Making Stone and Wire PendantsPosted: November 21, 2008
I have some well documented issues with super glue (see previous post and lack of remaining fingerprints). So this week, while bemoaning the fact that I STILL have pretty, pretty rocks that I bought on a class field trip to the science museum in sixth grade! sitting at the bottom of my sewing box, epoxy was mentioned as a possible solution. Naturally, I worried. Would I end up stuck to the couch? Or worse, would I have to have James use his chemistry PhD skills to keep me out of the emergency room for a thumb-to-eye situation? If I remember correctly epoxy is like the crack of super glues. Embarrassing outcomes flowed quickly in my mind and I was ready to run and hide from my friends and tell them I had been struck by a car and could not attempt this very high skill level task that they were proposing. I mean really, gluing…that is for the pros. Give me a plasma cutter any day, I am likely to do far less harm.
But I am a big girl and I can face my fears, and a date was set. Last night was the dreaded night I was to learn how to use fast setting epoxy. And you know what, I really like it. All the great versatility of super glue and there is enough time to go wash your hands.
I pulled out the stones, some gold colored wire and some silver colored wire, Elmer’s fast setting epoxy and various pliers that I have for beading, as well as the all important lap desk with pencil groves – without which no crafting would ever get done. I vastly underestimated the amount of time that it would take to wrap all these tiny little stones. We are talking fours hours just doing that part, I was shocked. But then my stones are very small so I had to make very small designs, which always takes longer than you think that they will. I found to hold everything in place while you are prepping your work little pieces of putty, the kind you hold up dormitory posters with, worked great. It just sort of made sure the wire stayed put while I finished the other stones.
To epoxy the stones, I prepped each one. Then I covered a little glass pate with two layers of tinfoil (I mixed the epoxy on this,) I covered a baking pan with a layer of tin foil (this is where I let the stones dry overnight.) You need toothpicks to mix the epoxy together and apply the mixture to the wire and stones. Apply the mixture carefully and as hidden as possible. Although it will dry clear, it will take up space and you can still see it. A little goes a long way. Do not let the epoxy touch to putty if you are using that to anchor the wire as you will just be epoxying putty to the stone, and that would be pretty ugly.
I left everything with tails until after the epoxy was dry. I didn’t even begin to try to make the loops until the epoxy was set.I made a variety of swirls and circles used various different ways to attach the wire to the stone. I sort of let the look of each stone piece guide me. If you need some help making basic loops check out this tutorial at BeadStyle Magazine. I am going to go back and make clusters out of some of the very small chips and some of the identical stones. It was getting too late last night, and the epoxy wasn’t setting as fast as I thought it should (until this morning I wasn’t sure if it worked at all.) But it worked just fine, and after our trip this week, I will finish making those.
Overall, I am very happy with the outcome, and thrilled that after decades these little treasures will see the light of day. It is amazing, some of these stones just needed a little bit of wire to really make their color just pop! They are gorgeous.
I don’t know how often I will be doing this. But I know I won’t shy away now from buying more boxes of pretty little stones as I pass them. Not everything has to be ready to be threaded to make my shopping cart anymore. There’s a whole new world of possibilities out there.
If anyone lives near the Philly area and is into recycling and reusing check out this store, they resell just about everything from fixtures to glass, to old screws (so you don’t have new screws in your old brass door plates.) I will be going there when we move to MD in a couple years, but for now I can spread the love in the hopes that the doors will still be open by the time I get there.