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Surprise, surprise! Just your ordinary hardware store variety is fine. They run about 20-50 cents a piece and come in several sizes. Some give measurements for the diameter and the hole in the middle, and sometimes just the middle, which may be important if you are trying to match a paper punch or bezel or something. Here is a nice 2" size:
The fantastic thing about this is that one sheet of scrapbook paper can make dozens of pendants! And scrapbook paper is always on sale somewhere. Consider the size of the washers and the thickness of the ring part -- I liked the geometric prints for the skinnier "open circles" and bigger, sprawling prints for the larger washers. Also keep in mind that you can make the pendant a solid circle or open by punching out the hole in the middle.
This is how we will glue the paper to the washer, and then seal it. A small jar will last you a good long while - save your money and get the small size and use the extra money to get a round paper punch too... (Random side note: For the longest time, Mod Podge was like this mysterious magical thing to me, so when I opened it up and found it was essentially Elmer's glue, I was a tad disappointed. I think I was expecting rainbows and unicorns to come flying out of the jar or something.)
Round/Circle Paper Punch
This isn't required, but I highly recommend it! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to cut a perfect circle with standard scissors. I got a 3/4" and 1" punch for less than $5 each, and got very lucky at a Black Friday sale at JoAnn and got a 1.5" and 2" punch for $5-7 also (normally $15-17 so don't forget those 40% coupons). It is especially handy if you have a small punch to cut out the center, I used a regular hole punch for the smallest ones.
Pour-On Enviro Tex Lite
When I first saw a tutorial with Enviro Tex, I thought it sounded much too industrial and fussy and decided I would get a squeeze-able product instead. I wasn't happy with the results, and then I learned that Enviro Tex is how you get a water/heat resistant finish on tile coasters... well then I had to try it. This is a resin that gives a thick, glass-like finish to jewelry (and bar tops etc. etc.). They have it at Michaels for around $8 with coupon. It's really not a big deal to use, although it does take a few days to cure and I have learned a couple things NOT to do, but that's why you should keep reading... I am still curious to try Diamond Glaze, a popular squeeze-able product, but I wanted Enviro Tex for my tile coasters anyway.
Cord and Bails
If you are punching the center out to make an open circle, you can just thread some necklace cord through it, but if you will be making any solid pendants then you will need some glue-on bails (I found mine at Hobby Lobby, 4 for $2.50). I use E6000 to glue the bails on. I used 3/8" sheer organza ribbon and I also found some cord I like at Hobby Lobby by Clubhouse Crafts called Silky Cord that comes with 4 colors, 5 yards each, for cheap. If you will be mass producing these, you can find these supplies much cheaper on Etsy.
First, cut/punch out your paper circles. You can turn the punch over to see the design through the bottom if you're selective about pattern placement.
Next, spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on one side of the washer. Put the paper cut-out on it and smooth flat. I like to hold it on the edges to prevent the paper from shifting because if you try and push it around too much the paper will tear. I also like to use my thumb to "brush" downward around the outside to make sure the edges are sealed.
If you have any rough edges, use a file or sand paper to smooth it out.
If your middle cutout is a little rough, take a pencil and run it around the inside.
Now spread a layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper, and make sure you get it around the inner and outer edges. You don't want any of the Enviro Tex to get to the paper. Let it dry for around 20 minutes.
Apply a second layer, this time brushing in the opposite direction so that you cover every angle. Let dry.
Now you're ready to seal with Enviro Tex! You will want to elevate the washers so that any excess Enviro Tex will drip away. Use something that you won't be sad if its ruined in the process. I used a baking rack. Also put wax paper down to catch the drips. After a few tries, you can probably do this without drippy messes.
You should read the instructions in the box, but basically here's what you do: Mix equal parts resin and hardener in a plastic cup and stir vigorously with a flat wooden stick (I used a plastic spoon) for 2 minutes. A couple tablespoons of each should be enough, you only need about 1/4 tsp per washer. Pour into a second cup (don't ask me why) and stir another minute. You should have lots of bubbles.
I used the spoon to drip a SMALL AMOUNT of the mixture onto the washers. Give it a minute to self-level, and then use the spoon to push it around the the edges.
Now leave them be for 2-3 days while they cure.
Here's WHAT NOT TO DO with Enviro Tex:
- Do not pour the product with insufficient lighting. It is very hard to see missed spots, and if you try to fill them after they've dried...
- Do not fill the holes and smooth with a piece of light cardboard. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. It cured with visible streak marks.
- Do not put pendants in a
warmhot oven to cure faster. Ideal curing temperature is 70-80 degrees (F) so I read that you can warm the oven and turn it off and then put the pieces inside. Well, I put mine in immediately after bringing to 200 (F) and they got tacky and started sticking together and then had finger prints from my pulling them apart... just don't do it.
- Don't work in large batches - after 20 minutes or so the mixture doesn't flow as well and the bubbles don't rise.
After they've cured, your pendants have a glass-like, slightly domed appearance.
I like to use the bigger prints for larger, solid pendants...
And I like the geometric prints for the open circles, the middle hole seems to break up the pattern...
Find really tiny prints for skinny washers (photo, top/left)...
Now string 'em up and go sell them on Etsy!
You should also check out using alcohol inks on washers -- it looks very metallic and raw like rainbow on gasoline. I have also seen people do wire-wrapping with beads on the washer which is really nice too. I'd love to see what you make, if you want to share on the Facebook page!