Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brass Charms with Crystal Lacquer (and a coupon)

Brass charm necklace 3 (800x509)
This necklace was inspired by some charms I saw online.  The original charms were made with wire, paper and resin, but my version is made with brass blanks and Sakura Crystal Lacquer.  Crystal Lacquer made these so easy! 

I’ve seen lots of projects made with pattern tissue paper, but I don’t think I’ve seen any using the instruction pages that come with the patterns.  I wanted some interesting text for my charms, and decided to use pattern sewing instruction sheets.  You could use any kind of paper, but as a sewer, I have lots of memories involving these pages.

I had some brass blanks:
Brass blanks (800x469)
You could use any kind of metal.  Just make sure it’s hard enough that it won’t bend when you wear the necklace.  You could use precut blanks like these, or make your own.  If your metal seems too soft, you might try adding additional layers of metal, paper or Crystal Lacquer.    I think you could even make these charms with plastic as the base.

I chose my paper and then decided to add color to some of it.  I used watercolor paint, but you
could use almost any kind of paint or ink.  I liked the way the text still showed through very clearly with the watercolors.  I let the paint dry before proceeding.
Sewing pattern instructions (800x777)
Then I cut my paper to roughly fit my blanks.  For the first one, I traced around the blank directly onto my paper and then cut it out.  For the next few, I just held the paper on top of the blank and ripped the paper around the edges of the blank.  Then I tried holding the blank in place under or over the paper and cutting around the edges with the paper.  All three methods worked.  Tracing around the blank will allow you to decide exactly what you want to appear on your charm.  Tearing was much less exact, and I wasted some paper when it ripped in ways I didn’t want it to.  Holding the blank to the paper and cutting was simple, but I did get a few crooked cuts that way.

After I cut the paper to roughly fit the blanks, I shaped the paper to the blank more accurately by holding each piece of paper on top of its blank and dragging sandpaper across the edges.  It removed excess paper best when I pulled the sandpaper down in sort of a swiping motion.

Then, for each charm, I lifted the paper off the blank and applied a thin film of Sakura Crystal Lacquer with an inexpensive paint brush.   Then I laid the paper in place and put some Crystal Lacquer on top of it.  When it was dry to the touch, I added another thin layer of Crystal Lacquer.
The Crystal Lacquer acts as an adhesive to hold the paper in place.  It also strengthens and protects the paper and gives it a pretty sheen.  Crystal Lacquer is water soluble, so you can clean up messes as you go and you can clean and save your paint brush when you’re done!

Here are some charms I made from the instruction sheets without adding color:
Brass charms (800x297)
And here are some I made with watercolor paint:
Brass charms 2 (800x303)
I made the necklace from the second set.  I punched holes in each blank after the Crystal Lacquer was dry.  You could also drill the holes.

I love mother of pearl, and I thought buttons would be fun on a sewing-themed necklace.  Then I
added my favorite jewelry components, freshwater pearls and Austrian crystals.

Here’s another view of the necklace:
Brass charm necklace (2) (800x651)
During the month of April, you can use the code TERRI04 to save 20% on Crystal Lacquer at Sakura Hobby Craft.  Now is a great time to try Crystal Lacquer if you are new to it, or stock up if you already love it!

I hope you will make some Crystal Lacquer charms for yourself!  As always, I would love to hear about your projects!


  1. This is so pretty, Karen. Very creative project.

  2. I love it too Karen, Great Project!

  3. oh WOW these are amazing, love the sewing theme, I'm a sucker for all things sewing. Beautiful.