Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Keyboard innards jewelry

Before I get started on the keyboard innards, I have an announcement!  The Bead&Button Show class catalog has shipped!  My Cobblestone Path class is on Friday night (June 6th) and is smack-dab in the middle of page 114:

I'm so excited!  Registration starts at noon CST on January 7th, 2014.  If you might be interested in taking my class, please e-mail me at traci@creative-pursuits.biz if you have any questions.

Now for the innards...

When I read and reviewed Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made Using Recycled Materials, I got inspired to do something with keys from a computer keyboard.  The book showed making keyboard necklaces and word magnets, but my ideas were for making earrings with the keys turned backward - either with beads or with the little figures I have leftover from my My Milwaukee: A Triptych bracelet.  Unfortunately, I had taken a number of keyboards and other electronic devices to the electronic recycling center before deciding to do this, and we could only find one keyboard in the house that was not in use.  It was a newer one, and the keys are too short for me to do what I want.

However, I found something much, much more interesting:

I said, "What on earth are these things, and why are they so cool?"  Steve said that keys on modern keyboards press into silicone sheets (shown on the right) to press the two layers of circuit boards (shown on the left) together to tell the computer what key has been pressed, and that's why the keys are shorter than they used to be.

Well, I flat out fell in love with the silicone sheet.  It's stretchy, and I like pushing in the nubs.  I decided that I must make jewelry with them.

Here's the silicone layer close up:

Because of the layout of the keyboard, the nubs are understandably somewhat far apart.  There are also holes in various places.  It takes a little bit of planning to determine what you want to cut, and it takes a lot of patience to actually cut it, since the sheet is stretchy.  It likes to move around on me.  Until I can find modern keyboards at Goodwill or somewhere like that, this is my only silicone sheet, and I need to be judicious with it.  I got a whole box full of keyboards from my mother's basement, but those are all old and have no magic silicone sheets.

I knew I'd need to stitch the sheet onto something so it wouldn't just flap about in the breeze, so I trotted off to Knot Just Beads to get some Ultrasuede.  I wanted bright colors so they'd show through the silicone, and I chose pink and light blue.  I also picked up a brass cuff and a tube of mixed purple seed beads that Kim said would look nice against the blue.  I'd been eying those purple beads for a few months, and I was glad to have an excuse to buy them.  She didn't have to suggest it twice.

I was a little nervous working with the silicone sheet for the first time on something large like a bracelet.  I didn't know if it would work at all, so I started out with earrings.  I cut out circles of silicone with a nub in the center because I like things that are symmetrical and because the nubs were too far apart to have more than one on each circle.  I had some metal blanks with a hole at the top, so I sandwiched one of those in between layers of pink Ultrasuede and the silicone.  So I had Ultrasuede, metal blank, Ultrasuede, silicone.  I stitched a beaded whip stitch like I did on my Milwaukee bracelet (you can see how that looks "in action" here), and it went together pretty well.  I did have to make sure the silicone stayed where I put it - it tended to want to pull away on the edge that still needed to be stitched - but that wasn't too bad for the earrings.

I stitched a loop where the hole of the metal blank was, and when I was done I realized that it wouldn't hang correctly from an earring wire.  I twisted the loop of the earring wire, and that worked just fine!

Here are my finished earrings:

Oh, geez.  I made boobs.  I really didn't plan on them being boobs, but with the pink and the nubs in the middle...  Accidental boobs.  Oh, well!  I'm definitely not taking them apart, so I have them up on Etsy celebrating the fact that they look like boobs.

Now that I'm afraid to make more silicone jewelry with the pink Ultrasuede, I turned to the blue and the brass cuff.  I wanted to do the same type of technique but also to incorporate mini petals stitched around a few of the nubs to look like flowers.  I cut the silicone sheet at a diagonal (at Steve's suggestion), and stitched the flowers and a few rings of seed beads around some of the nubs before I stitched the layers together.  I had the silicone-shifting thing a lot more on this bracelet than I did on the earrings.  If I do this again, I'll cut the silicone a bit bigger and trim if I need to.  Better to trim than to not have enough.  As it is, I was able to stretch the silicone enough to make it work.

Here's the final bracelet:

I think it's very cute, and I hope it finds a good home.  I've listed it on Etsy, too.  Update!  My bracelet did find a good home with my Aunt Nancy.  She saw it at my show in Waukegan on December 7 and adored it.  Thanks, Aunt Nancy!

After the holiday selling season, I'll be working more with both the silicone sheet I have left, the circuit board sheets, and maybe even the keys.

Speaking of the holiday selling season,  I have two more shows:

Cookie sale and craft show
December 7, 2013
9a - 2p
St. John's United Church of Christ
1520 N McAree Rd, Waukegan, Illinois

I have done this show a number of times, and it's always a lot of fun!  There will be many different kinds of cookies, sweets, and other goodies as well as a number of vendors.  I'll be there with my finished jewelry, vinyl decals, and magnets.

December 14, 2013
10a - 3p
German Immersion School
3778 N. 82nd Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This will be my third time at this Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market).  There will be many vendors selling a number of different items, and there's a lot of hustle and bustle up and down the school's halls.  I'll be there with my finished jewelry, vinyl decals, and magnets.

If you can, come by either show and say hi!

1 comment:

  1. Tracy very clever! I'm hoping to find my way over to Weihnachtsmarkt so I will stop by and say 'hi'! - Carol