Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DIY Mistborn Metals Vials

It is an unfortunate truth that Significant Items from most books are hard to get ahold of and harder still to make. After all, the average Significant Item is either jewelry or weaponry, both of which tend to be expensive and not easy to make accurately at home. Occasionally, however, there's a Significant Object which is doable even for crafter with only basic skills, for example, the Lorien Cape that I made two years ago. Surprisingly, two of these type of Significant Object are found in the Mistborn series. The first, the mistcloaks, I considered making from the time I finished the series. In the end, however, I discarded that idea as too complicated to make when I've nowhere to wear it and decided on a project that was easier both to make and to wear: Misting metal vials.

(Quick explanation for those who still need to read Mistborn: the magic system of this world centers around certain people's ability to ingest or "burn" certain metals to give them certain abilities. These metals are kept in liquid-filled vials so they can be easily swallowed.)

On the whole, the metal vials were super easy- and also really fun, since I got to revisit an old hobby of mine, jewelry-making. The most difficult part was probably figuring out the materials. I found the vials fairly quickly; my local A.C. Moore carries a collection of steampunk pendants and such, and among that collection I discovered a set of three small corked bottles, perfect for this project.

The metals themselves were trickier. I knew I wanted to do atium (because it's awesome) and tin (because, based on my personality, I'd probably be a Tineye (super-sensing) Misting), and I wasn't sure what I'd do in the last vial. A friend suggested silver BBs for atium and scraps from a welding gun for tin, but neither of those were easily available. In the end, I decided to use small silver seed beads for the tin, which were cheap but gave the effect I wanted. For atium, I wanted something similar-looking to a BB, which meant a normal bead was out of the question. Eventually, I came up with the idea of cutting some beads off a party beads necklace, and that worked perfectly.

I had some brown silk cord left over from a necklace I made years ago, which worked nicely for this project. It looks, more or less, like what an actual Misting or Mistborn would probably use, and it's fairly pretty. Of course, the vial and cord by themselves were still a bit plain, so I added some glass E beads, of which I have a lot. I mostly used my favorite iridescent black beads- which, fun fact, I originally planned to use for my atium until I realized that my mental image was wrong and atium was actually silver! Woops! For a bit more interest, I added some clear and dark blue beads.

(More pictures in this post than normal, so you'll have to click to read more.)

For my tin vial, as mentioned, I used small silver seed beads. A word of caution to anyone thinking of making these themselves: make sure you get the right size seed bead. There's two sizes in the brand I use: 8/0 and 10/0. I originally bought the 8/0s, which are slightly larger and didn't look quite right, so I had to go back and get the 10/0s. (It worked out- seed beads are always useful, and I needed to go back and get clasps for the necklaces anyway.) For this necklace, I wanted a slightly more "common" look than the atium one, so I used mostly the wooden beads with glass beads for accents. The wooden beads, as it turned out, were a bit troublesome; my necklace cord kept coming apart when I tried to thread the beads on it. I managed, however, and at least I know the beads won't be coming off easily!

For my last and largest bottle, I wasn't totally sure what I wanted to do. Finally, I settled on a "practical Mistborn mix," beads to look like the eight physical and mental metals: tin, steel, iron, copper, bronze, zinc, brass, and pewter. Or, in other words, all the metals a Final Empire-era Mistborn might need for a night out in the mists! Admittedly, the beads outside the bottle are a bit less-practical looking, with the exception of more of my favorite black beads.

I finished off all the necklaces by painting the knots with nail polish. This helps the knots stay together- particularly important on the last necklace, since it's a bit heavier. The one drawback to the silk cord is that it doesn't hold knots well on its own, though I've yet to find any beading cord that does!

Another idea I had for these which I didn't do is to use metallic dragees, sanding sugar, or such for the metals. If you plan to keep your vials to reuse multiple times, of course, this wouldn't be a good idea- the sugar would make the bottles all sticky. However, if you wanted to be able to really "play Misting" and swallow your "metals", the sprinkles would be a near-perfect choice.

I'll finish this off with the final pictures of all the necklaces, so you can see what they look like when they're being worn.


Eight metals mix
I definitely had a lot of fun making these, and I think they turned out well. As I said earlier, I enjoyed getting to revisit one a mostly-forgotten hobby of mine. And I do have plans for more jewelry-making, since I bought a bunch of fantasy/bookworm-ish pendants at Hobby Lobby and I'm super excited to play around with them. 

Have you ever made a piece of jewelry or other object from one of your favorite books? How'd it turn out? Is there something you'd like to try making? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. Awesome! I'm going to have to try my hand at this!

  2. Very cool! :) I've been wanting to make these since I finished the book, and today I scored on some tiny vials from a Japanese shop. :P

  3. @Lylyss: Thanks! When you make yours, you need to post pictures of them, ok?

    1. Haha, I'll see what I can do. Still searching for metals. xD


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