Friday, July 6, 2012

Never Get Caught with Your Fly Down Again.

My boyfriend and I went on a vacation to Philadelphia last year and found ourselves wandering around South Street half of our visit!

South Street is an amazing area full of all kinds of shops, restaurants and ART WORK! Everywhere you go is a feast for the eyes. There are sculptures along the buildings and amazing signs. Some of the advertising is done in the coolest graffiti I've ever seen. The people are very interesting, dressing with attention even to the smallest details. You just want to take pictures of everything!
Fly Open!
This picture was taken outside of a delicious Mexican restaurant called Las Bugambilias. It's a great place to eat fish tacos and drink Margaritas and has this really fun metal sculpture. I almost published it on Facebook. I didn't notice my zipper was down!
I've been using Paint.Net for a lot of photo editing but I never dreamed of closing my fly with it. I've used it more for sizing, cropping and correcting color. I am new to photo editing as far as correcting something like this.

If you click on the first picture and then the second, you can see the jeans zip up!

Fly Closed!
I "zipped" my jeans back up by first enlarging the picture. You have to see the blending up close so it won't look like a patch. Use the tool called rectangle select. I selected long thin vertical areas on my jeans that went with the grain and texture of the fabric. I used the copy and paste feature next. You make the selection with the rectangle by dragging it around how you want it. Then you press copy, then press paste. When you do this it makes a moving marquis around your selection. Move your selected fabric patch to where you want it. Then press the paste button again. You can keep selecting your same patch and keep patching. I like it because you can resize your patch without reselecting it over and over. The only time you need to reselect it over is when you want a new patch. To escape from your selected patch press escape. Then pick your rectangle tool and start again. Escape to stop using the tool and press save.

I think my patch job came out ok. I think it's because I had jeans to work with. Next time I'll try to make myself thinner!
Get Paint.NET!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Make a Textured Cuff from a Plain Blank or Sheet Metal

Wide Hammered Brass Cuff Bracelet
I made this pretty pounded cuff bracelet from a very plain wide cuff blank and just a hammer, steel block, pliers and with the metal bits and pieces laying around my bead board.

You could make one using your own design of course by using a piece of sheet metal you cut yourself or a metal cuff blank made flat.

I like raw brass or copper because these take a patina but you can use any metal and experiment.

First take cuff blank and flatten it a little by bending it.   Don't flatten using a hammer because you are going to make it cuff shaped again. 

You are going to lay your metal cuff blank on top of your steel block and put pieces of metal between your blank and the block.  These have to be reasonably flat or they will slide around when you start hammering.  You don't want them to slide because you want nice print in the metal and not a distorted one. 
Very Wide Textured Brass Cuff
I used several flat brass heshi beads, washers, and 12 gauge brass wire twisted into the shapes I wanted.  You place your little metal objects one piece at a time under the bracelet blank on the side that will face outward when you finally bend it back into a bracelet, and hold the blank firm and still while you hammer directly on top of your little metal thing. 

You want to hit hard enough to see a dent make a raised form on the place you are hitting the hammer.  That's how you know you hit hard enough.  Move your pieces around and check your impressions as you go so you can see what you like.  Experiment with very hard hits and some softer ones.  You can use pennies and other small coins.  Hardware like little flat nuts or the heads snipped from screws would look good too.  Don't use anything that will shatter.  Don't use rocks, glass or gemstones.  Use protective eye wear and keep your fingers away from the sharp edges of your sheet metal.

Don't try too hard to make a definite design.  Plan you design with flexibility because since you are doing this by hand the pieces slip a little sometimes and the dents are not perfect.  My design looks a little like curling vines and I am sure my next cuff will look very different.

When you are finished with your design turn the blank over and add dents, shapes or texture  by hitting it directly on the good side.  You could add scratches with a nail or your dremel tool if you want. 

Wide Brass Cuff
 Finish the bracelet by bending it back into a cuff again with your hands.  I like to bend the edges on mine with a pair of pliers but you leave yours flat or use what ever method you want to finish the edges.  I pound the edges to thicken them and also to work harden the shape of the cuff.

The edges on my cuff are pounded hundreds of times so they are thicker than when I first started and smoothed with my dremel tool. They don't have that cut feeling.  The cuff is held on the bottom edge on the block while you hit the top edge.  I shape the cuff with my hand and set it on my block in the "c" shape and pound the edges.  This is very very noisy!  It takes a long time and my edges would be thinker a little more if I would have done this longer. 

A lot of work went into this bracelet as well as punishment to the family and neighbors with the pounding noise.
Finally I removed any sharpness with my dremel tool and felt around the edges for any places that might snag. I applied a light patina with liver of sulfur and it was so vivid with color I decided to leave it that way. It's sealed with Renaissance Wax on the inside and out.

This cuff is very wide at 3" and will fit up to a 7" wrist.   I can make a thinner one by special request.