Create Etched, Stamped Pendants in "Clay Soldered" Bezels

One of my favorite things about attending "the shows" in Tucson each February is seeing the work of great new designers and reconnecting with old friends. That's two things, I suppose, but in this case it's all one–I got to spend some time choosing wonderful mixed-media jewelry making projects for Jewelry Making Daily readers out of an amazing selection offered by my long-time friend Becky Nunn of Nunn Design 

 
Oh Say Can You See by Donna Musarra

At the same time, I met designer Donna Musarra, one of the talented Nunn Creative Team designers, and chose her fun etching project. Donna's projects combine many favorite jewelry components and techniques–mixed metals, etching, metal stamping and sawing, charms, epoxy clay–and chickens! I know you'll enjoy making your own version of her etched designs.

Etched, Stamped "Clay Soldered" Pendants
by Donna Musarra

Epoxy clay seems to be everyone's favorite technique this year. It has some excellent qualities . . . it can be shaped by hand, smoothed with water, will not shrink or crack, will cure at room temperature, and when dry it can be sanded or painted. Who wouldn't love this material? Its uses are unlimited in contemporary jewelry making. This mixed-metal, etched pendant project uses epoxy clay to give the look of a soldered hollow-form pendant, but it can be created by jewelers of any skill level. No torch required, no soldering skills necessary, and it uses a minimal amount of tools.

Materials:

metal sheet (22-gauge copper shown here)
jeweler's saw with 3/0 blade
deep bezel
epoxy clay
jump rings
charms
pencil or Sharpie marker
craft or ice cream pop stick
etching solution and supplies
patina solution
metal stamp alphabet set
extra fine steel wool

Steps:

1. Select a bezel and decide what type of surface you want for the top piece. The sample shows a piece of copper that has been etched using StazOn ink and a rubber stamp (learn another way to etch metal here), but you can cut the top piece out of old tin or any patterned, rusty old found metal. You can use any size or shape of deep bezel, but if you plan on texturing or etching the top, think about the shape of the design when you choose your bezel. If you are going to etch the metal, prepare your metal surface by ensuring it is clean and free of dust. Etch your design of choice in the metal sheet.

 

2. Measure the inside of your bezel and mark those measurements on your etched metal with a pencil or a Sharpie marker for cutting. Use a jeweler's saw to cut the sheet of metal to the interior size of your bezel. It should be a tight fit, showing some of the edge of the bezel.

3. Metal stamping can be added after the metal has been etched. I wasn't too concerned with exact placement and let the letters follow the curve of the design to give a bit of a random, organic look. (Learn about metal stamping.)

4. Highlight the etched and stamped areas by adding a patina to the metal. I used Jax Black patina, which produces an antique black finish on copper. Rinse the metal with water, dry and polish with a piece of extra fine steel wool after patinating.

5. Now you are ready to "solder" (adhere) your etched design onto the bezel with the epoxy clay. Epoxy clay comes in two separate packages–resin and hardener. Pinch off equal amounts of each part and mix together until the two clays become one color. If you didn't mix enough, you can add more. Press the clay into the bezel and fill to just below the top edge of the side wall.

6. Scrape away excess clay with the edge of a craft stick.

7. Position your etched metal piece over the bezel and press into the clay.

8. Press down the etched metal so it is even with the top edge of the bezel and remove any excess clay. Set aside for at least an hour so it will completely dry.

9. Add charms, beads, etc. and a chain to complete the look on this etched, "clay soldered" hollow-form pendant. That's it!

 
Alternative design, by Donna Musarra

Want to learn more about etching metal and using etched metal designs in your jewelry? You'll find it (and much, much more) in select issues of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, now half off in our back-issue sale in the Jewelry Making Daily Shop! (through May 25, 2012, at 11:59 PM CT).

About the Designer: Donna Musarra designs jewelry in the Ozark Mountains. She uses her skills and lots of vintage finds to create jewelry that has a nostalgic comfort but feels current. She is also part of the creative design team for Nunn Design. You can see more of her work in her Etsy shop, Clabber Creek Studio.

Resources:
Bezels by NunnDesign.com
Epoxy Clay by CrystalClayOnline.com
Patterned Heart Charm by ObjectsandElements.com
Patina by Jax 

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