I was originally inspired to make these lockets because of some I saw on Pinterest. They were from France and solid brass, but so very simple, and they carried a price tag of $98 each...
I love really simple jewelry and these caught my eye. But ninety eight bucks? I thought for that it would at least be gold, but nope, they're solid brass. So I decided to make my own that very day. I ordered my vintage brass lockets on etsy for very little money. They're the same size as the French ones and faceted to boot. I also pulled out my old key collection and decided to paint them too. Here's how:
First, assemble your supplies. You'll need nailpolish, and I find the thicker it is the harder it is to work with. A good mid-range brand like Sally Hansen is perfect. And you'll need some keys or lockets, or any other kind of pendant you'd like to enamel. You'll also need some rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and a cotton swab. White vinegar is the best cleaner for brass there ever was. Check this out:
So if you have some brass candlesticks around the house that need polishing, there you go. Anywho, Once you've cleaned your pendants and let them dry thoroughly, paint on a thin coat of polish.
You don't want the coats to be too thick or you'll have to wait a long time for them to dry. Nailpolish is very easy to work with because the surface tension keeps it on the top of whatever you're painting. Since I was doing more than a dozen each of both the lockets and the keys, by the time I finished painting the last piece the first one was dry. Just continue adding coats until you get the desired effect. Here's after the second coat:
And the third:
I did four coats on all of them, and the lighter colors like the orange, lime green, and yellow took a couple more.
Now, just like when you're painting your nails, you want to seal it with a top coat. I've painted my nails all of two or three times since prom (which was about eight years ago), but when I do it I really like Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails. We used to call it Hard-Ass Nails in high school. Once your last coat is dry, paint on a single layer of the clear coat on the top of your piece, let it dry, and then flip it over and coat the back for good measure. Try not to get any in the seam or hinge if you are using lockets.
Lastly, you want to let the enamel "cure" for a while. You'll know when it's done curing if it no longer smells like nail polish. That means all the hardening agents are done off-gassing and you'll have a sturdy surface. Pop them on a chain and have fun!
If you're not into spending a couple day's work on making an enamel locket or key, I made a bunch and sold them at craft fairs and the few I have left will be up for sale in my Etsy shop next week. This coming Monday at 12:00 p.m. PST the lockets will go up for sale (I'll do a post with a link when they do), and the keys will be up the next week. I have 2 red, and one each of yellow, turquoise, deep purple, and iridescent purple lockets left. If you'd like one reserved send me an email at email@example.com and I will make it a special listing! Also, be sure to follow my Instagram @ohthecuteness to get updates about my new Etsy listings right in your feed!