(Pamela Love ring img source)
I fell in love with this tough but earthy Arrowhead Ring from Pamela Love (link is to the matte pink version) awhile ago. Sporting a hand-carved arrowhead set in a thick silver bezel, this ring also has a line of silver flattened discs at the base creating a Southwestern-feel setting – which looks great with all the sheer pieces, bleached denim, and leather we’re seeing for Spring. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally figured out a way to recreate something similar to this lovely piece (less the $528 pricetag!). Definitely not for the faint of heart, this 3-stage tutorial will take you some time, but the results are amazing. It uses Apoxie Sculpt**, a new non-toxic, moldable crafting substance I’ve discovered recently, to emulate the black resin setting. So, for around $40 total, here we go…..Project Difficulty: Expert (Very Difficult)
Part 1: Make the Bezel and Top Half of the Ring
*silvertone round wire (in a thick gauge; the thicker the better)…or you can use square wire or rectangular wire and skip the hammering part if you like.
*tape (not pictured)
*wire cutting pliers
*old cloth (not pictured)
*flat surface (I used a jeweler’s bench block)
*disposable latex gloves (not pictured)
2. Take your wire, and loosely wrap it around the circumference of the arrowhead to guesstimate how much you will need. Cut, and pull your wire through a folded-over cloth a few times to straighten all the kinks out of it.
3. Using a hammer, pound your wire flat on a flat, strong, even surface (like the concrete floor in a garage). I’m using a ball-peen hammer (you can just use a regular hammer; it doesn’t matter), but I also have a jeweler’s steel bench block – which is perfect for this as hammering the wire on top of this imparts a bright sheen to it. Use what you can!
4. Now wrap the arrowhead tightly with the wire, all the way around. Use the pliers to push the wire into the nooks and crannies of the arrowhead; this is creating a faux-bezel.I took this photo after I mixed up the Apoxie. Interestingly, though it is nontoxic, the molding compound eats away at nailpolish. Just an FYI!
5. Cut the wire flush at the tip of the arrowhead.6. Mix up a ball of the Apoxie Sculpt according to the directions. (In retrospect, I should have used a pair of latex gloves to do this…it’s extremely messy.)7. Flatten the ball onto the embossing metal piece you cut out in Step 1).
8. Add the wire, and use the mechanical pencil tip (with the pencil part retracted; or use another thin metal instrument instead) to push down the molding compound around the bezel. Also use the tip to “cut away” the excess compound from around the bezel, leaving the thinnest of layers holding that flattened wire around the arrowhead.
Part 2: Make the Decorative Base
*silvertone ball-head headpins
*silvertone embossing metal
*flat plastic tool for smoothing
10. Now that the top part of the ring is dry, cut away the excess embossing metal all the way around, as close to the hardened Apoxie Sculpt as you can.
11. Use your wire-cutting pliers to trim the ends off the headpins as close to the ball-ends as you can get. You just need a little bit of the headpin left.
12. Mix up another small ball of Apoxie Sculpt. This time, press it onto the back of the top part of the ring.
13. Then press everything onto a new piece of embossing metal. Push down so the molding compound swells around the edges of the top part of the ring. Use a flat plastic tool (like a butter knife) to smooth the edges of the molding compound.
14. Start pushing the trimmed headpins into the soft Apoxie Sculpt layer, going all the way around the arrowhead. Just push in far enough so the ball-end is slightly sunk into the molding compound.15. Allow to dry about 24+ hours.
Step 3: Finish and Attach the Shank
*silvertone ring base (I used an adjustable ring base from the Dazzling Geodes line of findings from Jo-Ann Fabrics)
*G-S Hypo Cement or other adhesive for gluing different materials to metal
17. Use the mechanical pencil to smooth the embossing metal up and over the edge of the solid molding compound. This creates a faux bezel around the whole piece.18. Spread Hypo Cement onto the top of your ring shank, and glue the arrowhead piece onto it. Allow time to dry (taping it together will help secure the bond).
**What is Apoxie Sculpt? Well, it’s a lot like PolyClay, except it’s a two-part mixture, that mixes to a putty-like texture and air-dries slowly over a 24-hour period. It is non-toxic, and unlike PolyClay you don’t have to bake it in the oven (which means no harmful fumes in your oven, and you can use it with metal or stones or just about anything you can think of!). It comes in a variety of colors, and after setting is ROCK-hard, and doesn’t shrink away from metal (like Japanese air-dry resin clay does, I’ve found). It’s soooo easy to use, and there are hundreds of creative ways to use it, from setting stones to creating faux-pave, to faux enamel-work to using in place of adhesives (once cured, it’s much stronger than any adhesive on the market!)…for someone incapable of soldering like myself, my mind is spinning entertaining all the possibilities! Get it exclusively at FireMountainGems.com.
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