How to Make a Bead Embroidered Heart Brooch

Make your own brooch using polymer-clay cabochon.

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Break out the pasta machine and the toaster oven to cook up this classy beaded broach.

Materials and Tools:

polymer clay (one color and translucent)
copper and silver leaf
Faux Dichro Liquid Glass
pasta machine
hand roller
marble surface
toaster oven
latex gloves
flexible tissue blade
paintbrush
baking dish
E-6000 epoxy
220-, 400-, 600- and 1500-grit sandpaper
plastic bag or wrap
Lacey’s Stiff Stuff
tacky glue (thick white glue)
marker
leather
combo brooch/pendant finding
Japanese seed beads—sizes 15, 11, 8 and 6 (in several colors to match and contrast with polymer cabochon)
silamide thread
size-12 beading needles
accent beads (metals, semiprecious and Czech glass)

Steps:

Polymer Cabochon

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1. Condition ½-ounce of blue clay on setting No. 5 on a pasta machine. Condition ½-ounce of translucent clay on setting 5 on the pasta machine. Cut each sheet of clay into quarters.

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2. Working on a marble surface, layer a quarter-sheet of blue clay, a piece of copper leaf and a layer of translucent clay. Place a piece of silver leaf over the translucent clay unit. Repeat the layering, continuing until there are 16 layers.

3. Cut the piece in half and stack the two halves, producing a finished block with 32 layers.

4. Reduce the thickness of the finished block slightly with a hand roller or a glass jar.

5. Using the flexible blade, held slightly curved, carve or shave into the block. This will reveal a grain of clay layers.

6. Roll a piece of clay into a round shape for the base bead.

7. Cut two or three shaved pieces from the block, using the tissue blade.

8. Cover the base bead with the shaved pieces.

9. Wearing gloves, flatten the bead into a cabochon on the marble surface.

10. Remove the cabochon piece from the marble board with the tissue blade and transfer it to an ovenproof, clay-dedicated dish.

11. Heat the oven to 275 degrees and bake the cabochon for 25 minutes. Let cool.

12. Wet-sand the cabochon, beginning with 220-grit sandpaper and working to 1,500-grit paper. This removes any fingerprints or other imperfections in the surface.

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13. Tack the cabochon onto a piece of plastic bag or plastic wrap, using scrap clay. Apply Faux Dichro Liquid Glass to the surface of the cabochon with a paintbrush. Let dry 45 minutes. Apply another coat and let dry for two to three hours.

Beaded Brooch

1. Draw a heart shape for the pendant on a piece of paper. Trace the heart onto Lacey’s Stiff Stuff and cut it out. Trace the heart pattern onto leather for the backing and cut it out. Shade the Stiff Stuff with a marker. Sand the back of the cabochon and glue into the desired position with E-6000. Let set for 10 minutes.

2. Begin beading a bezel around the cabochon. Outline it with size-11 seed beads and with a backstitch technique (four beads down, stitch through backing, come up through two beads and repeat). Work this base row into even-count peyote in the round until it reaches just over the edge of the cabochon. Bead the last row with size-15 seed beads to achieve a tight hold around the cabochon.

3. Draw lines, curves or angles directly onto the Stiff Stuff to define areas of the bead-embroidered piece.

4. Use the backstitch method to create lines, fringe and “shag” technique to fill in with different sizes and shapes of seed beads. On fringes, add semiprecious, Czech or metal beads to add color and texture.

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5. Determine the placement of the pin back and trace onto leather backing. Cut out the leather backing with a blade and a safe cutting surface. Set the finding into the leather.

6. Apply a thin layer of tacky glue to the back of the embroidered piece and affix the leather to the brooch.

7. Whipstitch the edge with two beads on the thread for each pass around the sandwiched brooch. Tie off the thread.

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