Category Archives: Jewellery and sparkly things

Another quick project – hair ornament

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Thanks go to Matt L, who stopped laughing long enough to take this picture after I asked him if he minded “...taking a picture of the back of my head.

I’ve been getting bored recently. After graduating I spent the summer working for a lettings agent who were particularly busy with the annual tide of students departing and arriving. It was nice being lent a car and driving around the local area, as I’ve learnt a lot of routes and seen places that I would otherwise have had no reason to go to. Anyway, that finished a couple of weeks ago and whilst the job kept me physically occupied, my head was relatively underused and as a result I’ve been rather bored. To top it off, my old Uni login no longer works so I can’t occasionally access research papers out of nostalgia (open access excepted, of course).

I began reading a few books, but couldn’t really get into them. One series that I particularly enjoyed during my teens (14-16) was Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. I got as far as book 11 and have been picking up the later books as I’ve seen them in charity shops, but have stalled at number 13. One particular, albeit more minor, character that stood out to me was an “Aes Sedai” (think sorceress) named Cadsuane Melaidhrin – an old, strong character that took no stick from anybody, peasant or King (in fact, rumours suggest she’s spanked a few Royals). In particular, she is described as having an assortment of hair ornaments dangling from a bun on the top of her head, which are thought to enhance her powers. Now, mystical powers aside, I’ve always been attracted to shiny things (magpie in a past life?) and the thought of dangling sparkly things from my hair sounded attractive. Of course, I’ll just have to live with constantly needing to untangle rogue strands and the inevitable annoyance of small things bouncing off my skull…

I started looking around on the internet for attractive or unusual hairsticks, as I quickly discovered that holding my fairly long hair in a bun is quite difficult using only pins and a hair band. Also, I’m going to look daft enough with things hanging off my head, so the bun will be in the “normal” place at the back, not on top. A forum dedicated to discussing long hair pointed me towards Ketylo sticks and Etsy – and my sparkly-senses went wild. Unfortunately, all the interesting stuff is in America and Canada and UK VAT (20%) and RM’s handling fee (£8) makes importing such things rather expensive. I nearly spent $100 until I realised that the additional costs of bringing it into the country by post would cost rather a lot – nearly half the cost of the items!

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I decided to make something. My first point of call was the Bead Shop in Nottingham’s city centre and I spent far too much buying Swarovski beads and sterling silver findings. If I’m going to make silver jewellery, I don’t want it to turn copper in 18 months time!

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I didn’t have a design in mind, as I was making it up as I went along, but I did know I wanted it in silver and I did know I wanted to thread beads onto eyepins (small metal bar which you can loop at both ends). So I sat down and began threading beads onto pins and building a chain of beaded pins and jump rings.

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Finally, the accessorised hairsticks I’d nearly bought were clipped to a ring at the not-pointy-end of the stick then clipped onto the other end with a miniature hair grip. I thought that was rather large, so have improvised with the small rubber band and ring set-up you generally tend to see at the ends of spectacle chains. Slightly more discreet, but I could only get white. Ideally I’d like black, but that was all I could get at short notice. So each end of my chain has a trigger clasp, the rubber loop allows one end to hang from the stick and I’ve drilled a small hole through the stick and attached a larger jump ring which allows the other end to be clipped on securely.

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Actual working time was probably 3-4 hours, mainly because I had to learn how to bend the eyepins to form a new loop, but partially because the jump rings kept popping open. I reckon I could do it again in 90 mins or less, assuming I had all the parts necessary. It would be nice to solder the jump rings closed, but I don’t have access to the tools for that.

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