Wire Bezel Pendant | Handmade Copper Findings | Polymer Clay Jewelry

Copper Bezel Polymer Clay Pendant

Tips on wrapping Fimo cane slice beads with a hammered copper bezel and handmade jewelry pendant bail:

With metal prices rising globally, the interest in copper jewelry also seems to be going up. This rich warm material is rustic and arty; easy to work with; and available in hardware stores (one of my favorite places to shop for cheap jewelry making supplies).

To make the copper bezel for the pendant in the picture above, I hammered a section of 14 gauge electrical copper wire (plastic coating removed), as flat as it would go. This flattened copper was then bent into a rectangle shape to fit around a thick cane slice from one of my mod polymer clay canes.

After fashioning a loop at the top, I used a fine copper wire (24 gauge) to wrap the cut ends of the hammered wire and hold them together.

The whole pendant, copper bezel and polymer clay cane slice were then popped into the oven to bake. Once finished, the clay insert was removed, sanded, buffed and glued back in place with Krazy Glue.

This jewelry piece has got me excited to do more with copper wire for making bezels, clasps and other findings. If copper jewelry is of interest to you too, I can most certainly share other pics, articles and video tutorials. Let me know your level of interest in the comments section below…

Main topics covered in this article were:

  • Handmade Copper Findings
  • Polymer Clay Jewelry
  • Wire Bezel Pendants

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Cindy Erickson, 04 September, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    I would love to learn more about wire wrapping handmade cabochons etc. I have to admit that I am more of a silver lover, but I suppose that the same techniques can usually be used across the board.

    I like to see all that you do, and I L-O-V-E seeing photos as I am a very visually oriented person. I would guess that most artists really are :) Anyway, please keep showing us photos of what you do :)

    Thanks as always, Cindy E.

  2. MJ, 04 September, 2008

    Cindy,

    Would like to see more pics, articles and of course a video or two. Have you made bezels from clay? Have seen pics but nothing in person. I am interested in cup bezels for stones and/or clay.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 05 September, 2008

    @Cindy: Yeah what you make in Copper Wire can also be done in Silver Wire too. Copper is way, way less expensive though, so it is a good place to start until you get good with wire working.

    @MJ: I haven’t really made a lot of bezels in clay, though there are some cool molds and things I would like to try. Will post when I get to trying some!

  4. Roberta in Florida, 05 September, 2008

    It is nice to know that I am not the only one that knows more than the employees in Michael’s and JoAnne. I get so frustrated because I owned a craft shop for 11 years and I knew about every item in the store! Not today.
    Roberta

  5. Beth hylan, 07 September, 2008

    I have tried metal wire wrapping before and love the tip on flattening it boy does this make sense.great job this tip will help me with my next project Thanks

  6. Cindy Lietz, 08 September, 2008

    @Roberta: I know many people who have walked out of Michaels because they couldn’t get the help they needed. I’ve always thought they should give all their employees a mandatory craft class each day and free supplies! If the staff got to learn about the supplies they could actually help people, which would lead to more sales… Duh!

    @Beth: Flattening wire with a hammer not only makes it look cool, it hardens the wire and is a great stress reliever!!

  7. Caroline, 19 October, 2008

    What a good tip, Cindy! The flattened wire should stay in place. What hammer do you recommend? There are a lot of DIY ones in our shed!

    I have just bought several reels of coloured copper wire – do you or anyone else know if hammering will knock off the coating?

  8. Peggy Barnette, 20 October, 2008

    What do you do to the copper to keep it from tarnishing so fast? I am a person that makes silver and copper turn black with very little wearing. I like to work with copper, but the tarnishing is a problem with items that have stones.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 21 October, 2008

    @Caroline: A DIY hammer will work but it will leave marks on the wire if it is scratched up. This however can look cool if you kind of spread the marks around and keep changing the direction you hammer. If you want those little round pock marks on the wire like you see in hammered metal, use a tiny ballpein hammer (or Ball Peen Hammer). I actually found one at the dollar store that works great. If you want a smooth surface you need a jewelers hammer with the large smooth head.

    @Peggy: I love the look of tarnished copper and it is no harm to the polymer clay so I don’t do anything to it. But if you are worried about tarnishing you could try coated copper wire instead.

  10. Elle Rice, 28 October, 2008

    I just came across this article and you have me very excited to try this same technique. I would love to see pics of other projects you have done. Thanks again for all the help and inspiration. elle

  11. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2008

    I’ll probably do a course on this technique and have some samples in there. Thanks so much for your comment! I really appreciate it!

  12. Debi, 04 November, 2008

    Cindy,

    I love your idea of pounding out the copper wire and then framing with square cane, fabulous pendant idea.

    debi

  13. Cindy Lietz, 06 November, 2008

    Thank you Debi!

  14. june Frederick, 05 January, 2009

    if you get your reciept from michaels craft store sometimes they have a survey
    you can go to to tell how they are doing i do it all the time because i know what
    you mean about knowing what thay have in the store more than the clerks.
    and they don’t acknowledge you even if you go there 3-4 times a week.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2009

    That’s a good idea June! You’d think since they cater to so many different types of crafts, that they would cater to their customers too! If I were their marketing department, I would do a few blog searches to find out what people thought about their customer service. I bet they would learn a lot!

  16. JoAnne, 19 September, 2009

    Cindy, Can you tell me where you got your copper wire, the darker one (patina)? I know your from CA but I’m in WA so we’re close and we have a lot of the same stores. Thanks, JoAnne

  17. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2009

    Hi Joanne – I get all of my “bright” new copper wire at Home Depot stores. If you want it aged or Patina’d, you will have to do that yourself. I show techniques for doing this in the Vol-012-3 Polymer Clay Library Video. There is also some discussion about how to age wire in the comments section of the post linked to my name above.

  18. JoAnne, 05 March, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Hammered Copper Findings:
    Cindy I thought maybe others in the WA looking for some of the same wire you use and not finding it at Home Depot might like to know that the makers of King Chain told me you can get it at larger Fred Meyer stores in Washington. They even send me 2 spools of wire, for free, so I would have some until I could get to the store. Talk about nice people!
    Take Care, JoAnne

  19. Phaedrakat, 06 March, 2010

    @JoAnne: Thanks, Joanne, I am going to check out the website (if there is one?) However, I’m in California, I don’t have a Fred Meyer by me. I wonder if I inquire about wire…? lol Your special deal is probably only for people in places where their stores are. But maybe they can tell me at least where else I can get the wire…

    If I don’t see any traffic here, by tomorrow, I think I’ll post a link to your comment on a newer page, ‘cuz people need to see your excellent tip! Thanks!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 09 November, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some project pictures of other wire bezel pendants have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Melinda Herron. She is a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Wire Work and Polymer Clay” link by my name to have a look.

  21. Rocky, 05 March, 2010

    I have a 1″x1″x1/4 flat stone i want to make a surround of clay and give it a hammered gold effect,how do i do it? I want to press the stone into the clay to get the form and remove the stone before baking then when it is baked i`ll put the stone back in and finish it with gold metallic paint.Can it be done? Thank You!……….Rocky

  22. Phaedrakat, 05 March, 2010

    @Rocky: Hi Rocky, Yes, I feel pretty sure it can be done! Are you making some sort of pendant? I’m wondering, 1. if the rock is heavy, and 2. if you are planning to hang it from just the polymer clay or if the stone has a hole in it.

    Anyway, not to get ahead of myself. Do you have experience with polymer clay? The clay has to be conditioned (worked until it’s warm and pliable) before using it, and then baked properly (temperature & time — critical.) There is a lot of information here at the website about all of these things, try the search box on the upper left. Type in a word or two, like “baking” or “painting clay”, etc.

    Unless your rock is flammable in some way, you can probably bake it with the clay. You could test it first, by baking the rock at about 265 F for about 15 min. and make sure it’s okay. We normally bake polymer beads on ceramic tiles, and people make “rock” purses and things of that nature. So, you most likely will be able to bake the clay bezel with the rock, and that way it will hold its shape perfectly. When you bake your piece, you’ll want to stay at the low end of the temperature on your package directions, and then bake for at least an hour.

    There are all kinds of articles here that have a wealth of information. If you haven’t chosen a clay yet, you should do a search on “clay types”. (You’ll find that Cindy prefer’s Premo Sculpey.) Most of the members here at the blog use Premo and there are some Kato users, as well.

    Well, I hope that I helped a little. Let me know if you need more info. If you answer the questions I asked, it will help me to give you the right info for your project. Have fun~

  23. Rocky, 05 March, 2010

    Thank You Phaedrakat for your quick answer! I’ll try and answer your questions. No i have never used polymer clay before, some rocks when you bake them will change color thats why i was wondering about removing the stone before baking and then putting it back after baking but your idea sounds better. I was planning on making a small starter hole in the clay before baking then after it bakes put a long 1/2″ screw eye a little larger than the hole to hold it on a chain or leather cord {super glue on the thread part of the screw eye}. Your idea would be great for the effect i want to obtain {ball peen hammered gold like i took a gold nugget and hammered it to fit the stone}. I don`t want the shiny 24 carat gold effect. Am i making any sense to you? All Suggestions are greatly appreciated. Rocky

  24. Phaedrakat, 05 March, 2010

    @Rocky: Hi Rocky, you’re making sense just fine! I hadn’t considered the rock changing colors, (didn’t think of that!) so it’s probably best to do it the other way — you certainly don’t want to ruin your rock while baking. So, just form the clay around the rock, then do whatever surface treatment you decide on. When your clay bezel is ready to be baked, remove it from the rock. This does cause a small problem, in that you will need to support the clay so it doesn’t get distorted. Warm clay is pliable in the oven, so you have to protect it. You can use polyester batting, paper towels, or easiest of all — corn starch! to support the shape of your clay bezel. Cindy has several articles that have info and tips about using Cornstarch with Polymer Clay.

    Here’s a link to one — be sure to read it, (very important usage info!) Baking on a bed of cornstarch (and covering your piece with it) will support and protect your bezel while baking, ensuring it doesn’t change shape and still fits your rock. Remember to read the articles on
    baking, and don’t forget to use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oven. Bake at the correct temperature for at least an hour so that your piece is thoroughly cured! When it’s done, remove it from the oven. While the clay’s still warm, put the rock back into the bezel, and let them cool off together for a really nice fit. Once the clay is cool it will stay hard.

    I asked how heavy your rock was, and if it had a hole, because I was wondering how much weight the clay would be handling. If your rock is heavy, you’ll want to make sure your clay is strong, & thick enough to support its weight, and thick enough so that the screw that you’re using has plenty of clay to grab onto (it needs to be deep enough into the clay, as well.) I can give you more info on this if you like, just leave another question. And a note: for future projects, you might want to consider making faux rocks & stones. They look so realistic, yet weigh next to nothing. (Check out this Faux Turquoise video, or do a search for “faux rocks” or “faux pebbles.”) These videos and articles on other projects can help give you ideas on how you might want to make your bezel or get many different looks for a future polymer clay project.

    There are lots of ways to get a metallic look for your clay bezel. Some techniques are done before baking, and some after. Here’s an article with some cool ideas for adding “Bling” to polymer clay.

    I know you’re not looking for glitter, I linked to the article because it shows some of the clay-safe products used to get a gold metallic look. It has links to other articles, too, that tell you how to use them, like mica or Pearl-ex powders, gold leaf or foil, etc. The leaf & foil techniques are done before baking, and give it a really cool metallic gold look. Here’s what “Crackled” Gold Leaf looks like. It could look awesome with your clay bezel. You could add gold powders, paint, or inks, as well. Lots for ways to make your rock bezel look like gold. If you decide to use paint as a patina, or to give a distressed look, use acrylic paint. Oil paint can only be used with raw clay (it won’t dry properly on cured clay.)

    Anyway, back to your baked piece — which then needs to be finished. Usually, you would sand and buff your piece to a shine, then use a clay-compatible adhesive (2-part epoxy, E-6000, Weldbond, etc.) to glue the rock back into your clay bezel. But, the surface technique you used affects how much you sand. You might want to sand just a little, enough to remove fingerprints or imperfections, and leave your distressed / hammered-looking surface ready for acrylic paint. Or, if you used mica powders or metallic leaf, you probably don’t want to sand at all — unless you want to intentionally remove some of the materials (which looks good if you want a “distressed” look.) You’ll want to protect whatever surface treatment you used with some sort of sealant or varnish. Make sure you use one proven to work with polymer clay. Otherwise, they may never dry, or create other messy problems. A really popular, yet inexpensive finish for polymer clay is “Pledge with Future Shine” floor wax. You can find it at discount or grocery stores. Or you could go with something like Studio by Sculpey Glaze, which comes in gloss & satin formulas (about $4 at JoAnn’s or other craft stores) and is made to go with polymer clay. You can check out these articles, or click on “finishing” in the topic categories at the upper left, to get more information about protecting the metallic finish on your PC Bezel.

    One last thing, if you want a really good way to learn all the important information about working with polymer clay, the best way is with Cindy’s Fundamental/Polymer Clay Basics course. There’s a link for it at the top of the page. She covers all of the basics, as well as throwing in all kinds of valuable tips and tricks to make it easier and so much more understandable. Her videos are top notch — you can get 3 of them free by signing up for her newsletter; the link for that is at the top of the page, too.

    Well, I hope this helps you, Rocky, and I hope you enjoy working with polymer clay. It is such an amazing medium; it can imitate just about any kind of material. Let us know if you have any other questions. Best of luck with your project!

  25. Marney, 06 December, 2010

    thanks for this idea, I have been trying to find some bezels to buy as I once saw some that were made by EberHardFaber but couldn’t find them online or in any stores. Can’t wait to try as I do have some wire…what guage would you suggest or I guess it would depend on the size of clay bead etc youwanted to encase, but any idea where to start?

  26. Cindy Lietz, 07 December, 2010

    @Marney: One of the heavier gauge wires is best for something like this Marney. I’d use anywhere from 16g to 10g wire depending on what you can find for wire and the thickness of the piece you want to make. I will be doing a tutorial on this technique eventually so keep an eye out for it.

  27. Marney, 09 December, 2010

    Thank you very much, look forward to the tut.

    Cheers

  28. Marney, 18 December, 2010

    regarding copper wire: I could only find copper wire in 20g and i went to 3 diff stores. I did get the 20g in case i could use it for wrapping clay beads/jewelry somehow. As well I got some 12g aluminum jewelry wire a gold or coppery color but after getting it home and trying to flatten it i see the coloring comes off and your left with silver, not too pretty at that LOL live and learn, again one day i am sure i can use this for something.

    I saw something online once about buying coppper wire and then stripping the plastic off of it, using each wire individually, what type of wire would this be and would anyone know the guage?

  29. Cindy Lietz, 19 December, 2010

    @Marney: It may have been here at my blog where you heard about stripping wire. The topic has been discussed a fair amount in several of the posts. And I actually posted a “guest” video that shows you how to strip electrical wire. If you click the link by my name it will take you right there. You can search for more wire information if you type the words ‘wire stripping’ , or ‘wire stripper’ into the search box at the top of the page.

  30. Jocelyn, 20 December, 2010

    Thanks Kat, I learned too!!!

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