The Heavy Metal Matador (rydain) wrote,
The Heavy Metal Matador

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Yay! The butterfly barrette is nearly finished. I'm pretty happy with it...I think it turned out nicely despite my limited metalworking and wire wrangling skills. It took me a few tries to figure out how to make satisfactory antennae. The ones in the original piece would be impossible to replicate well in craft metal. They're Y-shaped with a very thin base, which would be quite flimsy and cheap-looking in this medium. First I tried making embossed antennae, but they were a real pain to cut out well (and I gouged them by accident with an X-Acto knife too...whoopee). Then I got a bunch of different wire to mess with. The thick type sold as coiling rods didn't work too well for me because I couldn't bend it without leaving dings (although I was using a pair of roundnose pliers designed for jewelry making). I thought I might try braiding soft jewelry wire. It worked. I thought I might try buying some thinner (22-gauge or so) wire of the same color to wrap the ends with to finish them. That worked too. I left an inch or so of extra straight wire squished together on the end of the braid, put that end in a clamp, used my pliers to make a loop in the wrapping wire, hooked that around the end, and just wrapped it tightly by hand. It looks pretty good and it's on there securely, and though the antennae don't have an accurate texture, the color and style matches the rest of the piece well enough for me.

The barrette itself is made of components (embossed wings, plain wing backings, center circles, antennae) E-6000'ed together around a support strip made of heavier brass (the stuff I originally tried to hammer a design into with limited success). I'm glad I found a way to construct it that's reasonably solid and makes it look polished from behind as well. The wing designs are backed with wood putty, so they won't get dented in accidentally (and they can handle having glass vitamin bottles set on them while the glue between them and the backing cures). I still have to figure out what sort of hair hardware I'm going to add so this can be worked into a wig. So far, my best idea is to use small bent sturdy brass strips to mount small blank hair combs to the back of each wing so they stick backward horizontally. This design really doesn't lend itself well to being stuck on top of a blank barrette.

Unfortunately, we still don't have our camera...but my wig will be delivered in March, and Katie Bair will send me a picture of it before then to verify that everything's OK. I'll certainly share that pic with everyone else when it arrives. ^_^
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