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Wednesday 10 October 2012

Making Faceted Gems from Plexiglas / Acrylic sheets Tutorial

Cheri-sama's Bling: Octagonal Rudy on foil setting

What You Need!

¼” thick Plexiglas or thicker (glass stores sale scraps really cheap)
Or coloured acrylic sheets.
Wax base glass marking pencil, Stabilo makes a good one call Satbilo All
Dremel/Rotary tool
A stationary scroll saw or a dremel cutting disk
Grinding stones
A flat metal file “Mill Bastard” with parallel groves/teeth
buffing wheel and polishing compound
Note: all of these tools beside the scroll saw and file comes with the Dremel Kit
Transparent glass paint. (Lefranc & Bourgeois Glass & Tile makes the most clean glass paint I‘ve ever used. I highly recommend it.)

Setting for Gem
Sand-able air dry or expoy clay (Paperclay or Apoxie® Clay)
A long thin metal sewing needle.
Sanding paper
Primer paint or metal foil system
Krylon Silver Leafing Pen or tin foil

For the Gem
Draw the base shape on the Plexiglas use a your wax pencil if it was covered in plastic scratch resist sheet or left exposed. If not you can draw directly onto the paper cover backing.

Using either the scroll saw or cutting disk cut the shape out. If the plexiglas was cover in the plastic remover it before cutting with the cutting disk as the heat will melt the plastic. The plastic sheet will melt into the plexiglas. >____<
For the cutting disk cut outside the final shape you want ass it also can melt the Plexiglas.

Using a grinding stone remove any cutting imperfections and reshape as needed.

Using your file take off the corners to create the facets my hand to get accurate angles.

For the Setting

Once your Gem is finish in shaping you will need a base for it to be set into for some projects.

Start with you sand-able I used Paperclay as it light weight but strong. You want to mold it to your basic shape. Then press your gem into the clay and start to finish the shaping of the clay.

If your setting need to be threaded insert your long metal needle to make that hole.

With paper you need to let the gem stay in place while it's drying to held it shape. You can leave the metal needle in.
With epoxy clay you need to take out the stone while it's curing. Remove the needle after 2 hours of working this clay.

Once you clay has dried/cured complexity start to sand the surface smooth using different grits of sanding paper.

Before painting test you gem to see if it will fit your base. sand where needed to make the gem fit.

Now you just need to prime and paint or metal foil your setting.

Finishing Gem & Setting
When all your shaping is done on your gem and the setting fits your stone and is relatively smooth. Use the buffing wheel and polishing compound make the plexiglas clear again and free of any film by washing it.

With the finish stone paint a thin layer of glass paint on the back of stone. After 2 to 3 hours it will be dry. Note if you don’t like the thickness of the paint or have air bubbles, with the L&B glass paint you can soak the stone in water and peal the paint off and start again.

For the base setting glue in tin foil into where the gem will sit over it or simply brush in the silver leafing pen into the gem well.

Then glue the stone down with either epoxy glue or E6000 glue to secure your gem.

The finished piece
Square stone with flat corners, recessed setting for lighting effects

Rectangle with pointed ends, no foil back

My 2 necklaces here has a flat back since I didn’t want it protruding to far out.

You can make facets on the back as of the plexiglas as well but I recommended you find Plexiglas sheet thicker then ¼” since you want the back side to have deeper angles on it. If you find ½” thick plexiglas you can shape a diamond from it.

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