Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DIY: Sweater Clips

Apparently I was in something of a DIY mood this weekend! I absolutely love the sweater clips on Etsy, but I figured that a quick trip to a few local thrift stores, and a dig through my dresser (that's right, dresser) full of crafty stuff would yield the pieces required to put together a few sweater clips. I managed to find a pair of clip on earrings in the dresser, but picked up all the rest in one go. I had forgotten that because yesterday was Labor Day, all the second hand shops were having store-wide 50% off sales, so everything was half price! Hoorah!

I know from looking around the internet that there are already a variety of sweater clip tutorials floating around. I wanted to do something ever-so-slightly different. Below, I've shown you how I put together different sorts of vintage items to create sweater clips. It's really just a matter of figuring out where you can attach the chain, as you'll see. The fact of the matter is, with a little creativity, you can turn just about anything into a sweater clip. It simply depends upon the lengths you're willing to go to make something "clippable." I decided that I didn't want to have to glue pin-backs or clips onto anything, so I restricted myself to clip-on earrings, and pins/brooches. 

Warning: Picture heavy post! I may also have gotten carried away with the Photoshop arrows... ::shifty eyes:: In my defense -- and it's a weak defense -- the black arrows seemed so unnecessarily ordinary that I randomly started choosing other colors. It's only now, looking at the pictures, that I realize black arrows were the way to go. The other colors I chose just don't pop. But ya live and ya learn, right? At any rate, read on!

Step One: Assemble Supplies

I labeled the tools I used in the photo below, but you really don't need any specialized tools for this. I just happened to have these lying around from years of jewelry-making. Any pair of pliers and wire cutter will do, so break out that toolbox if you need to! If you find that you want and/or need to pick up some tools like mine, check out your local craft store or Walmart. They're bound to have what you're looking for.

All this chain... yeah... this is a prime example of all the random craft-related stuff I've acquired over the years. Friends, family, and occasionally perfect strangers like to foist random crafty stuff my way, so I had all sorts of new and vintage and store-bought chain to work with. If you're not a horrid pack-rat like me, though, just head to your local Michael's, Joanne Fabrics, bead store, Walmart, etc. You can pick chain up really cheaply, and you're not going to be using much of it, so one package will be more than enough to work with.

Also, Mr. CP pointed out that this photo is really blurry. Sorry. Um, the cat made me do it.

You're also going to need some open jump rings. You can see in the photo below that the ring has been sawed open. This is how you're going to attach the chain to the earrings/pins/whatever you've chosen for your clips. You should be able to find these wherever you pick up your chain. If not, you can certainly pick them up online.

The best parts of the project: the clip-on earrings and pins/brooches! I thought the pirates were hilarious. I'm not really a fan of pirates in the way some people are (i.e. speaking in "arrrrs" and "mateys," stumbling around on a fake peg-leg, and/or wearing an eye patch) but I do have a deep and abiding appreciation for the random and the, shall we say, off-beat... as you can probably tell from the pieces I chose.

Step Two, Take One: Assemble!

I decided to make the pirate sweater clip first. It's far and away the easiest of them all. Also, is it just me, or do these pirates look kind of... Christmas-y?

You can see from the photo below that these pirates are just your basic, run-of-the-mill pins.

I used my wire clippers to cut the chain to the desired length -- I went with just over 5 inches -- and slipped the chain onto the pin. The chain isn't fastened to the pirates per se, but it's still secure, particularly when you're wearing it. 

Step Two, Take Two: Assemble... again!

Next up, the crabs! (Whoa! Flashing back to my middle school Health class!)

You're going to take two jump rings, and twist them open so they look like the picture below. Do not try to pull the jump ring apart in opposite directions. Not only will it be considerably more difficult to open the ring this way, it will also bend it in all sorts of unsightly and unfortunate ways. To open the ring properly, grasp either side of the ring with the pliers so that the split part is in the center. At the same time you're moving one hand away from you, move the other hand toward you. Once you've done this, you should have a ring that looks like the one below! To close the ring back up, just do the same thing again.

Note: I used a gold jump ring as an example in the photo below simply because it popped more against the grey background. I did, however, use silver jump rings for the crabs.

As I mentioned above, part of the trick is figuring out where to thread your jump ring and the chain. I had initially planned on putting the jump ring somewhere on the back of the crab, but that didn't quite work. I found that looping it through the little guy's legs did the trick quite well, though. You can see in the photos below where I put the jump ring.

Step Two, Take Three: Assemble more

The giraffe and the rooster are up next. It perhaps goes without saying that this pairing is further evidence of my proclivity for randomness. These two guys were pretty easy to join together. I just had to find two different places on them where the ring and chain would fit.


Step Two, Take Four: Assemble... still.

I saved the relatively trickier one for last. Clip-on earrings, at least as far as I'm concerned, are perhaps best suited to being transformed into sweater clips. The downside to using clip-ons instead of pins, of course, is that they're more liable to pop off your cardigan. A friend of mine has a sweater clip made of clip-ons and she's never had any problems at all with the clips falling off, though, so I highly doubt I (or you, if you decide to make these) will have any problems.

Like all the other pieces I assembled, I had to figure out where the jump rings would fit best. I ultimately settled on feeding the ring through part of the clip-back itself. You can see in the pictures below where the rings ended up going.

Step Three (Finally): Bow before the majesty of your new sweater clips

At this point, you can do several things. If you're completely unlike me, you'll put your new sweater clips away until you're ready to wear them. If you're anything like me, you'll clip/pin them onto whatever you happen to be wearing -- all at once, mind you, none of this "one at a time" business -- and marvel at your beautiful new accessories in the mirror. I happened to be wearing multi-colored reindeer pajama pants and a plain old, eye-searingly bright magenta tank top, so I pinched some fabric and clipped on those earrings, slipped the pins on opposite sides of my shirt, and took a turn through the house modeling my new clips for... well, the cats. And Mr. CP.

Speaking of Mr. CP, it's a testament to how much he loves me -- or how strange I am, I haven't decided which -- that he barely registered that anything was out of the ordinary. He simply remarked upon how lovely I looked. I haven't yet decided whether he was mocking me or not.

Also, is it just me, or does the giraffe look like he's menacing the pirate? And isn't my random purple arrow pointing at the giraffe completely necessary, and appropriately used? ;)

Thanks for reading! I would love to see any clips you decide to make. Let me know if my tendency for tangential ramblings made the instructions difficult or confusing to follow. I'm always more than happy to clarify.

No comments:

Post a Comment