Pendant Trays and Cabochon Settings Tutorial
Let's make Pendant Trays and Cabochon Settings!
Making beautiful pendant trays and cabochon settings is very easy, and very fun. Here's a little tutorial that explains the process that I use.
The majority of the process is identical to making a glass tile pendant, the difference is explained in the final five paragraphs.
Here's what we'll need for this project:
Pendant Trays or Cabochon Settings
Sun And Moon Glaze
MicroGlaze (If your images are printed using an inkjet printer)
Printed images or decorative paper (When printing use a MATTE premium card stock - DO NOT USE GLOSSY PAPER)
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 work on top of that. You do not want to spill an adhesive on, or scratch a surface that is important to you. Another idea might be to put down a soft towel and then place a piece of plexiglass over the towl, or perhaps a piece of thin smooth wood that you could reuse over and over. Both of the items that I just mentioned could easily be hidden out of site when you didn’t need to have them out.
Ok, lets get started, first select an image that you would like to have displayed on your pendant. It can be a computer printed image a photograph, a picture from a magazine or perhaps a section of a piece of decorative paper. When printing your own images I recommend using a heavy MATTE cardstock paper, something like a 90 lb. The heavier paper does not curl or wrinkle as much when the glaze touches it.
* Also note: If you are 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 on my website in the Adhesives section) After applying the thin coat of MicroGlaze you will need to allow it to dry for about 15 minutes and then proceed.
Before going any further, lets quickly examine a glass tile. Look closely at the tile, one surface has a very gentle texture on it and the other does not. The textured side is where you will apply your glaze and your image. The texture becomes totally invisible once the glaze is applied. The texture is actually an imprint from the surface that the glass was sitting on when it was heated in the kiln to round and smooth the edges of the glass. This is common with all kiln-fired glass and is actually a benefit, as it helps adhere your image to the tile better.
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 use a pair of scissors to cut the tip off of the bottle (only cut off the very end of the tip, no more than a couple of millimeters). 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, 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 and to prevent bubbles. I recommend our Sun And Moon Glaze because it’s a thicker glaze and it is easier to control and therefore reduces the chance of getting bubbles on 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 it is likely that 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 textured 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 pieces at a time.
After a few hours the 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!
Now with that out of the way you’ll apply a thin layer of glaze over the back of the image. Since this piece will be sitting inside of a pendant tray you'll only need to apply a thin layer of glaze over the back of the piece, and it's not critical that the layer be perfect since it will not be seen.
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 coat should be thin so don’t use too much glaze, just enough to cover the entire surface of the paper. Now that you have a layer of glaze on the tile, let it sit for an hour or so.
Now, several hours later, we'll place the finished glass piece inside a pendant tray or cabochon setting.
First place a couple of drops of Sun And Moon Glaze in the center of the pendant tray or setting (you only need a couple of drops, so don't over do it). Now, hold your finished glass piece over the pendant tray or setting and turn your glass piece so that your image is in the position that you would like it to be in when the piece is finished. Now carefully place your glass piece into the pendant tray and quickly make any adjustments (such as alignment) before the glaze sets.
That's all there is to it, let your finished piece sit now for an hour or so and then it will be ready to wear. This is a very easy project to do and the results are simply beautiful!