Just a quick note: I somehow deleted this post with it’s +100 comments around its 4 year anniversary, which makes me feel super dumb. Below is the original photo and step-by-step instruction post on how to make glass tile pendants. I hope you find it as useful a tutorial now (in 2012) as you did in 2008 when I first wrote it. Mental note: if you accidentally move a post to the trash in WordPress, restore it before bulk deleting the other posts.
Step 1: To make glass tile pendants the first step is to set up your work space, you’ll need some throwaway cardboard to use as a matt, the glass tile pendants (1 7/8″ x 7/8″ is the size I’ve used), scissors, a good clear-drying glue (I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue), a plastic bag to use as a drying area, and photos. Note that these are actually just wallet sized photos I’ve ordered through Flickr, but you can use paper goods, photos you’ve printed, anything you like, really. You might also like to keep some paper towels around since things can get messy.
Step 2: Make sure your glass tiles are in good shape, some have “dust” on them that needs to be washed off or flaws that mean they’ll need to be discarded. Also there should be a slightly textured side, this is the “bottom” and this side should be placed against the photo.
Step 3: I don’t measure, though you can easily enough if you want to, but what I do is hold the pendant firmly to the photo and make two cuts: one across the top and one down the side. Next you need to scoot the photo down and in just a tiny bit to keep the edges from sticking out on the finished pendant, and make the next two cuts.
Step 5: I couldn’t take a very good photo of this step because it involves pushing down very hard on the tile. Basically keep you photo on your working surface and place the glue-tile on top, then push down firmly. Move the pendant around to get rid of any air bubbles and to make sure the corners and sides have been glued well. Sorry for the blurr pic!
Step 6: Next you pick up the pendant and wipe the excess glue from the sides, this is where the paper towel helps, it’s for your hands since the photo can still move around easily and you want to keep it centered. Don’t worry if there’s still some left on the sides (or even the back if it’s a photo) because you can peel it off easily the next day (at least I can, which is one of the reasons I like this specific brand of glue).
Step 7: Put the finished pendant in the drying area facing up (on its back) – the weight of the glass will keep pushing down on it. Photos are less picky but paper goods tend to curl up at the edges when they’re treated like this. The plastic bag is great because the pendant will peel right off the next day if stray glue sticks it down. If any glue squishes out and dries just trim it off the next day with scissors. Now make more, as many as you like, and wait at least 24 hours but 36 to 48 is more preferable. Remember, glue takes much longer to dry when it’s wedged between a piece of glass and a nearly-waterproof surface like a glossy photo.
Step 8: If you want your pendants to look extra classy, you might want to add a pattered paper to the back. For this step you’ll need your tile, a glue stick, and your choice of decorative paper. I used an Avery Glue Stic (it’s photo safe!) and some inexpensive origami paper for mine.
Step 9: Cut a piece of patterned paper a bit later than your tile (I did a really sloppy job, as you can see) and put it face down on your work surface. Give it a tin, even coat with the glue stick and give the back of your tile a little swipe too, then just press the tile into place and allow it to dry. Glue stick tends to dry quickly so an hour should do the trick.
Step 11: The next day assemble your bail mounting supplies. Here we have the sealed tiles we’ve been making, toothpicks, work cardboard, a box of dichroic Aanraku bails (small size), and E6000 (the glue). What you don’t see and should use are some gloves and a well-ventelated area – E6000 is great glue but nasty nasty business. Protect those paws and lungs!
Step 12: Put the glue on the bails, I’m making a horizontal necklace here so I’m using two bails. Use the toothpick, I try to kind of spin the toothpick as I’m applying the glue because that way all the glue comes off and doesn’t leave spooky ghost glue strings floating after it … if that made sense. Anyway, see photo for right amount of glue per bail, for vertical tiles just place one of these daubs in the center of the top edge of the pendant.
Step 13: Now to apply the bails! I kind line them up with the top and then lever them on to the glue (back of the tile, which is the part facing up here). Check to make sure everything is lined up and level, parallel, what have you, before leaving it dry. You should be able to pick the tile up to check the position of the bails since the glue is so thick, but don’t go crazy.
Step 14: After the glue on the bails has dried, which I would give at least a couple of hours, you can seal the back of the pendant to help make it a little more durable as well as a bit more water resistant. You’ll need your work surface, pendant, a brush, and Judikins Diamond Glaze.
Step 15: This is about how much Diamond Glaze I use for the first application. I use my brush to drag this squiggle of glue around the edges of the tile – sealing the edges is probably the most important part of sealing the pendant.
Step 16: Then I apply the same amount of Diamond Glaze again and smooth it over the back of the pendant with the brush. The coat should be thick enough that you don’t see brushstrokes, but not too thick of the glaze will crack when it dries. Give it a few hours to dry and voila! your pendant is complete!
Thanks for watching! Please feel free to leave any questions/comments/suggestions below and I will do my best to answer them.