Show off your finds! Sand, shells, beach glass, seed pods, dried petals, a lock of hair or any tiny trinket that is memorable and meaningful! Easy to assemble, these handmade glass containers are like wearable museum vitrines, housing your own rare and delicate treasures.
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Step 1: Materials for the Vitrine
• Watchmaker’s tins with glass-window tops; you’ll need two of the same size
• Metal foil tape
• A tiny treasure, like a tablespoon of sand from your favorite beach, a broken shell, a dried flower, anything that will fit!
Step 2: Materials for Decorating the Rim (there Are Several Options)
• Ribbon, cord, or wire to hang your pendant
• Fabric, ribbon, or yarn
• Seed beads
• Beading thread
• Beading needle
Step 3: Making the Vitrine
Assemble the watchmaker tin tops (you need the glass-window tops only, not the bottoms) and a piece of metal foil tape. Cut the tape so that it will cover the circumference of the tin top and overlap just a little bit.
Step 4: Start With the Bottom
Put one tin top on your work surface, glass side down.
Step 5: Fill 'er Up
Place your treasures inside the tin top. You can put in sand, shells, crystals, seeds, glass – whatever combination you like. Just be sure not to fill it too full, or the second tin top won’t fit flush with the first tin top.
Step 6: Top It Off
Place the second tin top over the first so that the edges are flush.
Step 7: Seal Up Tight
Peel the backing off the metal foil tape. Attach the tape to the seam between the two tin tops. Wrap the tape all the way around the tins and be sure the seal is tight. Rub the tape with the back of your fingernail to make sure it is adhering to the aluminum of the tin tops.
Step 8: Admire Your Work
Your vitrine is done! Hold up the tiny case and admire your treasure!
Step 9: Embellish!
Now, you can embellish the outside rim and create a bail to hang it on.
Wrap a wide ribbon around the perimeter of the vitrine, or if you are skilled at wrapping and bending wire, you could create a little cage for your vitrine. Crochet or knit a band to fit, or sew a fabric cozy.
I like to create bands of seed beads around my vitrines. This takes longer, but I think it looks very cool. You can use a variety of bead weaving techniques to cover the rim. I often use a right angle weave technique, which is very easy to learn. Right angle weave also lends itself to more complex, three dimensional structures. You can make your band as simple or as fancy as you feel comfortable. Other beaded options include peyote or brick stitch, netting, or looming; there are literally hundreds of beading techniques and styles you can use.
Crafting a bail
Again, this can be easy or complex. If you want the rim of your vitrine to be covered with fabric or ribbon, you can simply sew a jump ring on it and string a cord through. If you’ve made a beaded rim, you can either make a simple bail by beading a small circle on top of the vitrine, or you can make a more complex bail using right angle weave or peyote stitching. If you want to hang your pendant using coated wire, you can simply pass the wire through a couple of beads at the top of your band.
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