Thursday, December 9, 2010

Glass Magnets and Pendants the Easy Way

I'm going to start with a big ol' caveat. I'm a lazy crafter. If something requires sanding or stinking up my house with resin, I'll skip it. So this is a very, very simple process that I've developed over the years for making glass marble tiles, pendants and magnets. It may not be the best, but it is easy and fairly child-proof. To really make professional-looking glass tiles that hold up well, I highly recommend the tutorials and kits by Annie Howes.

Now, on to crafting....

For supplies you'll need:
  1. Printed collage sheets. You can find printed collage sheets at any of these stores. Or if you want to print your own collage sheets I suggest using a nice, bright white cardstock to give it a little heft. Laser prints work great. Or if you'd prefer to print with an inkjet, it's best to seal your image first with something like clear nail polish, a Krylon spray fixative, or paint on a coat of clear polyurethane (thanks to littleput for the poly tip). If you don't seal the inkjet first you may get a bit of running in the pink colors, which may or may not be noticeable. The collage sheet used in this tutorial is Flora & Fauna by piddix.
  2. Glaze. I use DG3, diamond glaze, or silicone gel in a tube from a hardware store. I've even used Elmer's glue and it's worked okay in a pinch.
  3. Glass marbles. Quality ranges widely on glass marbles. They're easy to pick up at the dollar store or a craft store like Michaels. You'll end up with half a bag of cracked ones, but they're good for beginners. You can also find good quality commercial glass online, or splurge for the amazing handmade options, too.
  4. Scissors.
  5. Items for finishing or backing. These might include paint, felt, polymer clay, pretty cardstock, coins, magnets, glue-on bails. You'll also need a fairly strong glue if you want to attach them to magnets, metal or wood. I love gorilla glue and super-glue, but plenty of others work well, too. Just make sure they're made to adhere different surfaces (like glass to metal, for example).
Step 1: Add a pea-sized amount of glaze directly to the collage sheet (click photos to enlarge).

Step 2: Take your glass tile and place it directly on the image. Squish it down slightly and evenly so that any bubbles and a bit of the glaze are pushed out to the sides.
Step 3: Wait. This is always the hardest part. I'd suggest waiting at least an hour or two. But if five minutes is all your 3-year-old can stand, they'll still work okay. You'll just end up re-gluing some of the images or having torn edges, like the one below:

Step 4:
Cut out your nice, adhered images.
My helper did the first rough cut and then let me do the finish work of getting nice and close to the edge. The trick is to cut close enough so the paper doesn't show from the front, but not cut so much that you leave part of the glass showing through.

Step 5:
Seal the back of the image. For this batch we used some pearl-colored acrylic paint, being careful to cover the whole paper on the back while not painting the glass, then let them dry in a plastic egg tray. Another fun trick I've used in the past is to make custom bezels from polymer clay, bake them in the oven, then glue the clay bezel to the glass. There's a ton of other tips out there on backs and finishing, such as how to use glaze, fabric, stamping, etc., but since I haven't developed any of those techniques on my own I'll leave it to others to share their own creativity. Basically you just want to make sure that the paper on the back of the marble is protected in some way, but even if you just leave the paper as-is it should hold up decently.
Step 6:
Finish up your tile by gluing on a magnet, thumbtack, or bail. This can be a great way to reuse those free business-card magnets that often get handed out. Or add a loop of ribbon to make an ornament. Bonus points if kiddos can hand these out as gifts while proudly proclaiming they made them all by themselves. Get creative and have fun.


Susan Sheehan said...

Easy peasy!! Great directions :)

Chris said...

Super tutorial - thank you for the AWESOME images and for so generously sharing your knowledge!

Creations by Tee said...

Thanks for the great tutorial!
I learned a few new things! I have your Flora & Fauna Collage Sheets For Scrabble Tiles and they are just Beautiful!

RAW200 said...

Can you use a punch first and then glue on? Seems it would be a lot easier than cutting around the glass. Just curious.

Great tips included here. Thanks a bunch!!

piddix said...

Thanks so much for the nice comments.

Raw200, you probably could use a hole punch first. I don't for a couple of reasons:
1. The sizes for the glass tiles I use are often slightly different, so a hole punch wouldn't always work.
2. Cutting out with scissors is super-easy.

If you try it out, let me know how it works.

Lindazkewl said...

Thank you soooo much for the help. It helps give me new ideas and helps with the little "problem" areas : )


Darlene said...

Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Such a nice tutorial! I was helped immensely, the links are very nice, new things I didn't have in my treasure trove.