Monday, May 30, 2016

"Wild Contessa Earrings" - mix media

"Wild Contessa Earrings" is truly a coming together of components reflective of the many passionate and exuberant aspects of ourselves.

"Wild Contessa Earrings (CH0309)


This full featured piece of distinctive mix media brings together the glamour of solid sterling silver and the enviable glory of many of Swarovski’s crystal components. It glories in the joyous boldness of colors, the vintage and common place elements.

  • Swarovski Elements (pearls, 1 and 2 hole channels, chaton montees, bicone XILION beads, round facet crystals #5000)
  • buttons - wood, plastic
  • Akoya Pearls
  • Sterling Silver decorated earring wire

Status: tno

This Wild Contess Earrings was created to match the Wild Contessa Necklace. Both made in the same style with just as wild and eclectic a mix of effusion, enthusiasm, and love.

The Wild Contessa set, Necklace & Earrings (CH0308, CH0309)

Wild Contessa Mix Media Earrings - DIY Notes

Since I have already talked quite at length about the methods, tips, and techniques I employed in “The Wild Contessa Necklace“, (hopefully) here I will be more brief. But I still hope to provide enough tips and reminders for anyone who is interested.

It is always easier to figure out what is being described if you can get a look at the final result. So to that end, here is the final result.

"Wild Contessa Earrings (CH0309)

Here is what I started with, trying to throw a few components together to get an idea of where this might go and hoping it will spark off some juices.
Just like in the DIY for the Wild Contessa Necklace, do the smaller elements first if your pieces are going to be layered – bead bezel the smaller button, add embelishment (Swarovski chaton montee, gun metal finish). Fix to the bottom larger button and complete that with beading.

TIP: Color the backing stiff stuff to create a better blended background for the beaded ladder edging.
TIP: Whenever possible, remember to integrate (i.e. bead in) the connectors that you might want on your piece.
Ooops, I forgot to color prepare the backing here for the vintage cab. Cie la vie!

Here, I have done this a bit differently than in the “Wild Contessa Necklace“.

First, I sewed the cab to the backing, taking advantage of the holes in the cab. So no gluing necessary. And instead of back-stitching the beads around the cab (which is the normal way to begin bead bezeling), I have strung enough beads and used the 4 holes in the cab as means of anchoring the foundation beads to the cab.
String the needed Swarovski pearls (4mm) the same way and anchor to the bottom holes of the cab as well.

Draw outline on backing, making sure you leave enough of a seam to facilitate the beading edge later. Then cut along your outline.
Use the cut piece as a template for the other pieces you need.

Because this cab is hollow, it looks and feels much better to have a more solid and firmer backing. To achieve this, I sandwich a piece of strong foam between the cab and the final (fabric) backing.

TIP: Because you do not want to be sewing through the foam, cut it a bit smaller (as shown by the inner drawn outline).

TIP: I chose to use use fabric backing for my cabs. These scraps of fabric and treated with Lamifix which gives it a water-proof laminated look.
Here is a quick look at the back of the earrings. It is as colorful and unique as the front is!

The fabric backing is cut to the same size as the cut cab-with-stiff-stuff (i.e. template). The final bead edging will join the stiff stuff to the fabric backing.
TIP: I added a string of tiny seed beads (15/0) beneath the Swarovski pearls so that the white stiff stuff does not show through between the larger 4mm pearls. Secure or back-stitch this tiny beads down. Couch the pearls down on top of it.

TIP: remember to “intergrate” the connectors while doing the final bead edging.
Join the pieces together when all the elements are done.


Very important – whenever you are attaching flatish elements and there is a potential of it twisting/turning when worn (as here) … the point of connection should be “firm”. For instance, here this is achieved by having multiple attachments linking the top to the bottom element
Here you can see how the connection between the top and the bottom is not just a one-to-one link. The multiple “connections” provide a firmer base so that when worn, the bottom element will not swing around and show its back. The connection kind of forms a triangle with a Swarovski montee topping.

Wild Contessa Earrings: photos


So that’s how to make the mix media Wild Contessa Earrings. I hope you enjoyed your little stay with me!