Resin Experiments

I wanted to see what alcohol inks, metal leaf, glitter and bits of metal and glass would do when I suspended them in epoxy resin.  I  got some interesting results!   I used Envirotex Lite and  Easy Cast brand resin, and poured in layers to see what effects I could get.  I made the squares in a plastic pill organizer. I didn’t have to use bead release; I just tapped the edge of the box when the resin was cured and the blocks slid out.

I made my own molds for the bracelets using 100 percent silicone caulk,  glycerin and noise putty I found at the dollar store.  You can get a general idea of how to make these molds  from this article on the Village Garden Website.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information on working with resin,   I recommend  Resin Jewelry by Kathy Murphy.




 

Shades of Blue Earrings

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You can read my newest project article on how to make these cool drop earrings  in the November/December issue of Step By Step Beads. You probably know that SBS Beads will cease publication  with the January/February 2010 issue,   The good news from the Interweave site is that it is being merged into Beadwork Magazine, and that Step By Step Wire is still going strong.  I had a clasp making article published there earlier this year.

My Blue Heart

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My husband had an extremely difficult 2008- so bad his heart was broken and he finished the year undergoing open heart surgery.    He’s  getting better,  regaining his strength and looking forward to becoming a Grandfather.

I intended to make a totally different piece when I made the heart bezel used in the above pendant.  But my materials told me to take a different course and when I finished,  I had the pendant you see here.   It wasn’t until I showed my it to my  husband  that I realized I had made it for him.

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More Metal Etching Experiments

Last week   I said that I would post some pictures of my etching experiments.  Here they are.  DSCF0267

 This is a piece of brass etched with the  Edinburgh etch  solution.  I copied the image onto a transparency and ironed it on to the metal before etching.

 

 

 

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 This is copper etched with ferric chloride.  I drew the design with a Sharpie marker.

 

 

 

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 These are pieces of a brass charger plate I cut up.  I stamped the image on the left with a rubber stamp and Stayz on Ink 

 

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 This is a black and white image I reproduced onto a sheet of label backing with a laser printer  then ironed on to copper.  I used Edinburgh etch  solution.

 

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 Here, I inked a rubber stamp with a black Sharpie pen and etched the copper with ferric chloride.

 

 

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 I made this resist pattern with a silk screen and thick acrylic paint.  It worked well, but I  found it difficult to get a paint that would not bead up on the metal.  

Try making findings, components and texture sheets for polymer clay.                  DSCF0217DSCF0261DSCF0287

        

Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Auction

Who doesn’t like to take classes with nationally known artists? Now, imagine doing it for free. You can if you’re a member of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild and you  come to one of our meetings where we present an artist from our Guest Artist Program.


Jana Roberts Benzon, Barbara McGuireChristie Friesen, Julie Picarello, and Dayle Doroshow are just some of the Guest Artists we have hosted at our Guild meetings.  The artist might teach a Master Class for tuition paying Guild members on the Saturday before our regular meeting in addition to demonstrating at the Sunday Guild meeting, or just come to the Guild meeting. In both cases, the Guild pays the teacher’s fees for the Sunday meeting out of money raised from member dues and  Guild fundraisers like the upcoming auction.

Can you imagine getting more bang for your buck than joining the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild?   No other guild in the country has a program like this. If you’d like to join,  go, to our web site,  and follow the instructions.  Dues are $40.00 for the coming year.

Our upcoming Art Raffle will be at our June Meeting.  You can  support this great program by bidding on wonderful items donated by local and nationally known artists.     You don’t need to be a member to attend the raffle in person.   Plus you ‘ll be able to view many of the items online May 31 and even buy and allocate your raffle tickets online if you can’t attend the meeting!   Visit our website on May 31. We hope to raise $800 to finance two Guest Artist visits with the auction. We are still accepting donations.  Please email Terri if you would like to make a donation.

Here’s what I’m donating. I’ll be bidding too!

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Same time last year Life’s Rich Fabric

Make Your Own Jewelry Tools

About a month ago, I put up a post about how I made a small jeweler’s bench from a small desk and scrap wood. Since then, I have been trolling for tool making directions and tutorials.

I recommend two excellent articles from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. The first one is on how to make a swage block from hardwood by Tom and Kay Benham. lj11071 It’s in the November 2007 issue which you can order by pressing here. You can find other tips on making swage blocks here. The authors used a Fostner drill bit set and a drill press to make their swage block. Since I don’t have access to tools like that, I used a spade drill bit set and hole saws to make mine. I got pretty good results. You can buy hole saw and spade drill sets from Harbor Freight or your local home center.

 

T409he other article from the April 2009 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is about how to make a hammered wire cuff bracelet. Author William Fretz throws in a nifty side bar on how to construct a jig so you can get consistent curves in heavy gauge wire. Press here to order the back issue.

 

 

Ganoksin is a treasure trove of jewelry making information. Be sure to check out Charles Lewton-Brain’s article on making chasing tools and Tina Wojtkielo’s article for tool junkies. It’s full of tips for making and using tools that she collected from several jewelry artists.

The last item comes from a great Internet resource, the How-To-Make-Jewelry Blog. It’s a useful bracelet sizing template you can download for free. The video that shows how to use it is below.

 

Make Clasps from Found Objects

I’ve been thinking a lot about jewelry made from found objects lately, probably because I have been asked to give a talk on the topic at the April meeting of the Main Line Bead Society. So this morning as I was brushing my teeth, it hit me: Why couldn’t I make a clasp from those cool copper washers I got at Harbor freight? I always get my best ideas in the morning. I had to wait until I came home from work to give it a try.

I took two washers about 18 gauge thick  and sawed a slit in one just big enough for the other one to fit through. Then I made jump rings from 18 gauge copper wire and soldered them on the washers. Then I pickled, cleaned, punched a pattern on the clasps, gave them liver of sulfur bath, and polished them up. The placement of the opening relative to the jump rings is critical; you want your necklace to stay on.  I don’t recommend this clasp for bracelets.  It has kind of an old Roman feel, don’t you think?  Here are the pictures.


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This last clasp is from an object I found on the street- a sheaf of 10 gauge copper wire encased in black electrical tubing. You can take off the tubing and use the wire. I made a clasp out of mine. Here’s that picture.

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New Products and Old Favorites

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Pardo Clay and Precious Metal Paint from German Company Viva Decor. At the time, no one I knew of in the U.S. carried Precious Metal Paint. It looks like that is going to change. Poly Clay Play has limited quantities now and hopes to have more available for sale in the future.  Check the web site for more information.

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Some Poly Clay Play shipments from Europe were delayed, but will be available as soon as they arrive. Trish Hodgens of Poly Clay Play is taking pre-orders on the large 480 gram (about 1.05 lb.) jars of Pardo Clay for $21.95 each and the small jars 75 gram (2.6 oz) for $4.95 each ($1.00 off the suggested retail price.) For more information, check out the web site or email Trish Hodgens.

No one sells brass or copper bezel wire. If you don’t have a rolling mill to make it, you can make your own from 28 or 30 gauge metal. Even that is hard to find unless you want to do a roof. But I found a supplier!!! The Whimsie Studio carries 6″ X 12″ sheets of 30 gauge copper and brass. The price and shipping were reasonable (even by my cheapskate standards). And the stuff comes pronto.

You don’t need a saw to cut the bezels. I use Fiskars Utility Scissors I bought at Polymer Clay Express. They work like a charm,

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except I still can’t cut a straight line. That’s why God made files.


Speaking of files and all sorts of cheap metal working tools, if you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money, try Harbor Freight. Besides hammers, files, anvils, Helping Hands for $2.99 and other goodies, you can buy stuff, take it home and figure out what to do with it. I used their Body and Fender Set to make bracelets from spoon handles. If you want, but can’t afford a disk cutter, try their Hollow Punch Set and a sturdy hammer. It really works.

A New Polymer Clay

robindemoRobin Milne    introduced her fellow members of the The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild to a brand new clay at our last meeting!   Robin had been tapped to introduce Pardo Jewellery Clay manufactured by German Company Viva Decor at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim, and she came back with clay samples and brochures.  What could be better?

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Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in gumball-sized pieces packaged in 2.7 oz jars.  Robin said it has no odor when  raw or baking and it’s easy to condition.  It uses beeswax as a plasticiser in place of phthalates.

But is it durable?   Robin was  able to run it through her pasta m31achine on the thinnest setting without tearing and, when it was baked, she could tie it in a bow.  She could bend a cured bookmark-shaped piece of clay in a circle without breaking it.  Although the clay is on the soft side, she could produce decent canes with it.  And she was able to sand and buff it to a high shine.

Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in a beautiful range of jewel-toned colors, and the metallics contain plenty of mica. The manufacturer, Viva Decor,  says it can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay without a problem.  

Poly Play Clay, is  the only retail supplier I know of at the current time.  They don’t carry all of the 64 colors of Pardo Jewellery clay yet. Owner Trish Hodgens says that eventually,  however, they  plan to carry every color Viva Decor makes available to the United States Market.

Robin also recommends another Viva Decor product: Precious Metal Paints.   She’s tried thse high quality paints on raw and baked clay; they don’t scratch off and cover beautifully.  When the paint is applied to raw clay, allowed to dry, and run through the pasta machine, it crackles like metal leaf.  The mica in the pain is so small, you can use the paint for screen printing. And, Robin says, “the colors are amazing!” 

If you want to see what Robin has done with Pardo Jewellery Clay and Precious Metal Paints, press here.

I don’t know if anyone in the United States currently selling the Precious Metal Paints, but you want more information on them, check out U.K. supplier The Fruit Pixie.

 

 

Beading on the Copacabana

I am so cold! I disagree with T.S. Eliot. February is the cruelest month.   It was 14 today in Philadelphia and I wish I was below the equator where it’s summer now.    The hot sun, the white sands of the Copacabana and some Samba music would be be nice. I always like to buy local bead work and crafts wherever I go. Here is a picture of a bracelet I got on a trip to Rio De Janeiro.

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I think I’ll wear it and pretend I’m back on the beach in Rio.

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