Handi-hour Crafting: Cork Art

  • GLORIA KENYON: Hi, I’m Gloria Kenyon, Public Programs Coordinator for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. Today we will be making cork crafts for Handi-hour.

    These are just regular wine corks. You can save them from the bottles that you drink, or if you want to make a lot, you can actually order them in bulk online. You can make trivets with them. This is a small brooch I made with paint pins and a brooch back. I’m actually going to show you how to make earrings today.

    To make the earrings you’re just going to take your cork and cut it with an X-Acto, is actually the best thing I’ve found to cut them and go at it about a half-inch wide. Just kind of score around the cork. You don’t want to apply too much pressure; you just want to go through because you can break the cork if you push too hard. They’re a little bit fragile. You want to be gentle. Then you break off your piece, and then I’m going to measure out a half inch and cut another half.

    Now that you have your cork halves, you can decorate them. I actually just have used basic paint pens. I find that they apply a really even coverage. It’s really easy. They dry really quickly. It’s neat and clean. To get them started, you just shake. Then press down to get the color to come out. We’re just going to stipple all the way around. Get it colored in. Once your corks are decorated how you would like them, you need to poke a hole through so you can put your earring wire through that you’ll bend a put your hook on.

    I find the easiest thing to make the hole with is actually just a large safety pin. It’s sharp enough to go through but blunt enough that it’s not going to pierce too quickly. You do need to be really careful. Then if you have any sort of formations in your cork that might create a little bit of texture try to avoid those. I’m going to start up here and just very slowly, because you want to make sure you’re pushing it straight through. All right, so I got it through. We’re going to pull it back out. Now we’re going to do the same thing on this side. I’m just going to be really careful and push it straight through.

    Now we’ve got our holes through, so I’m going to take our earring wire and slide it through the hole we made so it comes out the other side. Very carefully just push through. Now we have our earrings with our wires up top. We’re just going to take our jewelry pincers and cut off the excess. You want to leave about one-fourth to one-half inch of extra wire so that you can bend it over and you attach the hooks. Slide your hook in there and finish pulling it over. There you have your earrings made with corks and paint pens.

    Public Programs Coordinator Gloria Kenyon demonstrates crafting for the next Handi-hour program at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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