Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Galaxy Pendant Tutorial

Hope you guys find this fun and useful. 

If you use this tutorial to make anything, please share it in the comments and tell others where you found it! I can't wait to see what you make :)

Most are readily available at any craft store or can be substituted with a generic item. I don't use everything photographed in this tutorial but the colors and designs are up to you. Cabochons, glaze, and jewelry parts were bought from Sun and Moon Crafts.

  • Paper towels - cut into small pieces
  • Bead tools or toothpick
  • Paintbrush
  • Glass cabochons
  • Jewelry bail
  • Nail polish - metallic colors, glitter
  • Acrylic paint
  • Pearl Ex mica powders - pearl, gold
  • Liquitex gloss varnish
  • Sun & Moon Glaze 
  • Non-slip material to keep glass from sliding (blue silicone doily)
 Optional/not pictured:
  • White paper
  • Tape
  • Cling film

Step 1: Prepare the glass

You’ll want to clean the back side of the glass. If they’ve got oil from your fingers or something else on them, you’ll want to use a little rubbing alcohol to clean it off. Otherwise a quick wipe on some clean fabric will do.

Make sure your work space is free of dust. Just wipe it real quick with your hand to get the fuzzies away. A non-slip item is really nice to use for working on because it keeps the glass cabs from sliding or spinning when you’re painting them. I use a silicone doily coaster.

Step 2: Big stars 

 If you want big stars, add them first. I use a ball tool to put drops of white paint on the glass. A toothpick will also work for this. I put random dots on the oval cab, but I wanted the Big Dipper on the heart cab. Remember to reverse the constellation so it appears correct when viewed from the front. To make things easier, I drew out the constellation on paper and taped the cab over it for reference, then dotted the paint over it. Let dry.

Step 3: Glitter nail polish
 Doesn’t really matter how coarse or fine the glitter is, as long as the polish is clear with light colored glitter in it. Don’t cover the entire cab. All you need is some swirl or random blotches. Don’t worry if the polish is thick and leaves texture or blobs.

Step 4: Blot white paint
 For this part, you can use a folded piece of paper towel or the little make up sponges work well. I suggest paper towels only because you’ll use a piece for each color.
 You only need a little bit of paint for this. I suggest blotting the paint on another scrap piece of paper or something before applying it to the glass. Blot quickly over small areas on the glass. If the paint is very faint, you can wait until it dries and apply a second layer. Be modest with the amount of white you use because you don’t want it to overpower the colors later.

Step 5: Mica powders
Mica powder is optional but I highly suggest it for the stardust effect. I used Pearl Ex brand in macropearl. If you’ve never worked with pigment powders, beware of even breathing too hard around it. The stuff gets everywhere.

I taped a piece of cling film down and poured out just a tiny amount of powder. To make application easier, I used a half drop of Liquitex gloss varnish. A paintbrush or Q-tip works well for this. Concentrate the mica powder on the glass instead of spreading it out. Feel free to cover the entire back of the cab or only small sections. I covered most of the back. 
Front after mica powder has been applied.
Step 6 – ∞: Adding colors

This can be one color or ten. Use the same technique as with the white paint to blot your colors. Make sure the layers are dry before adding more. Plan your gradient out before hand so you know which paints you want in what order. 

Start by blotting the lightest color on top of the white and expand it a little. You may want to apply a second layer for a stronger color, but there’s no need to make it opaque unless you want it to be bright at the end. If you’re using nail polish, you’ll need to work even faster because it will dry very quickly and you don’t want a brush-shaped blob of solid color.
This is all you need to start!
First layer of color #1.
Added second layer to brighten the colors.
Gradually apply each new color in the same fashion, making sure to overlap the colors. Since you’re blotting with a paper towel, there will be some spots with less paint where the next color will show through. 

When you hold the glass up to the light, there will be some areas that have very little saturation and that’s ok. The colors may look faint right now but once we add the back layer, they’ll pop out. The easiest way to check the boldness is to hold the glass against something dark (or against whatever color you plan on using) to see if you like the way it looks.
Applying metallic nail polish!
Up to the light, you can't even tell the metallic purple is there...

You can kinda see it on the back. Look at all those bumps from the glitter.
Step 7: Black background
Once you’re satisfied with your color blend, it’s time to apply the last background layer. For most galaxies, you’ll want plain black. Generously cover the entire back of the cab in a thick layer of paint and let dry. Finger painting it on works better than brushes.

With the black back, the colors aren't so pale.
If you’re using lighter colors and want a cloudy look as opposed to space, use white.

Step 7: Attach bail

Use a small drop of the Sun & Moon glaze to attach the bail to the back of the cab. So the bail sits flush, I use a thin stack of paper to level the cab on the bail while it dries. You can handle the cab after a few minutes. 

Step 8: Finishing glaze

With your cab on a level surface, pour on the Sun and Moon glaze. You only need enough to cover the back. Don’t use more than that because the glaze doesn’t dome once dried so it's a waste. This will take at least 4-6 hours to dry. I suggest leaving it overnight because it might still be a little tacky after 4 hours, especially if it’s humid. The milky color will dry to a crystal clear.

Step 9: Admire your work!

Additional Tips:
·        If you don’t like something you’ve painted with acrylic, just wait for it to dry and scrape it off.
·        If you want a solid color in the initial layer, the paint doesn’t stick very well to the glass. First apply a layer of the gloss varnish and let it dry so you have a surface that will catch the paint.
·        Each pendant can take 15-20 layers so make sure each layer is dry before adding the next.
·        Use metallic nail polish/paints as accents or backgrounds. Flat paints are gooooood.
·        If you don’t want to use mica powder, you can substitute it with different sizes of glitter nail polish or fine glitter from the craft store.

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