Birdhouse Art to Wear: An Easy Mixed-Media Jewelry Project

My husband and I have an arrangement when it comes to home improvement projects: he does all the building and I do all the decorating. Seems fair, no?

So when I spied these adorable Chirpy Birdhouse Pendants on the cover of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine (a special issue from the editors of Beadwork), I immediately sidled up to him, directions in hand.

mixed media jewelry art to wear
Collaged birdhouse pendants by Heather Alexander.

"Would you make me a few of these, please?" I asked in my sweetest wife-who-wants-something voice.

And he said, "Sure. But you just want the houses, right? I don't have to decorate them, do I?"

What did I tell you? We're a match made in heaven.

Here are the basic directions for this mixed-media and collage jewelry piece, adapted from designer Heather Alexander's tutorial.

Chirpy Birdhouse Pendant
(Finished size is 7/8" x 1-3/8")

1. Cut the house body and roof parts with a wood saw, following all safety precautions. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough or sharp edges and corners.

mixed media jewelry
Cutting the house base.
mixed media jewelry
Cutting the roof.

2. Make a hole for the eye screw. Use an awl to make an indentation in the center of the pitch of the roof. With one hand, grip the roof with a pair of pliers. With the other, grip a power drill fitted with a 1/16" bit and drill into the indentation. It's OK to drill all the way through. Sand the edges and underside of the roof until smooth.

3. Make a hole for the door. Use the awl to make an indentation on one of the short faces of the house body. Use a drill with a ¼" bit to drill a hole over the indentation that is about 1/8" deep. Darken the hole with black permanent marker.

4. Decorate the house (my favorite part!). Decoupage the front, sides, and back of the house using decoupage medium and the ephemera of your choice. You could use postage stamps, bird images, personal photos, or anything else that pleases you. Note: To accommodate the door hole on the front of the house, punch a hole in the paper you are using for that side and carefully line it up with the entrance hole before gluing in place.

5. Let each side dry before proceeding to the next one, using sharp scissors to trim the paper edges as close to the wood as possible at each stage. Use a small paint brush to apply a thin coat of decoupage medium over the top of the sides of the house.

6. Decoupage the roof. Heather used a vintage postage stamp folded in half for the roof, gluing it in place with decoupage medium and applying a layer of medium on top as well.

7. Stamp the face and end of the roof (the triangular parts). Ink up your stamp and then press one end of the roof onto it. Repeat for the other end. Stamp the bottom of the house as well. You can use the same stamp or different ones.

collage pendants
My birdhouse collage pendants. As you can see, my carpenter cut them to size in one piece, not two.
But they still work!

8. Attach the roof to the house body. Use glue to attach the 2 pieces together, making sure the roof is centered on the house before pressing firmly. Check a few minutes later to make sure the roof hasn't shifted. Let dry, then use spray sealer to coat the entire house.

9. Use your finger to locate the hole created for the screw eye. Screw the eye into the hole securely, using pliers if necessary for a better grip. String the pendant onto a ball chain or other finished necklace and wearor give.

This is only the first of many projects from Handcrafted Jewelry I plan to makeand for most, I don't even need my hubby's help. 

There are 22 mixed-media projects in all in Handcrafted Jewelry, including some wonderful cuffs, mica pendants by Kelli Nina Perkins, a fabric and chipboard pet pendant by Natalya Aikens, rings, and a charming journal necklace. Lots of mixed-media art to wear for spring fashion and gift giving.

P.S. Do you make mixed-media art to wear? What kind? Leave a comment below.


Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry


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