Saturday, September 28, 2013

Playing With Plastic - By Karen McGovern

I love to play with unusual materials in my jewelry designs.  I was recently asked to show some images of works created with weird stuff and remembered some bangles I made using PVC pipe.  These were inspired by Robert Dancik, the inventor of Faux Bone, which is really a version of PVC in sheet form.  FANTASTIC MATERIAL and I love using it.  In fact, I need to dig some out and make something...
 
 
Anyway, when I was first experimenting with Faux Bone, I came across some large PVC pipe leftovers on my husband's work bench.  "Hmm", I thought. "These bits of pipe ALMOST fit over my wrist JUST LIKE A BANGLE!"  Ding-Ding-Ding!  We have a winner!  Turns out that you can get short lengths of schedule 40 PVC pipe that with a bit of work can be turned into a standard 8 inch bangle.  WHO KNEW? 
 
So, I pounced on the pipe and got to work.  First, find the largest PVC pipe sold at Home Depot, Lowes, whatever.  Should be almost big enough for a bangle.  I simply marked around the pipe with a Sharpie the width I wanted the bangle to be (about an inch), then sawed it with a jewelers saw.  I filed and aged the PVC to look like old bone by burning the edges with my micro torch (well ventilated area, people, PVC gives off fumes when you burn it).  Then I cut the pipe open, heated it with a heat gun to soften, and slid it on my bracelet mandrel to stretch it to the 8-inch size.  Then I drilled the ends and filled the gap with a riveted band of copper, silver, brass, aluminum, whatever, embelished with beads, discs, etc.  I also used an Xacto knife to slice and score the PVC, then used SHOE POLISH (you heard me) rubbed into the marks to accent it further and make it look like old, beat up bone.  Buff if you want and VIOLA!  You have a super-cool, unusual bangle created from an unexpected material!
 
  
What weird stuff do you play with in jewelry designs?  PLEASE SHARE!!!

10 comments:

Chris said...

These are GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing your work and your process. What fun!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

That's great!I love to see that kind of creativity! Those bracelets are soooooo cool!!! I haven't experimented with anything new lately, but my favorite thing to use is copper tubing.....

ana said...

These are very beautiful.
Thanks for sharing your work with us.

Vintage Crab Jewelry said...

Very interesting and I love the look!

ciaolucia said...

Your bangles are great and I love that they are made from PVC! Ingenious!

stacilouise said...

seriously creative- but the mom like person in me HAS TO REPEAT- VENTILATED AREA- AND WEAR A MASK. You only get one set of lungs ;)

Libby Leuchtman said...

Are you kidding me! This is one of the best ideas and tutorials I have seen in a long time! You just made my mind whirl with ideas. Thank you so much for sharing it. So cool, so excited, yipee!

Carol D. said...

These are seriously cool! So many possibilities.

Michemo said...

So cool! I love it when Designers like yourself come up with ways to turn ANYTHING into a beautiful embellishment I can use or wear -- Great Work!

CraftyHope said...

What a really awesome idea! I was actually looking at some PVC pipe the other day while the hubs and I were shopping (well, he was shopping. I was just trying to keep myself entertained) I started to wonder if it was usable for a bangle. The way you made it look like bone though is remarkable! Thanks for sharing the tip!

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