|We HAD to buy this one. |
It's shaped like a gear!
The easiest way to make a medal is to buy a pre-made one from a craft store. Yes, Making Memories sells medals that you can customize with messages such as "Happy Birthday" or "#1 Dad." We bought several of these about a year ago at Michael's when they were on sale. They are actually pretty nice, so long as you want your medal to have a round, flat base.
The most obvious thing to do with these is the ever popular "glue a gear on it." And yes, I did it. I kinda like the way it looks, actually. Ok, so not the most original medal ever, but if you're looking for quick and easy, this is it.
But maybe you prefer to make a medal from scratch. There are several things you need to be able to do this. First of all, you need appropriate ribbon. You would think it would be fairly easy to find vertically striped grosgrain ribbon. Yeah, not really so much. I went through all the ribbon in two craft stores and didn't fine any vertically striped ribbon that I thought was right for a medal. The only plain stripes I found was red, white, and blue, and I didn't want an overly patriotic feel. The rest of the striped ribbon was pastels and stripes of weird thicknesses. It just didn't look like medal ribbon. I settled on some ribbon with harlequin diamonds. Finally, in the third store I visited (Joann's) I found some plain black and white and red and white striped ribbon and some brown with blue pinstripe. And those were the only vertically striped ribbon they had. It's just weird that this is so hard to find. I even searched the internet and couldn't find anything in the right thickness.
Other supplies you will need are large and small jump rings, fabric or craft glue, super strong glue, a pin back, and pliers.
Frenzy Universe has a great tutorial on how to make the ribbon part of the medal. But the problem is that it only works if you have the same style of pin back they are using. And those pin backs are a little difficult to find and quite pricey when you do. I wanted to use a standard pin back from a craft store, so I developed my own method. It's a little less polished, but I think it works.
Step 1: Cut a length of ribbon about an inch longer than double your desired medal length. Or eyeball it, whatever. Make this into a loop and glue the ends together, overlapping by 1/4-1/2", with fabric or craft glue. Let dry, or mostly dry.
Step 2: Place more fabric glue on the inside of the ribbon loop, pressing this end flat so that the interior raw edge of ribbon is at the top. You can see the exterior raw edge of the ribbon is still showing on the outside at this point. Let dry.
Step 3: Fold the top of the loop down again, covering the raw edge on the exterior of the ribbon. Glue and let dry. So you now have all the raw edges covered, and a thick pad of folded ribbon at the top. This is where you will glue the pin-back.
Step 4: Now it's time for your charm. Attach the small jump ring to your charm and then link that to the large jump ring. (I'm using 15mm rings for the large one. It could actually be bigger, and I'd prefer thicker.) I find it easiest to open jump rings with jewelry pliers and close them with normal pliers. YMMV. I'm really unskilled at this jewelry stuff, though.
Step 5: Fold the corners of your ribbon loop in and slide the jump ring through the loop. Close the jump ring.
Step 6: This is actually the tricky part. It's getting the folds in the ribbon to be even and look decent. You just have to mess with it. Alternatively you could cut the ribbon so it is a perfect shape and then glue the angled edges closed. That is actually how the pre-made medals are made, but real medals are folded.
Step 7: Apply a good amount of strong glue to your pin back and press onto the thick part of ribbon. I use E6000 for this, but not for the rest of the gluing. It seems to work well for metals and plastics, but for fabric to fabric, I don't think it works all that well. Make sure you don't get glue into any of the moving parts of the pin back, though. Let dry.
And now you're done! Here is a collection of medals I made, of various styles. I have more styles and techniques I want to experiment with, and I'll naturally update this when I have more to report.
|*cough* Some of these are for sale.|