Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Double-Sided Copper Pendant Tutorial

A few people have expressed interest in a tutorial to make the copper pendants so here ya go!!

First a few notes:  these pendants turned out to be pretty time-comsuming but well worth it in the end.  I tried several diameters of copper pipe.  I settled on 1 1/4" or below.  The larger diameters are too hard to cut.  You can buy the copper pipe by the foot at Ace hardware.  Unless you are going to go crazy and make bunches of these, 1 foot will be plenty.

Supply list:

Copper Pipe
Copper Pipe Cutter (Get a good one.  I had a cheap one and it was nothing but a problem.  I bought a new one for about $18 at Ace and it was MUCH more successful!)
Small clamp (but large enough to hold the pipe)
18 gauge wire (I used copper but brass would be nice, too)
Air dry clay (I used LaDoll but Creative Paper clay works)
foam sanding block
fine steel wool
small metal file or dremel with sanding bit
Wire cutters
Flat nosed jewelry pliers
Round nosed jewelry pliers
Hole Punch for metal (available on Etsy or any jewelry supply online)
Matte Medium
Aleen's Tacky Glue
ICE Resin


1.  Begin by clamping the clamp onto a work surface.  Clamp in the pipe.  Don't tighten it so much that the pipe is being crushed, just enough so that it doesn't move.

2.  You will want to make your cuts about 3/8" but I didn't measure.  I just eyeballed it.  Attach the pipe cutter from underneath with the wheels and cutting blade facing up.  You want it to be able to turn freely but not loosely.  It shouldn't be hard to turn but shouldn't fall off either.  Reach underneath the cutter and pipe and begin spinning the cutter back and forth smoothly.   After you make a few rotations, turn the screw at the end about a quarter turn and continue rotating.  It's not fast...it does take some time, but eventually, you will cut through the pipe and the piece will fall off.

3.  The piece (I will now call it a bezel) will have some burrs.  You will need to remove these by inserting the corner of the foam sanding block into the opening and rotating it.  If there are and burrs that are too large to be handled that way, use the dremel or file to remove them.  When all feels smooth, use the steel wool both inside and outside to remove any tarnish.

4.  Using the hole punch, make a hole in the top and bottom of the bezel.

5.  Cut a piece of wire about 6 inches long.  Using the round nose pliers, make a couple of loops in  one end of the wire.  Thread the wire through the holes and make a wire-wrapped loop for hanging.  Cut off any excess wire and tuck the end underneath the wrap so it doesn't snag.

6.  Pinch off a small piece of clay (about the size of a small acorn) and flatten it out like a quarter.  Fit it nicely into the center of the bezel.  You may need to add another tiny piece on the other side of the wire.  You are making a base to hold the resin.  Try to keep this as flat and thin as possible and centered around the wire.  You want it to still be recessed on both sides.

7.  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Bake the pendant 20 minutes on each side.

8.  The clay will have shrunken slightly.  Fill in the gaps with Aleen's (or any thick) glue.  Let dry.  Make sure you are thorough!  If not, the resin will find any cracks and flow out the other side (may I say...NOT fun)!

9.  While you wait, print out your images for the inside of the pendant.  I used my own art but there is some cool digital art on Etsy, if you prefer.  I printed them on my inkjet printer on the thinnest photo paper I could find (48 lb).  I'm not sure that matters but it's just information!  Brush on a layer of Matte Medium across the back and then across the front of the print.  Do this with a gentle touch so as not to smear the ink.  This step will seal the print making it safe to use with the resin.  Cut your image to fit the bezel.

10.  Put a thin layer of glue on the clay insert and position your print.  (Just information:  My clay wasn't exactly perfect!  I was worried that the images being not completely flat would affect the outcome.  It didn't.  The resin is very forgiving.  You don't want the image just crammed in, but a slight curve didn't change the outcome.)  Let dry.

11.  Cover a tray with either a piece of trash bag or wax paper in case of spills.  Mix the resin according to the directions.  Be very exact in the measurements.  I used a popsicle stick to put the resin into the bezels.  That way you can control the amount you are putting in.  Cover the images up to the rim of the bezel with the resin.  According to the instructions, if you want a domed top, do the first resin pouring and after drying, do another layer to create the dome.

12.  Look closely at each bezel.  If you see any tiny bubbles....(From experience!!:  HOLD YOUR HAIR BACK!!!!) carefully breathe over the resin.  The heat from your breath will make the bubbles come to the top and burst.  I also noticed a couple of more stubborn bubbles.  I held my heat gun about 2 feet above the bezels and let the heat encourage the bubble to burst without letting the air from the gun push the resin out of the bezel.

13.  Resin takes several days to harden.  After they harden, flip them over and do the same thing on the other side, making them 2-sided.

Ok, Girl-zoes!!!  Post me some pictures of your creations!  I will post final pictures in a few days!!

I love you ALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 comments:

Sharon Tomlinson said...

OMG! This is so fabulous. Thank you for this great tutorial. I just know I will be walking down the street this morning to ACE(one block away)to get me some PIPE and a CUTTER! It is something I can do this weekend while I tend to my new online class. The only problem is, I have this little note on my desk that I'm out of 18ga wire. And I don't have any of that clay but I do have paper clay and maybe I'll figure that out too. Won't these make cute Christmas presents. Yes they will! xoxo

Tammie said...

So awesome and generous of you to do a tutorial. It does sound like a lot of work and details, unless of course you get into it and make a tray or more full ;-) Yours are gorgeous!

Michele Lynch Art said...

What a fabulous idea Sunny!! I may have to cut some pipe ;o) Loved it!!! Thanks so much for sharing with everyone!! I love how your pendants turned out! xo Michele

doreen said...

what a great tutorial! thanks so much for sharing this! I actually think I have everything to give this a try - yah! (o:

patricias fabric art said...

I don't get much time to visit blogs but I have to say yours brightens my day-you are so good sharing your work and i just love your little paintings

Laurie Jess said...

Thanks for the incredible tutorial!

Sunny Carvalho said...

Thank you all for taking the time to post comments and for visiting my blog. xoxo

MLiz said...

I know this super old, but I love this tutorial and am attempting this as my "mass gift" for friends and family this year. I had one question - if you got air dry clay, which doesn't need to be fired or baked, why did you bake them? Is that step important?