How to Use Crystal Clay within an Open Back Bezel Tutorial

Open Back Bezels are ideal for Crystal Clay and Nunn Design Resin. They are lighter in weight than solid back bezels, making them usable for earrings as well as pendants and charms.

With just a few “know-hows,” you will be well on your way to using clay and resin within Open Back Bezels. These tips will help save you time and assist in making your creative experience smooth and easy.

Fast Tutorial Video:

Watch this Fast Video For a quick overview of the process and then read the full tutorial below!

Long Tutorial Video:

Watch the Long Video to see the complete process!

Learn How!

Supplies :
Nunn Design Open Back Bezels
Crystal Clay – Black

Other Supplies Needed:
Rubbing Alcohol
Packing Tape
Wet wipes
Toothpicks or headpins
Baby Powder
Goo Gone
Large Mixing Stick

Tools Needed:

Preparing Your Nunn Design Bezels:

(Shown here: Open Pendant Split Large Circle Horizon) 

Step 1. The Nunn Design Findings are oxidized to provide the aged look to the precious metal plating. The oxidization, when it comes into contact with the mixed Crystal Clay could change the color of the clay. To avoid this, clean the Open Back Bezel thoroughly prior placing the Crystal Clay within the finding. To clean, get the tip of a Q-Tip wet with rubbing alcohol and clean away any of the blackened oxidization on all the surfaces of the bezel.

Step 2. To create a solid backing for the Nunn Design Open Back Bezel that we are using in this tutorial, cut a piece of packing tape and place it on your work surface. Place the Open Back Bezel onto the tape. To make sure the tape is burnished down and fully attached, use your fingertips to press the bezel down onto the packing tape and rub back and forth on your work surface. If it isn’t fully attached, the clay will seep out from underneath the sidewalls of the bezel.

Tip: Check to see that your packing tape is clear and there is no residue or mottling in the adhesive. If there is, it will show up on the backside of your finished Crystal Clay piece when you remove the tape once the clay is cured. Try to use an area of the tape that does not have blotches or marks. If you are curious about other tape options, you might be interested in reading this blog post: Painter’s Tape vs Packing Tape for Open Frame Resin-Filled Bezels.

Step 3. Trim away any excess packing tape from around your Open Back Bezel to avoid the curing clay piece from potentially being disturbed.

Mixing the Crystal Clay:

Step 4. Crystal Clay is a 2-part epoxy. Mixing equal parts of A & B activates the clay. Once the clay is activated you have 90-120 minutes before the clay hardens and you can no longer sculpt or embed objects. Prior to mixing the 2 parts, it is recommended by the manufacturer to wear gloves when handling. Once the clay is mixed it is activated and is neutral and gloves are no longer necessary.

The gloves that are included in the Crystal Clay 50 gr Kits are not my favorite. They are way too big for my hands and I have a heck of time mixing and colorizing the clay while wearing them. If you are having the same challenge try a different brand. If you do not have a latex allergy, I recommend using a pair of industrial, powder-free, 5 mils, latex glove sized to fit your hand snugly.

I use my latex gloves over and over again to prevent waste. To get the most usage out of the gloves, place baby powder generously over your hands prior to putting the gloves on.

This will make it easier to get the gloves off once you are finished mixing the Crystal Clay.

Step 5. With the gloves on, open up the packages of Crystal Clay and pinch off two equal-sized balls of Part A and Part B. Blend together the 2 parts fully until the clay is no longer marbled and is uniform in color.

Tip: I guesstimate the amount of Crystal Clay that I will need to fill the bezels for the project I’m working on. I would recommend having plenty of bezels prepped just in case you have excess clay.
Tip: Make sure to wrap up your Crystal Clay to prevent it from drying out and hardening. Store Part A and Part B in separate zip-lock bags to avoid contamination while it is in storage.

Step 6. Once the clay is mixed, you can safely handle the clay without wearing gloves. Prior to removing the gloves, use a wet-wipe to clean them fully. Store the gloves for your next creative jewelry making project.

Use a wet-wipe to also clean your hands of any baby powder prior to handling the clay.

Step 7. Roll the thoroughly mixed Crystal Clay between your palms until it forms a smooth round ball.

Step 8. Press the ball of mixed Crystal Clay into your bezel using the tips of your fingers. For this particular technique, I wanted the Crystal Clay to be flush and level with the sides of the bezel.

If filling the corners with Crystal Clay is challenging, use a toothpick to press the clay up into the corners of the bezel. Pat the toothpick marked clay with your fingers until smooth.

Tip: Make sure to check the backside to make sure you are getting the Crystal Clay into all of the crevices and corners of the bezel.

If you have too much clay, you can pinch off the excess and pat down until smooth again, or remove it from the bezel altogether and remove the excess.

Step 9. Use a wet-wipe to 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.

Step 10. Let the Crystal Clay cure for 12 hours. It will be hard to the touch, but will continue to fully cure for another 72 hours.

How to Remove and Clean the Tape Off of the Cured Crystal Clay

Step 11. To finish your Open Hoop, remove the packing tape from the backside once fully cured. If you have any excess residue from the packing tape on the backside of the resin, 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.

Step 12. If the residue isn’t coming up, try Goo Gone! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. I applied a couple of drops on the backside and let it sit for over a minute. I then used a stir stick to scrape the tape residue. To remove all that sticky mess, pour some rubbing alcohol onto a wet-wipe and wipe it away.

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Shop Supplies:

For this tutorial, you will only need the following items from the 2020 Spring Semester class supplies:

  • Nunn Design Open Back Bezels
  • Crystal Clay Black

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