Monday, February 9, 2015

Snap Bezels

Polymer clay snap bezels by Melissa Cable

I am home from the Tucson launch of Create Recklessly leather tools and supplies and I couldn't be more inspired...and tired!

After a busy day unpacking and catching up with my family, I finally had some quiet time to myself. I kicked up my feet and grabbed the most recent issue of Step By Step Wire magazine, which contained a polymer clay article I contributed. Then, I drifted off to sleep for a long needed nap. I found myself dreaming of setting snaps! Afterall, I must have demonstrated how to set a snap over 100 times last week. So, it should be no surprise, that when I woke I was convinced that a snap receiver (the female part) would make a perfect bezel for polymer clay.

And sometimes inspiration happens just like that. But, could the leather survive the toaster oven? Hmmmmm... Nap done, reckless creation about to commence...

I always start with the "proof of concept" phase, where I throw something together just enough to test if it works. Luckily, it did not go up in flames (literally and figuratively), the leather did not get hard, did not curl and the color did not fade...all things I suspected might happen.

Then it was time for some real tests. I made an entire bracelet and placed 6 other leather samples in the toaster oven. I wanted to test different types of leather (chrome tanned vs. vegetable tanned) and different colors of leather in case the dyes affected the outcome. I also kept an identical piece of each leather outside the toaster oven as a control.

The results were consistent. Every piece of leather shrunk in both length and width by 5% exactly. I had hypothesized that the vegetable tanned leather would shrink more, but it too shrunk by 5%.

Of course the most important thing with this technique is to use caution. The leather can catch fire if it comes in contact with the heat coils or is baked at high temperatures. Some leathers may be treated with different coatings or dyes that could react with heat differently than the Create Recklessly leathers. Be sure to do your own testing with the leather you are using and always supervise your toaster oven.

Give it a try...and be sure to share pictures...I would love to see YOUR snap bezels...maybe with some resin, concrete or epoxy?!?!

1. Preheat the toaster oven.

2. Pierce a hole in the leather using the 3/16" hole piercer.

3. Place the eyelet through the hole from the back of the leather.

4. Place the receiver over the eyelet.

5. Use the medium eyelet setter to set the eyelet inside the snap.

6. Roll conditioned polymer clay in a pea-sized ball and press into the snap receiver, removing clay as needed.

7. Use stamps to decorate the clay. I also used a gold Sharpie for dots.

8. Bake as directed (I chose a clay that would bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes at the thickness I was using)

9. Apply any finishing techniques to the clay as desired (buffing, sealing, etc).

I better get to work developing a project with all these leftover snap pieces!

Create recklessly,


PS - Look for our new online store at the end of this month, complete with a new store manager... former beadclub customers might recognize her!  ; )