Cereal box paperboard is the base material for our earrings. We transform cereal boxes by laminating the front and back panels together and fixing our images to the front surface which are then punched out with custom made die cuts. We source cereal boxes locally; people often visit the store just to drop them off.
Our original designs are fun, sophisticated, and created with science and nature as a source of inspiration. The mismatched sides allow us to expand on the theme in a way that often adds interest and educational value.
All our product is designed and produced in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Learn more about the people at the Jabebo Studio.
Being made from paper, the earrings are light weight and comfortable to wear. Ear nuts to keep them from slipping out are provided.
Shellac is used to glue the layers of paper material together and and provides the nice shiney top coat for the finished product. Shellac is a natural product and a renewable resource that will protect the earrings from brief and intermittent exposures to water. It also protects the colors from fading by acting as a natural filter from UV light.
Jabebo Earrings are made with cereal box paperboard which is a wood fiber that may have gone through paper recycling several times before. Used paperboard is usually not selected for continued recycling because most of its wood fibers are worn and saturated with ink from previous use. Many communities do not bother with recycling paperboard and still send it to the landfill. Years ago, not long after we started reproducing our images on paper, we chose post-consumer paperboard to add volume to the individual pieces because it made use of an undervalued resource and it is the ideal thickness to for our earrings.
As we developed a process, it became geared around cereal boxes because they are a convenient size to work with. We also use the same material for the display cards we hang the earrings on, which triples the amount of paperboard needed for each pair. We often use more than 60 boxes a week. Thankfully, we do not have to eat all the cereal ourselves because friends and our local community are very generous in saving them for us.
Because Jabebo Earrings is a paper product, to increase their durability we apply a ‘soak and coat’ method to give them a final finish. We chose shellac because it has a number of attributes, such as a nice shine and UV resistance that protects the image from fading. Also, shellac is non-toxic. It is sometimes used as a coating for food. For instance, a thin coating may be applied to chocolate to keep it from melting in your hands.
Shellac is an interesting topic in itself. It is a natural and renewable resource originating in India from a resin produced by lac insects, (Kerria lacca). Shellac was once commonly used as a wood finish before the invention of modern finishes such as polyurethane and thus is the historical finish on many antiques. The primary benefit to us in our studio is that we can use shellac flakes, dissolved in grain or rubbing alcohol, so that we do not expose our workplace to the toxic chemicals found in other finishes.
Probably the most important thing to remember is that the earrings are made with paper and a coat of shellac that only reinforces the outer layers. Moisture and heat can affect them after extended or repeated exposures. In the following paragraphs, we try to explain situations that can harm your earrings and what you can do to fix or save them.
Shellac does offer resistance to water. However, moisture can find a way in eventually since it only needs to seep through the outer layer. Jabebo Earrings should be able to survive a shower, walk in the rain, or dunk in a pool if the exposure is brief and the earrings are given a chance to dry out soon after. If they fall apart immediately the first time they get wet then something else is probably wrong and you should let us know.
Anytime the earrings are exposed to water the dry fibers, protected by the shellac, slowly draw the water in through whatever micro-pores are available. As it does, the fibers begin to swell with moisture and the layers separate, creating more avenues for water to seep in. Though it may seem like the earrings survive brief encounters with water just fine, the ability of the shellac to resist water does deteriorate with each exposure. Plus you will probably notice the finish becomes a little duller.
If you expose your earrings to water from time to time the best thing to keep them like new is to give them a fresh coat of shellac. It is easy:
For shellac we recommend the Zinsser Bullseye brand of clear shellac which can be purchased in small cans and has a shelf life of three years.
If you have had your earrings for a few years and the finish is less then shiny, regardless of whether or not they’ve come into contact with water, a new coat of shellac will brighten them up. We would be happy to help walk you through this procedure if you contact us.
Shellac tends to soften as the temperature gets close to 100 degrees. It will not melt unless the temperature is much higher, but if another object is in contact with the finish it may leave an impression. For example, if you leave them face down on the dash board of a car you may find some degree of impression from the surface, depending how hot the conditions were. Most situations of use and storage will not affect the earrings, but if you are storing where temperatures could get hot then try to pack the earrings so that nothing is pressing on them.
A situation that occurs from time to time is that someone will sleep with the earrings in and heat from body temperature may be enough to cause an impression on the earring that was stuck between the skin and pillow. A new coat will increase shine again but will not cover over impressions perfectly unless they are very superficial and can be easily sanded out with fine sand paper. We do not recommend too much sanding because it is easy to sand right through the finish and damage the image. It is safer to ignore the small defect and brighten the earrings up with a fresh coat of shellac (see above).
Often we hear from individuals who have lost one of their earrings. Paper-weight earrings are wonderfully light but they can work their way loose on their own or blow away in a gust if you do not use the earnuts that are provided with each pair. If you lose your earnuts you can either look for replacements at a local craft store or you should feel free to contact us directly. If you need to replace just one side of a pair you can also contact us and we will only charge you for the single piece.
Any other problems you should let us know. We may ask you some detailed question about what happened or request that you send it back. The information is valuable to maintain our own quality control and we may be able to replace or give a discount in return.
Please contact jabebo by email or by calling the studio: