My latest new product is glass fish bowl necklaces, each containing a tiny gold fish or clown fish swimming in its realistic habitat. Corked for posterity, each little resin-filled fish bowl hangs on a 24″ gold-plated necklace chain. They are now available on my website and at the Northeastern Nevada Museum Gift Shop in Elko, Nevada.
The discovery of about 85 small glass bottles in my creative stash led me to create these little wonders. Several years ago, I purchased 100 of these bottles to use as “vases” for my sage brush lapel pins when they were not being worn.
Alas, my attempt to find a lucrative use for the abundant supply of sage brush in our area fell flat. Hence, the leftover bottles.
My first thought on finding these bottles in my stash was to sell them to another crafter. However, I quickly realized it would probably cost me more to ship them than I would net on the sale.
With Christmas approaching, my next thought was to use them somehow for this year’s cards. (I typically include an item with my cards that relates to the card’s theme for that year.) When I explored how to package them for that use, I discovered it would cost me over $4/card to mail them, so I scrapped that idea, too. The USPS is certainly putting a damper on my creativity!
I then took to the internet to see what others are doing with bottles like these. The most interesting uses were to make them into cookie jars or fish bowls for doll houses. Making them into fish bowls appealed more to me than making and baking dozens of teensy chocolate cookies out of polymer clay. But why hide the fish bowls in doll houses when one might wear them as necklaces for many more people to admire and fully inspect? I had my plan.
There are a lot of fish in the internet sea, but very few suited to my purpose. I needed realistic dimensional gold fish less than 3/8″ long. I finally found some 1:12 scale (doll house size) ones in India and placed an order. For variety and uniqueness, I also wanted to put orange and white striped clown fish in some of my fish bowls. I ordered these from another supplier, but they were unusable, as they turned out to be one-sided and printed on white foam core, quite unlike their product pictures.
How hard could it be to make my own clown fish? I found a clown fish photo that I replicated, reduced, and printed back to back on glossy brochure paper. Soon I had a whole school of clown fish. I put clear packing tape on both sides of them to protect them from resin damage. Then I used a little scissors to cut out each tiny fish.
The bottles have open tops, so I found appropriately sized corks in China and placed an order. I already had gold-plated head pins to push through the corks and roll into hanging loops. I also had some 24″ gold-plated chains in inventory, so that covered the product’s mechanics. My stash revealed a jar of glittered crushed gold glass, perfect for the scene bottoms.
While impatiently awaiting arrival of the corks and gold fish from the Far East, I purchased some white gravel and greenery at the local craft store. The white gravel would add more variety to my creations, and I could cut up the greenery to fit inside the bottles.
With all the components finally in hand, I began assembling my underwater scenes. First, I put a layer of either gravel or crushed glass in the bottom of each bottle. (I made two fish bowls as prototypes, and then eight more in a production run.)
To to prevent the fish from lying on the bottom or floating belly up or upside down, I super-glued one side of each fish to a supporting bit of greenery. I then used a tweezers and some toothpicks to secure the base of each piece of greenery in the gravel or crushed glass.
Once the scene was set in each fish bowl, I used a pipette to fill them almost full of resin. After the resin had cured overnight, I had my first real look at my fish bowls and their contents. To my delight, the resin magnified the contents, making the scene look even more realistic.
When the resin had cured for several days open to the air, I pushed gold plated head pins through the bottoms of the corks. I curled the protruding ends of the head pins into loops. Then I glued one of these corks into the top of each bottle and and threaded a necklace chain through each loop.
The printed insert cards describe the contents and include my brand. The package includes my pared down artist statement to advertise my website and my other unique products.
These necklaces are now available for $12 each on my website and at the Northeastern Nevada Museum gift shop in Elko, Nevada. I am also advertising them on Pinterest and on Google searches. If they sell well, I’ll be making a larger batch next time. Heaven knows I have 75 little bottles yet to fill! Please leave a comment to let me know what you think of this new product.