Carnelian gemstones are a beautiful orange variety of chalcedony. They are translucent and sometimes accented with agate banding. This tutorial will show you how to cast gorgeous realistic carnelian using resin, and how to turn your cast gems into stunning pendants.
Note: This is a lengthy project. If you are making one of these pendants as a gift, read through the whole tutorial first so you can allot enough time.
Step 1: What You Need
Round silicon molds - 1 per pendant (20-30mm)
Casting resin - Any kind works fine, it's mostly just a matter of drying time (I used polyester, which cures fast)
Orange alcohol ink
Pearl powder (white)
Mixing cups (Dixie cups work well) & sticks
3" head pins
Lots of patience
JEWELRY MAKING SUPPLIES
Bead caps (At least 1 large flower to fit the cast globe)
Optional: Additional bead caps for more pendants
1 bead cone
Optional: Additional bead cones for more pendants
1 small flower bead with sideways hole
2 head pins (per pendant with dangles)
2 eye pins (per pendant with dangles)
Jump rings (2 per pendant, 1 if there's no dangles)
Orange beads (about 30-40 for dangles, assorted, 2-6mm)
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Cord or chain
Step 2: Get Ready to Cast
You should have all your supplies out for mixing and casting before pouring any resin.
Step 3: Begin
Mix a small amount of resin according to package directions.
Add a thin layer (2-3mm) to the bottom of each mold.
Let it thicken, but not harden.
Step 4: Orange Layer
While the 1st layer is thickening, mix up some more resin and add a drop or 2 of orange ink. The resin should be a bright, light orange.
Then add a 3-4mm of orange resin to the molds. Some mixing of the layers is good.
Let the orange thicken only a little.
Step 5: Pearly Layer
Just like the previous step - Mix a little clear resin and add enough pearl powder to make the resin look milky. (You'll need only is a very small amount of powder.)
Pour a few millimeters of the pearly resin on the orange. These should mix slightly.
Let this set just a little bit.
Step 6: Orange Layer Reprise
This is the really fun layer.
Mix a last batch of clear resin. Fill each mold the rest of the way.
Then add 1 drop of orange dye, to the top of each globe.
Let the color bleed naturally into the clear resin.
Let the globes harden up now - at least to solid, if not rock hard.
Step 7: Add a Headpin
There needs to be some way for the pendant to attach to a chain, so I added a 3" headpin.
Step 8: Prepare
First pull off enough 1/2 inch pieces of scotch tape to have 3 per pendant.
Next poke 1 headpin through the center of one piece of tape and set aside. Do this for each pendant mold.
You'll notice that the epoxy probably shrank down a bit, creating a depression in the globe on top.
Now get set to mix up more clear resin. You'll only need enough to fill the depressions.
Carefully pour enough resin onto the top of each pendant globe to form a little dome.
Step 9: Insert Pins
This is the hardest part.
When the dome of resin thickens to smoothie consistency, insert the head of the head pin into the center of the dome. The pin should point straight up.
Gently press the tape down to the mold to give the pin she support.
Then add a piece of tape to each side of the pin to keep it upright.
Everything gets sticky and hard to work with, but embedding the pins will make for very strong jewelry. Have patience!
Step 10: Repeat and Leave
Repeat for all the globes. If it's taking a long time, you may need to mix fresh resin. Once the resin becomes like jelly, it can be too hard to insert the head pin. (Best to mix a new batch if this happens.)
When all the pins are well-inserted and propped up, don't touch. Let the resin cure until solid.
Step 11: Trim
When the resin is solid, but not rock hard, remove the tape. (I try one first in case they're not actually set enough)
You can then take wire cutters and trim off excess resin as shown (it should be leathery at this point.)
Note: The trimming photo is from a set without head pins, but it's the same process.
Step 12: Unmold
Time to see what you've got!
When the globes are 100% cured - you may need to wait a few days - pop them out of the molds.( If they are are at all gooey, stop and don't remove them the rest of the way.)
Note: The unmolding photo is from a set without head pins, but it's the same process.
Step 13: Pendantsicles
I like to stick the pins in foam and let the resin cure just a bit more.
Step 14: Add Flower Bead
Attach the flower bead (with the sideways hole) to the bottom center of one pendant using a dot of epoxy (or other strong glue).
Let dry fully.
Step 15: Play With the Jewelry Design
I don't pick my findings until I have the finished "carnelian" so that I can match beads nicely to the final casting.
Select a bead cap that fits snugly on the ball and select a bead cone that works well with the cap.
You can do this for several pendants at once, since what looks good on one faux gem, may not look good on another.
I chose to use multiple metals to highlight the striations in the carnelian.
Step 16: Bead Try-On
Since the head pin is permanent, it's easy to slide combinations of beads and caps off and on, to see what you like.
Step 17: Wrapped Loop
Secure the beads with a wrapped loop that begins 1/4 inch above the bead cone.
If you need, I have wrapped loop instructions in this tutorial:
Step 18: Wrapped Loop
Make sure the wire comes down to the bead cap so everything is tight and secure.
Step 19: Dangles
Using your assorted orange beads, string 4 dangles of differing lengths - roughly 1/2" - 1". These can be on head pins or eye pins. Try to be random. Make sure you have a small loop at the top of each dangle. You can also end the dangles with wire spirals or more flower beads, like I did.
Step 20: More Dangles
Step 21: Jump Ring
Attach 1 jump ring through the sideways flower bead attached to the bottom of your pendant.
Step 22: Attach Dangles
Add the dangles to the jump ring. Close the ring.
Step 23: Add a Jump Ring to the Top Loop
Your pendant is now finished and ready for a cord or chain!
Step 25: Variations
These carnelian pendant bases are strong and versatile. Have fun playing with designs and variations. Try different beads and bead caps, different dangles, and other color accents.
If you learned something new or simply enjoyed this tutorial, Please Vote!
Also, I'd love to see what you make, so I encourage you to post photos.
Thanks & have fun!!