Gail's Nest · Jewelry

Steampunk Jewelry Tutorial

Everybody should do something creative! It’s quite the stress reliever and the joy of producing something that is fun, beautiful, and that people actually like receiving as gifts is very satisfying. So here are my latest makes:


Steampunk is a style that is hard to describe verbally – it is mechanical parts, watch parts, keys. It is Victorian Sci-Fi. You’ll see it in modern movies, literature and fashion. Words that describe steampunk are corsets, lace, time travel, metal, futuristically old.

If you’re still puzzled, here are a couple of images to give you the gist:

Can’t say I’m into the fashion, but I love the jewelry and it is so fun to make because you are putting together metal parts in a way that only suits yourself! I started by pinning some of my favorites on pinterest.

So where do you find the parts? Look around your home and collect washers, springs, old watches, and keys. I really hit the jackpot when I walked into an antique store and discovered a desk with lots of drawers. I started pulling out the drawers and found a bag of watch parts. I asked the owner how much the watch parts were, and he said they went with the desk, as he put them in the drawers for interest in the desk. I said I didn’t want the desk but only the watch parts. He was confused and asked why I wanted watch parts. I told him I would like to make jewelry with them. He hesitated for a moment and then said, “The watches were my dad’s and I’d love to know they had a second life. You can just have the watch parts for free.” Yippee!

So after sorting through the pile, I picked out a few pieces and washed them. Here is a step by step of how I made them. The first ones are my washer necklaces: DSC00711

I traced around the washers on colorful scrapbooking paper and cut them out and then superglued them onto the washer:


Then I put about 3 coats of a dura-gloss to give them a shiny raised look:


It was easy to slip a cord through the middle.

Next, I superglued watch parts. The above pic shows a washer with an old watchface and springs glued together. I used a metal-gloss product to spray over them to give them a sprinkly shine:


I looked for parts that naturally had holes to slip earring loops or jump rings through them:


Here are my other photos. If you are interested in purchasing any of them they will soon be available at our etsy store.


Let me know if you try to make steampunk jewelry! I’d love to hear from you.




Gail's Nest · Jewelry

Shell Jewelry

I find looking for shells on the beach a relaxing activity when I’m vacationing in Florida (which I did a few weeks ago to get a blast of sunshine and warmth in the middle of this winter that just won’t seem to end). But what do you do with shells?

I love making jewelry. Each shell is such a work of art. When I pick up a shell I am looking at its  wave-beaten shape; it’s color and patterning; it’s size and sparkle. DSC00236

I take them home and scrub them with soapy water and then let them soak in bleach water or an antibacterial solution. Then I let them air dry on a towel in the sunshine.

We got a little surprised by a hermit crab inside one of them!

Then it’s time to get out the dremel and make some holes!

I used a cork from a wine bottle that I split in half to pose as a base into which I could drill the holes. Drilling through shells is tricky – some that are more fragile will break easily and others, like oyster shells are really too tough to drill through. But with most shells you use a steady hand, a little water and light pressure.

I sprayed a few shells with a sparkly gloss to give them a finished look. And then came the fun part. Here is where I made them into earrings, necklaces, or a little ring holder:


I used a strong glue called E6000 to place mini shells on top of or inside of bigger shells. Another fun technique is to mix up resin to fill up a shell:


Follow directions for mixing – it’s rather messy! But you just pour it into your shell and let it set. I hid a crab-claw inside one of them that I made into a necklace:


Here are the other finished products:

Delicate earrings – so what if they don’t match?
Jacknife clamshell earrings
A ringholder for your rings when you have to knead dough!


This is the one I kept for myself. I gave the others away as gifts.

So fun! Enjoy!