The Watercolor Paper Pendant that you see illustrated in the photograph floats on a cord that passes through a channel built into the piece.
A channel is a beautifully functional way to mount a pendant, and is my preferred method for making pendants wearable. The channel eliminates the need for additional hanging hardware such as jump rings or eye pins, and results in the jewelry object’s design not being altered with additional hardware attachments.
If you haven’t already done so, please watch my 3-part video series on “How to Construct the Watercolor Paper Pendant.”
During the early summer I will be releasing a new Watercolor Paper Pendant video that includes the non-wax method of channel construction that I discuss in this blog article. Many of you have requested a non-wax approach, as well as instructions for creating a flat-backed channel. This post covers both, as will my coming video.
For the past few years I have used a “lost wax process,” to create the channel. This method employs a wax string that is eventually melted out to form the channel into which the cord passes through. In this article I will discuss a new method that I recently developed for constructing the channel. This method eliminates the use of wax which can be problematic, and is very effective for creating a flat, hidden channel that passes through the piece.
Having developed the pendant’s design, the first step in building the The Watercolor Paper Pendant is to prepare the paper layers.
8 cut layers of 140 lb.,cold pressed watercolor paper
The photo on the right shows 8 layers of 140lb, cold pressed watercolor paper that have been cut into the shape of the final design. All layers will be glued together to form the pendant. Note how the 4 layers in the top of the photo have been cut to accommodate the channel.
Applying glue to the first layer of paper
Using a plastic dispenser bottle, I apply glue to the first layer of paper. After the glue has been evenly spread, I position the second, solid layer of watercolor paper.
Lineco, Neutral pH Adhesive
With the second layer of paper in place, apply a thick layer of glue, and spread it evenly with a brush.
On top of the two solid layers of paper that have been glued together, position the cut layers. The gluing of the cut layers establishes the channel formation.
The channel is four paper layers thick. This thickness is necessary and permits the jewelry cord to pass through the finished piece. It is very important to remove all excess glue, and the photograph below shows me scraping excess glue from the channel.
Removing excess glue from the channel
It is very important to keep glue away from the channel!
With the four channel layers glued in place, I carefully apply glue to the top layer.
It is important to keep the channel free of glue!
Before gluing the two remaining, top, solid layers of paper that will complete the pendant, insert a length of 3/32″ Teflon Valve Packing into the channel that was created in the previous step. This cord like Teflon material is perfect for keeping the channel open when gluing the final two top solid layers of paper in place.
3/32″ Teflon Valve Packing is available at any hardware store, and packaged in 36″ lengths.
The photograph below shows the final two top layers of paper glued in place. Make sure that the Teflon extends at least 1/2″ beyond the pendant on both sides. The Teflon replaces the wax that I used in the original method to construct the channel.
Teflon extends 1/2″ beyond the edge of the pendant on both sides
With all paper layers glued in place, I position the pendant on a curved surface and burnish it with a wooden dowel. Applying light pressure as I rub the entire surface with a dowel assures that the layers will be firmly glued together. This is an important step. Examine the piece carefully as you burnish it to assure that no paper layers are separating. If separation is occurring, apply extra pressure to that area until the glue grabs.
This old globe that I found in my basement is perfect for giving the pendant a slightly curved shape. I use it in forming almost all my Watercolor Paper Pendants and Earrings.
An old globe is perfect for creating a slightly curved shape
While the piece is still slightly damp, I slide out the 3/32″ Teflon Valve Packing, and inset a length of Round String Trimmer Line, .095″ thick. Replacing the soft Teflon Valve Packing with the stiffer Trimmer Line will enable you to keep the channel clean by repeatedly working it through the pendant during the final stages.
Trimmer Line is available at most hardware stores or garden centers. Trimmer line is used in weed wackers.
Replace the Teflon with Trimmer Line to keep the channel clean
The final steps are:
- Glue the top, painted layer of paper.
- Glue the decorative, back paper layer. For this I use banana paper.
- Clean up the edges by filing and sanding.
- Varnish the pendant
- Heat in a toaster oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes to harden the varnish.
Back View: a pendant with inserted bead floats on its cord
Watch my 3-part video series on “How to Construct the Watercolor Paper Pendant.” It provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for the entire construction process. My new video demonstrating the non-wax method will be released early this summer.
One final note, when you are finished working with the Trimmer Line and Teflon Packing, soak them in water to clean off the glue, and this material can be reused in your next pendant project.
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The jewelry objects that you see created in the videos and websites are original designs by Ross Barbera. These designs may be copied for your personal use only, and may not be offered for sale or exhibition without written permission from Ross Barbera.
©2013 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.