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Thread: Acrylic Jewellery Course? Help!

  1. #1
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    Default Acrylic Jewellery Course? Help!

    I have searched high and low for a course or workshop in making acrylic jewellery - specifically bangles/cuffs. I have found books/tutorials on working with small pieces in moulds with liquid resin, but that isn't what I mean. I have a very slim volume, more like a pamphlet, on very basic dyeing and cutting of acrylic rods for earrings, pendants etc, but it's really pretty useless. Apart from that, no books or courses anywhere, although I know there must be something if I only knew where to look. I already have an arts degree and don't want (and can't afford) to do another where I would have to spend 3 years working with bits of string and recycled coke cans. If anybody out there could point me in the right direction, or know of any decent UK based workshops or courses I would be very grateful. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Acrylic jewellery can be made from sheet, by piercing with saw blades intended for wood, carving with burrs, or sending out to a company which will cut a design by lazer. It can be heated with a heat gun and bent around a mandrel.

    Layers incorporating objects can be made from liquid and a hardener, taking care to avoid bubbles.

    It is easily polished with Tripoly and then Vonax and can easily be coloured.

    Much of it can be self taught on line. You could start here: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Ut...N-yA8Qfh2ZzwCA

    Here are some classes too : https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ac...JPKA8QetrreIDw

    Here are some books:https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Bo...IPKA8QetrreIDw

    This is the result of about ten minutes of research, so I am sure you will find lots more on line. Dennis.

  3. #3
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    LMGTFY

    http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co....pex-jewellery/

    1st hit on Google that wasn't a sponsored ad.

    Then
    http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/sh...tic-and-metal/ (which, given the tutor I'd go for in preference to the previous one)

    A book:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Dyei.../dp/0955024188

    Another course:
    http://www.atworkgallery.co.uk/courses_perspex.asp

    ...

    What were you searching for? I used "acrylic jewellery making course"

  4. #4
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    I've got boxes of Perspex sheet, I used it a lot on the 70s and 80s but rarely now. As Dennis says it cuts by hand, laborious, or if mass producing , now by laser. I used to mould mine after sticking it in the oven for a while and also bonded sheets together and turned bangles on the lathe. I see you can buy rods and all sorts now but we used to raid the skips of plastics companies or buy from sign writers, that seems to be more difficult now. It takes colour really easily with fabric dyes. You need quite coarse files for shaping but it is easily polished back to a high finish, just watch that you don't polish too hard or you'll get skid marks as it overheats

  5. #5
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    Thank you both very much for your advice. I did Google 'acrylic jewellery making courses' and came up with most of the information recommended. There seems to be a fair bit on casting with liquid resin, but not so much on acrylic sheet, so yes, probably a case of gathering what info I can get and seeing what I can do. I have got the book mentioned (or I should say pamphlet), which goes into working with perspex rods and basic dyeing, and there is another I saw recommended by Sarah Packington, 'Precious Jewellery from Plastics' which I will take a look at. The course at The London Jewellery School looks about the nearest to what I was looking for, as again it doesn't feature casting with resin, as the second one does. I was hoping to find something outside London, but so far no luck. I've also looked at some Youtube videos, some of which were helpful. I suppose I was hoping to find something that I had missed which might 'exactly' fit the bill, but as with most things it will probably be a case of gathering bits and pieces from various sources and constructing my own course! Many thanks again.

  6. #6
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    Or just blaze your own trail and experiment. Places like Direct Plastics have a lot of info on their site about working with all their plastics including hot, cold & bonding processes; it's aimed at more industrial applications but there's no reason it can't be appropriated for more small scale stuff. There's some people who have been surface dyeing 3d prints happily; the major component of that resin is a methacrylic/acrylic ester mix.

    http://forum.formlabs.com/t/tinting-...lvent-dye/8389
    http://forum.formlabs.com/t/dyeing-t...t-colors/201/7

    Do log everything you do, including failures - you might be able to use it to create a more comprehensive tome than the pamphlet further down the line.

    While I remember - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shortcuts-J.../dp/0713665076 has a section on acrylic working; I don't know if his later publication https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-J.../dp/1408105810 is just a rework of that.
    Last edited by ps_bond; 20-08-2016 at 10:58 AM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Caroline. I looked around and found that you can get 5mm acrylic cut to size and polished for not too much cost, so for bangle blanks I would probably be lazy and go that route. Not sure I want to get nicked raiding skips! There is a guy on Youtube using a heat gun for bending, but I didn't think much of the results, prefer the oven option and then I suppose repolishing the edges to get them flat again if needed. I have a metal former from when I used to make etched silver bangles - Silver is my first love but I just can't afford it any more. I have a ton of Procion MX fabric dyes and was wondering if they would work, if so that would be useful. If I'm honest, it's using the acrylic as a vehicle for surface pattern which attracts me the most. So it looks as though it will be a case of try it and see. Thanks again.

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    When I bonded sheet of black and clear Perspex sheet back in the day and then turned a bangle, through time the glue changed form and created patterns like quicksilver between the layers. It had obviously lost some of its integrity but the bangle is still holding together nearly 40 years on and I like it better than the original design. As Peter says experimenting is the way to go. I used to dye mine in a saucepan with powder dylon dyes

  9. #9
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    Thanks again Peter. I do appreciate you taking the trouble to try and help me, and of course all who have replied to my question. I will probably go with the fabric dye for colouring - the formlabs posts are very interesting, but probably a step too far for me. Strangely enough, I appear to have bought the first book you recommend way back in 2006! Sadly I returned it - I have no memory of this, just what my Amazon account tells me - so whatever I was looking for at the time, it wasn't advice for working with acrylic. I do have his second book, (along with many others) but although there is a wealth of info in it, there isn't anything about acrylic, so presumably it's not just a rework of the earlier one. Given the difficulty I've had in finding any really useful books on working with acrylic (as opposed to resin), the idea of producing one myself is quite appealing! I don't know about blazing a trail, it will be more like smouldering slowly with lots of sputtering and going out. BTW, just peeked at your FB page, and all I can say is WOW!

  10. #10
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    Caroline, a bangle that is still going strong after 40 years is good going. Just a shame you had to wait that long for the glue to degrade and create the patterns! The little book by Sarah Packington recommends Disperse dyes, which makes sense as they are used for polyester and synthetic fabrics, and (according to George Weil), 'plastic buttons'. The Procion MX are used for natural fibres like cotton and silk and there isn't so much heat involved, so probably wouldn't work, which is a pain as I have loads of them. Although it's worth a try. It could be that good old Dylon will work just as well as the Disperse dyes and would be less expensive. As you say, experimenting looks to be the way to go. Thanks again.

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