Update: 8/13/2015: I now am selling Detroit Necklaces in my Etsy Shop or if you are local to me and would like to purchase directly, please contact me through the contact link above.
I’ll admit it publically…I am a fan of Martha Stewart. And while I don’t think we could be best buds (too elitist and egotistical), I do admire her appreciation of the handmade, the home-crafted and meticulously creative ideas. And I can relate to her anal-retentive, controlling tendencies. I have subscribed to all of her magazines on and off throughout the years. Once in a while there’s something really great that makes it worth the cost of the subscription—a really great recipe, an inspiring feature article on an artisan or a craft idea. This was the case with the July/August 2015 issue of Living in the Picture This article featuring creative ways to feature photographs on things like pillows, rocks, furniture and necklaces. I don’t know about you, but in this era of digital photography I rarely make prints anymore. I loved the necklaces and immediately got to work tracking down supplies and sifting through photos to use. I quickly decided to use some of the pictures that I’ve been taking from around Detroit.
The instructions seemed pretty simple: you print photos onto clear decal paper, spray with a fixative, use water to separate the decal from the backing paper and then apply it to shell pendants and then finish them up with a cord. Sounded simple enough but, ahhh, decal paper…this is not my first time using this stuff and it’s historically been a frustrating experience. Both of my sons have been Cub Scouts—that’s nine pinewood derby cars (and counting, Jack still has one more year). And while we haven’t used decal paper every year I would guess that we have on seven of nine cars. It’s hard stuff to work with—it wants to curl up, edges sticking together and in the past the ink quickly wears from the decal film. I was never able to find the fixative the packaging suggest and had resorted to using clear nail polish to fix the ink in place with mixed results. Needless to say, I was not excited to use decal paper again. But necklaces were so pretty and Martha had a magic solution—Krylon Crystal Clear Spray. Armed with this new knowledge I was willing to give it a go.
I narrowed down which photos I thought might translate well onto the shells and worked on sizing them by printing and cutting them to fit the shells using plain printer paper. After I got that sorted out I made one Photoshop file with multiples of each image to allow for screw-ups—I knew there was going to be screw-ups. I then printed out one sheet of the images and let that dry overnight.
The instructions said to apply thin even coats of Crystal Clear. I sprayed three thin, even coats and allowed them to dry overnight. Then the moment of truth: I traced the shape of the shell pendant on one of the images and cut it to size. I set the decal into a small bowl of water and noticed immediately that the image started fading. After taking it out of the water and trying to remove it from the backing I could literally see the ink transferring to my fingers. I tried with several different images hoping to have better success but each one faded and smudged. Total fail. Bummer. I sprayed a few more layers of Crystal Clear allowed them to dry and tried again. Same thing happened. At this point I was getting mad at Martha. Not willing to throw in the towel yet, I sprayed on thick, heavy-handed, wet coating of the Crystal Clear and let it dry overnight.
The following day when I tried dipping it in water everything stayed put. I gingerly took it out and removed the backing paper, still no smudges. I was able to transfer the first image to a shell pendant and smooth out the air bubbles. It worked! I was able to make all five without any more blunders. I allowed them to dry overnight and sprayed the pendants with a final coating of Crystal Clear and last night after everything was dry I finished them off with thin leather cord and a simple silver clasp. So pretty.
The Great Hall ceiling at the DIA. Taken while we were standing in line waiting to see the Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera exhibition at the DIA. We went on the last day of the exhibition which equated to long lines and crowds but it was so worth it. I would have regretted missing that exhibition.
Scott Fountain on Belle Isle taken that same morning. I wish the fountain had been on and may have to make a trip back on a Saturday or Sunday to retake some pictures.
This is the ceiling of the Belle Isle Aquarium taken on a morning trip to Belle Isle just to explore because we had nothing better to do. Luminous sea glass green tiles. My photograph does not truly capture its loveliness.
The Detroit Skyline taken from Windsor. These were taken on a Sunday afternoon after my oldest son Sam’s swim meet in Windsor. He and I went down to the riverfront after the meet and took in the view for a few minutes before heading back stateside.
And lastly, here is the same skyline view with friendly looking viewing binoculars in the foreground.
Which is your favorite? I really love them all but I think the riverfront and fountain are my favorites. The shells add a ethereal quality to the photos. After I order more shell pendants I’m going to make more and sell them in my Etsy shop.
Here’s where I got my supplies if you’re interested in making your own:
Shell pendents: https://www.etsy.com/shop/loveofjewelry
Clear Decal Paper: http://robinseggcetera.mybisi.com/
Krylon Crystal Clear: Jo-Ann Craft Store
Leather cord, clasps and findings: Hobby Lobby