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Chic Jewellery

This is where it all began. I was taught by Sheena Douglass  at a training day, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on some grunge board and embossing powders  They are soooo easy to make and cheap. Yes cheap… 49p ish per bracelet or £1.10 ish per watch strap! Great for girly parties and pressies etc.
The grunge board smells like new leather – gorgeous and if you’re like me can get hooked on the smell like tar and petrol!!
Sheena gave us all the instructions to make the straps and I’m sharing that with you today.  You can make your own designs on the straps with the embossing pen or use your stamps.
With daily wear I’ve found that I get around 2 months out of a watch strap or if it is for special occasions, 6-10 months.  At the end of that time however, 70-odd pence of the original price is re-useable – the hitch fasteners just unscrew and go onto the next strap. Recycling at its best!
The watchstrap I made is 1 full length of the grunge board.  If you have a thicker wrist, you may have to use the grunge board diagonally to get the length.  Out of one piece of board you should get 2 medium watch straps or 4 bracelets.
The board comes in different textures; from plain to stripes to circles imprinted in the board. Again it depends on what floats your boat.  I usually use plain so I can decorate it how I want.  The packet comes with 10 pieces inside and retails for around £8 to £10.
My wrist is 18 cms circumference.
Anyway here goes, have fun…..
Materials required:
·         1 piece of grunge board
·         Base coat of either acrylic paint or cosmic shimmer sparkle paint. You need something to  stop your inks seeping into the grunge board.  Plus you need to make it water resistant.
·         Stamps or embossing pen
·         Clear embossing ink pad
·         Distress inks in whatever colours you have
·         Glossy accents 
·         Black soot distress ink
·         Ruler and pencil
·         Watch face with spring bar/pins (where the strap is usually joined to the face) 
·         4 x Tim Holtz hitch fasteners
·         Hole punch
·         Antistatic bag
·         Cosmic Shimmer paint (optional)
·         Acrylic Paint
1.       Take the watch face and measure at least 1 cm each side of the face.  This will be the base making sure that you cut the grunge board length ways.
2.       Measure the width of the spring bar/pins that the grunge board will go through.  Mine was 1.8cm.  Cut 2 x pieces of 8cm in length. (This will feed through the watch  pins and hold the face onto the grunge board).
3.       The grunge board has a rough side and a smooth side. Depending on your taste use either side but I always use the smoother side next to my skin.
4.       On the rough side, paint the acrylic paint or cosmic shimmer sparkle paint onto the 3 pieces of board.  Heat dry.
5.       Dust over the 3 pieces with the antistatic bag so that if the base is slightly damp the embossing powder will not stick.
6.       Use any acrylic paints you have to decorate the 3 pieces.  I coloured them in pink.
7.       On the base piece I then used black soot distress ink to add depth to the edges. Heat dry.
8.       Again I used the antistatic bag to dry off the distress ink.
9.       With the embossing ink I stamped circles all over all 3 pieces of grunge board and put ebony embossing powder over the top and heated.
10.   I then took my distress inks and used them as watercolour inks. I put the colour on a craft mat and mixed in some glossy accents.  This is an acrylic base and so will get the distress ink to stay on the board and not wash off in the rain (don’t forget it is water based!).
11.   I then used the bottom of a small bottle and drew half moon around both ends to get the rounded edges on either side of the 3 pieces of grunge board. I then cut these out.
12.   I then made 2 holes with my cropadile (large hole) at one end of the strap. This then went around my wrist and with a pencil I poked through to find out where I needed to place the hitch fasteners.  Once the pencil marks had been done I used my cropadile (small hole) and punched the holes in the board.
13.   Screw the hitch fasteners into the board and then open and close the strap a few times to get the board pliable at the holes.  If it is stiff you can always get some scissors and nick the grunge board going inwards on the strap to loosen the holes.
14.   Put the strap on your wrist with the fasteners underneath, then place the watch face on the top and mark off through the spring bar/pins where you need to cut into the grunge board to put the 1.8cm through to secure the watch face.  Make sure you can see the watch face.  You will notice that the slits will be more towards you that away. This is correct.
15.   Cut the grunge board with a craft knife (be careful) making two slits.
16.   Check your watch face again on the grunge board.
17.   Feed the small pieces through the spring bar and slits on either side of the watch face. Make small holes in the small pieces where you want the hitch fasteners to go.  Use a pencil and mark on the base piece where you want the holes to go.  Punch the holes (small on the cropadile). Screw in the hinge fasteners.
18.   Finally turn the watchstrap over and fold over each other the flaps underneath (cut to size).  Glue in place with very strong glue.  I used Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic Glue.       
19.   Voilà your watchstrap.  Don’t forget that once you are fed up or it has worn out, take off the hitch fasteners to use on your next watch strap and the strap will cost you even less 'cos you’ve recycled.
The above is also used to make the bracelets the only difference is
·         that you cut the grunge board into 4 length way pieces.
·         You don’t need to get a watch face and it only needs 1 hitch fastener to secure because it is thinner.
There is also a product called grunge paper.  This is exactly the same constituency as grunge board but thinner and can be used to make flowers and embellishments.
In the picture there is also a pearl bracelet - one of my many finds in Debenhams of all places!  The bracelet was in tact but the face had lost its cabochon so I paid £3 for it from a bargin bucket reduced from £15!
I took it home and placed a piece of white cardstock in the centre and drew around it and cut it out.
I then played about with mustard seed distress ink for the bakcground, getting different shades. 
I then took the 'live life laugh often' words from the 'with love' clear stamp set and stamped with clear embossing ink, then ebony ultra fine powder.
I then covered the words with glossy accents and placed a glintz (clear glass)bubble over the top and let it dry.  This drys clear.  Hey presto a new bracelet.
You can see these at the next show as I'll be wearing them. Also we will be showing you some more jewellery techniques with embossing powders.  SShh don't tell anyone I've told you......
Hope to see you at the NEC in March.  Take care.......

Sheena's Instructions as promised.....


              and some of Sheena's designs.......


  1. Gosh Sue, I remember doing these, and yes they are really effective and great value - lovely ideas x

  2. Nice post - isn't grungeboard a clever product!

  3. Brilliant tutorial. I remember seeing Sheena demo this on tv and have been trying to find the instructions for ages!

  4. What a fab project and wonderfull tudorial! xx Bianca


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