I wanted to make a pendant with an open bezel but there was just one problem: I didn’t have any bezels. Also, where I live buying one in a shop is not an option. The only possibility is to order on the internet and wait for at least two weeks till it arrives, patience is what it costs to get things on the island. I’m far to impatience for that, when I want to make something I want to make it almost right away and certainly not wait for weeks. While reorganizing the shed I was thinking what to do and how to make it, when I saw a big bag of wood leftovers from the shutters and I knew what to do: why not make an open bezel from wood?
Step 1: Tools and Things
What do you need to make a bezel/ pendant from wood and resin? Keep in mind if you do not have everything there is almost something else you can use. For example, I used a fretsaw but the blades were very old and after one bezel there were no more blades left. I wanted to make two pendants, so the second bezel I made with a chisel, cut the wood in half, hollowed it out and glued together. That is why one of the bezels is in a clamp.
Sandpaper 60, 100, 180 and 400
Alcohol for cleaning
Resin, I used ice resin
Syringe to mix the resin exactly
Small plastic cup for resin
Something to stir with
Round nose pliers
Fold over cord ends for leather
Suède leather cord
Paper towel for cleaning tools with alcohol
Lint free cloth, I used an old piece of silk for cleaning the bezel/pendant after sanding
Safety glasses, when working use safety equipment!
Things to put in the resin. I used shells, coral, sand and sea glass all found on the beach.
Step 2: Cutting and Sanding the Wood
I used pine, cut offs from the new shutters, because it already had the right wide. The best way to saw with a fretsaw is using a cutting board to stabilize your work. I couldn’t find mine so I saw without it, the bezel will become a bit wobbly and you have to sand a bit more but it is doable. First draw your bezel on the wood, then drill a hole in it. I used a hand drill just because it is easy if you had to make one hole. Pull the fretsaw blade trough the hole and tension the fretsaw blade into the fretsaw. If the tension is too low it is hard to saw and if the tension is too high your blade will break easily. You have to play a bit with the tension to find out which works the best for you. Turning your work instead of the saw is the easiest way to saw. When finished, send your work till it is smooth. I used sanding paper 60, 100, 180 and 400.
Step 3: Making the Hole for the Headpin
After sanding, I made a hole on top for the head pin. With the Dremel and a 1/32′ drill bit, I made a tiny hole, in which the head pin fits perfectly well, and made a loop in de head pin with the round nose pliers.
Step 4: The First Layer of Resin
When making the pendant, I decided that I wanted the shells, sea glass, sand en coral in the middle of the resin so I made the first layer. I used ice resin, which is developed for jewelry and very easy to use and comes with almost no bad smells. Ice resin is a resin you use 1:1, always checks what you resin rate is for not all resins are 1:1. Make sure you mix the same amount, otherwise your resin will stay sticky. I find it very helpful to use a syringe for using a syringe allows you to make very small batches without the risk of a mixing error. If you have a mixing error and your work stays sticky don’t panic! Rubbing Alcohol 70% will solve the problem. Rubbing alcohol dissolves the sticky ice resin and you can start over again. If you get the resin on your hands or skin you can clean with baby wipes. I put the bezels on wax paper (you can also use a garbage bag) and pour in the resin to 1/3 of the bezel. Ice resin has a drying time of 8 till 12 hours but I let it dry overnight.
Step 5: Making the Composition and Second Filling
When the first layer is dry it is a fun time, time to fill the bezel with what you like. I choose shells, coral, sand, and seagrass, with the beach almost at our house it is obvious to use that. If using sand, first mix it with some resin otherwise you get very tiny air bubbles. I learn it the hard way. If you look at the bezels very well you will see them. After I made the composition, I first filled the shells with a tiny drop of resin to prevent from floating and then poured in a second layer. Again I let it dry overnight, you now have a rough pendant.
Step 6: Removing the Excess Resin, Sanding and the Last Layer
When dry I took the pendants of the wax paper and started sanding to remove the excess resin and sand it until the pendants were smooth. For sanding, I use sandpaper 180 grit and 400 grit. After sanding I wiped of the pendants with a silk cloth. The best feature of ice resin is that it is self-healing. You can sand and after a new layer, it is shining if you had never sand. The resin has also a good surface tension so it is easy to form domes. After the sanding, I brought on one last layer. First I did the front and sides, the next day I did the back and again let it dry overnight.
Step 7: Finishing Touch
Now the pendants are finished, just put a chain or leather lace on it so you can wear the pendant. I choose a suede leather lace and put a clasp on it but you can use whatever you like. I hope you will like working with resin as much as I do. I’m already thinking about a new resin project: coloring resin and driftwood, for resin and wood, is a perfect marriage.