Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Maps as Jewelry - Craft Time

I promised you another handmade gift idea, involving a map and a wooden bracelet. So I'm going to demonstrate this cool craft as I actually perform it for the first time. Without a net. I really hope it works. I saw it on a website and it looked awesome. It involves gluing and drying, so I'm not sure I'll be able to finish it tonight, but I'll get as far as I can, and then finish... uh... when I finish.

Here we go. First I measured all the way around the wooden bracelet to see how long I'd need to cut my piece of map. I also measured the width, and added about an inch and a half so that I'd have enough to wrap around to the inside of the bracelet. My map piece turns out to be 10.5 inches by 3 inches. I looked over the map to find the most interesting section for the design of the bracelet and cut my piece with this part centered down the length. Very conveniently, I found a highway on the map that was fairly straight, with interesting towns all along the way. (This map of Colorado is also significant to the recipient - a nice touch, don't you think?)

Now, I cut the map into 1/2" to 1/3" strips that I will glue to the wooden bracelet with good old Elmers. I try to connect the pieces so that the most important element (the highway) matches from piece to piece. Not everything will match up perfectly, because you're wrapping flat paper around a round bracelet. I only apply glue to the outer surface of the bracelet, allowing the side "flaps" of the map pieces to hang out in space, as it were. My first priority is to get the pieces lined up and secure. For that reason, I found it easier to only cut a few strips at a time and only glue a few at a time. I smoothed out any bumps and wrinkles as I went, and allowed each section to dry pretty well before moving on.

OK, I made it all the way around, and took some time for drying (cue the Jeopardy theme). Now I'll start wrapping the side flaps down, gluing them to the inside of the bracelet. Again, slow and steady wins the race.

That's it for now. Later, after more drying time, I'll cover the whole bracelet with a decoupage coating, to protect the paper from wear, and then cut a strip of leather or ultrasuede to glue on the inside of the bracelet for comfort, and to hide the ends of the wrapped flaps.

What do you think? Easy-peasy on the Degree of Difficulty scale. There's another gift almost done. If I can keep up this pace, Christmas may be in the bag early and I can enjoy the season! Are you in the mood to prepare for Christmas yet?

3 comments:

  1. Ooo, ooo, ooo - - I like this one. I had several wood bracelets that were stolen when my house was broken into--I might try my hand at reaplacing them myself. Cool idea. Thanks, Cindy!

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  2. Verry nice. And easy! And cute! I like it when that happens...

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  3. Laurie, you could do one for your DD with a map from home to college - when it wraps around the bracelet, she ends up close to home! Just thought of that!

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