Wednesday 27 October 2021

Things on Pins: Boho Brooches From Found Objects

Some years ago I came across a bag containing several kilt pins, hanging on rack at Value Village.  I wasn't quite sure what I'd do with them but, magpie that I am, I brought them home and added them to my Stash of Shiny Things. 

My stash has a diverse range of items in it, many sourced from  necklace racks in various thrift shops. If a piece of costume jewellery has some elements I can use, I bring it home, take it apart, keep the elements I want and then use what remains to make crafting kits for kids.

One evening I was stirring through The Stash of Shiny Things and, seeing all those different elements together, came up with the idea of stringing some of them together into short strands and then hanging the strands from the kilt pins. I had so much fun that I made several brooches in a single sitting. My husband promptly dubbed them "Things on Pins," and the name's stuck with me ever since.

This won't be an instructional post. Every single "Thing on a Pin" that I make is different, and I make up the techniques as I go along but I can offer some basic tips.

You don't need a lot of tools to do a project like this. I have a pair of needle nose pliers, a pair of round nose pliers, and a pair of wire cutters.

Likewise, you don't need to know a lot of elaborate techniques. I do recommend, though, that you learn how to make a wrapped wire loop.  This tutorial from The Knitted Raven is a good place to start.

Cut each piece of wire longer than you think you'll need.  It's easier to manipulate a long tail when wrapping wire than it is to bend a short one.

This is not fine jewellery so there's no need to invest in expensive wire.  I use inexpensive colour-coated wire. It comes in multi-packs and is often found in the aisle where paper crafting supplies are sold. Sometimes it's also available at dollar stores.  I also sometimes use copper wire. I buy it at hardware stores because it's much less expensive there than it is at specialty craft stores.

You'll be working on the side of the pin that can't be opened so you won't be able to slide beads directly onto the pin itself.  In order to maintain spacing between the strands of beads hanging from the pin, wrap wire along the arm of the pin to make spacers.

Don't limit yourself to just beads.  All sorts of found objects work well for this craft. You know that single earring you've been hanging onto even though you've never found the one you lost? Perfect! As are game pieces, tiny toys, dice, charms, bits of chain, thimbles, buttons, pretty pebbles, beach glass, shells, tiny gears from watches...Pretty much anything goes. 

I do hope you'll give this project a try.  Have a glance through the pictures, then break out your own Stash of Shiny Things and see what you come up with.

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