Yesterday I had a fun afternoon at the library learning to make glass tile pendants and magnets! Would you like to know how it’s done? This is what I learned from the teacher, my friend LAW.
Glass tiles or glass flat-backed pebbles
Decorative paper (maps, magazine pages, scrapbook paper, etc)
Special glue – Sun and Moon Glaze ideally
A nail file or emery board
Scissors and/or a punch that’s the same size as your tile (eg 1″ round)
Bails to make pendants and/or magnets to make magnets (duh)
E6000 glue (a small tube will last you forever)
(you can buy all the materials here in a $25 sample kit, or item by item. There’s also a detailed tutorial here)
To start with lay your glass pieces over the papers you want to use. The tiles will magnify the image slightly. You can cut or punch your image out at this point (or perhaps rough cut the image out for easier handling) but I found it easier not to bother. You might accidentally cut it too small, or it might be harder to position.
Apply the special glaze in a good layer to the back side of the tile. Some tiles have a clearly domed front, some are the same front and back. Take a good look before you start glueing! The glue should be spread around evenly and fairly thick.
Place the glued tile down on the paper. Let the weight of the tile spread the glue out evenly. I think that it helps to move the tile slightly to make sure you don’t have any voids or bubbles. (if you punched out the image make sure it’s centered on the tile and you’ll probably want to have some wax paper down to protect your table because some glue may squeeze out around the sides – probably a good idea anyway!)
Let the piece sit for a good 15 minutes so that the glue can dry. You can work on your next one while you wait. (the tutorial at sun and moon crafts says you should wait an hour or so. If you make enough of them at once it won’t be an issue – just make more until you run out of supplies, then start the next stage.)
When the glue is dry, if you didn’t already cut out the shape you can cut close to the edge of the tile. Then leave the tile paper side up (upside down) so that the glue can dry even more fully.
When it’s completely dry (give it at least another 10 minutes) use the nail file to sand the edges of the paper down so that nothing sticks out from the edges of the tile. If you hold the tile paper-side-up in your hand and file downwards you can get a good clean edge without risking pulling up your paper edges. Any excess glue can be sanded off at this point.
When the edge is nice and smooth all around and you have checked from the front that there are no edges poking out you are ready to seal the back. Using the same special diamond glaze glue create a thick even layer of glue on the back to seal the edges. It should float all over the surface and create a kind of dome of glue on the back. Be generous. The tutorial I linked to above had more advice for knowing how much glaze to use. I think I used too little on one, too much on another. If you touch it or add more glue while it’s still tacky you’ll be sad. I got sticky uneven bits on a couple of mine because they stuck to stuff while they were still tacky.
When the glue is completely dry (it takes a good long time! Go look for a library book or do some laundry or continue making more and more and more tiles and then perhaps leave then to dry while you watch tv, sleep, or go to work – better to leave them too long than rush this part) then you can use a little bit of E6000 glue to attach a bail to the back of the pendant (to the back! the flat part) or attach a powerful magnet.
btw rare earth magnets are super strong and dangerous for little ones if they consume them. They can kill kids by pinching off or perforating their intestines, so be really careful! Don’t have them around if you have toddlers who put things in their mouths.
Also the magnets attract each other really easily, so keep your magnets that are still drying away from other magnets or magnetic stuff. They’ll pull right out of the glue!
Make sure the bail is centered from the front – mine looked off center from the back even when they were centered on the front. Press down on the bail to seat it in the glue and then leave it to dry (again, with the front of the tile face down)
When everything is dry, you’re done!
The pendants/magnets are really really cute – whether you use old maps, postage stamps, origami paper, pictures from a damaged library book, scrapbook or wrapping paper… You can even use color copies of photos, or create your own artwork. You can turn the tiles into earrings (choose smaller sizes), pendant necklaces (string on ball chain or leather or waxed thread or whatever) and probably also brooches/pins or charms for a bracelet. There are pendant trays you can buy to give a metal frame and back to the pendant – a very nice look – you can see some in the top left pictures.
There are heaps of neat projects on sunandmooncraftkits.com – and the prices seem quite reasonable… beware, this craft is addictive though!
In case you were wondering, this artwork, which is so beautiful, is from a damaged library book – Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman (which you can buy used on amazon here for a few bucks). I couldn’t risk possibly ruining the image by using the big pebble for Elisabeth’s face (did you know her name was Elisabeth? I didn’t! and can you see what she’s reading? it’s the same book about her!) so I saved the page and used to pebble for an image of a Vienna cathedral. By the way, if you mess up or change your mind the Glaze is water soluble, so you can soak the image off and start over with another one. This also means, don’t wash your pendants! The mushrooms are from the same book, and there were flowers and kitties and mice and a butterfly too. The Japanese origami paper is my favorite though – so many stunning colors and there’s some metallic in it too… so pretty.
It’s all I can do not to order everything from sun and moon right now!
But I am in the middle of a secret gift project, and a sewing project involving sock monkey fabric, and I’m finishing my 2nd sketchbook at a meet-up I’m hosting tomorrow. And I’m in the middle of more projects than I can keep track of.
Talk to you again soon…
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