How to Make Glass Cabochon Art or Photo Pendants

16 May 2018

How to make a photo pendant

You can make a really pretty pendant using printed images of your choice with just a few simple tools and materials. I will share some of the things I've learned making mine, including what not to do so you don't make the same mistakes I did when learning.

The most important tip I can give you is to use images printed the correct way. You must have laser printed images, the sealer/glue used to attach the paper image to the glass is water based so any other images will run, not what you need. It really doesn't work using ink jet prints or photos from a photo booth - believe me I tried! Images cut from magazines should work, although I haven't tested this. Since most of us don't have colour laser printers handy the easiest way is to copy the image(s) you want to a usb stick and take it to a local print shop for printing.

You will need:

A laser printed image of your choice

Glass sealant/adhesive. I use Judikins Diamond Glaze

Bezels and glass cabochons - you can buy these in sets so you know the cabochon will fit the bezel

Jewellery Glue E6000

A scalpel

Making art pendants

Choose your image. Using the glass adhesive spread a generous layer on the image. You need plenty to make sure there are no gaps or these will show in the finished pendant.

Place the glass cabochon on the image and roll it around a bit to make sure any air bubbles are removed, you will have some adhesive spread out the sides, this is OK, we'll remove that later. Make sure the cabochon is in the correct place on the image.

Leave to dry, I usually leave for at least 24 hours to make sure.

Take your bezel and spread the glass adhesive on the surface to seal it. Leave to dry. This will prevent any colour leaching from the bezel onto the paper image. Without this step you can often get blue staining of the image from the metal of the bezel. 

Don't worry if it all goes wrong, the adhesive is water based so check the image carefully before you glue it into the pendant and if it's not perfect soak it in hot water and the paper will come off easily. You can then try again.

Take your scalpel and carefully trim around the cabochon. Take care to scrape around the sides to remove any adhesive stuck to the glass. Check it fits properly in the bezel then spread glue in the bezel and carefully place the cabochon with the attached image in the bezel. Press down to ensure a seal then leave to dry.

You should now have a pretty pendant you can add a chain to to make a necklace.

Butterfly photo pendant

Have fun ! 

I have images for instant download all ready for you to make into a pendant or other jewellery item. Check them out here

What is Gold Filled Jewellery ?

1 March 2018

If you have browsed through my jewellery shop or looked for handmade jewellery online you may have come across gold filled pendants, bracelets or earrings and wondered what on earth is gold filled jewellery ? Is it real jewellery or even real gold ? Is it the same as gold plated?

gold filled blue crystal earrings

Gold Filled Blue Crystal Earrings

So what is gold filled?

You will usually find it as 14k gold filled wire which is 5% of 14K gold pressure bonded to a base metal.

Is it the same as gold plated?

No, gold plated is made using electroplating to lay down a very thin, practically microscopic, film of pure gold on a base metal. The plating will wear off over time and cause the jewellery to tarnish and show the base metal. Gold filled has a much thicker layer of pure gold (5-10 times thicker than electroplated)) which makes it much more hardwearing and longer lasting than gold-plated.

How durable is gold filled jewellery?

The finish on gold filled jewellery can last up to five years with heavy use, e.g. wearing every day and will last 10 to 30 with lighter use. 

I am sensitive to nickel. Can I still wear gold filled jewellery ?

Yes you can, it has no nickel content and is considered hypoallergenic. It won't tarnish or discolour your skin.

Does it look as good as gold ?

Yes, it has the same high-end appearance as gold.

Any other advantages?

Gold filled jewellery looks as good as carat gold, is hard wearing and will last a long time and best of all it's a fraction of the cost of real gold. What's not to like?

14k Gold Filled wire wrapped lapis lazuli 

What do you think ? Would you wear gold filled jewellery or would you hold out for pure carat gold ? 

How to Make a Beaded Zip Pull or Bag Dangle

1 February 2018


Handbag with fancy zip pull

Bag zip pullZip pull with flower

 I like to add a finishing touch to my hand made bags by making a fancy zip pull, you can also use these as a decoration, I have used one to add some bling to the bag flap on this bag. Here is how to make one.

What you need:


 Making a zip pull - tools

Round nosed pliers, flat nosed pliers (don't worry if you don't have these, you can get away with just the round nosed), cutters.

 Beads and findings

Lots of choices here, Bali and tierracast type beads are good, Swarovski crystal pearls look great and add a bit of bling. You will need one piece for the bottom of the zip-pull with a ring at the top, I found lots of different designs at my local hobby shop in the jewellery section - flowers, butterflies etc. Alternatively you could use a bead at the bottom and use a headpin instead of wire, just thread the bead onto the headpin and continue at Step 3.


I used 19 gauge silver plated wire as this is what I had handy, but you could use any similar jewellery wire. Coloured wire would look good, 20 gauge wire would work as well. IMPORTANT Make sure before you start that the wire will go through all the beads and the lobster clip you have chosen.

Small Lobster Clips

One for each zip pull to attach to zip

Step 1

Lay out your beads to find a pleasing design.

 Making a zip pull layout

 Step 2

Cut a length of wire, you need the length of the finished zip-pull plus about 3 inches. Take you needle nosed pliers, place them about an inch from the end of the wire and wrap the wire around one side to form a loop.

Making a zip pull step 1

Step 2

Thread your bottom finding onto the wire, placing the ring on the finding in the loop you just made. 

 Making a zip pull step 2

Then push the free end of the wire back around the wire above the loop and wrap around twice to secure the finding onto the wire. 

Making a zip pull step 2a

Then cut off the excess wrapped wire and pinch it to the main wire with your flat nosed pliers


Step 3

Thread your beads onto the main wire in the pattern you decided on in step 1

 Making a zip pull step 3

Place your needle nosed pliers about 1 inch from the last bead and wrap the wire around one side to form a loop.

 Making a zip pull step 3a

Step 4

Thread the small lobster clip onto the wire, placing the loop of the lobster clip in the loop you just made in the wire. Then use your fingers or the short nosed pliers to wrap the end of the wire around the main wire to secure it. 

 Making a zip pull step 5

Cut off excess wire with the wire cutters and use your short nosed pliers to pinch the end of the wire into the main wire.

Making a zip pull finished 

And you're done. Clip your new ring pull onto a bag zip or wherever you want some extra bling and admire your work !

I love to hear how people use these tips, so please add a comment and tell me how you made and used yours.

If you don't want to make your own please check out my accessories page where I have ready made zip pulls for sale.


New Year, New Website

16 January 2018

 Happy New Year

Having promised myself a new website for absolutely ages I have finally gotten around to creating it, and of course, being me, I had to do it the hard way and do it myself. Since I used to be a website designer and developer until retiring last year, I should have the skills but how things have changed! One of my reasons for retiring was that, having been in the IT industry for many years I was just getting tired of re-learning all the skills every few years, and wanted to have time to pursue all my other interests away from the computer. So what have I been doing for the last month? Sitting in front of the computer re-learning how to build a website! But thanks to a little help from the son who took over my development work (again !) it is now, I was going to say finished, but I suspect I will be tweaking for some time to come, so let's just say finished enough to put live.

Before starting all this I was having great fun reprising some of the craft skills I used to spend time doing before life got in the way, dressmaking, jewellery making, bag making, and looking forward to expanding on those skills now I don't have the day to day grind to look forward to.

However,  since then we (husband and I) have taken on a considerable project - a village bungalow we are completely renovating and extending so I won't have a lot of time (or the space as we are in rented accommodation until it's finished) to do a lot. Most of my tools and equipment are now packed up, waiting for the day I will have a renovated bungalow to furnish and decorate, a new garden to design and create, and a super new dedicated studio to do it from!

Until then I will be finding the time somehow to create new wire weave jewellery as I can do that in little space and minimal equipment and even paint a few pictures - I have been asked to paint some for a charity auction so must find time to finish those, and I will be be blogging here on some of the projects I have completed and the updated skills I have learned in the last year, so do come back and visit.

I am very excited with all the changes that are coming this year, I hope 2018 is good to you.



Joy Gregory Creative Studio
The Manor, Billing Garden Village, Great Billing, Northampton, England, NN3 9EX


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