October Component of the Month Design Challenge Reveal - Sugar Skulls

Another month in the history books...and what a fantastic month it was! Art Jewelry Elements got a facelift, a new name, and a shiny new website mid-October. Now we are Art Elements. And for the month of October, I got to host the component of the month design challenge. I decided to try my hand at making lampwork sugar skulls. They are pretty simple compared to the real deal, and compared to other component makers. However, my talent is NOT in fine detail. That kind of shit makes me insane, but I'm very glad there are others out there who do love to do fine detail so I can admire their work. 

Anyway, my first inclination is almost always to make a necklace. That is my personal jewelry of choice to wear every single time. Earrings that have any weight at all hurt my ears and everything else gets in my way. However, I really wanted to do something that wasn't a necklace. So I started googling ideas for making a brooch. I found several styles that I desperately want to try my hand at, but a safety pin brooch seemed to be the style that made the most sense for this bead. But I didn't want to buy a premade safety pin. I came across a spiral safety pin tutorial on Etsy by JustynaJewellery that I decided to buy. At just $2.99, that tutorial is worth every penny.

First I tried a practice pin in copper. It was pretty much mangled. Even so, I did the second one in sterling silver then used Jax Pewter Black patina, tumbled, then polished with steel wool. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It's been a long time since I've done any kind of wire work outside of a regular wrapped loop. I forgot how difficult it is to bend 16g to your will...

The other thing I wanted to do was have it so the skull didn't slide around too much on the pin. (just an FYI~the tutorial I bought is a 2-for-1 tutorial and includes a way to make loops in the pin so things don't slide around. I don't particularly like that look and also didn't want all that much dangly bits.) I also wanted my brooch to look different that many of the others I've seen. So I took a piece of purple sari silk and wire wrapped it to the pin. Then I added the skull to the pin, got more wire and some red (don't recall which red) swarovski crystals and wire wrapped and added beads. I really love how it looks, but I don't feel like it's too secure. So I will probably redo that part and see if I can it so it feels more secure. 

Then I added the skull to the pin, got more wire and some red (don't recall which red) swarovski crystals and wire wrapped and added beads. I really love how it looks, but I don't feel like it's too secure. So I will probably redo that part and see if I can it so it feels more secure. Anyway, overall, I'm pretty happy with the design, just not with the structural integrity of the wire wrapped around the sari silk. 

This is a blog hop hosted on Art Elements with several others participating in the design challenge. Please visit the other designers and see what the've made with my sugar skulls and leave comments sharing what you love about them. 

Guest Designers

Staci Louise Smith

Karin Grosset Grange

Solange Collin

Art Elements Team

Caroline Dewison

Susan Kennedy

Laney Mead

Claire Fabian

Diana Ptaszynski

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Lesley Watt

Cooky Schock

Jen Cameron <-----------You are here



I LOVE your sugar skull brooch!! It's fabulous. What a great way to feature a special bead/sugar skull. I will have to check out that tutorial.
Thanks for hosting, it was fun;-D


You know what? I have the same behaviour, creating mainly what I am wearing myself. In my case this would actually be earrings (even with some weight, big and bold). I nearly never wear rings, bracelets or necklaces. This is mainly due to the fact that I work in a research lab and I would have to remove everything all the time except the earrings. Can't tell you how many times I forgot something... and necklaces often go into my way while working or creating. So.... earrings... but I challenged myself some time ago to go more into bracelets and necklaces, especially bold ones!

I love your pin especially with the heavy sterling wire. The skull looks cool dangling below! With what would you wear this? A knotted/crochet shawl or through a jacket hole...?


I bet this will look great on a winter coat or fall sweater. I love brooches, but would not have thought that I could potentially make my own finding. So intriguing!


I have now put said tutorial in my cart. That is brilliant! And brooches are cool - we should do a challenge to bring brooches back! Especially fall themes like this. Jacket weather. I like the look of wire/beads wrapped on silk ( Why don't i ever remember to try that?)
Thank you Jen for a great fun fabulous component this month!

Yeelen spirit

Very beautiful piece. I really enjoyed playing with your sugar skull bead. Thank you so much!

Lesley Watt

What a great idea - the pin is perfect and fun way to show off your lovely beads. Think i'll be buying that tutorial too...I agree with Jenny bring back brooches!

Diana P.

I love that you made a brooch! Thanks so much for hosting this fun challenge!


Wow, I'm envious of your wire skills, the pin is fabulous! I really enjoyed joining you for the challenge, thanks for a wonderful component! (and I'm in for the brooch challenge!)


I love your pin, the wire work and I can never resist the combination of wire and fiber.

staci louise smith

wonderful! I love that you did something different with it.


I love that you made a pin, such beautiful neat wire work and the silk and crystals are a wonderful touch! Not to mention how much I just love the skulls you made. I just brought a beautiful winter jacket and now need to make lots of broaches/pins to go with it! Thank you so much for the fab inspiration Jen x

Susan Kennedy

WOW Jen, that pin is amazing! I might have to get that tutorial, I'm so intriqued! Thanks for the sugar skulls this month, it was fun!

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