from age or use, and that is what I turn into jewelry. 

I think I currently have the letters M and K in stock, if you are interested in any pieces similar to those shown above, check out my Etsy shop! Here is the link:

What do you think of monogrammed china jewelry?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday's Thrift Shop Treasures: Silver Baby Spoons!

Thursday's Thrift Shop Treasures!

Vintage silver flatware ad. This is what I look like when I find something good at the thrift shop!

I squeezed an hour out of my busy morning to swing by one of my favorite local thrifts and it was a good thing I did...I found this awesome set of ornate, antique birth record spoons - and for only a few bucks! 

Antique engraved baby spoons!

Each is hand-engraved with a child's name and birth date. I feel a bit sad that they are no longer with the family of the original owners and landed up for sale in a thrift shop - but I will take good care of them! They are silver and in need of a polish, but I do sorta like their current state - their aged, tarnished patina is so charming! 

These will not be made into jewelry!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Was Once Broken... Jewelry Made From Broken Calendar Plates

Jewelry made from antique broken calendar plates...

Antique calendar plate from 1909 with lots of damage

I have a great love for these old advertising calendar plates...they seem to be one of those things that combine everything that I love in one package: it's a plate, it's old, it's got a beautiful floral transferware design on it...but most especially, it marks a certain point in time. In this case, 1909.

Let's 1909 a newspaper cost 1 cent, coffee was 20 cents a pound, (tea was $1 for 2 lbs, by the way), and a pair of children's shoes cost about $1.50! Hershey bars were 2 cents, but they were a lot smaller than today's 1.65 oz, weighing in at 9/16 oz! To put things a bit more into perspective, the average wage was 22 cents per hour, and the average worker made about $350 a year. We can only wonder what things will be like 100 years from now...

Cracked antique calendar plate from 1909

William Carlos Williams published his first book of poetry in 1909, and Pablo Picasso first began dabbling in cubism...

Necklace that I hand crafted from a broken 1909 calendar plate (sold)

Pin brooch I handcrafted from 1909 calendar plate (sold)

Here are a few necklaces that I just made from the broken plate shown above:

Broken China Jewelry necklace September 1909 antique calendar plate autumn fruits
September 1909 available here

Broken China Jewelry necklace September 1909 antique calendar plate autumn fruits
September 1909 available here

Broken China Jewelry necklace November 1909 antique calendar plate holly
November 1909 necklace available here

Broken China Jewelry necklace November 1909 antique calendar plate holly
November 1909 necklace available here

What do you think? Do you like these?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More Fun With Vintage Spoons: Stamped Spoon Bracelets

Just how many things can you do with old spoons? 

I love these ornate orphaned spoons who've long lost their matching mates. Who wants to lay around in some old silverware drawer anyhow? Being turned into an extremely cool bracelet is much more fun!

Check out these stamped silver spoon bracelets I made a while back with antique and vintage silver spoons. I also made some matching stamped spoon pendants (with the handles cut off) that hang from a chain.

Potty Mouth. Everybody knows one! 

Trophy wife!

Dream big...


What would you want yours to say?

What do you think?