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Project DIY Review - Joan of Arc

Project DIY Joan of Arc review from Rain Blanken, DIY Fashion Expert

project diy box

  • The Project DIY kits from M&J Trimming are a great way to jump-start your creativity. When a box arrives with absolutely everything you need to complete the project (and I had some bits left over); you can't help but start tinkering with it.
  • These would be great for crafting clubs to get together and create the same project.
  • As a gift, a subscription to Project DIY would be great for the crafters in your life.
  • For $30, you are getting all of the supplies, instructions, and getting the package delivered to your door. Not too shabby.
  • The $20 Starter Kit is free with new subscriptions.
  • You'll have to go online for project instructions. (Why?)
  • The projects are easy, which may turn off seasoned crafters.

Joan of Arc Collection review from Rain Blanken, DIY Fashion Expert:

I consider myself one of the best in the business at busting craft shenanigans, and I started out a bit skeptical of M & J Trimming's new Project DIY line, which claimed to include everything you need to create the latest jewelry styles in a tiny box.

project diy box
Crafty know-how in a box? We'll see about that.

Spoiler Alert: Rain is Impressed

I don't want this review to be all hugs and giggles, but when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Project DIY Starter Kit. This includes a few very nice quality tools from The Bead Smith, a jump ring opener, and some nice notions like earring hooks jump rings, extenders. They all came in a cute reusable zippered pouch so that crafters like me don't chuck them in a tackle box.

project diy starter kit
Nice tools and notions. It's a good start.

I'm a sucker for good crafting tools. I'm like Tim the Tool Man Taylor, except with kick-ass scissors and a sooped-up sewing machine. More power! *insert man-hooting here*

The projects included in the Joan of Arc box were the Shield Necklace and the Warrior Cuff. The kit also included an informative card that tied the projects to the recent Joan of Arc trend we've seen on the runways.

joan of arc
Joan of Arc being awesome.

This tough medieval look emerged this fall, inspired by the layered metals and skins of the 1400's. I'm the rise of this trend has a bit to do with the popularity of Game of Thrones and even the badass likes of Katniss in Hunger Games. Since Joan of Arc is a prominent female figure from the real days of leather and chainmaille, designers have chosen her as the figurehead for this latest trend.

Not sure that high-fashion is the best way to remember the bravery of a woman who wore heavy armor into the horrors of battle, but if I can wear a 'Support our Troops' charm bracelet to honor my husband, then I guess we'll let that one go.

So, I am going to do Joan justice by assembling the best Warrior Cuff and Shield Necklace I can possibly squeeze out of the Project DIY kit.

project diy shield necklace
Shield Necklace parts.

project diy starter kit
Warrior Cuff parts.

The projects came in these individual pouches. The gold bangle for the cuff project even came in a little velvet drawstring bag. As Garfield would say, 'Nice touch'. Everything inside was nicely organized and packaged, with lots of full-color photos of the projects and individual baggies for tiny parts.

Going Digital with Joan of Arc

My attempts began with the cuff. The kit package included a list of ingredients and notes on the level of difficulty, but it didn't include instructions! I had to go online to the Project DIY website to look up how to make the cuff.

project diy review
Instructions not included.

On one hand, I liked this, because I could click through photos as needed, but on the other hand, the instructions online were also provided in a PDF, which could have simply been printed and included in the kit. I think their idea was to move customers back to the site and get them motivated to share their designs via social media.

The cuff went along quickly. I attached the provided fake pleather trim along the inside, and then set to designing the face of my cuff. The kit provided plastic gunmetal and pearl trims, but the website encouraged me to get creative, so I deviated from the plan and added an antique watch face that I've been hoarding saving for just the right project. Since we are time traveling with Joan, it seemed appropriate.

The Warrior Cuff was a simple cut-and-glue project that involved nothing more than epoxy and scissors. I don't use glue a lot in my jewelry projects, so this was a good introduction to taming epoxy.

project diy review
My finished Warrior Cuff

I'm really happy with the results. Even though this was a simple project, there was a big appeal in having everything pre-selected and ready to go. I didn't have to go hunting through my own multitude of trimmings. Sometimes a limited palette is a good thing, and I think that Project DIY did a great job of choosing the design elements on this one.

The Shield Necklace project was a little more involved. This one required bending wire to turn metal tubes into findings that could be attached to the chainmaille. Aside from attaching the tubs and pendant via jump rings, this one was another simple glue project. So, while harder, I think a beginner could still tackle the Shield Necklace.

Polishing it Up

Again, even though Project DIY included everything you need, there was still some encouragement on the website to get creative. One tip was to use nail polish on the back of the provided fake stone to add some color or sparkle.

project diy review
Doesn't have to be your coveted $9 OPI polish.

I stuck with the design provided by Project DIY this time, and glued all of the included shiny bits to the flat pendant piece.

project diy review

After the pendant dried, I attached it to the necklace to create a huge piece of bling that looks awesome, but isn't really my style. It is a great statement piece, but I think I'll be giving this one away on Facebook.

project diy box
Ready for the Renaissance Faire

Over all, the Project DIY box was very inspirational. I don't work a lot with metals, glues and leather, and this gave me the opportunity to dip my toes in some new creative water. Since the boxes are delivered to your door, they would make for an awesome craft night with friends, or a gift subscription to someone creative. Each month features a new kit, and you can order them individually, so be sure to check out the Project DIY site and see if this month's project piques your interest.

More about Project DIY:

Interview with Michelle Levy, Project DIY Lead Designer.

For more Fashion week coverage from Rain Blanken, tune into the DIY Fashion blog, or on social media:
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Materials were provided for review
Fast DIY Jewelry:
Milk Tab Bracelet . Pop Tab Bracelet . Make Paper Jewelry . Toothbrush Bracelet . Microchip Earrings . Hemp Necklace . Pressed Penny Bracelet

Easy Bags, Hats, Scarves and More:
4 Ways to Tie a Tie . Make Glittery Heels . 5 Placemat Purses . Cassette Tape Wallet . Duct Tape Wallet . How-To Bags . Finger Knit a Scarf . Gloves and Wristbands . Easy Zippered Change Purse

Clothes you can Make:
T-Shirt Surgery . Make PantsSkirt Tutorials . Dye Your Clothes . Recycle Your Clothes . 10 Clothing Repairs You Should Know . Beginner Sewing Projects

Please Note: Photographs, patterns and illustrations contained in this article are copyrighted ©Rain Blanken, and licensed to About.com, Inc. Do not redistribute these photographs or illustrations in any form.

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