All that glitters is not plastic – you can create amazing sparkly effects with natural materials, too. This pendant is wood covered in cut up pieces of beetle wings.
Supplies and Equipment:
– small piece of wood for backing – this is about 1 inch wide and from a craft store, I drilled the holes
– beetle wings – I used 2 for this pendant
– black acrylic paint (or your color of choice)
– clear acrylic medium – I’m using Liquitex Gloss Medium because they’re my favorite, but other brands should work, too
– sharp utility knife, cutting surface, and appropriate safety equipment and precautions
– rubber cement
– jewelry chain, jump rings and clasp
I bought my beetle wings on ebay, but I’ve also seen them for sale in some bead stores. The species is Sternocera aequis, and these were labeled as being farmed in accordance with CITES. Using beetle wings in jewelry is a really old technique. If it sounds creepy don’t worry, the little bag of wings I received wasn’t creepy at all, just nice clean wings. It’s also very likely that the beetles died of natural causes, mostly because it’s difficult to kill them without destroying their wings, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Start out by cutting up the wings. I had the best results by using a very sharp blade and cutting on the shiny side. I cut the long way in about half, then into smaller pieces. Be extremely careful when working with sharp blades and tiny pieces like this.
Base coat the pendant black and let it dry.
Dip a toothpick into rubber cement and let it dry until tacky. This makes a great tool for picking up tiny things and setting them into place.
Spread a little gloss medium onto the pendant and start sticking pieces into place.
Keep adding pieces until you fill the space. It’s okay if you get gloss medium on the front, it will disappear in the end.
Add a coat or two of gloss medium over the whole thing to lock the pieces into place. Don’t worry about the brown edges from the back of the wing, those disappear when you coat it in gloss medium. Allow to dry then link to your chain!