If you’ve ever spent an hour (or several) wandering through Pinterest’s many realms, you’ll know that DIY photo pendants/bracelets/earrings/horcruxes/etc are pretty much unavoidable. And why not? It’s kind of the ultimate craft: easy, surprisingly good-looking, and infinitely customizable.

With that in mind, I decided to break out my secret reserves of super-hardcore glue and eerily empty jewelry pieces to test some photo-pendant techniques for my IGGPPC craft blogging debut! This is the first in a series of walk-throughs for my fellow DIY dreamers, who would love to try out every nerdy project that crosses their screens, but are worried about getting in over their heads. My name is Keely, I’m not much of an artist, and I’m vaguely okay at crafts. I’m not afraid to cut corners, improvise, and use whatever is most affordable. So follow along and craft with me – if I can do it, you can, too!

(And if I can’t do it… well, odds are that you could probably still do it anyway. Everybody wins!)

In my quest to create a moderately legit photo pendant, I came across a lot of tutorials, most of which involve a finished product that’s suitable for a nice family gift. You could, of course, choose to wear the smiling faces of your most beloved relatives around your wrist – but wouldn’t it be fun to use handmade jewelry to showcase your geeky passions instead?

Also, I just happened to have a set of appropriately sized Harry Potter stickers, so..

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(Unsurprisingly, it took all of five seconds for Howl, newly-adopted wizard-kitty, to make a huge mess of my whole setup with one sudden jump.)

The basic ingredients for photo jewelry are a backing or base, the photos/images, and an incredibly powerful adhesive. (Because my local craft store seemed bizarrely lacking in the pendant department, I found a small bracelet base to use instead.)

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To be honest, I was most excited about acquiring a bag of these gorgeous, cheaply-made, yet weirdly magical, lumps of glass. You can get a small set of clear glass pieces for this very purpose at most craft retailers, but I decided to take a chance on the massive dollar grab-bag of these little dudes at a discount store.

DSC_0329To start off, I began a desperate search for the roundest and clearest of the available glass pieces. In a sea of oval- and egg-shaped gems, these ones seemed particularly promising!

DSC_0326And as for those egg-shaped ones? Well, they’re easily put to good use.

DSC_0341Here’s where using stickers really comes in handy: with them on your side, you can avoid an extra round of glueing shenanigans. I was a little worried that my mournful miniature Harry Potter and his friends wouldn’t stick very well, and they’re not perfectly sized to the bracelet I had – but what can you do?

There’s only so much time you can save by this, sadly: eventually, you will have to glue those glass pieces to the bracelet, and that takes a while. Most tutorials recommend that you use something like E6000, an industrial-strength glue that works on a variety of different materials. Let me tell you something about E6000, folks. This is serious stuff. It’s basically the Balrog of adhesives. As long as you use it for short periods of time, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space, and take extra care to put the cap back on when you’re done, though, you shall not pass…out from its foul vapors.

Anyway, I carefully dabbed just the tiniest amount of glue on each face of the bracelet – and thank goodness it dried clear. Wait one to two minutes for that glue to set, and then press down your glass piece, trapping Dumbledore (or whoever) forever. Give it time to dry for a few hours (the direction on the glue-bottle is your new best friend!), and you’re finished!

DSC_0349Which fictional characters would you immortalize in a home-made bracelet or necklace? And have you managed to complete a craft that was more picture-perfect than Pinterest-fails-worthy? Let me know; we could all use an extra dose of artsy positivity!