Friday, May 9, 2014

Project 52 - Miniature Bear Making - #10

Make your own miniature teddy bear joints

The smallest size joint discs that are commonly available are about 6mm in diameter.  This is fine for most miniature bears, unless they are really tiny.
Two discs work together with a split pin, or T pin, to make a joint. 

But what to do if you have trouble finding a shop that sells joints, or you need discs that are smaller?
It is easy to make your own joints that are sturdy enough for miniature bears.
You will need plastic that is not too thin but still pliable .  I like to use food packaging such as margarine tubs and ice cream dishes.
You will also need a jewelelry pin or a similar piece of wire, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, chain nose (round nose) pliers, and a hole punch.
I use a 5mm office punch, but you will find various diameter punches at a scrapbooking shop.
Punch circles out of the plastic. You can see that the punched circles are just about the same size as the bought discs.
 To make a hole in the centre of each disc, use a darning needle.
If the plastic is too thick to push the needle through easily, you can use a needle that has been heated in a candle flame.  Caution:  be careful to avoid burns when working with flames and heated metal.  Work in a ventilated area, fumes from melting plastic are not healthy when inhaled.
To make sure that the pin can not pull through the disc it needs a large head.  If you are using wire or a pin with a small head, turn a little circle in the wire.  This has the same effect as the head of a split pin - to stop the wire from pulling through the disc.  There you go, a joint in a jiffy, ready to use!
This is what an assembled home made joint looks like.  Crafters are creative by definition, I'm sure if you think about it, you will be able to find many more items (such as metal washers from the hardware store, buttons, flat beads etc.) that would make an acceptable joint in a pinch.
Remember, if you are making a teddy for a young child, all parts of it should be safe. 
In a future lesson we are going to learn more about joints, and various jointing methods.  
My book page for Lesson 10.

Here are pictures from Lynne in Smithfield.  She says her husband helped her to design her book  pages on the computer.  They are so neat and pretty.  Thank you for sharing, Lynne!
In this miniature bear making series, we are using the Angus pattern, which you will find in my Etsy Shop, and on the Tin Soldiers Website.
Some of us are making a book or a set of note cards with techniques for miniature bear making.  I have made page templates if you would like to copy mine, but it could also be fun to make your own.  Every week, you will find printable templates for Project 52 HERE .

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