How to Make a Jewelry Bezel for Resin Without Soldering
How to Make a Bezel without Soldering
Bezels are fun and creatively liberating because they are blank slates for your designs. You can fill an empty bezel with virtually anything - photos, scrapbook pieces, printouts, charms, beads, shells, buttons, pressed flowers, coins, stamps, you name it!
The problem is, it seems like commercially available bezels are either the wrong dimensions too shallow, or cost way too much. Luckily, it is fairly easy to make your own bezel. You can add a bail to turn it into a pendant or adhere it to a different setting. You can even use it to make your own resin pendant!
Vintaj altered metal canvasses and K&S metal sheets are the highest quality, readily available metal sheets you'll find at craft and hobby stores. In my experience, other, cheaper metal blanks are usually impure, which tends to make them overly soft and more difficult to work with.
Materials Needed for a DIY Bezel
- Metal. A small sheet of 22 gauge brass or copper works well.
- Metal shears. Make sure they are metal shears, not metal snips. Tin snips, also known as aviation snips, cut at an angle and leave a jagged edge. Metal shears cut in a straight line.
- Fine tip permanent marker.
- Pliers. Flat jaw, nylon pliers are helpful because they do not mar the metal's surface, but any pliers will do.
- Metal file, sanding block, or sandpaper. A metal sanding block/buffer works best.
- Optional - small metal anvil or draping block, jewelry/ball pein hammer, tape.
Making the Bezel
The instructions below make a 1" x 1" square bezel that is approximately 1/4" deep, but you can easily modify the dimensions to suit your own needs!
1. Mark off a 1.5" square on your metal sheet. If it is new and has straight edges, you can use the precut sides to form half the outer square's edges, saving yourself a lot of work! Permanent marker ink is easily removed from metal with rubbing alcohol, so do not worry about the lines detracting from the finished bezel.
2. Make a second, smaller square. Measure in .25" from each edge of the 1.5" square to create a 1" square centered in the 1.5" square.
3. Carefully cut along the larger square's edges, as shown.
4. Cut tabs, as shown below, to form two 'long' sides and two 'short' sides. Be careful to only cut 1/4" in - just to the edge of the inner, 1" square.
Nylon pliers help ensure an attractive finished product!
5. Carefully bend one of the 'long' sides up to a 90 degree angle. If you have a small anvil or metal draping block, you can place the folded metal along its edge and give the bezel in progress a few light taps with a ball pein hammer to make the fold more crisp.
6. Fold the other 'long' edge up.
7. Fold the short tabs in, as shown below.
This is my favorite metal buffer. With a course side for heavy duty smoothing and a a side for fine polishing, my Vintaj metal buffer hasn't let me down!
8. Fold the short edges up until they are flat against the folded tabs.
9. If any extra metal is sticking up (it probably will be!) from the folded tabs or edges, use your metal shears to trim the excess away. Then, use your metal buffer, file, or sandpaper to smooth the edges, ensuring that no snags remain.
There you have it! Your very own, custom bezel pendant. If you want to mount it, you can:
- Solder a bail to the bezel's back.
- Use a clear silicone adhesive to mount a bail or mount the bezel to a flat surface.
- Mount a hanger or bail in resin inside the bezel.
Modifying the bezel so you can use it with resin is very easy - simply secure tape around the bezel's corners, as shown below, to prevent any resin from leaking out before it hardens. After the resin is cured, simply remove the tape and any sticky residue by using Goo Gone, nail polish remover, or alcohol.
Working with resin is a lot of fun. Fellow hubber Tammy Swallow has some great resin resources. In fact, reading her hubs is what first piqued my interest in working with resin! You can learn more about resin and how to create jewelry with bezels by reading her hub about creating vintage-feel jewelry with scrapbook paper.
To show how deep and versatile one of these handmade bezels can be, I used the bezel I created for this tutorial to make a multi-layered, nautically-themed pendant. With a bottom layer of scrapbook paper, a stamped compass on a transparency sheet, and two small charms, I look forward to making this bezel the centerpiece of a necklace.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and use it to make custom bezels for your own creations. As always, I am happy to answer questions and hear suggestions!