31. Keyboard Cufflinks

I’ve tried to make things out of recycled computer bits in the past, some successful, some less so. This time I’m making Ctrl/Alt cufflinks from computer keys.

First of all prise the keys off an old keyboard.

I’m not sure if all keys are made in the same way but the ones I’ve used have a little peg that sits proud from the back of the key.  I found husband’s hacksaw and took the peg down to the same level as the edge of the key.

I used the same cufflink findings that I used in the post on personalised cufflinks and just glued the keys to the cufflink bases. (I think it might be best to use a glue gun for this but mine is on vacation at daughter’s house – I used regular all purpose Bostick).

P.S. 2 days later – thought the glue would be set enough by now.. definitely needs the glue gun.  Daughter, if you are reading and finished with it, can you bring it back please?

12. Necklace made from fabric and polystyrene balls

I know this is another necklace, hot on the heels of make 10, the ruffle necklace. but I just had to put it in as it is so very easy, so dramatic looking and would make a great Mother’s Day gift.

You will need-

About 10 x 3 cm polystyrene balls – available in craft shops.

A piece of fabric.  1.75 to 2m long and 12cm wide.   I used a silk like remnant – it is a bit like the kind of fabric you might use for a neck tie.

Needle and thread.

First fold the fabric right sides together length wise.  Then sew a seam down the length of the fabric about 1cm in from the raw edge.

Press the seam open and turn the fabric the right way out.

Fold the fabric tube in half and note where the halfway point is with a pin. Slip one of the polystyrene balls into the tube of fabric.

When it gets halfway down the tube, remove the pin and tie a knot in the fabric close to either side of it.  Continue to add balls and knots to either side of the first ball until you’ve used up all the balls.

Sew the openings of the tube closed with small, neat stitches and that’s it – done.

10. Recycled ruffle necklace

Into double figures! Make number 10.  Sounds good until I realise I have 42 left to make.

This make was inspired by a Marni.com necklace that I saw in one of the Sunday supplements.  The Marni necklaces are beautiful and follow one of the hottest trends of the moment – ruffles but if you don’t have the cash to splash out then have a go at making one like this.

I used about 2 metres of black ribbon for the pleated section and about 1.5 metres for the ties.  The ribbon came off a beautiful box of perfumed goodies that I received for my birthday. The beads (22 taupe coloured and 22 very small black) I took from an old 80s necklace. I also used two jump rings from my jewellery making supplies but they aren’t strictly necessary if you don’t have any to hand.

Starting at one end of the 2m piece of ribbon, start to fold tiny pleats.  I creased them by running my thumb nail down the fold and then putting a couple of stitches at the top of the pleat to hold it.

I have to admit this does take a little while to complete.  After I had pleated the entire piece, I pressed it very carefully – I was terrified that I’d melt the ribbon!

I then sewed the beads on one by one alternating the larger taupe coloured with the small black ones that act as spacers.

The ribbon I used was already shaped at each end but if yours isn’t then cut each end on the diagonal then hem them raw edge.

Slip each end through a jump ring and stitch in place.

Lastly cut the other piece of ribbon (1.5m) in half and hem each end of both pieces. Thread one end of each piece through the jump ring and stitch in place.  I gathered mine slightly but you could easily attach in the same way as you attached the main part of the necklace (i.e. cut the end of the ribbon on the diagonal, hem and thread through the ring).
Tie the two ends in a bow, slip over your head and you are ready to go!

5. An Almost Recycled Bracelet

Yes, surprisingly we are a month in and I’m still making.  I had the idea for this make while I was with my regular Sew, Knit and Natter group at Burnham Library.  We had a great bunch of makers there on Saturday.  V showed us how to make paper (which could well be a future make here) and a few others were teaching a new recruit how to read a knitting pattern.

This week’s make is made almost totally out of stuff that would otherwise have been thrown out. Here is what you need.

  • A magazine (I chose the John Lewis one pictured as the paper has a lovely feel to it)
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Pencil (optional too)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A stick or knitting needle (I used a wooden skewer)
  • Spray varnish

The first step is to cut some long tapered strips from the magazine.  The top is about 1cm tapering on both sides to the narrowest point which is about 0.5 cm. Use the whole length of the page.

You can make it any width you want.  The wider the bottom the wider the bead; the more tapered the point and longer the strip, the fatter the bead.

You can also do this with a ruler and pencil or if you get fed up with that (as I did) just do it by eye.  This part is fun because you can experiment with the colours.  The colour at the point of the strip will be the main colour of the bead.  I’ve tried, with this bracelet to make the beads roughly the colours of the rainbow.

Next step is to wind the strip of paper around the stick or knitting needle starting with the wide end as pictured below.Try to keep the paper centred so that the narrow end ends up in the middle of the bead. Wrap the paper tightly and when you get to the point where there is just about 5cm left to roll then add a thin strip of PVA glue.

Wind the last 5cm around the stick.  It doesn’t matter if the glue oozes out and spreads onto the bead, it will dry clear and will also keep the bead nicely together.

Gently pull the bead off the end of the stick/needle.

Now make a few more.

I made about 80 for this project.  It was a random number – the amount I could make while sitting in front of the television catching up on Gossip Girl and Waterloo Road!

I then decided I’d varnish them to make them a little more robust. (This is the part where I put the recycling bit to one side)

Daughter, S and little one were here when I decided to do this so, in order not to asphyxiate little one, I took the beads out to the porch with a piece of newspaper and a can of spray varnish.

Learning number one: Don’t expect paper to stay still outside on a windy day

Learning number two: Spraying paper beads with an aerosol sends them scattering to all corners of the porch.

Luckily I had a trusty box with me (recognise this monstrosity from my first make?)

I sprayed the beads one layer at a time in this and it worked perfectly.  I’d imagine a small tupperware box would work just as well as long as you don’t want to use it for food again.

Next was to find something suitable on which to string the beads and I came across a piece of gold coloured elastic taken off a chocoloate box.  It is roughly 70 cm long.

When the varnish is dry start stringing the beads.

I decided to string mine in a rainbow sequence.

Once the beads filled the string, I tied the ends of the elastic.  It can be worn as a bracelet or necklace and here it is:

3. Origami Earrings

I think this one is going to be a bit of a stretch because

1. I’m not very au fait with origami

2. I really don’t know if it will work!

My first use of origami was making Christmas cards last year.  See below:

The cards, I thought, were very successful. What I didn’t take into account was that with all the layers of folded paper, they turned out to be quite bulky.  And bulky post = higher cost of postage.  So, only one person got their origami card posted the rest were hand delivered or put in a parcel with a gift.

I will be running a children’s art and craft morning at Burnham library this Saturday and I’ve promised to do some origami with them (why did I do that???).  This ‘make’ will, I hope, hone my skills in folding paper so that I can appear to know what I’m doing on Saturday.

This is what you will need for the earrings:

  • A piece of coloured paper approximately 4.5cm square.  The piece below was originally designed as scrapbook paper.
  • 2 jump rings (you will find under jewellery findings)
  • 2 head pins (from same place)
  • A selection of small beads
  • 2 fish hook ear wires
  • Round nosed pliers
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Snippers (don’t know if there is a technical term for these)

First make the origami:

Cut a square of paper about 4.5 cm square.  Like I mentioned above, I used scrapbooking paper which is double sided but you could use anything.

Fold the square along the diagonal, crease and cut with scissors so you have 2 triangles:

I will give instructions for one origami heart but if you would like 2 earrings you’d better make two of them.

Fold the triangle in half along the longest side:

Make a crisp crease along the triangle’s axis, then open out again and lay it in front of you with the long edge at the bottom.

Now fold the top point down to just over halfway down the middle crease.

Fold the other two points in so that the bottom edges are aligned with the middle crease.

Flatten and make the creases sharp.

Turn the paper over.

Fold the points in so that the edges meet the line of paper below them:

Turn the piece over and fold in the 2 upper and 2 side points a little to round the shape out:

If you’ve had enough at this point you can stop and stick the hearts on a card, especially if you are reading this on February 13th and have forgotten to go to the shops.

Or…you can carry on to make earrings.

Make a hole in the heart with a fat needle just below the middle V. Open jump ring out, put it through the hole. Sometimes they are soft enough metal to do open with your fingers, if not, use the needle nosed pliers.

Thread the beads onto the headpin

Then using the round nosed pliers make a loop in the headpin at one end.

Snip the other end of the head pin leaving enough wire to make another loop.

Attach one loop to the jump ring on the origami and the other to the fish hook ear wire and close the loops and ring so that they are tight.

I hope you enjoyed this ‘make’.  Let me know what you think about it and how you get on if you decide to make some.

2. Personalised Cufflinks

Right – on to ‘make’ 2.  This time I’m going to have a go at making some personalised cufflinks.  Here is what you need:

These are going to be for son’s girlfriend’s brother who is besotted with his new dog.

The cufflink blanks and cabochons are 12mm diameter.  The challenge so far has been getting a clear photograph, sized correctly so that Biggie’s head fits into 12mm. The cabochons magnify the photograph as well so be sure to take that into account. (Remember to print off 2 photographs).  I have printed the photographs onto card rather than photographic paper as I think the glue might be kinder to card.

Place the cabochon over the top of the photograph and draw around it with a sharp pencil.  Cut out carefully with sharp scissors or a craft knife.

Attach photographs to cabochons with a thin layer of PVA glue.

Once these are dry attach the photos to the cufflink blanks with all purpose strong adhesive.

Taaaa  Raaaa…a much easier make than the first.

If you would like to make some of these yourself please see my folksy shop for the components.  Some ideas for personalisation could be a piece of map showing a meaningful place; pause and play symbols, sports related pictures, children’s drawings.  The list is endless.

An alternative make  to the cufflinks is a bracelet like the one below.  You could have matching jewellery!