Glass Tile Pendants - Tutorial
Let's Make Glass Tile Pendants... It's Easy!
We'll need the following supplies:
: Sun And Moon Clear Glass Tiles
: Sun And Moon Glaze
: Jewelry Bails
: MicroGlaze (If using images printed from an inkjet printer)
: Printed images or scrapbooking paper
: Nail File
: Paper clip
* (If printing your own images use a MATTE premium card stock - DO NOT USE GLOSSY PAPER)
First, a note on work surfaces: If you're using a work surface that you don't want to potentially make a mess of such as a desk or table, the easiest and least expensive solution would be to put down a piece of wax paper and make your glass tile pendants on top of that. You do not want to spill an adhesive on, or scratch a surface that's important to you.
BTW, Here's a link to a nice little starter kit that I put together: Glass Tile Pendant Kit
Ok, lets get started, first select an image or that you would like to have displayed on your pendant. It can be a computer printed image, graphic, a photograph, a picture from a magazine or perhaps a section of a piece of scrapbooking paper. The beauty of making glass tile pendants is that they can be customized.
For this pendant tutorial I chose to use an image of a painting done by a friend and local artist named Amy Giacomelli. I love her artwork, if you've been to a Disney Theme Park then you've seen her work and probably didn't even realize it. I'll be using Adobe Photoshop to resize the image of the painting so that it works for this project. You can use whichever image editing software you're comfortable with or happen to have on your computer. Basically, just tell the software what size you'd like to crop your image into - I always crop my images slightly larger than the size of the glass just to be safe.
When printing your own images I recommend using a heavy MATTE cardstock paper, something like a 90 lb. The heavier paper will not curl or wrinkle as much when the glaze touches it.
* Also note: If you're using an inkjet printer to print your images you will need to apply a thin coat of MicroGlaze over the image to prevent the ink from smearing when you apply your glaze. (MicroGlaze is available here on my website in the Supplies/Adhesives section) After applying the thin coat of MicroGlaze you will need to allow it to dry for about 15 minutes and then proceed.
At this point open your Sun And Moon Glaze (also referred to as glaze) by sliding the applicator cover off of the bottle. If you’re using a new bottle, unscrew the applicator, remove the protective seal, screw the applicator back onto the bottle, then use a pair of scissors to cut the tip off of the applicator (only cut off the very end of the tip, no more than 5 millimeters or so). If you have previously cut the tip off you will need to poke a small hole in the end of the applicator tip to break through any dried adhesive that might be clogging the tip. You can easily use an unfolded end of a paperclip or something pointy to poke a hole in the tip. It’s a good idea to always have a paperclip handy when making glass tile pendants, as the glaze will always dry inside the tip of the applicator and you’ll have to poke a fresh hole quite often.
Also, before we start applying glaze let me tell you this… When using glaze, your goal is to remain in control of the glaze to prevent bubbles. I recommend our Sun And Moon Glaze because it’s a thicker glaze and is easier to control, therefore reducing the chance of introducing bubbles onto your project. The bubbles are simply little air bubbles and they can easily be eliminated with a little practice. Here are a few tips… Never shake the bottle, as this will create tons of bubbles. Just prior to applying your glaze, slowly turn the bottle upside down so that the applicator tip is pointing down towards the table. Hold the bottle in this position for about 15 seconds – this allows the air inside of the bottle to move up and away from the applicator tip. There will likely be a small air pocket remaining at the end of tip, so I like to hold the applicator tip over a piece of folded paper towel and gently squeeze the bottle until I see a drop of glaze come out. This lets me know that most likely there is no air remaining in the applicator tip.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way lets have some fun and finally adhere an image to a tile!
Using the technique that I just described, open your glaze and apply a generous amount of glaze onto the surface of your glass tile. Notice how I said “a generous amount”! You don’t want to have the glaze pouring over the side of the glass, but you do want to have the entire surface of the glass coated with glaze.
Now, in a smooth and controlled motion, with one hand pick up the glass tile by two of the edges of the glass. I use my index finger and my thumb on my left hand and grab the edge closest to me with my thumb and the edge furthest from me with my index finger. Lift the tile up off of the table and then bring your right hand under the glass and grab the other two sides of the glass so that you are essentially holding it from underneath the glass. Release your left hand so that you are only holding it from underneath the glass with your right hand. So now you should have the glass tile in your right hand with the glaze facing up.
Here comes the fun part… Turn your right hand over so that the glaze is facing down towards your image, now place the tile directly down onto your image – do not press it down, simply place it down onto the image. You want your glass to be floating in the glaze over your image. Now you should be looking down through the glass and getting it centered over your image. Again, you want the glass to float over your image in the glaze so do not try to press down hard and squeeze out the glaze, as this will cause your piece to have blotchy looking bare spots or the undesirable glittery effect that many beginners have. However, if you notice that you do not have glaze all the way out to the edges of the glass you can gently press down just a little and even rotate and move the glass around (do not lift) to get the glaze all the way to the edges of the glass. Do all of what I just described quickly, but smoothly and in control. Once your glass is centered over your image hold the glass in place for 1 to 2 minutes until the glaze is hard enough to prevent the glass from moving. You’ll need to let this sit undisturbed for several hours to fully harden, so I usually make several glass tile pendants in each session.
After a few hours the Sun And Moon Glaze should be dry enough for you to continue. At this point what you’ll want to do is use a pair of scissors and trim the excess paper off from around your glass.
Now use a nail file or even a piece of fine grit sand paper and gently file away any excess paper and glaze that might be hanging over the edge of the tile. You want the image to come all the way to the edge of the tile, but it should not be hanging over the edge. Also, be careful not to file too much paper away or you will expose the glass, this creates what I call a light leak – it allows you to see light through the pendant, which isn’t very desirable. Also, be careful to not scratch your glass!
Next we’ll apply a layer of glaze over the back of the image. You want to apply a nice even coat of glaze over the back of your image without introducing bubbles.
Let’s begin; you might need to use your paperclip to reopen the hole in your Sun And Moon Glaze applicator tip. Remember, turn the bottle upside down, hold it for about 15 seconds, squirt a drop of glaze onto a piece of paper towel to ensure that the air is out of the applicator tip. Now, begin SLOWLY applying the glaze to the center of the tile (over the back of your image). In a circular motion, work your way out to the edges of the tile without actually making the glaze roll off the side of the tile. This first coat should be thin so don’t use too much glaze, just enough to cover the entire surface of the paper. If you do get a little bubble or two don’t worry, use the applicator tip to try and drag it off to the side of the tile and it should pop and disappear on its own. Now that we have a layer of glaze on the tile, let it sit for an hour or so.
After an hour, if you see an exposed area of paper or decide that you would like a more raised effect on the back of your glass tile pendants you can apply another thin coat of glaze using the same method. Be careful not to use too much glaze, as you will reach a point where a little indentation might appear in the center of your project – this usually indicates that too much glaze was used. Once you’re happy with the appearance, let your tile sit for a few hours and then you can add your bail (the part that forms the loop for your necklace).
Now, several hours later, we’ll put a bail on the tile and turn it into a pendant. I use the Sun And Moon Glaze to attach my bails to the tiles, some people use E6000, but it’s not really necessary. The easiest way to attach a bail is to simply place a bail on your work surface in front of you so that you’re looking down at the flat gluable portion of the bail. When looking down at the bail on your work surface the loop portion of the bail should be at the top (12 O’clock position) and the bottom portion of the bail should be at the bottom (6 O’clock position). Squirt a drop or two of Sun And Moon Glaze directly onto the gluable portion of the bail.
Now, pick up your tile and place it down onto the bail so that the bail loop is centered on the top portion of your tile. Now go ahead and pick up the tile, the bail should remain in place. At this point you can adjust the bail with your fingertips so that it’s centered. Always remember, the bail attaches to the back side of the tile, and the bail loop always goes on the top of your tile. This will ensure that your glass tile pendants hang from a necklace or chain in the correct position. Ok, that’s it, now just place your tile in a safe spot so that it will not be disturbed and let it sit over night, tomorrow you’ll have a beautiful pendant ready to go!
Also, it’s worth mentioning that instead of putting a bail on the tiles you could instead put a little magnet on the back and make fridge magnets or office magnets. All that you have to do is put a drop of Sun And Moon Glaze onto a magnet and adhere it to the back of the tile, very easy. One idea might be to create several tiles using letters or fonts and make little magnets that spell words. The creative possibilities are endless.
Sun And Moon