Published September 16, 2006
This article was originally published in the October 2003 Issue of Jewelry Crafts Magazine.
To determine the size of your wrist: Loosely wrap a tape measure around your wrist and add one (1) inch to that measurement for your bracelet length. This will be important in determining how many tiles you will need. A finished tile using a 1” square image will end up being 1 3/8”. The overall length of your bracelet will be determined by the size of the image, how many tiles you desire to use and the size of your spacer beads.
Kato Clear Polyclay Medium
Epson InkJet Matte Photo Paper # S041062
Pearl-Ex - your choice of color
2 Shade-Tex Texture Plates – your choice
Soft bristle paint brush
Bowl of water
Spray bottle with water
Baking surface – cookies sheet, ceramic tile, etc.
Pin vise with 1/8” drill bit
2 ft. Stretch Magic – 1mm clear
12 Spacer beads – your choice of color and size
cotton swabs (optional)
Cyanoacrylate glue (optional)
[Editor's note: More copyright-free images like the one used in this project can be found at the Aberdeen University Library's 12th Century Bestiary Project. The phoenix used here can be found under Folio 55v. Thank you to Alan Vernall for the information. --LRC]
On your computer, prepare a sheet of copyright-free images or original artwork for the transfers by using any photo editing software. Size the images to be 1” x 1” and print them on the Epson photo paper.
Brush a thin and even coat of Kato Polyclay Clear Medium over the images, going past the edges ¼”. Place the paper onto your baking surface. Bake at 275 for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
Repeat above step one more time for a thicker transfer.
Cut apart the images and soak them in the bowl of water. Carefully peel away as much paper as you can. Then wet them again and gently rub away any paper that was left behind. Dry them off with a paper towel and trim each transfer image so the edges are straight.
Condition the 2oz. block of white clay until it’s soft, pliable and air bubble free. Make a large rectangle sheet of clay by rolling it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.
Brush a thin coat of the liquid clay onto the back of each transfer image and place them wet side down on the sheet of white clay. Use your finger to burnish each transfer to remove any trapped air bubbles.
Trim away the white clay from around the transfers leaving 1/16” of white showing. Place them onto your baking surface. Bake for 20 minutes at 275 and allow them to cool.
Brush a thin coat of the liquid clay onto the back of the baked white tiles and place them on the sheet of black clay. Lightly press them down so they make good contact. Allow it to set at least 10 minutes so the 2 layers bond.
Trim the excess black clay flush around the baked white tiles. Set aside these black and white-stacked tiles.
Using your Marxit tool, gently press the 7mm side into the sheet of black clay along the 2” long edges. Using these marks as a guide, cut a 7mm wide by 4 “ long strip to go around each tile.
Wrap a black strip around the side of a stacked tile, making the strip flush with the back. If the strip is too long, overlap the ends, cut through both layers and remove the excess. Hide all the seams by gently working the clay together with your fingers.
Lightly mist two texture plates with water. Lay all tiles face up on top of one plate and place the second texture plate over the tiles. Gently and evenly press in the center of each tile to capture the texture on the back and then softly press along the edges to texture the front. Don’t press too hard or you may force the texture through the raw clay causing holes. If necessary, use your fingernail or needle tool to straighten and clean up the front edges around the transfer image. Pat dry with a paper towel.
With your finger, apply Pearl-Ex onto the clay surface. (Note: If you should accidentally get Pearl-Ex onto your transfer image, use a damp cotton swab dipped in water or alcohol to remove it.)
Place the polyester batting on your baking surface and the tiles on the batting. Bake for 30 minutes at 275 and let them cool.
Decide which way you want the 2 holes to go through each tiles. With the Marxit, measure 7mm in from the corners and poke a small hole with the needle tool to mark the locations on 2 sides of each tile.
With the pin vise, drill the holes at the marks. Drill half way in from both directions for best results. (Note: I find doing the drilling by hand best suits me. You may feel more comfortable with a power hand tool)