Sunday, January 9, 2011

DIY Tutorial How To Make A Collage Pendant

Create a collage pendant for yourself - or for a gift - using this simple tutorial. Making a collage pendant is not difficult, but does require some time and thought. Here is the process I use:

Supplies And Materials: 

  • Image or photo
  • Pendant frame
  • E-6000 glue
  • Mod Podge brush-on sealer
  • Aleen's Acrylic Spray Sealer
  • Glaze - I use Diamond Glaze
  • Scissors and an Xacto knife - or a paper punch
  • Toothpicks or wooden craft sticks
  • Waxed paper

Supplies & Materials

1. First select your pendant shape and style - circle, oval, square, rectangle. Decide on either a simple frame or an ornate one with fancy edging. Since I like vintage style jewelry, one of my favorite places to purchase frames is  For this project, I used an antiqued brass setting with rope edging which will accommodate a one inch circle shape.

One Inch Circle Pendant Setting

2. Next, select your image to fit the frame. You can cut out images from wrapping paper, magazine photos, and greeting cards. Or you can purchase digital collage sheets with images already sized and shaped for common pendant frames. You can find a wide variety of pre-designed collage sheets from various sellers on both ArtFire and Etsy.  For the pendant in this tutorial, I am using a digital image from a collage sheet that I purchased from Etsy seller DigitalPerfection.

3. Prepare your image. If you are printing out a collage sheet or other image from your computer, first be sure to use the best quality settings for your printer. I find printing on matte photo paper rather than glossy works best. Next seal your image to prevent the ink from running and smearing during gluing and glazing later - I use Aleene's Spray Acrylic Sealer which can be purchased at craft stores such as Michael's - you can choose either a matte or glossy finish (both work fine.)  I usually spray an entire collage sheet of images, let it dry at least 15 minutes, then repeat the process for a total of two applications. 

4. Cut out your image. If you are "free styling" (not using a pre-sized and shaped" collage sheet) then make a template of your shape by tracing the shape on a piece of paper - preferably thick cardstock type. Then cut out the shape leaving a circle opening (or whatever shape you're using) in the paper. Then place the template over your desired image, trace with a pencil and cut it out. Leave about 1/8 inch around the edge to trim later - this makes for easier handling. Use a craft knife or xacto knife to cut your image - be careful as they are quite sharp!

A quicker easier method for cutting your image is to purchase a paper punch at a craft store such as Michael's. These come in standard one and two inch circles as well as ovals, squares and many other shapes. I recommend this method if you are going to be making a number of pendants.  The cut out image will have cleaner finished edges than with using scissors.

A Paper Punch Gives Cleaner Finished Edges Than Scissors
5.  Brush on a coat of Mod Podge to further seal your image.  I usually lay my cut out images on some wax paper, then squirt a bit of the Mod Podge onto the wax paper.  Use a small paint brush to apply the Mod Podge onto the image.  Below I am preparing several images at one time.  Let the Mod Podge dry about 15 minutes.

Brush on Mod Podge sealer

6. Now glue your cut out image to the pendant frame. I use E-6000 glue (also found at craft stores such as Michael's.)  Place a small amount of glue on the back of the image using a wooden craft stick or toothpick.  Then press the image onto the frame. Use the toothpick or small wooden pointed craft stick to clean off excess around the edges. There is no harm if you do leave some around the edges since E-6000 dries clear and excess can be cut off later with your craft knife. E-6000 becomes tacky in 2 minutes and begins to set in 10 minutes - but takes 24 to 72 hours to fully cure. After drying, you can trim the edges of your paper if needed with your Xacto knife - if you used a paper punch, this step is usually unnecessary.

Use E-6000 Glue For Gluing Your Image
Place Image With Glue On Back and Press Into Setting

7. Now it is time to apply glaze to seal and protect the image. Be sure to allow the glue from step 5 to dry sufficiently - I usually allow several hours (4 hours or longer.) Although not fully cured yet, this is enough time for proceeding.

I use Diamond Glaze which can be purchased at various sites on-line - even Ebay.

Applying the glaze is a bit tricky but not overwhelmingly so. The tricky part is to avoid bubbles.  Place your pendant on a flat surface where it will be able to sit without being disturbed for at least 24 hours. I use a flat chopping board with waxed paper placed on top for easy clean up.  Squeeze out a small dab of the glaze onto the waxed paper to expel any bubbles. Then without turning the bottle back upright and without completely releasing your "squeeze" on the bottle, immediately squeeze the glaze onto your image - I start from the center and work my way outward in a circular motion. I have found by trial and error that if I don't completely stop squeezing the bottle after placing a drop on to the wax paper, it prevents air from getting sucked back in and creating air bubbles. If air bubbles do develop, pop them with a needle or even your fingernail.

Apply Diamond Glaze to Image

8.  Now let the glaze dry and cure. It will be sufficiently dry to carefully move after 24 hours, but takes 72 hours before fully curing. If not fully cured, you can leave smudges and indentations on your glaze with handling.

Finished Glazed Collage Pendant

9. Now you are ready to add a jump ring or bail and place your pendant on a chain or cord to proudly wear!

Here is a finished pendant I created, then added an antiqued gold bail and antiqued brass chain:

A Finished Pendant With Bail and Chain
Happy pendant making!

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