If you’ve ever wanted to create your jewellery, here’s a simple project that will get you started. The process is very straightforward, and you can make these beautiful pieces in just an hour or two. You won’t need any expensive tools or materials — all you’ll need is some clear acrylic sheets (such as Plexiglass), a cutting mat, a ruler, a utility knife, coloured pencils and paint pens.
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Materials and Tools
Materials: a. 2×3.5″ wood piece, any wood will do (I used oak) b. Wood glue c. Wood finish of your choice (I used a spray finish from Minwax) d. Paint e. Cordless drill with drill bits f. Sandpaper g.Paint for the body and accents (optional — I used Rustoleum Rust + Glaze) h. Scissors
- First, we need to cut two pieces of the 2×3.5″ round boards to shape. (see image below)
- Using the saw, quickly cut the two pieces to be exactly 1/4″ thick. This will prevent any splinters from showing.
- Now use the wood finish as a sanding guide to making the edges of the cut pieces rounded. You may have to sand twice, once with the punch (at the top of the cut) and once with the out hand (on the bottom).
- Next, use the cordless drill to quickly shape the two bottom pieces. Once the top piece is drilled and shaped, I used hot glue to secure the two pieces together and to get a good grip on the pieces.
- Now let’s fill in the holes on the backside using the paint we just purchased. This seems a bit more involved than it is, but don’t be discouraged if it takes you more time to do this step than the others. Once the colours are dry, sand the edges using the out hand to get a proper fit.
- And, we’re done! You can now use the two pieces to make rings, or you can get creative and make these into bracelets (or earrings, or necklaces, or whatever suits your fancy).
Step 1: Cut your acrylic
I’ll start with the basics, which is cutting the acrylic. This is the first step because it will determine the way your nails will turn out. If you don’t cut your acrylic properly, there will be an unnecessary gap between your natural nail and the tips of your acrylic, which will make your acrylic nails look awkward. Bullet Point:3.5″ x 3.5″Approximate finished size: 4.25″ x 5.5″ I used a utility knife to make my cuts. You can also use scissors, but I not recommend it.
A sharp hobby knife is much easier to control when you’re cutting acrylic. The size you’ll need will depend on the material you’ve chosen and how you want the ends of your nails to look. Much of this process will involve trial and error, so you might need to experiment with several acrylic sheets to get the right size and shape before you finish your project. Some people add beads to their acrylic, but I did not, since it complicated my nails and ruined the look of my designs.
Step 2: Draw a pattern on your acrylic with the pencils
Each drawing is a separate layer. So once you draw one part of the shape (say, the bottom half), you’ll want to go in and erase any pencil marks that aren’t part of that shape. Then when you’re ready, just fill in the shape with colour!
Let’s say that you want to make an anchor chain. Setting it up with coloured pencils on a cutting mat like this guide (and following the same steps here) is going to take about two hours. It’s possible that, even with the advanced techniques here, you’ll need to go back to those scenes a day or two later for a specific change, so don’t give up when you’re first starting. And by the way, if you have any questions or need any assistance, let me know!
Step 3: Paint your acrylic using paint pens
After you’ve mixed your paint and it’s time to start painting, you’ll want to take a look at your acrylic and see where the paint is pooling. If it’s obvious where it’s usable, it’s time to move on to the next step. If your paint pen has run out, the next option would be to readjust the colours on the drawing. Continue painting until you reach the desired depth and consistency. When all the colours are in place, you simply smooth out the areas that won’t line up with the other colours using a rolled-up piece of paper, a piece of sandpaper, a piece of superglue or another easy way to make any small adjustments.
Step 4: Get a mould ready:
Another aspect of jewellery making that can get tricky is creating a mould to encapsulate the polished metal or gemstone inside your jewellery. Instead of trying to mould the piece at the surface, let’s imagine we’ve got some blocks of acrylic glued together, basically creating a mould. Jewellery brands such as Omega (the company whose products we’re making) offer quite a few standard sizes and shapes that you can find at your local hardware store.
(Objectively speaking, Omega pieces tend to be the most affordable of all the options out there.) Work up to a nice, sturdy, 3-inch-by-9-inch mould with the paint pen, and you’ll have a replica of the sculptor’s piece. Once the mould is created, it’s time to get it into a plastic container to keep it protected and dry until we finish forming it.
A strip of newspaper can do the trick, but basically, you’ll want to do this at an even space around the edges of the mould, not inside. Either way, you’ll need to let the mould dry out completely, then trim it away a bit with a hobby knife to expose the shiny, unpolished metal of your finished piece.
Step 5: Wear it!
This is the step most people miss when creating a product. You may have a great product but if you don’t wear it, it’s a waste. If you’re making a product for yourself, wear it and see if it works. Depending on how you look when you wear it — smiling, frowning, or anything in between — the ability to market it will either skyrocket or skyrocket quickly.
Resin is a tough substance to work with. Trying to add texture and structure to the resin can result in running into problems on multiple fronts. There are many materials you can use to add texture to resin, but the process is much more difficult with various types of acrylic. One of the best ways to do this is with black acrylic sheets, which is what I’ve been using to make sparkly crystals and branched necklaces.
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Acrylic mustard seed jewellery is easy to make, and you can use all kinds of colours for different effects. Give it a try!