Friday, May 20, 2011

A quick note about my DIY's

Just a note about my DIY posts. You may have noticed that I don't post complete tutorials that result in a finished product. I have 2 reasons for this. I believe in providing tools to people and letting their creativity "fill in the blanks" to produce new and unique pieces of art. Secondly, I eventually want to put a few tutorials in my shop for sale. My current DIY's are teasers. They give you just enough of a view that you can take the idea and run with it on your own, or pique your curiosity and make you want to go to my shop to buy a tutorial.

Cat's out of the bag now! I need to get a tutorial in my shop now. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Still Here....Watch Band Deconstruction for Upcycled Jewlery Findings

I'm still here. :)
The weather has been bad, since I take all my photos outside I haven't been able to post this DIY until now.

Today I'm going to go over watch band deconstruction. Deconstructing watch bands can give you some really unique findings for making jewelry.

First you have to find an old watch with a metal band that you want to upcycle. Be sure the band is straight and free moving, A kinked band or a band that will not move freely is an indication of bent cotter pins and corrosion. These will be very hard to deconstruct without possibly scratching and damaging the band links. A corroded band can be treated with WD40 before deconstruction (let it soak in for several hours and work the band occasionally to allow the oil to seep in the pin holes). It will be a little easier to deconstruct, but is still not as easy as having a watch in good condition.
Remove the band from the watch. This can be tricky as there are many ways of attaching bands to watch faces. When I purchase old watches for up-cycling I look for bands that are joined by cotter pins or spring bars. Those are the most straight forward and common way of attaching bands to watch faces. Most of the cheap watches you find at thrift stores will use this method.
A side note: If you find a watch that is attached in a more complicated manner. Do a little research before tearing it up. Some of the better watch brands use complicated methods of attachment. You don't want to trash a really nice, well designed watch. That would be a shame.
This video shows removal of a band that is attached with spring bars without having the proper tools.

If you have to remove pins I suggest you purchase a pin removing tool or you will tear your hands up. The Tool Lady on Etsy sales a cheap tool that will do a decent job. You will be supporting a small business if you purchase it from her and it costs about the same as it would if  purchased from a large dealer (even after paying shipping).
Here is a video of the watch pin remover in action. 

Decide what pins you want to remove. Sometimes leaving pins in give you more options for jewelry creation than removing them all. Some nice dangle earrings can be made when your band is broken down into sections. I mark the pins I want to remove with a fine tipped permanent marker before getting to work.

Some watch bands have arrows printed on the back. The arrows are there to tell you which direction to push the pins out. If you don't have arrows on the back of your band links push the pins out from the side of the band where the holes are the deepest, or the pins are recessed in the hole. This indicates the bottom of the cotter pin. The side where the pins are flush is the top of the pin (which is the thickest part of the pin and therefore harder to push out). Sometimes it looks like there is a line across the center of a pin as well. This is also the bottom of the pin; the side you want to push from. Sometimes you can't tell which side you need to push from. Cautiously try both. Try your best not to force the tool too much or you will break the bit. Your pin should slide out just enough you can grab it and work it out the rest of the way with pliers. Don't use the tool to push it out all the way either. This increases the chance of breaking it. Fortunately your tool should have included extra bits. If you do happen to break one you have a few extras.
If you run out of bits you can get more here.

Here is a quick video of my pin remover in action and a view of the different types of band parts I got out of it.

These findings will likely become earrings and bails for gemstone drops.

Lastly the tool I used here is good for short term use and experimentation. If you decide you want to deconstruct a lot of bands than it's best to spend more money and get a sturdier tool. They can cost up to $30 and can be found easily at Amazon or Finding King.