Today, I’m going to share with you how to make one of my favorite accessories: cameo jewelery. This is a really simple project, so I’d call this more of a walk-through than a tutorial.
I get my supplies from etsy, and I’ll include links to the specific shops I used at the very end of this post. In general, you can start to find things by searching for “cameo” and then restricting the category to “Craft Supplies & Tools.” The one thing I’ve found to be an issue when looking for craft supplies on etsy is that a lot of the cheaper items/lots tend to be sold by Chinese sellers, so you end up with the same wait times as if you ordered on Taobao. Since I’d rather not wait that long for such a small purchase, I try and find US/domestic sellers when I can.
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First things first, you need to get your supplies together.
You’ll need as many resin or acrylic cameos/cabochons as your heart desires, along with appropriately sized settings or frames, and E6000 craft glue (or any glue that binds to both plastics and metal). You may also want to have newsprint or scrap paper to cover your work space. There are a ton of optional supplies you can incorporate into this project, though. I bought pinch bails with this order to finish all the pendants. You can get necklace chains, ribbon or something else to hang your pendants on, or you can get some pin backs if you’d rather make broaches than necklaces. For more creative freedom, you can also get a can of spray paint to make your findings (the bails and settings) colors that you won’t likely find for sale, like lavender or non-antique gold. Don’t forget about the possibility of getting magnifying cabochons and combining them with a print-out to make miniature portrait jewelry or whatever else you’d like (You can follow this tutorial from F Yeah Lolita.). I had a lot of fun with this project, and I hope you do as well.
The next step is super simple, but it’s also very important that you don’t skip it. You need to match all your cabs with the settings before touching your glue at all. The reason this is so important is that there isn’t a standard size for these components. If you bought a cameo in size 40×30, and you also bought a setting in size 40×30, there actually isn’t a guarantee that everything will fit together.
For example, you can put your cabochon and your setting together and find that the cab is too big.
This particular circumstance is why it’s important to get resin and acrylic cameos. Glass or semi-precious stones would feel nicer and heavier, but then it would be too hard to correct these sorts of size errors. Since these cabs are plastic, you just have to do one more step before proceeding to the gluing stage.
Just take a nail file and file along the edges of the cameo. Sometimes things don’t fit because of an irregular protrusion on the border, but sometimes (like with mine) the cameo is just too big all around and won’t nestle into the glue pad area. Just take your time and make sure to keep rounding off the edges as you go. It’s very simple.
You can also find that the cab is too small.
The first thing you can do to make this less noticeable is to center the cameo perfectly in the setting. What I also like to do is paint the glue pad a similar color to the cameo’s background using nail polish. It’s not a perfect fix, but it beats trying to use some kind of filler.
Lastly, you can put them together and find that everything fits together perfectly.
Huzzah! Once you get any overlarge cameos filed and any undersized cameos’ frames painted, if either is needed, you’re ready to move on to gluing.
Now, I’m going to assume you’re using E6000. If you’re not, make sure to follow your glue’s instructions.
Be careful when you’re using E6000. It tries to expand out the top, so don’t squeeze it or too much will come out and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. I can get enough out for most projects by putting the slightest pressure on the tube. I also use the tip to spread it around so that I get an even-ish coat on.
IMPORTANT: This glue will expand and leak out the top if you just leave it alone for a few seconds. Make sure you screw the tip back on whenever you are not actively using the glue.
Put glue on the glue pad of the setting and on the back of the cameo.
The glue says to wait two minutes before mating the surfaces. I wait until I can lightly touch the glue without leaving a fingerprint. Once the glue is ready, stick them together.
If you got bails or pinbacks, you can technically attach them at any point of this process. I like to wait to do it at the end, when the cameo and setting have been glued together as I set them out to cure overnight.
And that’s it. You’re done.
More Mild Troubleshooting
- If this glue leaks onto your work space, quickly wipe it up with a paper towel. I then wipe the area with a moistened paper towel to make sure I got everything.
- If you place your cameo and setting together and find that it’s not centered, don’t panic. You can shift it around for a few seconds after the glue makes contact with itself.
- If you find that some glue leaks out onto the “pretty side,” just cover your thumb nail in a paper towel and run your nail in the offensive groove to wipe away the excess. If you have short nails, you can also cover a toothpick with a paper towel to use this method.
- If you keep getting loose glue hairs as you move between surfaces (like you get with hot glue), just let them dry to the point where they are not sticky and pluck them off. Basically, treat the strands exactly like you would hot glue.
- If glue leaks out onto the back side of a setting that only has a rim of a glue pad, you could wipe it away using the above-described method. I always just tend to leave it alone, though.
With shipping costs, I ended up paying about $4.42 per piece of finished jewelery, which I think is perfectly acceptable for a cute bit of resin and metal. I think that this sort of DIY project is great, especially if you want to incorporate new colors into your wardrobe.
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