Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Display Inspiration Series:4: Marvellous miniatures

In the fourth in our series of posts on creating unique jewellery displays, I'll show you how an eclectic mix of frames can be transformed into a beautiful collection of earring stands.

I have been collecting miniature frames in charity shops and junk shops for a while now. Some are quality vintage frames in brass with intricate casting (with and without glass). Others are contemporary frames in shiny silver, machine moulded with just perspex rather than glass. This collection ranges in size from a couple of inches high to around 4 inches.

At this time of year, I am already starting to think about my jewellery ranges for Christmas and the party season. My designs are glamorous and classic and I wanted a display to suit the style.The contemporary frames looked cheap and nasty to be quite honest so I decided to give them a vintage makeover.

I've used Gilders Paste for various projects in the past as it is so versatile. You can apply to wood, resin, metal amongst other materials which makes it extremely useful in jewellery making. The paste is a little like boot polish and can become cracked and powdery over time but can easily be rejuvenated it by adding a few drops of White Spirit and mixing in. The paste comes in a huge variety of colours to give every kind of finish you can think of. For this project I used Black and German Silver. The paste works best on a matte surface so my first task was to spray all the shiny silver frames with a matte varnish.

Once dry, I used a soft cloth to apply the first layer of German Silver paste to the silver frames. It's a soft gold colour and quickly tones down the horrid modern silver colour. Leave the first layer of paste to dry a little then you can gently buff ready for the next layer.

Black Gilders paste is great for adding age to metal components and for bringing out the detail in any relief work. Applied with a soft cloth, it brought out the flower design on my little frames. The frames still looked silver though to I applied another layer of German Silver and another of Black. I left them to dry then buffed to a soft shine.

While I was using the German Silver paste, I also applied a light rub to the two vintage brass frames. It really brought the casting to life and helped to bring the whole frame collection together.

With the frames done, I turned to the mounts. I used some fabric textured wallpaper (a sample from a local DIY store) to create a background for each frame. A bead reamer was the perfect tool to make a couple of holes through the frame backs and then I used 0.8mm brass wire to make the hanging loops. Cut 10cm of wire, turn a wrapped loop at one end and trim.Pass the wire through the hole you made in the backing and turn another loop of the back of the frame to secure.

Loaded with glamorous earrings and displayed with my collection of larger frames, I love the luxurious and expensive look I've achieved. Who would think that most of the frames cost as little as 50p each and none was more than £1?!

Why not check out the range of Gilders Paste at Metal Clay Ltd. I think I might pick up a tin of Antique Gold and add a touch of metallic gold to my frames. What do you think?

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