DIY: Map Cufflinks from Liz Lewis

I know how much Tulle Nation loooooves them some Liz Lewis (Read her bridal rants here, here, and here. But start practicing your spit takes now… you're gonna need 'em.) so today… I'm giving you a DIY courtesy of La Liz. Kick ass DIY map cufflinks for the groom and his mens. You will lurve them. Them be awesomesauce.

P.S. To my fellow Americans - Happy Labor Day. The Boy and I will be celebrating by… laboring. Y'all someone has to demo the hall bath and I am too damn cheap to pay for labor. Also, check out At No. 64 to see our progress on the other parts of our full-house renovation. And now, take it away Liz!

DIY for your Groomsmen (and other dudes): Map Cufflinks

I wanted a cute/manly gift for the boy and his groomsmen to show them that I appreciate all they've done for us. We're on a tight budget, so I'm DIYing as much as I can. Insert map cufflinks, to the rescue!

Here's what you need to make them:

  • Clear glass cabachons (I used 16MM)
  • Bezels in the same size as the cabachons. The bezel is the little metal cup that you set the glass cabachon in before gluing it to the cufflink. (I used 16 MM silver rounds, found on Etsy.)
  • Cufflinks that match the bezel
  • Map printout
  • Resin epoxy (and E 3000 glue – you'll see why later)
  • X-Acto knife
  • Toothpick or pin
  • Quick hands

Step One: Make the map printout - go on Google Maps and look up a location that's meaningful (in a manly way) to the dude in question. For the boy, I picked his hometown and the CLE – hello, Cleveland! -  our current home. Crop a square or rectangle with your favorite graphics program, and resize to just a bit bigger than your cabachons (or cut to size with a pair of scissors). You'll want to really zoom in on the location you want in order to read the name. If you're making a bunch of these, you probably want to copy/paste all of the mini maps onto one sheet to save paper. Print that sucker out.

For the cufflinks:

Step Two: Before you start, take your glass cabachons and make sure they fit correctly in your metal bezels. You'll have to coax them back out with a knife or toothpick, but it's better than discovering after the fact that your cabachon and map don't fit. As I discovered the hard way. Ahem.

090511 a 

Step Three: Take your resin and apply a bit directly to the teeny maps on your paper. Spread it around with your pin or toothpick. Quickly stick the cabachon directly on top of the map/resin and allow to set for a few minutes. You can move it around a bit before it sets to try to get rid of air bubbles. When sufficiently stuck, cut around the cabachon with your X-Acto knife. You will end up with the teeny map and cabachon all stuck together, looking awesome.

 090511 b

Step Four: Next, apply a bit of resin to the inside of the bezel, and press in your map/cabachon. Once dry, you can apply a bit of resin or glue to the top of your cufflink, and press onto the back of the bezel. You may need to hold the pieces in place for a bit until they're secure enough to avoid slipping out of place.

 090511 c 

Ta-da! That's it! You'll end up with a cute pair of cufflinks that are personal, thoughtful, and adequately manly.

  090511 d

Note about epoxy and craft glue – I ended up ditching the epoxy for E 3000 after I glued the cabachons to the maps. Why? Because I didn't work fast enough and the epoxy glued up the nozzle. Oops. Problem is, E 3000 does a number on printer ink. So, if you can, I'd recommend working fast and using epoxy for everything. However, the only time it's REALLY important to use epoxy is that first step so you don't end up with a swirled mess of a map. You can use a strong craft glue for the rest.

Pretty rad, right, Tulle Nation? Would any of you consider making the gifts for the wedding's menfolk? Maybe these personalized cufflinks? What maps would you use and why? I can't hear you…