How to Embed Seed Beads into Crystal Clay using ND Bezels

Seed beads that are strung onto a string are ideal for embedding into Crystal Clay!

Here is what you will learn in this tutorial:

  • How to use Open Back Bezels with Crystal Clay
  • How to mix and embed Crystal Clay into Nunn Design Findings
  • How to Embed seed beads to create an unique design

Supplies:

Nunn Design Supplies:

  • Nunn Design Open Back Bezels
  • Epoxy Clay-Crystal Clay Black
  • Preciosa Beads or Seed Beads

Other Supplies:

  • Q-tip
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Packing Tape
  • Wet wipes
  • Business Cards
  • Toothpicks
  • Goo Be Gone
  • Stir Stick

Tools:

  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

Prep Bezels:

1. The Nunn Design Bezels are oxidized to provide an aged look to the precious metal plating. The oxidization, when it comes into contact with the resin, could change the color of the Crystal Clay. To avoid this, clean the bezels thoroughly prior to application of the clay. Dip the tip of a Q-Tip into rubbing alcohol and clean away any of the blackened oxidization from the bezels surface.

2. Cut a piece of packing tape and place it sticky side up on your work surface. Place an Open Back Bezel onto the tape (sticky side facing up). Using your fingertips, press the bezel down onto the packing tape and rub back and forth on your work surface to make sure it is burnished down.
Tip: Check to see that your packing tape is clear and there is no residue or mottling in the adhesive. If there is, the mottling will show up in the clay when you remove the tape once the Crystal Clay is cured. Try to use an area of the tape that does not have blotches or marks.

3. Trim away any excess packing tape from around your Open Back Bezel to avoid the piece from being potentially disturbed and caught on your sleeve.


Crystal Clay, Mix & Press into Bezel:

4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the handling and mixing of the Epoxy Clay-Crystal Clay. While wearing gloves, pinch off 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. For this tutorial, I mixed a blue berry size of both Part A and B of clay because I wanted to fill multiple bezels. For each bezel I pinched off a small pea ball of clay.

5. Roll the thoroughly mixed Crystal Clay between your palms until it forms a smooth round ball. Press the ball into your bezel with your fingers to create an even smooth surface in the clay. You will want to have enough clay so that it is flush and flat to the edge of the bezel.

6. If the Crystal Clay is not flush with the edge of the bezel you can add more or pinch off the excess. Pat the clay with your fingertips until smooth.
Tip: If filling the corners with Crystal Clay is a challenge on the square and rectangle shaped bezels, use a toothpick to press the clay up into the corners of the bezel. Pat down the toothpick marked clay with your fingers until smooth.

7. Using a wet-wipe, clean up any excess Crystal Clay that might have been left on the bezel. 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.

8. 
I tend to work in a small area (typically my kitchen table), so I like to work on a surface that projects can be easily moved around and not disturbed. Place some business cards or some heavy card stock onto your work surface, making it easy to move the pendants without disturbing them.


Embed Seed Beads into Crystal Clay:

9. Embed the first seed bead into the Crystal Clay on the outside edge of the bezel. Wrap the seed bead around the outside edge of the bezel, pressing slightly the beads into the Crystal Clay. Once you have returned back to your starting point, hold the beads at the start point and end point and gently pull the string out, leaving the beads in the clay. Gently pat down with your fingertip the seed beads into the Crystal Clay.
Tip: Do your best to not press firmly the seed beads when embedding them into the Crystal Clay. Press it in light enough to adhere it, but not so much that it “sinks” into the clay.

10. Continue embedding the beads, repeating Step 7.

11. When you get to the inside or to the point where the beads can do longer bend, you will need to just adhere a couple beads at a time. Now that all of the beads are embedded into the clay, use your fingertips to firmly and evenly press all of the seed beads down and into the clay.

12. Gently wipe down your piece with a wet-wipe.


Cure 1:

13. Let cure for up to 12 hours.


Grout:

14. To make sure the Seed Beads are fully embedded into the Crystal Clay, the next step involves applying a grout. Repeat Step 4 and mix up another small batch of the Crystal Clay. Once the clay is mixed, pat the clay into a very thin patty.

15. Wet your fingers and clay, causing the clay to be super moist.

16. Lay the moist thin patty of Crystal Clay onto the Seed Beads. Use your fingers to press the clay down into all of the grooves of the clay. If you did not press the beads firmly into the clay on Step 9, seed beads could dislodge from the clay. If this is the case, you will need to embed each of the dislodged seed beads back into the clay.


Clean Up & Cure 2:

16. Use a wet-wipe to wipe away any excess of the Crystal Clay.

17. Let the resin cure for 12-14 hours.

18. Once the Crystal Clay is fully cured, remove the tape from the backside. If there is a little sticky residue, drizzle a couple drops of Goo Be Gone onto the sticky area. Wait for 1 minute and then use a stir stick or popsicle stick to scrape off the residue. Wet a Q-Tip with rubbing alcohol and clean up any excess residue still on the Crystal Clay.


Watch the Video!

Here is a video that I filmed with Beadaholique showing the full process!


Be Inspired:

Here are a several pieces in our gallery, created with this technique! You can visit items in our gallery by clicking on the name of the piece, below the image. Our gallery items list out the exact items used to create a jewelry piece, or you can email Cheryl at cheryl@nunndesign.com if you need help! Enjoy!


(ND Gallery: Gemmam)


(ND Gallery: Laminae aeris)


(ND Gallery: Transgressus)


(ND Gallery: Sagittis)


Shop Supplies:

Shop the Supplies Retail!
Beadaholique has all of these supplies available for those of you who would like to purchase all the Nunn Design Supplies retail. You can shop for the supplies here:

Shop the Supplies Wholesale:


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