Earl and I celebrated our fourth anniversary this past week. That means we’ve been together for 10 years. I’m just gonna let that sit there for a moment.
Wow. Ok. Now that we’re over that, let’s talk about today’s post. Every year since we’ve been married, I’ve given Earl a handmade gift that fits the traditional wedding gift theme. The first year I cheated a bit, since I didn’t make it myself, but every year since I’ve made something for him. Of course, every project I’ve made has also required a bit of touch up after the gift was given, and one of them still does, but we’ll let that slide for the moment, shall we?
This year was particularly hard for me. In fact, it was so hard to figure out what to do that I didn’t have it figured out until the day before our anniversary. Talk about last minute! Fruit and flowers just really weren’t all that inspiring to me. I couldn’t think of much to do for Earl on the budget and time I had available. It would have been really cool if I could cast something, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us.
But! After I serendipitously watched Felicia Day’s play through of Kingdom Hearts I got an idea! Earl and I actually played through that game together, and in the beginning of the game there’s this whole bit about star fruit and how supposedly two people who eat from the starfruit then have their destinies intertwined. It’s somewhat sappy, cute, and (quite frankly) ridiculous all at once. Part of the game is about which boy wins the right to give the girl the fruit, but we’ll skip over that for our purposes. I still thought it would be a great piece of inspiration for this particular project. Sappy goes well for anniversary gifts. And Earl has needed a new pair of cufflinks for quite some time, so it seemed like the perfect project!
He really liked them when I gave them to him, though he didn’t get the reference right away, even though I put them in a hand made Kingdom Hearts box. That’s ok – it was a bit of a stretch. Here’s how they turned out:
And of course, I documented the process along the way so you could make your own, even though I did it last minute.
2 toggles from toggle clasps
2 head pins
2 star pendants (I used leaded glass pendants I found at a local bead store: Stormcloud Trading. These ladies are always amazingly helpful.)**
2 bead caps that fit your star pendants
2 Leaf beads (also from Stormcloud Trading)
22 gauge Gold plated copper beading wire
Flüssiges Edelmetall precious Metal Colour (I found this at JoAnn’s by the paints. Here’s the link to their website. I can’t find a link to purchase online.)
1 pair of jewelry pliers
1 pair of rounded pliers
Yellow Food Coloring**
**If you can find amber or yellow star pendants, then you don’t need the mod podge, food coloring, or toothpicks.
Step 1: Color the beads
Since I was working on this project the day before I was gifting it, I had to make do with what I could find locally. Stormcloud Trading had clear star pendants the right size (~20mm) on hand, but not yellow. So, I improvised and stained my own using Mod Podge!
First, I mixed about 4 toothpicks full of gel food coloring with water. And then I added in about the same amount of Mod Podge as I had water, maybe a little more.
You’ll notice that once the Mod Podge was mixed in the color lightened up a bit. You can add more food coloring in, but make sure to use a clean toothpick! You wouldn’t want to be dropping Mod Podge into your food coloring!
Then I strung the stars and dipped them into the mixture.
After dipping, I hung them up on my earring tree to dry.
After the bulk of it dripped off, there was still some pooling down by the end. I gently pressed a Q-tip to the side of the drip without touching the star to soak up the excess.
I ended up letting it dry overnight due to time constraints. The next day I baked it in the oven for 2o minutes at 170F. Here’s how they turned out:
Step 2: Painting the stars
You’d think changing the color of the glass would be enough, right? Think again my friend! You see, since they’re still clear, the bead cups that will be holding them show right through.
Not so pretty. That’s ok though! It’s easy to fix with a backing of gold colored paint. I put a nice thick layer on. And here’s a tip: be patient and wait for it to dry before moving forward! Or, maybe work on the project earlier than an hour before you have to be done with it.
Now when we place the star over the bead cap you can’t even see the darkness underneath! Just a nice yellow gold reflected back!
Step 3: Attach the leaf
To attach the leaf I used a piece of 22 gauge gold wire looped through both beads, twisted in the back, and cut short. Here is the attachment before I cut it short.
Step 4: Avengers Assemble!
Or wait, I think I mean to assemble the beads. Sadly, there are no avengers here. I mean, it’s Kingdom Hearts. Not even the same franchise!
Ok, start by putting your head pin through the center hole of your bead cap. If you don’t have a hole in the bead cap, you can drill one in or find another way to attach the headpin.
Fill the bead cap with a glob of E6000 glue. I tried a jewelry glue first, but it was too thin. The nice thing about E600 is that it’s got some body to it. You could probably also get away with Goop. Press your star into the cap so that it sits as best as possible. Hold it there for 30 seconds to a minute to add some pressure for the initial set.
Then place it bead side down with the headpin facing as straight as possible and let it FULLY dry. Remember – no rushing!
Step 5: Finishing it off
Once your glue is dry, you’ll want to wrap your headpin around something round. This is where I used my round nosed pliers.
Before you tie anything off, slip your toggle into the loop.
Now use your jewelry pliers to twist the loop closed.
And there you go! Paopu (star fruit) cuff links! I think it makes a great 4th anniversary gift because it references Kingdom Hearts, a game that Earl and I played all the way through together, is meant to symbolize 2 destinies combined, and it’s fruit! Plus, it’s something he needs and will use. And yes, he did like them very much.
What did Earl get me you ask? Well, he also went with fruit and jewelry! He got me this gorgeous grape vine necklace by Michael Michaud.
Why this necklace? He picked it out because it’s patina’d bronze, and I do a lot with cast bronze. Also, it’s grapes. We both make wine together and enjoy doing wine tastings. Of course, what he completely forgot was that the very first piece of jewelry he purchased me was by the same artist! I actually incorporated that pendant into my wedding necklace, because of course I couldn’t just wear any jewelry when we got married. So there’s all sorts of symbolism in this piece of jewelry even if he didn’t realize how much there was at the time!
I hope you all have an amazing weekend! I’ve got something really exciting coming up this Monday!
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