Saturday, October 11, 2014

Faceted Faux Gems, or Wilma Flintstone's Fancy Jewelry

I received a request for instructions on how to make these fun faux gem beads. Sorry, I don't have photos of the steps but will take some the next time I make these giant gems. I know picture tutorials are helpful for my non-English-speaking friends but Google translate can help until I take more photos.

The process is pretty easy. See below and see this older post for another variation on this idea.

1. Roll Sculpey Ultralight ito beads of assorted shapes and sizes. Oblong, square, round, whatever you like. Feel free to make 'em big...all of the beads in the photo are at least one inch long.

2. Poke the hole through them and bake according to instructions on the package. Don't let the beads cool after curing because the clay slices easier when it's a little warm. Cut a few beads at a time and keep the others in the still-warm oven until you're ready to cut.

3. Using an X-acto blade, slice small slivers off the bead. Be sure that none of the original baked surface remains. The baked surface doesn't take the alcohol ink as well and will leave light spots on the beads. However, that's not a bad thing because it makes it easy to find where you forgot to cut!

4. Now, get your alcohol inks. Cover the entire bead with the lightest color you plan to use. When it is dry, put the next darkest color on a portion of the bead, leaving some of your first color showing. Go ahead and add a third color if you want to make them more colorful. The colors will blend and get a bit muddy -- don't over work it. Use a smooth paper towel (Viva is my favorite!) to dab it on for more control. Wear gloves if you don't want to end up with ink-stained hands.

5. Optional step... See the bright blue spot on the bead at front left above? After you have finished putting all the ink colors on the bead, you can shave away the surface in a few spots to reveal the white underneath. Put a swipe of light ink on the white spots. The relative brightness of the lighter spot makes it look like there is a glowing light inside the bead.

6. After the beads are completely dry, rub gold Gilder's Paste along the peaks of the sliced edges. (Inka Gold water-based pastes may work also, so give it a try.)

7. When the Gilder's Paste is dry (I usually wait a day but that may be longer than necessary), spray the beads with PYM II to protect the surface. PYM II is great stuff... it doesn't change the color at all.

That's it!

I will post a follow up photo of the finished necklace. I made flat-ish disks out of gold and strung them between the gems to add new texture to the mix. I wore it to work one day and as a group of women passed me in the hallway, I heard one say, "See, *she* wears big jewelry!" Fortunately it was in an approving tone!


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