The Art of Darkness

Tutorial: DIY Steampunk Medals


Materials:

  • Decorative ribbon; width isn’t terribly important, although the thinnest you’d want is probably around 1/2″
  • Pendants, charms, old keychain fobs, earrings, and other hang-y things
  • Large jump rings (possibly optional depending upon the type of “medal” you’re using); I used 15mm heavy gauge matte brass ones
  • Hot glue or heavy-duty craft glue
  • Bar-type pin backs (like these); they’re widely available at craft stores
  • Small jump rings (which may be optional, depending upon the type of pendant being used)
  • Buttons, faux jewels, jewelry findings, and other small decorative bits (optional)

Since you need only small bits of ribbon and singleton charms and buttons, this project is a great way to use up all the odds and ends in your junk stash. If you don’t have a junk stash (what kind of monster are you?!?), you can find interesting items at thrift stores or online. Etsy shop The Mermaid’s Dowry has loads of really unique findings.

If you’d prefer to use premade medal backings, look for old sports medals in thrift stores. You can also find costume medals online or at popup costume shops around Halloween.

Click the thumbnails for larger images.

 
Wide Ribbon

 
If you’re using wide ribbon, cut a piece twice as long as the desired finished length of the medal, plus 1″. About 1/3 of the way from one end, fold the edges to the back so they meet in the middle. Glue or stitch in place.

 
Stitch Ends

 
With right sides together, stitch the ribbon ends together with a 1/2″ seam.

 
Jump Ring

 
Using needlenose pliers, open a large jump ring wide enough to fit over the folded-in bit of the ribbon. Turn the ribbon right-side out, slip the jump ring into place, and then slide the jump ring through the pendant loop. Re-close the ends of the jump ring.

 
Hot Glue

 
I used a large button for this medal, and since the jump ring was attached to the button shank it tended to tip forward. I used a dab of hot glue to keep it in place.

 
Glue on Pin back

 
Glue the bar pin to the back of the ribbon, toward the top.

 
Finished Medal

 
Let everything dry, and you’re done. Easy!

 
Thin Ribbon

 
For thin widths of ribbon, cut a piece twice as long as the desired finished length, plus about 1″ for folding over. Loop through the pendant, pull the ends even, fold them over to the back to hide the raw edges, and glue or stitch in place. Glue the pin back over the raw ends. If you want to make certain that there’s no gap in the middle, take a couple of tiny stitches where the edges of the ribbon meet. This medal was a necklace pendant so I didn’t have to use a jump ring to attach it.

 
Bar Pin

 
You can also use thin ribbon sideways to make a bar-type medal. Cut a piece of ribbon twice as long as desired, fold the ends so they meet in the middle on the back, and glue in place. Glue a bar pin on the back, then use a small jump ring to attach a pendant. The ribbon used here was braided so I just stuck the jump ring through the strands; for grosgrain ribbon you may need to poke a small hole with a needle.

 
Fake Jewel

 
For added interest, glue fake jewels, buttons, or other small items to the middle of the ribbon.

 
Skull

 
This porcelain skull bead had a hole poked through it, so I threaded a piece of floral wire through the hole and bent it around the ribbon loop to secure it.

 
Spider

 
This spider is a brooch. The jump ring is just threaded through the pin back.

 
Finished

 
Here’s the completed collection. Once you get rolling, the medals go together super-fast so you can turn out a lot of them in an afternoon.