Handcrafted Pendant Tutorial – Using Crystal Clay, PearlEx Powders and Colorized Resin
I have to admit I got a little carried away with this tutorial. My intentions were good (of course!). What I really wanted to communicate is how you can create a pendant using a certain step-by-step technique, yet have the pendants look so incredibly different from pendant to pendant.
Sometimes creating can be challenging. There are so many decisions to make. Which Nunn Design Bezel do I want to create with? Which color of Crystal Clay do I want to use? Which color of PearlEx Powder. Which imagery? Which color of Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments should I colorize my resin with? See what I mean? So many options! It is easy to get overwhelmed and resort to watching tv or looking at Pinterest instead.
Here is what I suggest.
– Grab any Nunn Design Bezel.
– Grab some White Crystal Clay.
– Grab some Silver PearlEx Powder.
– Grab the Nunn Design Transfer Sheet Birds & Trees
– Grab the Nunn Design Resin Kit.
– And grab a bottle of Blue Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment
– After you get the basic idea down of how to do this technique, you can expand from there. Truly, I think the options are limitless!
Here is the full tutorial. At the bottom of the tutorial, I have added some design options. Part of this was out of my own curiosity about how it would look if I switched things up.
- reskit- Nunn Design Resin Kit
- ccop-blu Castin Crafts Opaque Pigments
- tsbwt Transfer Sheet Birds & Trees
- cryclay-black Crystal Clay Black
- cryclay-white Crystal Clay White
- PearlEx Powder-Silver
- PearlEx Powder-Gold
- Nunn Design Bezels
Other Supplies Needed:
- Painters Tape
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Wet wipes
- Toothpicks or headpins
- Glossy business cards or card stock
- Small dish of water Paper Towel
Steps for Preparing Your Nunn Design Bezels
If you are using a Nunn Design Open Back Bezel for this tutorial, you will want to create a solid backing to hold in the Crystal Clay. To do that, start by cutting a piece of blue painter’s tape and place it sticky side up onto your work surface. Place the bezel onto the piece of tape.
Using your fingertips, press the pendant down onto the tape and rub back and forth on your work surface to make sure it is burnished down onto the tape.
Tip: If you are using a clear packing tape, make sure your tape is clear and there is no residue or mottling in the adhesive. If there is, it will show up in your finished piece when you remove the tape once the piece is cured. Try to use an area of the tape that does not have blotches or marks.
Another Tip: During out last Art Day, we tested different types of tape. We were delighted to find out that once the pendant was cured the blue painters tape pealed away and left no residue on the clay or resin. It does have a wee bit of a texture, but we liked that!
Trim away any excess tape from the bezel to avoid the curing resin piece from being potentially disturbed.
Tip: Place each bezel on its own individual piece of tape. It makes the pouring of the resin easier to manage and eliminates the chance of disturbing the bezel next to it.
Place each of your pendants on individual glossy card stock. This makes it easy to transport the pieces without the risk of disturbing the resin. If there is an overflow, it is also easier to peel the resin up off a glossy stock, versus a non-glossy stock of paper.
Select an image from one of the Nunn Design Transfer Sheets. Using a pair of scissors, trim the image on the inside lines of the outlined shape. Continue trimming and adjusting until it fits nicely into the bezel.
The Nunn Design Bezels are oxidized to provide the antique look to the precious metal plating. The oxidization, when it comes into contact with Crystal Clay, can change the color of the clay, especially the white. To avoid this, clean the bezel thoroughly prior to apply the clay. Get the tip of a Q-Tip wet with rubbing alcohol and clean away any of the blackened oxidization, especially from the inside of the bezel.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the handling and mixing of the Crystal Clay. When handling the unmixed Crystal Clay, it is best to wear gloves. Depending on the size of your bezel, pinch off enough clay to create two equal sized balls of Part A and Part B and blend together fully until the clay is no longer marbled and uniform in color. You have approximately 90-120 minutes of working time before the clay starts to harden, so take your time. Once the clay is thoroughly mixed, remove your gloves to make it easier to work with the clay.
Roll the thoroughly mixed Crystal Clay between your palms until it forms a smooth round ball. I like the clay to be smooth because it prevents from having creases when you apply the transfer sheet. Press the ball into your bezel and create an even smooth surface flush to the edge of the bezel. If you put too much clay in the bezel, the transfer sheet will not lay flat and smooth. To remove excess clay, pinch off the excess clay and pat smooth. To remove stubborn creases in the clay, dip a finger into a bowl of water and rub it onto the Crystal Clay to smooth it out.
When applying Crystal Clay to an Open Back Bezel, press the clay into the bezel while it is on a flat surface (not that I’m showing you this!). This will provide a solid even backing.
While the Crystal Clay is still moist, apply a layer of PearlEx Powder with a Q-Tip. You can be creative with where you apply the PearlEx Powder to provide additional visual interest.
Using a wet-wipe, clean up any excess Crystal Clay that might have been left on the jewelry finding. The Crystal Clay hardens like cement, so cleaning it up now and being tidy as you go makes the process easier and the results so much nicer. Allow the Crystal Clay to cure for 2 hours. It will continue to cure over the next 12 hours, but after 2 hours it will be hard to the touch.
Fill a small shallow dish with warm water approximately 3⁄4 of the way full. The Nunn Design Transfer Sheets are printed on a film with a paper backing. When the transfer sheet is submerged into water, it separates the film front from the paper backing. Drop one of your trimmed transfer sheets into the water and wait 30 seconds. I like to work with one transfer sheet image at a time so I’m not in a rush as all of the backs release from the film fronts at the same time.
The transfer sheet film is very fragile, so be gentle when handling it. When removing the transfer sheet from the water, you will be able to feel the film and paper backing slide apart from one another when holding them in your fingers. If the paper backing is not sliding, place the transfer sheet back into the water for another 15 seconds. Once the film is sliding apart from the paper backing remove it from the water, leaving the paper backing attached. Dry the transfer sheet and your fingers with a paper towel. Let the transfer sheets sit while mixing and colorizing the resin.
Read the resin instructions for safety concerns regarding the Nunn Design Resin. When I work with resin, I always:
- Place a large plastic bag over my work surface and tape it down.
- I make sure I have ventilation in my workroom.
- I wear gloves.
- I wear glasses (readers because I can’t see anymore. Plus it protects my eyes!).
- I have a pile of wet wipes handy.
- This is a great blog post that covers 20 Habits for Successfully Using Nunn Design 2-Part Epoxy Resin. Even if you are a seasoned resin mixer, this might be worth a read.
Place one cup (included in the Nunn Design Resin Kit) onto your table. For curing purposes, it is very important that the resin be an exact 1 to 1 ratio of Part A and Part B. I suggest getting your eyes level with the resin so you can see the lines on the measuring cup. Pour Part A of your resin kit up to the ½ fluid ounce mark on your measuring cup. Pour Part B of your resin kit into the same cup until it is filled to the 1 fluid ounce mark. It is important to pour Part A first and then Part B. It is some chemical thing about the part A being heavier or something.
Set your timer for 2 minutes. Using the stir stick from your kit (a popsicle stick or coffee stir stick will work great too), slowly and carefully stir your resin scraping the sides as you stir. Stir for the full 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, scrape both sides of your stir stick on the edge of your resin filled cup.
To add a tint of blue to the resin, add a tiny toothpick of the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment Blue to the mixed resin. The opaque blue pigment is very potent, so you will only need a tiny bit to colorize the fully mixed batch of resin. It is always best to add too little pigment and to add more if needed.
Drizzle a small amount of mixed colorized resin over the cured Crystal Clay in your pendant.
Slide the paper backing way from film transfer sheet slightly, exposing an area of the film. Place the film into the resin. Use a toothpick or stir stick to hold the transfer sheet into the resin and slide away the remaining paper backing. Use your toothpick to press on the film and remove any air that might be trapped under the transfer sheet. If bubbles do surface, breathe on the resin gently. The hot air from your breath will cause the air to expand and pop.
Once you have pressed out any air from underneath the transfer sheet, make sure the image is positioned just where you want it. Continue to pour your resin over the transfer sheet. Use a toothpick to drag the resin to the outside edges of the bezel. If there isn’t a lot of resin, the resin will start to pool back up to the center and pull away from the edge of the bezel. Continue to add small drips of resin until it goes to the edge of the bezel and stays there. You might add too much resin and it will over flow. This is something that you will learn over time of knowing when to stop at just the right amount. If it does over pour, let the resin cure for 6 hours. At 6 hours, the resin will be in it’s “soft cure” stage and very easy to remove from the sides of the bezel. Start to gently pick at one edge with your fingertip or a pair of pliers. The resin will peel up and remove very easily.
If you have any resin where you don’t want it, use a wet-wipe to clean up the surface. Set aside to cure (up to 72 hours).
To finish your pendant, remove the packing tape from the backside once fully cured.
If you have any excess residue from the packing tape on the backside, use the tape to remove it like you would when you are removing lint or animal fur from your clothes. Keep touching the packing tape onto the sticky surface until it is no longer sticky. Still sticky, try Goo Be Gone! Follow the manufactures instructions for best results. I applied a couple drops on the backside and let it sit for over a minute. I then used a stir stick to scrape the tapes residue. It was fast and easy. Once clean, just use rubbing alcohol to clean the resin pendant.
Let me show you some design options. I selected different Nunn Design Bezels. I used Black Crystal Clay, instead of white, and I applied silver and gold PearlEx Powders to the clay. The biggest change that I see is in the color! The gold PearlEx Powder added to the blue colorized resin made a light turquoise color.
The same steps are followed as in the tutorial above, but let me show you the highlights:
Download PDF Tutorial: How To Make a Handcrafted Pendant Tutorial
Shop the Supplies!
- Fusionbeads.com has all of the supplies that you will need to create these fun handcrafted pendants.
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