There are a lot of things I love about vintage and retro styles. It hits all the fashion high notes for me… the clothing, the purses, the shoes, the jewelry, and other accessories. Swoon! When it comes to jewelry, while I love lots of different styles and types of jewelry, the plastics have long been my favorites. New, old, I love and collect it all!
Source: LIFE Magazine, April 28, 1941 found via Pinterest,
original source of this copy of the image unknown
If you follow me on Instagram, you maybe have caught some glimpses this year that I’ve been working on learning how to make my own jewelry with resin. Basically, making my own retro plastic pieces. This is definitely not a “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to play with that!” kind of a craft; it’s been a full-on indoctrination into learning about plastics, mold making, jewelry making, and everything that accompanies it. And that is a mighty big “everything”, I must say!
I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours this year studying, practicing, and working towards getting even a little bit decent at it.
I’m happy to say that I am getting a little bit decent at it! But it’s been a huge investment of time and energy to get there, and I still am regularly making lots of mistakes. For all the neat pieces I’ve made, there are failures, too. And for all the extensive research and practice, I have tons more to learn and try, and it’s still very easy to make mistakes. There’s lots of parts of the process that can go wrong even when you think you’ve done things correctly.
And that’s not even touching on the investment of money—lots and lots of supplies involved in what I’ve been doing, and even months later I never seem to have all the things I need!
It’s worth mentioning I won’t be doing any tutorials or anything like that. It’s fun and addicting, but I would not call all of this a casual craft! Phew, not in the slightest! There’s no way I could possibly ever cover the intricacies and minutia of everything I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn, un-learn, and re-learn!) on my blog. If you’re interested in learning about resin and mold making too, I’d encourage you to get out there and look for articles, books, workshops, or other resources that may help you in your exploration and studies. Just be prepared for a veritable ton of research, trying different supplies and methods, and endless trial and error! That’s what I did, and continue to do. It’s nothing like getting knitting needles and a ball of yarn and teaching yourself to knit, or even buying a sewing machine, fabric, patterns, and supplies to start sewing, which is a bigger investment in time and money at the beginning than knitting.
I’m really having a ball playing around with all of this, but in full honesty, it has not come easy or cheap in any respect!
I’ve already had several questions about if I’m planning on selling my jewelry… and the truth is, I doubt it. I went into this exploration totally for fun. Mainly because I wanted to make my own chain brooches with charms, because original vintage ones are just stuuuupid pricey. And I haven’t truly sat down and learned a new skill (new skill? try about 10 new skills with this!) in some time, so it’s really been satisfying (as well as frustrating, admittedly).
It’s never been my goal to open up a business selling resin jewelry creations. I mean, never say never, right? But I honestly do not have any active plans for that, although I do toss around the idea every so often.
There’s lots of fantastic jewelry makers out there creating vintage-inspired pieces. I love supporting them, and if you love plastic jewelry, you should check them out! Off the top of my head I can name several that I’d encourage you to support, if you haven’t already! Luxulite, The Pink Bungaloo, Desperate Beatnik, SparkleLux, Match Accessories, Glitter Paradise… just to name a few that I love! These are all fantastic small business creating amazing retro pieces. I love that we have a vintage online community that supports them, because what they’re making is truly so cool, and I know from just the little bit I’ve learned over the last several months how damn hard they work to make such beautiful and professional pieces! My lust for creating my own fun little pieces hasn’t quelled my love of supporting them, which I will heartily continue to do. Once a plastic jewelry lover, always a plastic jewelry lover… 😉
What I might decide to do is some limited-edition reproduction button sets now and again, cast from real vintage buttons. You know I love vintage plastic buttons, since they appear on literally every cardigan I knit, and anything I sew that has buttons. I’ve had so much fun with making repro buttons, and I think it’s something knitters and sewists alike might get a kick out of. I mean, I made my own freakin’ buttons for the cardigan I’m currently knitting! That was amazing even to me, and I’m the one who did it. Ha ha! And frankly unless I start putting buttons on every single thing I sew or knit, I’m probably going to end up making more buttons than I can possibly use, just because I enjoy making them. Can’t say that I’ll ever sell any for sure, but it’s a possibility. Regardless, if I do ever decide to sell anything I make, I’m sure it would be on a very limited scale. I do have a job and a life and oh yeah, those other crafts I love too…
Most of what I’ve shown in this post (with a couple exceptions) hasn’t actually been turned into jewelry pieces yet. But I thought I’d share a bit of the new things I’ve been up to this year. Don’t be surprised when you start to see some By Gum, By Golly jewelry or buttons peppering my outfits soon!
What can I say, I’m a plastic jewelry fanatic, now more than ever!!