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05/06/2014

How to Make Beads with Cloisonne

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Cloisonné is an enameling process used by jewelry makers and artists. It involves laying down a design in fine wire on a brass base. The design is composed of closed cells, or cloisons. The cloisons are filled with layers of melted glass to create the color scheme. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, cloisonné originated in the Middle East and has been developed and perfected in China, Japan and France. Cloisonné is used today to decorate jewelry, vases and other artwork.

Instructions

      

1 Brush a coat of clear enamel onto a copper bead. Place in a kiln and fire. Let cool.
    
2  Form fine gold wire into shapes using small jeweler’s tools, such as tweezers and pliers. The shapes can be flowers or other details. The ends should meet to close the shapes because they will become the cells of the cloisonné.




3 Use gum adhesive to attach the wire shapes to the bead. Fire the bead once again so that the gum is burned off and the wire fuses to the enamel coating. Let cool.


4 Grind each color of glass in a mortar and pestle until it becomes a fine powder. Keep each color in a separate small jar.


5 Add a small amount of water to the powdered glass and stir it until it becomes a paste. This is known as frit. Place dabs of frit inside the wire cells on the bead’s surface using a skewer or a fine brush. Use different colors in different cells.


6 Let the frit dry and fire the bead in the kiln again, melting the frit into the wire cells. Add another layer of frit to each cell, let dry, and fire again to add another layer of glass to each cell. Repeat this process a third or fourth time, until the cells are filled; they can even overflow a little so that some of the wire is obscured.


7 Grind the bead to even out the surface and expose the top of all the gold wire. Polish it for a glossy finish.


When using acrylic cabochon, you should admire the beauty of its beads. Acrylic cabochon is a beautiful way to make jewelry. You can visit acrylic colorful beads  for more information.



Tips & Warnings

    A cloissone bead can take several hours to complete.

    You can use fine silver wire for the patterns in the same way as gold wire. You can also use brass wire but the finished bead will have to be electroplated to give the brass a gold or silver finish and prevent corrosion.

    Use extreme caution when operating a kiln due to the high temperatures.

    When grinding glass, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and a mask to keep from inhaling glass dust.


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