Lilliput Jewelry

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Introduction: Lilliput Jewelry

About: I like to divert stuff from its intended use. Most of my crafting is based on re-use and recycling due to my urge to use resources consciously (and my small wallet). As I like to consume ideas rather than pr...

You might be familiar with the story of Gulliver's Travels:

Gulliver's voyage brings him to a island of little people called Lilliput where he experiences several adventures. For example when he washes up on the shore of Lilliput he is captured by the inhabitants while asleep, they climb on him and try to rope him to the ground...

This jewelry may remind you of Gulliver's story as it consists of tiny people, crawling on a much bigger body :)

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The jewelry is super easy to make and a lot of fun to play with.

Wear the tiny people as ear studs, decorate your hairstyle with them or use a single one as a brooch and you have a fun accessories. - Wearing all of them at the same time lets them become a slightly creepy bunch. So if you want to decorate yourself with jewelry: place the little guys wisely and sparely. If you are searching for a subtle Halloween costume go wild and place a lot of them : ) You could even reenact the tiny peoples capturing of Gulliver by adding some thread to their hands...

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Making this jewelry isn't especially dangerous but I would like to remind you anyway:

Please don't cut yourself when using the utility knife or the pliers.

Don't burn yourself or your place when working with the open flame.

Don't super-glue yourself to anything.

(You also might be careful when you are around small children, the box the model railroading figures came in recommends the use of them only for persons older than 10 years...)

Step 1: Stuff You Need

The most important ingredient are the little people.

The figures original purpose is to decorate model railroad layouts. I bought mine at a local model railroading supplies shop, which to my surprise was a pleasure to visit. The variety of miniature figures was mind blowing. It went from construction scenes to hunting scenes, playground scenes, bicycle riders, firefighters, all sorts animals.... I had fun looking at them and a hard time to decide which ones to choose. I finally took a box of six Steeplejacks as I liked the climbing motion of some of them. (The box was about 9 €)

If there is no model railroading supplies shop in your city you can also purchase them on line, they are even available on amazon...

You may watch for the right size. The figures I bought are in scale 1:87 according to the model railroading standard "H0". It seemed to me like this is the most common size, as the shop had by far the broadest variety in this size.

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Furthermore you need adhesive:

Basically every strong glue capable of connecting plastic and metal should do the job.

I used superglue / cyanoacrylate adhesive because I'm impatient. But take a look at Step 7, it might we worth to use slow glue...

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And you need something to glue your figures to:

I used:

- blank earrings I found at the craft store to make a pair of stud earrings.

- bobby pins to apply the figures to my hairstyle.

- a safety pin and a wine cork to make some kind of pin or brooch. Also a utility knife, pliers and a lighter or a candle (You could as well use a blank pin from the craft store)

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As some of my steeplejacks where dressed a little boring I used some colorful nail polish to dress them up.

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I'd like to encourage you to also think about other ways of presenting the little people.

There are a lot more ways to attach them to you than shown in this instructable. For example I think they could work well on mens jewelry: One could sit on a tie pin, a pair could be attached to cuff links...

Step 2: Dressing Up

I used nail polish to give two of the guys a more colorful appearance.

I was a little afraid to screw them while painting them, but the nail polish brush worked pretty well for this task and it wasn't really hard.

But wait for the polish to dry completely before you glue them to anything.

Step 3: Earrings

To attach the the figure to the stud simply follow the instructions on your glue.

I used contact cement for my first ear stud but it took several hours until it was completely cured which was a torture to wait for - so I decided to try super glue for the other guys and it worked just as well and cured much quicker.

And as a side note: my craft store only sold fancy ear studs with a hemisphere on top which I had to take apart. I wanted the contact area as big as possible...

Step 4: Pin or Brooch

I transformed a safety pin to use one of the figures a brooch.

Therefore I cut a piece of a wine cork to be the counter part for the needle.

With pliers I cut of half of the safety pin.

I heated up the pin's stub end over a candle flame for about 15 seconds and pushed the hot part into the figure's body. This way the metal melts into the figure and you only have to secure it with a small dollop of glue.

(Please use the pliers for heating and pushing the needle. - It gets hot...)

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You could as well use a commercial blank pin from the craft store in order to skip the melting part. Just glue it to the pin.

Step 5: Bobby Pin

Just add a little glue to the top of a bobby bin, attach the figure and wait until the adhesive cured. super easy.

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The bobby pin figures are super fun. When you use them on a updo you can create fun little sceneries. It may be helpful to have another person placing them for you : ) (I placed them and photographed them all by myself with the aid of two mirrors which was quite difficult - so with a second person there is a lot of potential to make more elaborated sceneries...)

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You actually don't need long hair to use them on your hairstyle. Picture No.5 shows a bobby pin just placed in my hair. I tried to cover most of the bobby pin with hair for a less obvious style...

Step 6: Super Simple Necklace

While playing around with the figures I realized the most simple way to make a necklace with one of the guys. I simply threaded a silver chain though his arms...

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Actually I thought this was a rather boring way of using the figure and later glued him to a bobby pin. - But if I were in love with a steeplejack this would be a perfect statement necklace...

Step 7: What to Do While Waiting for the Glue to Cure...

The most obvious activity for you to do while waiting for the adhesive to cure is of course: Read Gulliver's Travels.

There you will learn that your new jewelry doesn't resemble the lilliput people at all : ) Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels describes their size as one-twelth the hight of a regular person (this would make rather heavy jewelry...)

The story of Lilliput is actually just one part of the quadrinomial story of Gulliver's Travels, but it's the best known and most popular part. Actually the complete book implies socio-critical and satirical aspects the Lilliput story doesn't impart.

But I have to confess I haven't read it myself.. I just took a look at the wikipedia article about Gulliver's Travels... : )

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Or you could take a look at the work of the British artist Slinkachu.

He does streetart with model railroading figures and was the main inspiration for me to do this instructable. Take a look at his blog called The little people projekt or at his homepage. If you like this instructable you will love his work!

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And now try it yourself and have fun playing with model railroading figures!

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    46 Discussions

    Awwww! Isn't this a really funky idea! But I may not have access to ready made miniature men.... Probably I'll try making them with clay!
    Lovely instructions and idea!

    Fascinating. I've always been drawn to tiny things. Thanks.

    I bought some of these figures sitting down, I have been putting them around my house. I love your idea aswell.

    I love these! What a great idea!

    I am still laughing!! These little people are perfect

    I love these! Thank-you for sharing! Yea! I'm laughing also...they are so cute!...can't wait to make a pair for my grand daughter!

    1 reply

    Thank You! It's so nice to get positive feedback to this little idea!

    I love them so much i could not stop laughing in sheer delight at this idea ..vowing to find some little men figure i will make them for me and my friends ...still laughing with tears in my eyes [im not kidding]...they are great!

    1 reply

    very cool idea I might gave to use this idea for mys girlfriend's birthday present

    1 reply

    This is literally the cutest thing ever. I had to try it, so I used one of my brother's Medieval themed figures to make a necklace.