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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Steampunk Makering and Jewelry Design- How to do it like the Pros and Why "Naked" is (almost) always better. -Part 1

I have done what every one of you is doing. I went to the craft stores, I bought the specially packaged, (even in pink to appeal to the feminine eye) way over-priced, "Doo-Dad", because I thought that's what I had to do. It took me a long time to figure out that the best way to maker, craft or design jewelry, was to do it...NAKED.

No not like this
Like this!

Let me explain.....Whether it was in a magazine, or a supply newsletter email, or at a bead show; whatever the new fangled crafter/maker tool or supply was, I had to have it. I would head out in my Airship to Michaels, Joann Crafts or Beverlies to purchase the next great thing to make my work easier, better, faster or cooler. I did this for a long time.......

Then something happened. One day while in Orchard Supply with my husband, I was looking at the gardening gloves. The pink, flowered, "Any Disney Princess would die-for" gardening gloves. Price tag? $24.99. Now, that seemed a little much, but continuing in my shopitude, I fell upon the big secret. Right next to the soil, just one isle over, I find the same exact gloves in olive green, sans flowers, packaged not for Beauty, but for a Beast named "Burl" who I am sure spends his weekends chopping wood for his cabin. The price of the basic or "Naked" gloves?  $3.99 a pair. The same materials, the same size even (Large), the same everything....except color, pretty packaging and most importantly.....Price.

That was it for me. Never would I blindly shell out money for anything for my business until I looked into what it really was underneath all the pink ribbons and glitter. More times than I care to admit, I bought the cute little package of 10 brass bolts for a 1,000% markup, over the testosterone drenched "Pack O' 100 Bolts" (cough and grab your crotch) from the hardware store, simply because it was being marketed to Crafters...Artists.....ME! I began looking for the "Naked" versions of everything.

So I evolved as an Artist and a Shopper. In the process, I did the research on repackaging, bulk buying and the psychology behind the "Cutifying" of everyday products into Boutiquey looking pretty blister packs that command way bigger bucks than the stripped down, "Naked" version. This is where the "Naked" part comes in.

Vintaj Metal Relief Block
First on my list is the "Vintaj" Metal Relief Block for Buffing. Oh and it's cute alright. It even has different colored sides and the word "Vintaj" stamped on the front. It has to be a completely unique, one-of-a-kind crafter's tool, right? Nope. It's nothing more than one of these, below,  repackaged and with a way bigger sticker price on it.

Beauty supply nail buffers and 3M sanding sponges

Here is the naked version. Buffing blocks are available from any Sally (or other) Beauty Supply and rougher scrubbing pads you can get from any hardware store, for a fraction of the price of the Vintaj block. These are invaluable for sanding sharp brass stamping edges, giving texture to resin and aging your stampings after you alcohol ink them.

 *Hint: 3M makes some great sanding sponge pads.
 Another Product is the Tim Holz Adirondac Alcohol Ink Blending Solution. The name is so cute, in and of it's self, that you have to want this. Picture the Adirondac (someone lost a "K") Mountains in New York with the birds and the trees and the....wait. What does that have to do with Crafting? But you see how they get you? It's pretty sounding and you aren't buying a supply. You are going on vacation!!!

Now it may well have something else in it. Something that makes it a little yellower and a little thicker than good old fashioned rubbing alcohol, but you know what? It works the same for me for 1/10th the price based on volume.  So my money is on the 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and I use it to clean up my alcohol ink brushes as well, so it serves a dual purpose.  It doesn't have a cute name and it doesn't bring up visions of glacial waterfalls, but that $8.00 back in my purse will buy a case of bottled spring water, so there.                                              

Adirondac Solution
Rubbing Alcohol
Next on my list is the Vintaj Glaze and I hate to bag on any one company but they've really got the repackaging cuteness down to a science. Whether it's taking the same brass components that we all know and love, that we buy from respected suppliers like Bsueboutiques and trying to copy her rich Chocolate Ox Patina with a cheap brownish patina and then sell it for 7 times markup-Or coming up with brand new products that we didn't know we needed but now we "have to have"- they've got a huge chunk of the Non-Naked market. Vintaj Glaze is a bit rubbery for my tastes and if you have a customer who likes to pick at things, they will pick this coating right off your work. But we know that sending out raw brass, or inked pieces without sealing is a big no-no, so what to do?

Krylon isn't sexy, or cute, but it works and it's far easier on your wallet and is the "Naked" version of the Vintaj Glaze. You get 2 oz of Glaze vs 11 oz of Matte Finish Spray, so even at the same price, you get far more for your money with the Krylon. As long as you don't mind waiting for the salesperson to unlock the spray paint cabinet, you can unlock some pretty good savings. *Hint: Buy both Matte and Gloss Krylon.
Vintaj Glaze


 Ok, I am done bagging on Vintaj.  But moving on I am going to hit on two of the Holy Grails of the Jewelry Maker world. That's right, E6000 and later on, Ice Resin supplies. First E6000. They finally came out with an E6000 Jewelry and Bead with tips. In the process you get way less E6000 than you did before (1oz vs 2oz) but the price certainly doesn't reflect the absence of half the product because they give you not 1, but 2 glue tips. How generous of them!!
E6000 Jewelry and Bead with tips

E6000 and home made glue syringes

Glue in a syringe is something I have been doing for years. I make my own and it works better than anything else I have tried, plus it's far less money than buying the Precision Tips Package. I take my regular E6000 and I buy the largest size commercially available. You bet I use one of those 40 or 50% coupons every time, so I am getting my E6000 for $3.00 a tube. Then I go to a site such as Androsa and purchase a pack of 3cc or larger syringes plus a pack of the largest gauge needle tips (I recommend 18 Gauge). When the package arrives, I now have 100 complete glue syringes that are reusable, resealable and that help keep the glue where you want it. As long as you aren't the subject of an investigation where someone going through your garbage and finding empty syringes will land you in jail, you really should be gluing Naked.  *Hint: I cut off the tip and only leave 10mm. Put the glue syringe in a Ziploc bag to reuse for more than one day.

Much Love and Happy Makering.....Part 2 will be next week.
Dr Brassy


  1. I'd already discovered the one about sanding (I bought a 10pk off Amazon for next to nothing) but I hadn't thought about the others. Thanks, Dr. B!

  2. And, as far as that goes. . .you can still get the pretty gloves at 99 cent stores and Dollar Tree stores for about a buck. GREAT article Brassy! YAY! Steampunk on the cheap! Quality and Springwater! You go, girl!

  3. great tips, Brassy! I have always kept my open super glue in the keeps for a very long time...wonder if it would work with the syringe!

  4. Great tips! I have always kept my super glue in the fridge. I wonder if the syringes would do just as well in the cold!

  5. you may get two comments...this post was acting weird...sorry

  6. Thanks for sharing such great tips. Been using nail files forever and krylon too. The glue syringes and where to find them is my favorite. And thanks to you I didn't buy the alcohol blending solution, always have rubbing alcohol.

  7. Great tips! Especially like the glue in syringe idea! I get annoyed every time I spy the ame products in two departments for different prices. :(

    You know, I bet you could 1 up the buffing block savings by just using some spray adhesive to glue regular sandpaper and plain sponges. You could probably cut them to size you want with scissors, too. Just a thought. ;)

    Thanks for sharing!