The simplest way to achieve a realistic faux dichroic glass look is with the use of polymer clay and nail acrylic that you can buy at the beauty supply store. You can add coloured mica powders or foils to it and can even add beads or paint it. The effects you can get with these versatile materials are only limited by your imagination.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Aluminium foil
- Sponge eye shadow applicators
- Tissue blade
- Small paintbrush
- Pasta machine
- Clear liquid polymer clay
- Assorted colours of mica powders
- Coloured foil leaf sheets
- Translucent solid polymer clay
- Acrylic paint
- Disposable face mask
- Clear acrylic nail liquid and clear powder
- Wet/Dry sandpaper (220 - 1000 grit)
- Assorted grit sandpapers
- Buffing block
Make rectangular clay sheets by pouring a layer of the liquid polymer clay onto a sheet of regular aluminium foil. Let the liquid clay settle for a few minutes.
Apply the mica powder with an eye shadow applicator by holding it over a section of the liquid clay and tapping it to release the mica onto the sheet. Repeat this step with different colours until the clay rectangles are covered with different colour stripes of mica powder. Lightly tap the colours into the clay rectangles. Alternately, you can cut strips of coloured foil made especially for use with polymer clay and lay the strips over the liquid polymer clay rectangles to completely cover them, then gently pat down.
Follow the instructions on the liquid polymer clay bottle to cure and cool the clay. When you are able to handle it, peel it away from the foil and set it aside.
Work a small piece of the solid translucent polymer clay in your hands with a pinch of coloured mica or acrylic paint until it is pliable. Pat Osmundsen, writer for PolymerCAFE magazine, advises running the clay through a pasta machine on the number one setting.
Cut the sheet into different shapes using a craft knife, scissors or a cookie cutter-type mould. Brush the clay shapes, one by one, with a layer of the liquid polymer clay.
Cut small pieces of the sheets that you set aside with either the mica or foil and place them, coloured side up, on the clay shapes. Cure according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Lay a sheet of aluminium foil on your work surface and place your clay shapes on it. Mix the clear acrylic nail liquid and powder according to the instructions. Begin applying the acrylic in layers. After you have applied several layers, paint around the outside edge of the acrylic with ink. Before you apply the final layers, you may want to add some glitter or lightly sprinkle some mica onto the acrylic for extra depth and appeal.
Let the acrylic set up according to the directions. When it is completely set, use the coarsest grit sandpaper to sand the piece and smooth all the pits and bumps. Continue sanding with wet sandpaper, gradually reducing the grit until you are satisfied that the piece is smooth and glasslike.
Buff the piece with a buffing block until you achieve a high shine. Attach it to a pin back, a bail or a ring shank for a stunning and affordable piece of "dichroic glass" jewellery.
Tips and warnings
- For extra textural interest, you can texturise the clay sheets during step number 4 after you have run them through the pasta machine.
- Be sure to wear a face mask and mix and apply the nail acrylic in a well-ventilated area because the fumes can be toxic.
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