Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Felt-Wrapped Dowels Earring Holder

fabric-covered earring rackHave you ever had a scrap of fabric that you desperately wanted to do SOMETHING with, but it was too small (or too flimsy or too obnoxious…) for most projects?

Somewhere, I acquired this little piece of cream-colored cotton with green running horses on it. Smaller than a fat quarter… genuinely, no idea where it came from. But I LOVED this little scrap and have always known exactly where to find it, while waiting for the right project to come along.

Meanwhile... For the last couple of decades, I haven't been able to wear earrings without my piercings getting inflamed and painful. (Damn waste, since I have 7 total [artificial] holes in my ears.) I figured I'd developed some kind of allergy, and experimented with different earring types for a while (silver, gold, surgical steel, platinum, etc.) before just giving up on earrings.

Then, not too long ago, I discovered nylon ear wires and decided to give those a try. And hey, what do you know, I could finally wear—and make—earrings again. They had to be danglies, which was fine with me, since those are fun to make and wear. I made a handful of nylon-hooked pairs that became favorites.

At some point, I dug up some steel posts and decided I just wanted to wear them, hot earlobes be damned. And I did, and it was fine. Then I got some more posts, and found I could wear those, too. My refound tolerance launched a whole new era of ear d├ęcor.

The problem with studs/posts is storing them. The hooks are easy—they're hooks. Hanging is what they do. In my case, my most-worn lived in the bathroom (with most of my go-to jewelry) over the edge of tall shot glasses (filled with acid green plastic beads). Before long, though, I had a little…pile of posts on the windowsill, just asking to get lost. Enter Pinterest!

I looked for some storage/display ideas, most of which just took up too much space. I did find one idea, though: felt-wrapped pencils, smashed into a drawer, with the earrings tucked between like a ring display. A good start!

I went to the local Sally (Salvation Army, you nerd) to look for a frame, something with a little depth but not too ornate, nor too big. And what did I find? Well, first of all, I found a VISIBLE BAT, y'all, still sealed in the box!! I have a thing about visible ______s and anatomical anythings, really. Thus, the bat and this heart model here.

Visible Bat!

Back to the point, I also found a decorative shadowbox sort of frame with some super tacky ribbon flowers in it, an inch or so deep, and about 15" x 4". First step, tear out the hideous…art and throw it away. (I would have burned them, but I'm sure the fumes would have killed me.) Then I'd have to cover the gross brown—HEY! HORSE FABRIC!

fabric-covered earring rackI've never really Mod Podged anything, but I've seen it done, so I just hacked at it. Got the Fabric formulation (probably not necessary), and put on a not-too-thick coat. Wanted to make sure the fabric would follow the contours, but not get soaked through. Did the long sides first, smoothing down long strips and running a nail along the indents to get the fabric in there. Oh, and made sure the ends turned those corners a little, to be covered by the short sides.

fabric-covered earring rackThe short sides were the only tricky thing about the whole project. Smoothed the strips the same way, but up at the corners, I folded the raw edge in and pressed it along the miter line. It was kind of fiddly, but the Mod Podge is super workable, so I just kept at it until it was smooth enough.

fabric-covered earring rackFor the rods, I got enough doweling for six 5 15" lengths, and a yard of cream-colored felt. I had to experiment a bit to figure out the right length for the wrapped dowels to fit in snugly* together. After a couple of tests, it turned out to be 10" (by the 15" width).

For each dowel, I hot glued the dowel along the long edge, and rolled it up tightly. It's all about tension, so if the felt is loose, it's not going to hold the earrings. (Maybe. What do I know.) Then I sat on the sofa and stitched down the free edges (rather than gluing, because I have a fear of commitment). The blanket stitch was probably unnecessary, but I like things neat.

Stuff the dowels into the opening, replace the back that came with the frame, nail on a little hanger, and that's it!

Now cram the posts in between the rolls, and flip your hair or whatever comes next. I'm sure there's room on this for every pair of earrings I will wear for the rest of my life! (Just like I said for the first of the now three clothes racks I have in my dressing room.)

fabric-covered earring rack

fabric-covered earring rack
If my bathroom looks very green in this picture, it's because my bathroom is very green. It was also close to dusk, when that room looks craziest. Because the room where you want the whackest lighting/colors is the room where you dress and put on makeup, right? Yeah, I thought so, too!

*I DID IT AGAIN. I swear I'd completely forgotten about my string of "snugly" until I was editing this post and saw that I'd used it AGAIN.
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