Bonus Project: Helen's Steampunk Pendant


The complete necklace can be seen in the
December 2010 issue of Lapidary Journal
Jewelry Artist


Mix Craft-Store Components with Easy Metalwork

Helen Driggs is the managing editor for Lapidary Journal
Jewelry Artist

This pendant developed during a recent session of materials investigation (playtime) at the bench. I'd recently created a necklace using resin and mixed media for the December 2010 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and realized the pendant fabrication would be a fun mini project. It doesn't take long to make, you don't need a torch, and you can customize it to work with a different necklace or with the one I created for the magazine.

The materials can be found in most well-stocked craft stores, and the steampunk components and rivets are available from Rings & Things ( Another option is to use what you have on hand or vintage materials of your own. Once you understand the technique, you'll be running with the idea anyway, right?

The pendant is actually a stack of various components. From the top down, the order of components on the rivet is: spinner, watch gear, watch face, brass disc, button, and sprocket. But—you knew I'd say that, right?—I wanted the back of the piece to be clean and secure, so I used the second hole of the button and a brass fastener to secure the sprocket to the piece via a drilled hole first. And, I couldn't stand the thought of a plain drilled hole in the pendant to hang it, so I lined that hole with a tube rivet created from a scrapbooking eyelet. Little touches like that are what will take a simply constructed piece to a more professional level of finished craftsmanship.

Basic fabrication


Time It Took:
About an hour  

1.5" square acrylic 2-hole button, about 3/16" thick maximum
Watch face, about 7/8" diameter
Brass disc, 1" diameter
Spinner arrow, 3/4"
Sprocket or watch gear, 3/4"
Watch gear, 1/4"
Brass rivets, 1/4"
Long brass eyelet, 1/8" diameter
Brass mini fastener

Emery board, flat-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, tweezers, tube-cutting jig, digital calipers, flex shaft and drill bit, disc cutter and dies, sanding blocks or sticks, rivet hammer, center punch, small ball dap, steel block, wire nippers, Bur Life or other lubricant

  1. Drill a 1/8" hole in one corner of the button. This will be the hanging hole.

2. Insert a scrapbook eyelet into the drilled hole with the rolled edge on the top of the button. Flare the tubing on the back of the piece evenly to secure the rivet in the hole. Gently tap the inner opening of the tubing with a punch or small ball dap to set the rivet tightly.

3. Insert the mini fastener into the center hole of the sprocket.

4. Insert the sprocket and fastener through one of the button's holes from the back.

5. Use flat-nose or chain-nose pliers to open the blades of the fastener and hold the sprocket in position. Ensure the flattened blades are perpendicular to the line of the button holes, to allow room to drill a hole through the sprocket.

6. From the top of the button, use a number 54 drill bit to drill a rivet hole through the sprocket. Keep the handpiece vertical and use lubrication on the bit—brass is very hard and will dull the bit quickly.

7. Center-punch and drill a hole through the center of the brass disc.

8. Stack the other components on the rivet in this order: spinner, watch gear, watch face, and brass disc.

9. Firmly insert the stack into the open hole of the button and out through the drilled hole in the sprocket. Indicate a cutting line on the rivet, remove the components, and cut away the excess rivet with nippers. File the cut edge flat for a round rivet head.

10. Restack and insert the rivet into the piece. Turn the assembly over on a steel block and set the cut side of the rivet with the riveting hammer.

11. Insert a jump ring into the hanging hole and hang from a chain or necklace. Voila!

For more mixed-media jewelry projects, download the eBook 10 Mixed Media Jewelry Projects for instant inspiration and get started right away! And don't forget to share your mixed-media jewelry projects in our galleries and tell your stories below. What random thing found around the house have you used in jewelry?


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