What is Acrylic Material and How Is It Used in 925 Silver Jewelry?
Acrylic materials come in a wide variety of style, and these are often used in making jewelry because it is easy to create a colorful and vibrant effect. It is possible to make an entire piece of jewelry just by using acrylic, or this material can be combined with metal. Our acrylic materials come in sheets, squares and rods, and we also have clear, opaque or colored acrylic that allow us to create different styles of jewelry pieces.
Uses of Acrylic
One of the best things about acrylic is the ease in working with this material. A coping or jeweler’s saw is used in cutting acrylic by hand. Customizing the design is also simple, and acrylic can be polished, carved, drilled or even bent in different ways through the application of minimal heat.
However, there is one issue with acrylic, which is its vulnerable quality, as compared to metal. Its surface is prone to scratches, and removing these marks is not very practical to do since it is bound to have more scratches easily.
Processes Involved in Using Acrylic Jewelry
The following are among the different processes in making jewelry that uses acrylic material:
Acrylic sheets often have a paper covering, and it is used in drawing the pattern prior to cutting out the design. The best tools to use in cutting acrylic include a no. 0 or a no. 1 blade. A clean bag is prepared before the cutting process, as this is where the dust and swarf will go through as the material is cut. This prevents the swarf from mixing with the metal scrap.
As the acrylic is cut, it tends to become hot. This may cause the swarf to melt right into the piercing blade. To prevent this issue, the material is cut slowly and gently, and the file’s edge is drawn down the sides of the blade as this stops the acrylic from clinging to it while cutting.
When smoothing acrylics, files become clogged up easily, particularly when you are using a lot of this material. So, it is practical to have a set of files and make it a point to clean the file regularly by using a brush. There is no special technique when filing acrylic since it is performed as one would normally file a piece of metal.
To give the acrylic a frosty appearance, polishing it using fine steel wool, some water and detergent is done. A brass brush can also be used prior to polishing the material.
Another way of achieving a smooth finish is by using different grades of sandpapers for wet and dry materials, and this is finished off by applying a liquid metal cleaner for that flawless appeal. A greaseless white polish may also be used, as this offers a shiny look to acrylic. Just prevent the material from getting too hot since this will cause the surface to melt, thus leaving some unsightly black lines from the polish.
When removing excess polish, the right products are used with precise application techniques. Pouring acetone, denatured alcohol or turpentine are not advisable since these can cause damages on the surface.
When creating small holes on the material such as with earrings, drilling right through the acrylic rod or sheet may be done. However, it is necessary to lift the drill in and out quite a few times when working with a thicker sheet of acrylic. This technique prevents the material from getting too hot, which can cause the swarf to melt on the drill.
In this process, two parts of the acrylic material (in equal proportion) are combined before adding the right color. The mixture is then poured into a mold, and it is important that it is done in a slow and steady manner to prevent air bubbles from forming once heat is generated. When pouring the liquid resin into a metal compartment, this technique is done a little higher than the metal’s edges.
Gluing is another important process in making acrylic jewelry. To hold pieces of acrylic together or glue them to another material, the right type of adhesive must be used. There are clear adhesives while others are colored using dye to blend well with the acrylic.
When shaping plastic or acrylic according to the desired style, heat is applied to the material. Different tools may be used in thermosetting such as a blow torch, electric hot plate or an oven, as long as it is set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the acrylic is removed from heat and protective gloves are used to bend the material by hand.
Children’s Ear Studs Made of Sterling Silver and Acrylic
See all available silver jewelry for kids, combined with funny acrylic materials
There are different steps involved in making children’s jewelry out of acrylic. Initially, a pattern is drawn on the acrylic sheet, which is then cut using tools such as a blade or cutter. Afterwards, the material is filed to achieve a smooth texture. Wet and dry sandpapers are used, and it is finished off by wiping the surface with a small rag dipped in liquid metal cleaner. A greaseless polish may also be used, and the acrylic should be washed in detergent after polishing.
Once polishing has been completed, the studs are now ready to be dyed. In preparing the mixture, a small amount of dye powder is combined in cold water, preferably in a small saucepan. Sufficient amount of warm water is added just enough to fill the saucepan, and the mixture is stirred well and placed on an electric hot plate until it nearly reaches its boiling point. The acrylic is placed in a metal strainer, which is then lowered into the dye mixture.
Once the desired color is achieved, the acrylic is left to cool for a few minutes before it is rinsed and dried. Then, contact cement or a strong adhesive is used to glue the silver backing and thread, which completes the process of making acrylic jewelry.
Additional Information about Acrylic Jewelry
One of the most popular types of plastic used in jewelry for children is acrylic. In fact, you can find a number of acrylic children’s accessories and jewelry sold in the market because this material is versatile, available in different colors, lightweight and inexpensive. The FDA has also approved some grades of acrylic material, although it is not considered as entirely safe for long-term use.
Cleaning jewelry made of acrylic is done using warm water and antibacterial soap, and it is not advisable to use harsh chemicals such as strong detergent or alcohol since these can ruin the jewelry. Exposure to direct sunlight also causes the material to warp, so proper care should be done to prevent this issue.