Monday, April 28, 2014

Sabriel's bell set

The Abhorsen would be lost without her bells!  For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the bell set is meant to work as a sort of counter-necromancer's tools.   Each bell has its own name and function (which you can check out on this extra-nerdy wiki page.  Keeping the dead down, instead of raising them up.   Stopping the zombie apocalypse. ;)


Aren't they pretty?!  

My bells were all random ceramic bells bought from varied sources (Etsy, eBay, and even a random Kansas gas station).   They started out as shown below:

I used 3 different products to get them all nice and silvery:  (in order of application): Some model-car paint color (2 coats), Liquid Gold Leaf, and some spray-on clear varnish.

 DO NOT use your best, most favorite brush for this project!!! But get something that won't shed stray hairs every moment.  I think this brush was an acrylic brush from hobby lobby.

The first thing is to clean them of any dust, etc. and temporarily remove any clapper-like devices:

The biggest bell had that weird chain/washer situation because the handle was wood and therefore removable, but most had a bit of wire with a ceramic knocker/clapper.

Then paint them with the silver model-color inside and out, letting it dry between coats (I waited about a day usually):

After the model-color is dry, apply the 1 layer of silver-leaf paint (the bell here on the LEFT has silver leaf, the one on the right just has 2 coats of model-color).  I propped the edges up with that bamboo skewer to let the inside get some air and be able to dry completely.

If you ever need to clean silver-leaf out of your brush...nail polish remover and dish soap got most of it out.  But the bottle recommends Xylene.

At this stage they looked quite nice and shiny! But the silver-leaf needs some kind of protective coating in order to not get tarnished from your handling.

And they're done!
It doesn't show up well in this photo, but the clear-coat I used had sort of an antiquing effect on a few of the bells.  It would settle into the crevices and turn a darker gold color.

The best part is that I can ring all of the bells. C:  And they sound totally pretty.  Not quite as good as a real brass bell, but still pretty.

The next part here is to make the bell bandolier that holds all the bells!  I like the cover below the best for design, but I think I would turn them 'round so that you would open the flap and grab a bell by the clapper from the bottom edge of the bandolier instead of the top.

Stay tuned for more progress as I work on this long-term project!

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