I like to make little treats for my girlfriend, Rachael.
It's always appreciated and I love to see her smile when I have done something nice for her.
My girlfriend and her sister are going to comicon soon.
Her sister does anythingcomic.com and sometimes I feature... (not to name drop).
So I thought it would be a good opportunity to create something a little geeksom and awesome.
She once had her ears pierced but they have since healed up so I thought magnets would be the best way for her enjoy wearing ear adornments again.
Step 1: Design
I had originally planned to make magnetic penguin earrings, so I sculpted an idea of what I wanted to make in plasticine to check the size (Rachel loves penguins).
After sculpting the penguin a few weeks ago I changed my idea to a Mario mushroom instead.
I took the dimensions from the penguin head I previously made and drew a rough plan for the mushroom following the same dimensions.
12mm x 12mm following the rule of 3rd's (I'm not sure if the standard view of a Mario mushroom is from above or below but know that 3rds tends to look good, so I made the face part of the mushroom to be around 4mm from the bottom).
Step 2: Cut and Tape
I had a scrap of beech from another project which was roughly in the dimensions I wanted.. above 12mm x 12mm and cut it into two pieces.
To find the center for cutting on the band saw I made an initial cut where I thought the center was and then turned the wood upside down. Luckily the line corresponded and I had found the center line first time. If I had not then I would have adjusted my fence to cut between the initial cuts.
I used double sided sticky tape to tape along this cut line (if i had planned the wood I would have taped on the flattened faces).
I then used masking tape along the length of this wood to decrease the chances of the wood decontaminating whilst I work with it in later steps.
And then I cut the whole thing to a shorter length as it's easier to turn shorter lengths. You don't have to deal with as many variables like chatter.
I also found the center of the wood. It is important that even if your center is not on the cut line that you still use the cut line as your center, otherwise you will have uneven mushroom halves later on.
Step 3: Turinging to Dimensions
I chose to use pin jaws on my chuck to hold the wood in place.
In other projects I turned the whole thing round to increase the surface area using a jaw set to grip onto the wood.
I used a spindle gouge to turn the wood to around the 12mm and then measured 12mm from the end, marking it with a pencil and 4mm in from that point.
Step 4: Shaping That Fun Mushroom
Knowing where to cut makes things a lot easier.
I continued to use the spindle gouge to cut curves where they were needed.
I think I made the inner face of the mushroom 8mm so cut down to this depth with a parting tool and finished everything off with a sharp skew.
Step 5: Snap Sand and Take Off the Tape
Disconnect the mushroom from the remaining part of the blank and sand away the nubbin that was attached.
To separate the two halves, twist carefully then remove the remaining double sided sticky tape and sand flat.
Step 6: Make a Hole Here
I used a rotary tool to make a hole for the magnet.
I used 'buckyballs' for the magnets. These are relatively small powerful magnets and can be purcahsed easily online.
If you don't have a rotary tool for this job, you can substitute easily with a drill and an appropriate bit.
Step 7: Sand and Glue
Sand the backs flat before gluing in the buckyball magnets.
I found it useful to keep some grease proof paper handy to make sure I didn't accidentally glue the two halves together whilst ensuring the magnets were aligned with each other.
I used a medium CA glue (CA is the non brand version of super glue and stands for Cyanoacrylate).
Once the magnets were set into the wood I glued the mushrooms to scarps of thin veneer.
Step 8: Cut Out and Make Sure Your Happy With the Work So Far
Cut around the shape of the mushroom and hand around the edges.
It's a good idea to take a moment to sand the sharp edges away along anything you would like to be finessed.
Then make sure you are happy with the work you have done so far.
I was lucky enough to have a lovely model who was happy to try on the unpainted earrings.
She was very happy with the result thus far and so was I.
Step 9: Paint and Varnish
I went for the standard red/white mushroom design though you could easily go for green or gold or freestyle with your mushrooms.
I started off by painting everything white using acrylic paint (a white base coat allows the color to appear brighter than if a different color was used).
I then mixed white and yellow paint to make the fleshy face color of the mushroom and painted this on each mushroom.
I sketched onto the top part of the mushroom where the white dots should go before painting around my sketch with red.
I drew onto the mushrooms where the eyes should go and carefully, using my finest brush, painted them in using black paint. I waited for this to dry before adding white detail.
To protect the paintwork, after waiting for the paint to fully dry, I used a coat of nail varnish.
Step 10: Enjoy Your New Mario Mushroom Earrings
We discovered to our delight that these earrings, when not in use, double as handy fridge magnets!
Word of warning:
I would recommend not giving these to children (they are small and look like sweets, they could easily be swallowed and due to the use of magnets, could attract together and cause some unpleasantness).