Victorian Inspired Hair Jewelry

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Introduction: Victorian Inspired Hair Jewelry

About: Art Teacher, Artist, and Maker - Follow me on Instagram to see what I'm working on before it hits Instructables.

Yes, that's hair.

During the Victorian Era, family members would often create jewelry from their loved ones hair after they died. Many of the artisans creating these mourning jewelry pieces would sculpt the hair into landscapes or elaborately weave and braid the hair.

I've always admired these special pieces of jewelry and wanted to create my own version. I don't have locks from any dead family members, so I opted to celebrate the recent adoption of my daughter and mix some of her hair with mine.

Step 1: Materials

-hair clippings (the longer the better, but at least an inch longer than your watch face should work) I have clippings from my husband, daughter, and various shades of my own hair. For this project, I'm using mostly my daughter's hair with one strand of my own.

-old watch (Pull an old one from a drawer or pick up an old one at a thrift store, open it up, and gut it.)

-thin sheet metal or tagboard (cardboard)

-scissors

-boxcutter

-E-6000 glue

-masking or washi tape

-etching cream

-vinyl sticker or other masking agent

Step 2: Making a Loom

Put the back of your watch onto your metal and, with your boxcutter or scissors, cut a square around it that's roughly 1/4" larger on each side.

Step 3: Hair Preparation

Put a small blob of E6000 or other non-water based glue onto a piece of foil. DO NOT use water-based glues like Elmers. The glue will soak into the hair making it stiff and unworkable.

Pull out a small section of hair and drag the ends through the glue, making sure to get glue on all the hairs.

Use the middle section of the metal you cut out in the last step to smooth the glued ends flat.

Cut the glued ends straight.

Set the piece aside to dry.

Repeat until you have two rows the width of the hole you cut in the metal.

Step 4: Warp

Tape pieces of hair along one side of your metal loom. Leave a bit of space between each piece to make it easier to distinguish each section when you weave hair the other direction.

This is your warp.

Step 5: Weft

Tape a section of hair perpendicular to the hairs in the warp.

Use a safety pin or other tool to pull up every other section of hair in the warp and lay the new section underneath.

Add a new piece and lift up the opposite sections this time.

Tape the ends as you go.

Repeat until the hole in the loom is fully covered.

Step 6: Lots of Glue

Apply some E6000 to the edge of your metal spreader piece.

Spread the glue on the back of your weaving, making sure to coat it well.

Once dry, remove the loom, and apply glue to ends on both sides.

Step 7: Cut to Fit

Lay the back of the watch onto the front of your weaving and apply glue around the edges.

Allow to dry.

Cut the circle out through the middle of the glue, so some glue is left on the circle.

Put the circle inside the front of the watch face.

Step 8: Etching

Cut a stencil from a sticky backed material. I cut a design using sticker vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo, but a label or other sticker material should also work.

Apply glass etching cream according to instructions.

Step 9: Enjoy

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure

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    12 Discussions

    Oh my gosh, yes!!!! I have been searching for a simple-ish Victorian-Hair-Jewelry-inspired tutorial for *ages*. As a victorian era enthusiast, I have tried a few times to concoct some method on my own, but haven't been able to successfully do so. Maybe this will help me!! Thank you so much for sharing this, you did a wonderful job!!!!

    A great instructible! I’ve long thought that Victorian mourning jewelry was beautiful in look and sentiment. It’s wonderful to see someone adapting it to the modern age. Thank you.

    Impressive! That is a beautiful way to remember someone. Also, congratulations on the adoption of your daughter! I know that can be a long and tedious process.

    1 reply

    Beautiful. This was really popular in New Orleans around about 1853 when yellow fever ravaged the city. Some the the hair art is still on display in a museum in the French Quarter. Jaw droppingly detailed stuff like Victorian ladies walking through parks. Many funerary pieces are amazing works of art and shouldn't be kept in the dark to spare our modern sensibilities. I'm glad you brought this custom into the light.

    2 replies

    I'll be sure to keep that museum in mind the next time I'm in the Big Easy.

    Yes! It's called the Gallier House on Royal Street. Small museum. You can call ahead and ask the curator if the display is available.

    Neat idea, I could see making something like this with hairs from our horses' tails.

    a cool way to recycle a watch!

    strange, but crazy awesome at the same time... ;D

    That is really cool! I wish I had some of my daughter's and husband's hair. Would look really nice in a locket!

    This is so odd, cute and sweet :D I love the touch of an etched heart on the outside too. Just perfect :) If my daughter's hair ever grows I'm going to have to save some for something like this.