Friday, September 2, 2011

How to make a glass tile Pendant

I know there are already several tutorials out there showing how to make glass tile/scrabble tile pendants. I found them all lacking though; as I made my first ones, I had questions. So I'm going to show you "my way" of making them. Not necessarily THE way -- just a way. :D

First, you need a few supplies. Your glass tiles (I have some for sale on etsy, or you can even get them at Michael's).

Some glaze --try Judikins Diamond Glaze. It's great, inexpensive and readily available. For glue, try  E6000 (a jewelry glue you can find almost everywhere) or any old craft glue that you've already got. You'll need the pictures you want to put on your tile.... I buy mine from a favorite etsy friend but you can use just about any picture file, a part of a picture, or google "digital collage" and you'll find tons.

Here's my glaze (that's when I was using Sun and Moon glaze) and some other necessities: paper towels, a craft knife or razor blade for cutting out the picture, a straight pin (or you could use a paper clip) for when your glaze clogs up -- and it will. I also use a paint brush for spreading the glaze, though you don't have to. And I keep it all on a sheet of wax paper so things don't get stuck together. It's sort of a messy process.

Besides the picture I'm going to make into my pendant, I like to have a backing for the pendant. Sometimes I use a second copy of the same picture. Sometimes I just use craft or scrapbooking paper with a nice design.

It doesn't matter too much about the back, you're just giving it a finished look. (Or not!)

So the easiest way to make your pendant is to lay the picture down on the wax paper and pick up your glass tile. Wipe it off with a paper towel, then slowly turn your glaze upside down (the slowness helps prevent bubbles). Don't shake your bottle, like I did at first. You'll end up with a bubbled picture!

Put a thin layer of glaze on the tile -- the thinner the better. Using too much can make your picture become wavy, plus it runs down the sides, causing you more clean-up later. You're putting this layer on just the flat surface, the one that will touch the picture. Spread it around with a paint brush or (easier) just use the tip of the bottle. Wipe the tip often.

Once the glaze is coated on, flip the glass tile over and set it right on top of your picture, glaze side down. You might have to adjust it by moving it around some. I then press gently -- not hard -- if I can see any air bubbles. I find that, for me, this is what works. Otherwise the air bubble is there for life! Now let it dry for a couple hours.

When that layer is dry, you can add a backing if you like by glueing your backing paper on. Then trim around the whole thing with a knife or razor blade. It's easy enough just to hold it up and run carefully around the edge with the blade. There are lots of square and round punches that theoretically should cut the picture to the exact size of your glass -- trust me, save your money. You'll still have to do some trimming.

Now you have a decorated tile but no glaze on the back.

The next step is to lay the tile back down on your wax paper picture side up and use the brush (or the tip of the bottle) to spread glaze on the back. You are doing this layer to preserve the picture. Someone gave me a cute photo of my daughter once that wasn't preserved -- it ruined pretty quickly. So this step is important!

Be sure to use a thin layer, but spread it carefully where the edges of the picture meet the tile. You want to cover them well. If you're using a paint brush, you might have brush marks:
I've decided I don't care too much; the brush seems to really "get" the edges. Also, you're going to apply a 2nd coat so you can go the other direction, which tones it down a bit.

After you have done at least  2 coats on the back of your tile pendant, let it dry a good while, preferably overnight. Then pick it up and inspect it carefully. If any glue has dried in the wrong place, use your knife or razor blade to scrape it off. Then wipe again with a paper towel. 

Now you are ready to add the bail or the magnet. Bails are for necklaces - use the smallest size you can get away with. Magnets can be fun too. Here are some of my bails:

Taa-daaaah! You're done! Congratulations on making your first pendant. String it on a simple ball chain, a ribbon necklace, or a leather cord. 

Use the link to the right if you need to email me with questions. ;)


  1. Beautiful pendants. thanks for sharing :)
    ioana (EBT)