Bamboo tile pendants are a fun and unique way to personalize your jewelry. I saw my first bamboo tile pendant a few years back and in the same second began researching how I could do it. I went through site after site and couldn’t produce the same results as the myriads of other people who’ve done this. Many use gel medium to transfer the image and others still use a product called water slide paper, which I spent weeks trying to find on Amazon.
Finally, after trying several techniques, most of which failed horribly, I found a process that gave me the same results I’d seen when I first was turned on to bamboo tile pendants. This technique is easy to master and requires very little in the way of supplies. No $40 water slide paper for me!
1. Bamboo tiles (These are not readily found at your local craft store, but eCrafty carries them for a reasonable price in a multitude of colors and when you order they tend to send you extra goodies)
3. Double Sided Tape
4. Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (This you can purchase at your local craft store.)
5. Suede cording (any color)
6. Laser printed images
7. Optional: Beads for embellishment.
Step One: Select your image. The orientation can be portrait or landscape depending on how you want your pendant to hang. For this demo I chose portrait. Load the picture into a program that can resize and crop. I usually size the image to 1in by 1.5in. (The image will be cut down even smaller once we begin to affix it to the tile but this is a good starting point.) Make sure the main focus of your image is in the center.
Step Two: Once your image is cropped and resized, print and cut it out. (In order to avoid the ink running when you apply the shiny coat over the top you will need to use a laser printer.) You want to make sure when you cut it that your image allows for a border of the bamboo to show. This space essential for making a nice seal around the image with the epoxy.
Step Three: Take your double sided tape and cover the back of your image completely. Once covered trim down the excess, leaving a few millimeters of tape extending beyond the image. This will help your image to conform to the shape of the slightly curved tile.
Step Four: Press the image onto the tile. Make sure you image is centered and that the tape does not curl over the edges. If it does, trip it down more and re-affix.
Step Five: Cover the image and tile with Mod Podge. Make sure to cover the entire image. Be mindful of the edge of the image and extend the Mod Podge beyond the tape to seal in the whole thing. (If you find that bubbles are forming you can pop them with a pin.)
Step Six: Once the Mod Podge dries (this can take several hours) thread the suede cord through the holes. I used a large bookbinding needle so that the needle was easy to pull out the other side. Depending on if you are adding any beading you will need to be mindful of which way you thread the cord.
Step Seven: If you intend on adding bead embellishments have the ends of cording come out the bottom of the tile (bottoming being relative to which way your image is facing) and tie a knot, leaving a little excess for the clamp. (If you want only the pendant, reverse this step and put the knot on the opposite end of the pendant so that it lies at the back of your neck when worn.)
Step Eight: Add the clamp. I used jewelry pliers for this task. Cut off excess cording so it doesn’t obstruct the hole where the beads will be attached. Then, using jump rings, add your beads and trinkets to the bottom of the clamp.
Viola! Now you have a beautiful, unique piece of jewelry that is sure to get noticed. The piece I made will actually hang lower than pictured, making it great for use over sweaters as well as short-sleeves and tank tops. I used my own personal photography but this would be a fun way to wear your favorite artwork, portraits of your children, or snapshots of your beloved pet. This technique is very adaptable and can be used for necklaces, bracelets, pins, hat embellishments, and personalized gift wrapping.
Another, messier, way of sealing in the image would be to use resin, but that is a process I have not tried yet. Mostly due to the fact that resin, when you are first pouring it, has a high viscosity and would run down the sides of the bamboo. The up side of using resin would be a glossier sheen to the coat of epoxy and an even longer lasting pendant.
Here you can see an alternate way of arranging the pendant. I used a landscape image and dressed the piece up by making the necklace out of chain instead of leather cording. Like I said, anything is possible with these fun pieces of artwork. Be creative!