Saturday, November 10, 2012

DIY Steampunk Resin & Leather Cuff

Here's another resin experiment I've been meaning to show you guys, since it's the one I actually wear the most so far of all my experiments. I whipped it up last month, I think, and it immediately become one of my top three favorite cuff bracelets. (I am a huge fan of leather cuffs; they're perfect with jeans, and they don't snag or pinch the way most of my chain bracelets do!)

The centerpiece of the cuff is a vintage ray gun charm from a box of Cracker Jacks. You might remember I initially considered using it for my steampunk medal:

After this was taken I removed the loop, painted the gun silver (it was initially gold) and aged it with a little brown paint.

Next I dropped it into my resin mold along with several tiny watch gears:

Once the resin was cured, I tried two or three different metallic papers for backers:

 I loved the silver foil, but was afraid it'd look a little too Buck Rogers. Plus the gold foil has some nifty ridges in it that get magnified and warped by the resin's shape, which I think looks cool.

From here I grabbed an old leather belt, cut off a section, and began laying out my cuff design:

 Happily I didn't have to buy anything for this project; I already had all the pieces I needed in my jewelry craft stash.

I rounded the edges of my leather strip, added a snap, and then marked where I wanted the chain to attach with a piece of wet chalk:

As with my previous cuff, I sealed the cut edges of the leather with clear glue before painting them with black acrylic paint.

Next I drilled tiny holes in the leather with my Dremel, and attached my chain with large O rings:

 (I later swapped this chain for a more delicate gold one.)

After a few failed attempts I realized no adhesive would hold my resin cabochon onto the curved leather - the strain was too great, so the edges just kept pulling away.

My solution was to sew the cabochon on like a button. Kind of.

With the resin piece in place on the leather, I drilled two tiny holes on each side, making sure the drill bit went all the way through the leather as well. Then I used thin brass wire to "sew" each side of the resin piece down:

My drill holes were large enough that I could loop the wire through four times one each side, which makes the piece incredibly strong and secure. No more lifting edges!

Next I bent two filigree pieces to fit the side curves of the cuff:
 (I also snipped off the rings on the ends.)

...and used brass brads to attach them, plus a touch of E-600 to make sure they wouldn't twist:

 I like that nothing on this cuff is attached with glue alone. Ever since I lost a piece off my favorite cuff (which mercifully John found again a few day later) I've been paranoid about bits knocking off my bracelets!

Here's the finished cuff with the smaller brass chain:

And one more shot in the daylight, after I added a second loop on the front chain:

The first time I wore this out John and I visited an Indie craft fair, and I had several of the artists compliment it and ask me where I got it. (!!) Talk about a head-sweller!

And speaking of head-swelling, my oh-so mild sickness decided to blossom into a full blown head cold yesterday, and today I gave it to John, so we've got this awesome sniffling-in-stereo thing going on. :) We've also decided that "snot" is a verb, as in, "Did you just snot on my neck?"  -  which is a thing John actually said to me a few minutes ago. (And for the record, no, I did not.)

The hardest part for me is that I can't take any kind of decongestants on account of my anxiety. (Even the mildest stimulant - like the stuff in Sudafed - can trigger episodes.) I don't miss the medicine head feeling, but toughing through a cold with just pain meds and comfort food gets to be a real drag. Plus - and yes, I KNOW I'm whining but I'm sick and it's my blog and I'm GONNA, dang it - tea and OJ and spicy stuff all give me the most raging awful acid reflux. Seriously. I had two cups of herbal tea last week for my sore throat and had to sleep sitting up two nights in a row. And I took Prevacid and antacids and everything! URG.

So I guess you could say my body is just being a poopy-headed jerky jerk at the moment.

This concludes my whining, because I just remembered we bought Epic Mickey 2 today, and wheee video games!

Hope you have a great weekend, guys!


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!


  1. I couldn't take decongestants while nursing (darn things dry up EVERYTHING) so I know where you're coming from. Especially since that coincided with my son's first year in germland (er, you probably know it as "daycare") so I had about 6 sinus infections during that time. The best thing I found is to do sinus rinses. It's gross, but it gets that gunk out of your head and keeps it moving. Sometimes I even managed to fight off the infection without having to resort to antibiotics. Just make sure to use bottled or boiled water, rather than tap water.

  2. Capsacin (sp) nose spray. Which will burn like fire, but work without making you ill. And boil rosemary and thyme in water to make a steam tent. It will make you feel better, and your skin will look gorgeous. And....feel better. Soon. Seriously. :)

    Thanks for all you do because when I am snotting, I do not bring crafts, humor, or joy to others. Consider yourself awesome.

  3. I know it's not quite the same thing, but I get horrific indigestion when I get colds; so bad I can't sleep. The only thing that settles it is crystallized ginger. Weird as anything, but the usual indigestion remedies from packets and bottles do nothing, whereas a lump or two of ginger and I'm settled. I was miserable every time I got a cold before I found that out.

    Since we're doing cold-tips (I doubt my comment will be the last to contain them!), on the subject of sinus rinses: I have never used a neti pot or similar, I just can't cope because they freak me out. What I do use (all the time as a matter of fact because I've got a dust allergy) is a bottle from a decongestant spray but filled with water instead. If you can find one that comes in a glass bottle with a plastic top that can be prised off with a table knife (I mean the kind for eating rather than for chopping, if that makes sense, I don't know what they're called), you can empty out the contents and refill it with boiled and cooled (pretty much sterilised in other words) water and use that as often as you like. There might be empty bottles you can buy for nasal sprays, I don't know, but I haven't seen any in my part of the world. Anyway, that's been life-changing for me, so I felt the need to share.

  4. I.. I can't believe I'm going to ask this, because considering it tends to give -me- anxiety twitches, but have you looked into those Neti pot things?

    Gaah. Horrible things. But other people who don't have horrid fears of water swear by 'em, I guess!

  5. Your cuff is gorgeous! I really like how the backing you chose looks, and the side filigree things, too. :)

    I feel you on the raging heartburn. :( I have it bad all the time and lots more things trigger it now.

    I second the nasal rinses -- you just use normal saline made at home from non-iodized salt and preferably distilled water. (The water has to be warm/tepid or it will hurt/give you a headache, and if your tap water is chlorinated, it will burn.)

    If you have a WaterPik there are special tips that you can buy that are designed for rinsing out your sinuses. You can also use a neti pot (takes some figuring out -- more info: or a NeilMed Sinus Rinse squirt bottle thingy. There's more info here:

    My mother suffers from horrible sinus congestion and that works best for her for getting the gunk out of her nose.

  6. I second the nasal rinses, get thyself a netipot

  7. Yep, capsaicin nose spray! Awesome stuff, but you can literally feel your sinuses shrinking back.

    Sinus rinses are great, too. I prefer the squeeze bottle rather than the neti pot that you pour through your nose.

    Finally, can you use Mucinex? Even though it advertises for relief from cough, it actually relieves all congestion, including in the head. There is a "D" version, but just the plain should help, and I'm pretty sure the plain Mucinex is not a stimulant.

    Feel better soon!

  8. Oh, no! Feel better, Jen and John! Awesome bracelet, though!

  9. I know everybody has a remedy for a cold, but here's mine because I also can't take Sudafed. Neti pot (with boiled or filtered water) 2-3 times a day and Flonase(prescription nasal spray) 1-2 times per day plus tea and a humidifier (probably not as necessary in Florida as it is up here in Maine).

  10. When I was in my teens I was sick and had a really annoying cough. After a day or so, my somach-muscles hurt from all the coughing and it was impossible to go to sleep.
    Then my dad had a "brilliant" idea. He gave me a whiskey. It was the most vile thing I have ever tasted and it didn't even help with the cough.

  11. If you can't get into the neti pot thing (I can't), there's a few things you can do to decongest:

    1 - hot as you can handle shower
    2 - steam bath on your face (towel over your head over a pot of boiling water)
    3 - teeniest amount of tiger balm imaginable, on your frenulum/angel kiss/divot above the centre of your lip
    4 - at a natural remedy store, track down some horehound lozenges. They taste terrible and are really more intended for coughs and sore throats, but they are so awful, I think your body gets better just so you won't force it to endure another horehound lozenge.

    I hope you feel better soon. I hate sinus stuff, and I'm so prone to sinus issues. Yeck.

  12. That cuff is fabulous! I'm sorry the you're not feeling well! Have you ever tried Chestal Honey? It's all natural and doesn't interact with meds and it works miracles. My Walgreens carries it so it's easy to get without special ordering it too. I hope you feel better soon!

  13. I'm sick too...for the THIRD time in four weeks...I totally feel your pain. I wanted to go to the new James Bond today, but I don't think I can do it. :(
    Hope you both feel better quickly! Otherwise Monday's cakewrecks will be snot cakes? :)

  14. If I don't feel well there's either chicken soup (of course) or hot water with honey (sometimes with lemon too)
    Though I haven't any extra complications so I don't know how and if it would work for you.

    Still, it's not medicine and not tea...

  15. I ADORE your bracelet. I've been wanting to make some leather jewelry but haven't had any luck finding real leather belts at the thrift stores, just junky fake ones. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try resin yet though, despite your awesome tutorials. :-)
    And to chime in on cold remedies, I like nasal rinses too, but there's something so comforting to me about the smell of Vicks Vaporub. I put it on my chest, but if you don't like the smell, (and I know it sounds nuts) try it on the soles of your feet. I swear it works. And for the indigestion I second the ginger remedy from earlier, or anything with real peppermint in it, not just flavoring.

  16. I'm so sorry you and John aren't feeling well, but I love your cuff. So cool! Get better soon!

  17. Beautiful work, Jen!
    I can't take decongestants either. Neti pots work well, but here is something else to try (I'm a big fan of "if it won't hurt and might help, it's worth trying"). You put on cold wet cotton socks and cover them with wool socks and go to bed for the night. Somehow this draws all the gunk out of your head and helps you heal. Here is a link (if I can get it to show up; or Google "cold sock treatment")
    Also, no sugar when you are sick! Sorry, that means cake, too.

  18. Vick's rub and Hall's cough drops when it stops running out the nose, and just hangs around in your throat (which is my current status). I've heard for years that putting Vick's thick on your feet before bed (put socks over it, obviously) fixes lots of ailments. I've never been desperate enough to try it (we tough things out here, and my husband hates the smell of Vick's).

    Still, many sympathies on your cold. My nose was running like crazy last weekend. It's almost nice that I'm down to a random cough. That's also a great cuff. I'm tempted to take all of my husband's old belts, and make cuffs for an etsy shop now. Mine won't be as awesome as yours, but we have old belts. And my son needs college money. Again.

  19. Cute Bracelet! I'll have to keep an eye out for belts on my next trip to Goodwill... muahahaha.

    Here's a few of my tips for getting better (as a germaphobe with a sick momma right now!)
    1. Danactive/yogurt. If you like the taste of yogurt, get some greek or the little bottles of danactive. While it won't help with the congestion (Lactose makes more phlegm) it will help your immune system and hopefully get you better faster.

    2. Sanatize EVERYTHING. But sanatizing wipes, spray, hand sanitizer, whatever you can to kill germs. And even though you've heard it before, change your toothbrush. Germs are everywhere, so don't re-infect yourself.

    3. Mount-wanna-hocka-loogie.
    Get that gunk out of you. Making sounds that cats make when they have hairballs actually helps loosen the stuff.
    I hope some of this helps and that you two will be feeling better! HUGS!

  20. Yes! Neti pot! I had to get one when I was pregnant and I'm telling you, it CHANGED MY LIFE. I love that thing, it's better than anything at getting rid of congestion! The capsacin spray sounds awesome too - probably more effective than eating a bunch of hot wings, which I have also done. LOL

    As I was reading I wondered whether you had thought about opening up an etsy store for your jewelry and other stuff. Honestly you and John make the most fantastic stuff, and I know you're probably thinking "oh, we just make things for ourselves" but there would be a huge demand for your stuff. Think about it! :)

  21. If you use a neti pot, boil the water (and let it cool!) first to kill any brain-eating bugs. Seriously.

  22. I hear you on the decongestants! I can't take any on account of my thyroid disorder and it majorly sucks. I recommend some wasabi!

  23. GREAT job!
    That is the best use of chandelier earring blanks i have ever seen; i didn't even recognize them in the first picture.

    BTW, if you have to stay away from cold meds, the Neti pot is the best thing ever.

  24. Hope you feel better soon! I always keep the Halls non-menthol (I can't stand the menthol) that have vit c. That way you get a dose of vit c and your throat feels better.

    The cuff bracelet is really cute! I'm so tempted to get into that resin stuff after seeing all you've done with it lol

  25. Have you tried tea tree oil? It's pretty zesty, so I imagine adding some to a steam might help clear things out.

  26. For your Cabochons, why don't you float some wire/jump rings suspended with a toothpick in the resin, so you then have a fastening point (and save the effort of drilling).

    I'd love to set a small one in silver (or even brass) I can see a nickel sized one making an AMAZING steampunk ring... Check out Bezel settings sometime.

  27. I've found the BEST thing for acid reflux or heartburn is baking soda. Seriously. I haven't taken any sort of OTC antacid in years. Just follow the instructions on the side of the box. :)

  28. Gorgeous bracelet! I just started crafting with resin a couple of weeks ago and so far I'm loving the results. I pinned this project as a must-try.

    And I sympathize with you about the head cold. Cold medicine doesn't work out with my heart condition, so I usually tough it out with a neti-pot and a steam inhaler (I use the Vicks brand inhaler. It's a bit like a humidifier, but put your face right into it and breathe up the steam). My thoughts are with you, and I hope you're feeling better soon.

  29. Buy a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil and use that as aromatherapy. Shouldn't cue anxiety. :)

  30. Hope you cold feels better! We don't do decongestants at our house either. However, there is a wonderful Vietnamese soup "Pho" that is the most wonderful thing. It is our go to feel better soup. Even better some Chinese take out places have it on the menu. (At least in my corner of Ohio)


  31. As a pharmacy intern, I want to second a lot of the comments about the Neti Pot or other saline nasal rinses. Just make sure you use distilled water in the Neti Pot because nobody wants brain-eating bacteria. :-)

    Also, if one of your main symptoms is nasal congestion, you could always try a topical decongestant. Oxymetazoline is a decongestant used in the nasal spray Afrin, and it shouldn't trigger any anxiety because very little is absorbed systemically. If you use it, just be sure to only use it for 3-5 days because you can get rebound congestion if you use it for longer than that.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  32. Love all your crafty projects!

    I don't know if this would work for colds, but it works wonders for my allergies. About 8 ounces of HOT tap water, a teaspoon (eating spoon, not measuring) of apple cider vinegar, and a generous teaspoon of honey - stirred well. Pretty much like hot apple cider. I was desperate the first time I tried it, but none of the normal medications were helping. And vinegar has also been known to help with heartburn.


  33. P.S. The vinegar thing should be done two or three times a day.


  34. The heat from drilling doesnt melt the resin at all? I've done plenty of resin projects, but I've been afraid to drill them.
    P.S- I've learned the hard way-do NOT touch the resin while it's wet. Chemical burns. No bueno.

  35. Hope you feel better soon!

    Non sinus related...

    When making the resin piece for the cuff, could you imbed bits of wire for fixing it to the cuff (by suspending them from a toothpick/pencil above the mould)? It would save drilling it.

  36. Hi Jen!

    Not having a neti pot myself, there is one thing I find helps with colds. Get some saline solution (don't know how it is there but here in Portugal it's available at any chemist's) and just squirt some up your nose. You can do it sideways so it doesn't roll down your throat, if you prefer.

    Get better!

  37. I'll repeat what just about everybody else has said:
    I love that cuff it's gorgeous!
    And I love my netipot. Well, the CVS Brand, it's way cheaper but exactly the same thing. Take a steaming hot shower to loosen everything up and then use it, or a nasal spray or anything else that uses just saline water to get the gunk out. I also use it in the springtime to help with allergies and in the winter to help keep my sinuses from getting dried out.

  38. Before I found out I was diabetic I used to suck down Eucalyptus hard candies (basically Menthol I believe) whenever I had a stuffed up head.

  39. It is probably the chamomile in the tea that is giving you heartburn. The stuff does the same thing to me! Try mint tea from Trader Joe's (or an herbal tea without chamomile) with some honey. That won't upset your tummy!

  40. Oh man, I hate cold medicine >.< Have you ever tried using allergy medicine for head colds? It works wonders for me. Some kind of antihistamine or cleritan or allegra dried my head colds right up without getting that awful medicine brain feeling.

    Anyway, love the cuff! The ray gun charm is my favorite part!

  41. I love what you did there. That little charm from the cracker jax box is awesome! It's funny... when I see someone wearing a piece that looks like it was custom, I always ask the person if they made it, not where did they get it. I figure it's a hats off to them if they did make it, and not assuming they couldn't do something cool on their own. As for the crappy acid reflux you get when you drink tea, I do too (started a few years ago) and it's crummy becasue I absolutely love tea!!! Blegh. Hope you and John feel betters soon.

  42. Hey, so my friend started making/selling these:

    and I immediately thought of your steampunk Christmas tree.

  43. I missed the bit about the heartburn, somehow. Make sure that you don't drink peppermint tea while you're having heartburn, it will make it worse. I'm not sure about other mints, but I know peppermint for sure. It relaxes that esophogeal sphincter and allows the acid to backwash.

    Makes me sad because I *love* peppermint and I now I can't have it much anymore.

  44. Oooh, Epic Mickey 2!! You need to do a mini review on it soon. My hubs and I are waiting for our wii to arrive, and I was disappointed that the first EM didn't get such great reviews :/

    Also, your bracelet is BEEEEautiful, I love the little gears behind the gun!

  45. Try aspirin dissolved in honey, lemon and hot water, it just got me through the cold from hell over the last few weeks.

  46. We love you, Jen and John. Get well soon.

  47. Maybe you've already tried every tea out there (and I've been struggling with major heartburn/reflux lately, so I get it if you don't want to try it), but I can't recommend Throat Coat (by Traditional Medicinals) enough. That stuff WORKS and is VERY SOOTHING.

    It's also the only tea I actually enjoy drinking haha.

  48. I live on Zicam when I'm sick and can't deal with my head in the clouds. Not sure how it will interact with your meds, but it is a homeopathic remedy. Basically, it's super zinc pills. I usually feel better in a day or two instead of a week or two.

    Also, I love your resin jewelry. I have been inspired and plan on making my husband a geeky necklace with a resin charm. He's upset that he lost his favorite necklace, so I'm hoping that I can create a new one for him for Christmas. :D

  49. I'm a nurse, I have anxiety issues too and I hate sudafed, makes me way too jittery. I only take it when I have to work so I'm not snotting all over my patients., try this, I was skeptical a first, but it does make you head feel a bit better, like a warm bath for your brain. It feels weird at first, but you'll get used to it. Also, try some ibuprofen, may help with any nasal swelling that could be adding to the stuffy feeling and headache. Ricola makes a honey/herb lozenge that is mild and quite tasty, lightly menthol. Mucinex (guaifenesin) could help, but don't do the long acting, extra strength or "D" types. Get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids (will help thin out snot/lung gunk) and do try the obligatory chicken soup. Hope you feel better.

  50. The best suggestion I can make for a cold is Buckley's Mixture. I'm not sure if you get it there, but if you don't and you'd like some then drop me a line and I can send you some. It's a cold/cough/decongestant thing that's not your standard OTC med. Their slogan is
    "It tastes awful. And it works."

    And it's true. It tastes AWFUL. You have to be really sick to want to take this stuff. If you can imagine a mixture of pine sol and mentholatum stuff mixed together, then that's what this smells and tastes like. It's awful. But when you finally screw up the courage to swallow some, it feels like burning lava going down your throat and when it hits your chest it feels like an explosion and boom just like that, you can breathe.

    It tastes awful. And it works.

  51. Sudafed/suphedrine reacts with my meds and makes me manic, but I've found I can take stuff with Pehnylphrine with no problem. My go-to is Advil Congestion (it comes in a yellow package). It might help you without triggering an anxiety attack.

  52. There is a really simple home remedy for congestion that you could try. Simply get green onions, cut it right above the white bulb, and stick the bulb up your nose. Gross I know, but the smell of the onions will clear you up, and you'll have the green stalk part you can use for soup to make yourself feel better.

  53. I'm getting tempted to try making some leather cuffs, reading about yours. I have small wrists, so "average" sized bracelets either fall right off my hand, or bind up my hand trying to slide off. Making bracelets to size is the only way I can stand to wear them!

    For the heartburn, or just gas in general, you can take charcoal tablets. I get mine at Walmart; they're in the pharmacy behind the counter. I'll start with a couple, and if that's not enough, take another one or two every ~40 minutes until it's enough. I keep charcoal on hand for when my horses have gas colic, but when I started having issues with heartburn, it became a treatment for me, too. :)

  54. Jen, do you ever make molds of one of a kind objects before using them in projects? That ray gun is so cute and unique. I have a hard time deciding how to use those one of a kind items in a project, worried I'll alter it and then not like it and wish I'd used it differently. Aargh!

    Hope you feel better soon. I rely on ricola and nasal rinsing when I'm feeling coldsickish. The rinse takes some getting used to but is really effective and getting that nasty stuff outta there!

  55. Sorry about your cold. Hope you feel better soon.

    I love the cuff, but I have a question. What did you do with the wires on the inside of the cuff? The pokey ends would be in there and possibly cut your wrist. I'm sure you had an elegant solution. Thanks.

  56. I'm seconding Mary P's suggestion of Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea, that stuff is THE BEST. Speaking as a pregnant woman who isn't allowed to take much in the way of medication and recently went through the worst cold I've had in was a lifesaver for the beginning part of my cold when my throat was super sore. That and sucking on honey candies. Afterwards, when the cold moved down into my chest I started using their Gypsy Cold Care tea and their Breathe Easy tea.

  57. @ Physicsmom - for the wires I cut them at just the right length so I cut tuck the ends inside the resin cabochon, with no pokey ends sticking out. Worked like a charm!

  58. Have you tried using a neti-pot? hellish to get used to...can feel like you're drowning at first...but really does wonders...medicine free!!!

  59. Simply Saline spray with Menthol, opens the nasal passages, saline soothes and you can use it as frequently as you need it, it's amazing stuff. They make several type of saline, and it's not as messy as the netti pot.. no chemicals or additives. Good Stuff...

  60. Excellent start! you're getting quite good with the resin :)

    As a fledgling jeweler, might I suggest changing the chain to a bigger link antique brass? I think jump rings to match, too. I'd also age the leather a bit just to give it that extra touch :)

  61. *tosses you a paddle* ... we're in the same boat when it comes to not doing cold meds. For me, it's a kidney function, blood pressure thing. Once my sinuses were so bad, wasabi did nothing for me, despite ramping it up Mythbusters-style.

    Anyway, LOVE the stuff you make. I am going to have to go through my stash to consider a cuff of my own now.

  62. Never kiss your Honey
    When your nose is runny.
    You may think it's funny,
    But it'sSNOT!

    (this is one of my sister's and my favorite poems)
    (catching up on 3 months of blogs)

  63. I have similar anxiety issues and can't have anything with a lot of sugar or caffeine, and then I can't have much of the fake sugars either (aspartame, sorbitrol, etc) because it really does a number on my inside. What I do instead is whenever I have a cold, or am getting sick, I take airborne (or emergen-c) and eat oranges. You can take an airborne tablet up to twice a day and it dissolves in water. I use just a tiny bit of water so it doesn't taste as bad. I just fought off the flu this way and whenever I feel like I'm getting sick, I start taking airborne and get extra sleep. It works really well for me.


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