Bringing Mixed-Media Jewelry Together: Epoxy Clay Bezel-Setting Tips from Kristal Wick

22 Apr 2011

 
Kristal made these sparkling bezels using UV resin and chunky Martha Stewart glitter.
I've just finished watching my Sparkle Sistah Kristal Wick's new DVD, Mixed Media: Beaded Bracelets with Fiber Beads, Crystals, Resin, and Wire--again! Now I'm so ready to play with resin and bezels and what is possibly my favorite thing of all time: Martha Stewart GLITTER.

Mixed-Media Jewelry Making
Mixed-media jewelry has always been a favorite of mine because it's a blend of the many crafts that I've dabbled in for years. When you put all the paper products from scrapbooking and card making together with the fibers and fabrics from quilting and sewing, the stamps and inks from rubber stamping, and the beads, bezels, findings, and other jewelry-making components from jewelry making . . . you've got quite a stash! And it's hard to keep them apart when I go in my studio.

 
Learn to make this mixed-media charm bracelet using a variety of jewelry-making techniques in Kristal's new DVD.

I love mixing materials in all my creative endeavors--papers in jewelry making, metals in paper crafts, ribbon and fibers in everything. No wonder I love this DVD so much!

I also love mixed-media jewelry because it's so forgiving. Kristal shared a very clever point in the DVD that reminded me of how forgiving mixed media is: "There are no mistakes in mixed media because you can always add another layer!" So true!

As I was watching, I made pages and pages of notes and ideas to share with you, but it won't all fit here! So today I'm going to tell you about the cool epoxy clay that Kristal uses to set stones and crystals in bezels and rings, and I'll share more sneak peeks and resin tips from this cool mixed-media jewelry-making DVD later.

 
Kristal's two-part epoxy clay kit has white, gray, brown, and black.
What is epoxy clay?
Epoxy clay is an easy-to-work-with, two-part clay (part resin, part hardener) that comes in a variety of colors, neutrals, white, and black. Kristal likes to use black epoxy clay because her beloved crystals (was she well named or what?) really pop in it, providing what she calls "maximum poppage."

You simply mix equal parts of the two to make the epoxy clay. It's very important that you knead and mix the clay for a full two minutes; it might look like it's well blended before the two minutes are up, but don't risk it. If it's not truly and completely mixed, it will never dry and cure, and your jewelry piece will be ruined.

 
By sliding chain through the center and securing it in place by pressing epoxy clay into it, Kristal turns a donut-shaped component into a hanging pendant or charm. Next comes the bling!
Properly mixed epoxy clay can be worked one to three hours (depending on the humidity in your area) until it gets too hard, so it's not quick or rushed like some resins, epoxies, and metal clay. Epoxy clay is durable and self-curing; it can be painted on or sanded, textured, carved, and drilled with tools like a Dremel.

Make Epoxy Clay Bezels, Pendants, Charms, and Rings
To make bezels using the epoxy clay, Kristal simply presses it into metal, crystal, and ceramic forms (it works in wood, glass, and other materials, too). Then she blings it up by placing crystal chatons in the clay with tweezers and pressing them down with her finger until they feel secured in the clay.

 
After making sparkling bezels in ceramic donut components, Kristal uses them to embellish rings and cuff bracelets. 
In Mixed Media: Beaded Bracelets with Fiber Beads, Crystals, Resin, and Wire, Kristal turns SWAROVSKI donut-shaped Fancy Stones crystals into bezel pendants using epoxy clay. She just loops a piece of chain through the center and lets the epoxy clay hold the chain in place, which turns the donut-shaped crystal into a charm or pendant. Then (of course!) she fills the epoxy clay with crystals. She also fills a SWAROVSKI Ceramic Fancy Stone donut-shaped component with the epoxy clay and crystals to make bold, blingy rings and cuff bracelets.

 
Kristal's Sassy Silky fabric beads
More Mixed-Media Jewelry Techniques
You can learn how Kristal makes her signature Sassy Silky beads in the DVD as well, how she applies color to the silk using texture plates (from the polymer clay world) and Shiva Paintstiks (permanent oil pastel paints in stick form) before turning the fabric into one-of-a-kind beads that are truly mixed-media works of art ready for jewelry making! You also have to see what she does with Angelina fibers, very cool sparkly fibers that you can turn from a nest of iridescent color into "fiber fabric" in minutes, just by ironing it. Kristal says it's like working with "cotton candy and fire." Ha! Then you can cut it, punch it, and--what else?--put it in a bezel with resin.

 
Kristal uses textured metal sheets for metal-in-metal bezels, too.
The best part about Kristal's DVD is that you don't make one project--well, you do make a project, a cool mixed-media charm bracelet--but you also learn about so many jewelry-making materials and techniques (resin! bezels! textured metal sheets! crystals! wirework! epoxy clay! transfers! beads! fabric! surface embellishment!) that you can use again and again in all of your mixed-media jewelry projects. Plus  Kristal's personality really shines throughout all 67 minutes.

I had to laugh just now watching one part again. Throughout Mixed Media: Beaded Bracelets with Fiber Beads, Crystals, Resin, and Wire, Kristal shares lessons she's learned the hard way, like if you don't cure the resin long enough or mix the epoxy clay well enough, you'll ruin your project and then "you'll cry." So I have to tell you--trust me, "you'll cry" if you miss out on this fun DVD!

Some of Kristal's resources mentioned here:
Angelina Fibers: www.EmbellishmentVillage.com
Epoxy clay: Aves Apoxie Sculpt from www.FireMountainGems.com
crystals, Fancy Stones, Ceramic Fancy Stones: SWAROVSKI www.Create-Your-Style.com
charms, bezels, beadcaps: www.TierraCast.com
fabrics: www.KristalWick.com
crimps, wire: www.Beadalon.com
two-part resin, bezels: www.ObjectsAndElements.com
resin and bezels: Becky Nunn Designs, www.NunnDesign.com
chain: www.Rings-Things.com
components: www.Vintaj.com, www.Artbeads.com
glitter: Martha Stewart
removable bails, WireLace:
www.ALaCarteClasps.com
 


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