Friday, April 12, 2013

Upcycled Bamboo Jewelry Displays -- Part 2 of Crafting with Bamboo

Zazzy Peacock felt and crystal bracelets
on a handmade bamboo bracelet rack
I have been very busy preparing for the upcoming 2013 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will take place on May 4 and 5 at the Howard County Fairgrounds.  I wanted to have some beautiful and unusual jewelry displays and have made a few out of bamboo -- including bracelet racks, necklace and earring displays (upcycled from bamboo floor mats), and a larger version of the bamboo vase from my last post (Crafting with Backyard Bamboo, Part 1).

I made two bracelet racks -- a single and a triple!  I am really happy with how the bracelet racks turned out, but I must say they were a challenge!  I decided to construct them by inserting vertical piece of bamboo into the horizontal bar, both for looks and strength.  Well, I've gotten the hang of cutting pieces of bamboo on my miter saw, but drilling a one inch diameter hole into the middle of the bamboo was a whole new experience.  Using a crazy-looking drill bit, I split quite a few pieces and never really got a clean circle cut out.  I had to use a file to get the jagged holes big enough to fit the vertical rods.  

Bamboo pieces pre-assembly
Gluing these bamboo pieces together was also difficult.  I needed to use a glue that would hold the pieces in place (perpendicular) quickly and provide a strong lasting bond.  There was a lot of trial and error involved, but eventually I decided the thing to do is use a dab of hot glue to hold the parts in place and then add a lot of wood glue.  (In my experience, hot glue does not hold up on wood over time.)  When the wood glue was dry, I used wood filler to fill in the many unsightly gaps.  Once I applied sealant, both the bamboo and the wood filler took on a nice golden color.

My homemade triple tier bamboo bracelet rack displays
Zazzy Peacock needle felted bracelets available now in
my Etsy shop and soon at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
For the bases, I used scraps of bamboo flooring left over from our remodel.  I drilled out one-inch holes only part way through the base to hold the vertical rods. I tried to finish the edges with strips from an old bamboo floor mat, but the corners came out so bad that I decided to add pretty french gimp trim.  I also added the trim across the length of the bars because I thought it would help the larger felt pieces to stay up on top of the bars instead of slipping upside down.  I think it worked, and I love that my bracelet displays are unique.

To display necklaces and earrings, I made a few boards out of an old bamboo floor mat.  (This should have been trash, but I tend to hoard stuff that I know deep down was meant to be upcycled.)  The bamboo mat was great to work with because I was able to cut it with a mat knife.  Well, I scored the wood with the knife, and then snapped it apart and sanded the edges.  At least I didn't have to use my power tools for this project!  Then, I sanded the bamboo down and applied a sealant to clean it up and restore the golden color.  

Upcycled bamboo mat displays
Zazzy Peacock felted jewelry

To create hooks to hold the jewelry, I used t-pins from the craft store.  I inserted them in between the strips of bamboo, through the rubber binding on the back.  I bent the pins into position with my jewelry pliers, but I probably should have used something more heavy duty. Those t-pins are SO strong.  For necklaces, I wanted the pins horizontal and fairly tight to the mat.  For the earrings, I opened up the ends slightly (not easy!) and bent them so that they were in a vertical position and about 3/8"  off the mat.  I found this worked well for holding both post earrings and wire hook earrings.  Once I got the pins where I wanted them, I used duct tape to secure the pins to the back, then I covered the whole back with contact paper.  Simple, huh?  I love how they look -- I just hope they hold up!   (In person, the jewelry actually looks great set off against the bamboo, but it's hard to see that in the photo.)

I used my backyard bamboo for two more projects.  First, I took one of the bamboo vases from my oldest son's bar mitzvah and expanded it from just three pieces to twelve.  This made it more interesting and a lot more stable.  I will be using it to hold peacock feathers and a couple of manzanita branches (you know the ones that look like little trees), as well some other dried floral elements.  I hope to dangle some bracelets and/or hair accessories from the branches.

Lastly, I cut a couple of very long, thick stalks of bamboo to use as poles to hold up the banner for my booth.  I added eye hooks to the tops so that I could tie the banner.  I needed to pre-drill little holes to get the eye hooks in (normally, on a softer wood, I can just use an awl).  So far, I attached the bamboo poles to my gridwall using duct tape (boy, that stuff comes in handy!), but I think I will have to come up with a better solution before the show.  For now, I was just so happy to see my six-foot banner actually hanging above my gridwall.  Yay!  My booth is really starting to come together.  Hopefully I will post some photos of the whole set-up in the next couple of weeks, before the festival. If I get too crazy, I'll be sure to post them afterwards.  :-)

Related posts:  Crafting with Backyard Bamboo, Part 1

My handmade bamboo vase displays Zazzy Peacock felted hair accessories hung on manzanita branches

Yay!  My Zazzy Peacock banner is hung on tall bamboo poles attached to a gridwall.