Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Answer to Technical Questions on creating Polymer Cuff Bracelets

I received a few questions today from a jewelry designing peer regarding my previous post on polymer cuff bracelets.
The questions were:
Hey Mona, couple of questions for you on this (beautiful bracelets, BTW!)
first, did you place anything between the raw polymer and the cuff itself
before baking? To make sure it stays adhered? Second, the sponge you used,
what kind was it? I know most of my normal sponges have a very hard/stiff
texture unless they are wet down. Then I have sea sponges which are a little
softer to begin with, but a very uneven texture. So I'm curious as to the
texture of the sponge before you dipped it in the future.

The Answers Plus a Bit More/including at home Gold Plating for Cuff Interiors:
At the craft store I purchased a small bag of watercolor sponges. The bag contained 2 each of fine pore silk sponges, synthetic hydrophilic sponges, and coarse sea sponges. I used one of the fine pore silk sponges.
While I was curing the polymer I didn't use anything between the brass cuff and the polymer. After the polymer was cured and still hot, I took it directly from the oven to a dunk of cold water in a sink. This is supposed to make the colors more vibrant.
I haven't tried letting the polymer come to room temperature slowly, so cannot confirm this, but love the results I am getting, so will continue to manage the polymer with a cold dunking. After the polymer was cool and dry I removed it from the bracelet blank. With fine grit sand paper I cleaned the bracelet blank of any residue from curing, then rinsed it and wiped it dry.
Going back to my desk, I placed a very sheer coating of E6000 glue on the bracelet blank and also on the back of the polymer, then let both rest, separated for a few minutes, according to manufacturers instructions for the best and strongest bond. Finally I reapplied the polymer to the bracelet and sort of rolled it down onto the blank with my fingers from one end to the other with firm pressing strokes. This was very easily achieved.
Update on the finishing:
Ages ago I purchased a gold plating kit from Caswell Plating They are located online at
The kit is for 24K Gold plating. I sanded the inside of a brass bracelet blank to make sure it was good and clean, wiped the inside down with a soft rag and alcohol to make sure no fingerprint residue remained, and proceeded to try the kit this afternoon. What I got was a nice laydown of 24K Gold on the interior of the bracelet blank. I still need to buff the inside for a nice finish, but what I am looking at right now is pretty nice! This is the way I plan to finish all of my bracelets so that the brass bracelet blank won't leave green marks on the skin and I have a finish that will be long enduring and of beautiful. quality. You can see in the picture that the interior surface of the bracelet blank is a nice rosey gold in contrast with the exterior surface of brass.
When I bought the kits they looked so rudementary and unimpressive that I hadn't tried them yet, but with the new bracelets I am turning out with the polymer, I wanted to create a truly quality item and decided to drag out the plating kit and see if it really was worthwhile or just a hoax! The kit cost about 46 dollars and I bought the first one on ebay from this company, then later figured that the kit probably wouldn't coat very much metal, so even bought another one. I filled the cap from the plating solution full(it's a small cap) and had enough solution to plate the inside of 5 bracelets with a width of 2 inches, so the stuff really works, is economical, at least from my standpoint, and provides a practical solution for my desire to create a fine quality
finish on my designs without having to send stuff out for plating!!!!
Hope this has all been helpful for you!

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