Arte Es Vida

Bail Out Your Jewelry by arteesvida
November 12, 2006, 3:58 am
Filed under: Art Of Jewelry Design

You find a neat little trinket or piece of ephemera and you think immediately about what a great necklace it will make; but how do you turn it into something that a cord or chain can string through?  Drilling holes to thread in a jump ring or wire wrapping the entire piece are common ways of solving this problem, but sometimes these techniques just arn’t possible.  There are several instances where pre-made bails are a much better solution:  the piece is too small or delicate to wrap, the drilling will be impossible or too labor intensive, you don’t have the proper tools for drilling, or ire wrapping or drilling will ruin or hide the beauty of the piece you want to show off.


 The most basic bail design is a thin rectangle metal that is wide on each end and thinner in the middle.  The wide parts are attached to your object at the front and back, and the bail is bent in the middle to create a loop.  Many bails have decorative flourishes (the ones in these pictures are shaped like leaves).  Other designs include a flat disk with a loop at the top that you glue to the back of your object (so you don’t have any metal showing at the front of the pendent), snap bails, and pinch bails.


Most bails attach easily with a jewelry grade adhesive such as E6000 (yes, E6000 works on everything!).  If you have to glue the bail to each end instead of just the back; it works best to glue one end, let it cure completely, then bend the bail in the middle to make the loop and glue the other end.  It takes longer to complete your piece, but you don’t have to weigh it down to keep the bail in place at each end while it dries. The following pictures show the same style of bail being used on a polymer clay and UTEE pendant, a small shell fossil, and a piece of beach glass.  A small bail and a bit of glue is all it takes to make these finds into wearable art!


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