Anubis – pendant

I already have a number of ankh pendants of various sizes, but all of them are in silver (since I far prefer silver-tone metals to gold). This means I needed to come up with a golden option instead.  I briefly considered painting something I already had – but I really LIKE all of my ankh pendants, and didn’t want to ruin any those that I had – even those that I rarely wear.

I decided to use one that I already have to make a golden duplicate.

First attempt

Re-molding the ankh for the third attempt

I started off with one of my existing pendants, and removed it from its cord. Then I used a two-part silicone putty to create a mold – these molds capture great detail and make it so much easier to make (or rather reproduce) detailed items without having to be able to actually carve.

I was originally going to use the two-part epoxy resin that I have used in the past – but the container was glued shut. (And it warns against heating the chemical.. so I did not want to use the blow dryer or hot water to try to open it up.

So, instead I used the first chemical along with some hardener that I had (for a previous project). It was a huge failure, and never set up.  I was able to clean it out and re-use the mold for a second attempt…

Second attempt

For the second attempt I tried using Acrylic Water Kit from Wal-Mart to cast the ankh. This was likewise a huge failure as the chemical was supposed to set up in 24-48 hours, but almost a week later it was still just sticky.  I do not know if this is a failing of the chemical, or if the addition of the resin dye was to blame.

Unfortunately, the chemical was so sticky that I considered the mold ruined, and had to re-mold the item for the third attempt.

Third attempt

I re-molded the ankh pendant, and although I had picked up some clear epoxy casting resin, I really did not want to ruin yet another mold, so decided to use some oven-bake modeling clay to start with.  I conditioned the clay, pushed it into the mold, and then very carefully removed it from the mold – since the clay is not the air-dry variety, this means that pulling it out can skew the design.

I actually did two clay ankhs, just in case one did not turn out.

Well – this DID work (finally!) and once the clay came out of the oven I painted it with gold acrylic paint and then filled the recesses with black acrylic paint and wiped off the excess to make the piece look older and bring out the details that the mold was able to capture.  From there I coated the front and back with clear glossy varnish, and the pendant was ready to hang.

Anubis – Staff & purse

Ankh sketch

I’m calling the hanging ankh a ‘purse’ even if it isn’t actually a purse… basically it’s just an ankh that I’ll end up carrying, so I’m calling it a purse.

Staff

1) The staff started off as a bamboo pole that I had (I had actually planned to give it away, but never ran into the person I was going to give it to – so I re-purposed it for the Anubis staff).

2) For the ankh itself, I started off by drawing an ankh on my computer (so I could make sure it was even, and then easily size it up and down for a pattern), and then measured the diameter of my pole (approx 1.5″) and printed off the ankh pattern so the base of the ankh would accommodate the pole.

3) This I cut out of styrofoam. I cut two copies out of a thin foam (leftover packing material, not purchased) and then cut the top half out of a thicker foam, then cut side pieces of the thinner foam as well. Basically the bottom of the ankh is an empty box, while the top is solid, so that the ankh will fit over my bamboo pole.

4) I taped the bottom half of the two full ankhs with masking tape, and then taped the full ones on either side of the half, thicker foam piece. Then I taped in the side pieces.

From there I covered the whole thing with masking tape,  to make the ankh a bit more stable, as well as to prepare the foam for paper mache.

Top half of the thicker foam attached to the full ankh for the staff

5) I really loved the extra dimension that SamUK made on her cosplay staff (visit this link – it’s gorgeous!) using craft foam, so I also cut out some additional shapes from craft foam and glued them onto the ankhs before covering them in paper mache.  I just used hot glue for this step.

6) From there I covered the whole thing with paper mache (just using white glue and warm water plus a ripped up newspaper. I only used one layer of paper mache, since I didn’t really need to add any extra bulk.

Close up of some of the detail with the foam covered in paper mache and wood filler

7) Next -wood filler.  I picked up one tube, and about half way through the ankh for the “purse” and the staff I realized that I was going to need more…. either way – I smeared the stuff on, then smoothed it with my hands, and when it was still cool to the touch but drying I sort of “buffed” it with my hands.  (I actually did this on one, and less so on the other – and the buffing really helped make the sanding a lot easier…)  A few hours later (I went for sushi in between!) I sanded the ankh.  The sanding didn’t really get it quite as smooth as I wanted, so I went  onto the next step…

Smoothed out wood filler

8) I have NO idea if this is the right thing to do – but I used a tiny drop of warm water on my fingertips to smooth the filler even further, let it dry again (but this time overnight) and then lightly sanded it again.

9) From here I wiped off the remaining dust and spray painted the ankh black as a base coat. I was sad to see a lot of the details of the additions seem to fade away with the matte black colour.

The ankh spray painted black

10) Then I spray painted it copper, and finally I painted with gold spray-paint. I really didn’t like the gold, and really liked the copper, so went back in and added a few ‘highlights’ of copper as well. The gold just didn’t look ‘metallic’ enough for me.  Once that dried,  I went in with black acrylic paint to bring back out the details and ‘age’ the gold a little bit, before spraying the ankh with clear varnish.  It’s funny.. I spent so much time sanding to ensure that the smooth parts were smooth… and then went back in with the black paint to bring out all of the defects. Hahaha

Finished paint job

11) Of course, from there I had to attach the ankh to the pole itself!

Purse

The flashlight inside the channel in the ankh

1) For the ankh that I would carry, I took the same pattern as the ankh for the staff and enlarged it so that the top loop would accommodate my hand (since the ankh is shown often carried in the hand rather than by a cord in most of the carvings – rather than my inspiration statue).

2) This I cut out of foam core (again, leftover from another project, rather than something I purchased for the purpose) twice, like the previous project. I then cut the same ankh out of styrofoam that is thicker than the foam core, but thinner than the thick styrofoam I used for the staff ankh.

I found the styrofoam fairly easy to cut with a box cutter (with my self-healing mat under to protect my table) but the edges are ragged.  On the other hand, the foam core has nice clean lines, but is much more challenging to cut.  The foam core is also quite a bit heavier than the styrofoam – not seriously heavy by any means, but noticeably heavier.  The result is also much firmer, and not as ‘spongy’.

3) Next, in an effort to accommodate a small flashlight (so that my ankh might ‘glow’) I cut out a channel from the inner foam.  I hope that this works, but it’s not vital for the prop, so if it doesn’t I won’t be devastated…

4) Then like the previous ankh, I layered the foam core, styrofoam and second foam core ankh and taped them together, then fully taping the ankhs for firmness and to give the paper mache something to stick to.

Two ankhs, taped up and ready for paper mache

5) Just like the ankh for the staff, I added on some details with craft foam using hot glue, then covered the whole thing in paper mache. From there I added the wood filler, sanded, water-smoothed, and sanded again.

The two ankhs before painting

6) From here I wiped off the remaining dust and spray painted the ankh black.  Then I spray painted it copper, and finally I painted with gold spray-paint. Like the staff ankh, I really prefered the copper to the gold, so went back in and added more copper to highlight the peice a bit.

7) From there I went in with black acrylic paint to bring out the details and ‘age’ the gold a little bit, before spraying the ankh with clear varnish. From here it’s good to go; I just need to drop in that miniature flashlight!

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My black, black heart: pendants and necklaces

As I previously mentioned, I’ve been making a few different necklaces – some more complicated than others – but some just really simple pendants. Although they aren’t too fussy, I figured I’d post a quick picture nonetheless…

The first photo is a black heart pendant with red gemstones, strung on black coated chain, and finished off with a black toggle and ring clasp.  I’ve worn this a few times now, and the coating doesn’t seem to irritate my skin which is fantastic! I went and looked for black coated findings as well, but they only had jump rings instead of split rings, so instead I just gently opened up a link of the chain to attach the toggle.  I actually really like this necklace, and wouldn’t be opposed to finding other pendants – especially if I won’t have an allergic reaction to the metal when it’s coated like this!

All of the items (pendant, chain, toggle) are originally from Michael’s – but only the chain is a recent purchase… the other two items are from a collection I don’t think they carry anymore called “Black Lace” or something similar.

black, black heart

The next photo is of three pendants:

  • An acrylic rose pendant (Michael’s I think)
  • A large pitted silver-tone ankh (from a line I don’t think Wal-Mart carries anymore) with the same spacer beads as I used in the three-layer ankh necklace.
  • A smaller dagger-style ankh (I’m not sure where I got this one)

3 simple pendants

More necklaces

While I was making some of the other necklaces, I also started up or finished off a few other projects too.

I often wear multiple silver pendants at a time, and since I had a few pendants that I hadn’t corded up yet, I thought that putting some that coordinated together would be fun…

String of ankhs

String of ankhs

I started off with a pile of ankh pendants. Most folks who know me, know that I consider the ankh my ‘personal icon’ so to speak. Think of it like a logo-symbol for me.. I ALWAYS have an ankh on me, one way or another, even if you can’t see it! This means I tend to collect things with ankhs on them, including multiple ankh pendants.

I purchased some silver-tone spacer beads from Michael’s craft store, along with some cord (since I was nearly out), and used some connectors from a package I had purchased ages ago of a bunch of different findings. Also on my supply list were some silver-tone ring-crimps, some silver-tone split rings, and a silver-tone lobster clasp and large ring all from my jewellery-making kit.

I roughly figured out how long I wanted the shortest pendant to hang, and the maximum length for the longest, and cut my cord in three lengths, long enough so each pendant would have enough space between the one above/below. The pendants and spacer beads were threaded onto the cord, and the crimps ended the cord – and then were attached to the connector with a split ring.

Then I attached the remaining cord for the necklace to the connector in the same way, and attached the closure. (Measuring for the final length first of course…)

Although the pendants are all slightly different tones of silver, I think that the spacer beads unify the whole thing…

String of ankhs

Pile of stars

Next up I had three star pendants – all out of my “stash” so I don’t actually remember where I got them from originally – though I’m pretty sure the one with the gemstones I bought from a place I used to work.

I essentially did something very similar for this one, with a slight change.  In this case instead of attaching all three layers to a connector, I used a ring crimp on the ends of two of the layers of cord, and with some tube crimps, strung them onto the third layer –crimping above and below to keep the lengths in the right place.

Then I slid a bead cap over each crimp combination to cover up the crimps.  I also made the necklace adjustable with knots rather than adding a clasp – since I prefer to avoid clasps when I can (because of my metal allergy).

Pile of Stars