Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Blue Opal" Cameo Pin by Laura Drahozal

There is a store that I go to EVERY time I visit Las Vegas-- the Australian Opal and Gem Store in the Forum Shops. I can't afford anything there, but still visit just to look at the fantastic opals. Opals are my birthstone and my weakness. They are fascinating, with their variety of colors and flashes of brilliant light.

Some of the most beautiful opals are often referred to as "water" opals and are known for their clear blue color. These stones are exactly what I thought of the first time that I saw Art Glitter Dazzlers in the flake form. When I discovered what they do under heat, well, I hatched a plan to create my own faux opal.

What would I do with the "stone" when I completed it? The only jewelry that I have ever collected, aside from opals, was cameos. Dreamweaver Stencils (whose design team I am on) has just come out with a gorgeous cameo stencil. When I thought of that, I knew the plan was coming together. I would make my own fantasy pin--a blue opal cameo.

First, I rubbed the soap on the back of the stencil so that it would be able to be removed from the adhesive later. Then, I brushed off the excess soap "crumbles" and attached it to the Double Sided Adhesive Paper. I used a little of the Microfine Blue Diadem around the cameo frame. When I removed the adhesive paper from the stencil, I was able to use this glitter as a guideline to cut out my oval.

I then laid a pinch of the Varsity Blue Pearlescent Ultrafine and a pinch of the Blue Diadem Microfine Opaque on that oval and rubbed it in, burnishing the colors together and onto the paper. When I was certain that it was thoroughly pressed in, I brushed off the excess.

I covered the whole thing with Versamark and Clear Embossing Powder. I heated it. While it was still warm, I poured another layer of Clear Embossing Powder over the top and heated it. Then, while this was still warm, I sprinkled on a generous amount of Blue Eyes Dazzlers. As I heated these, they shrank a little and changed colors. They became the gorgeous "flash" of color that the opal is known for. I heated them until they turned to colors that appealed to me. I then stopped all heating and let the project cool for a little while.

When it was time for another color, I added a layer of Versamark, and Clear Embossing Powder. I heated until this melted and, while it was still warm, I sprinkled on a little of the Lapis Shards Vintage Glass Glitter. I let this cool. Then, another layer of Versamark and two more layers of Clear Embossing Powder. When it cooled, I was finished with my "opal".

I was very pleased with the result on this, because the two colors and types of glitter gave a base that refracted light in different ways, the dazzlers added the "flash" and the shards added a depth of color and shine, but retained both their shape and color. All of these elements, separated by the clear embossing powders, are what made this stone look real.

The cameo head was very simple. I put the soaped stencil onto another piece of Double Sided Adhesive Paper, poured Opaque White Embossing Powder over the top and top and rubbed it in, as if to burnish it. I removed the stencil and heated the embossing powder. While it was warm, I poured the Sea Shell Transparent Glitter over the top. I let it cool and cut around the embossed section.

For the frame, I put the soaped stencil on yet another piece of the adhesive paper. I poured the Microfine Silver Moon Opaque Glitter into the frame, trying to avoid the open center of the stencil as much as possible. I then burnished it in with my fingers, brushed off the excess and removed the stencil. I poured the Black Wing Microfine on very generously on the edges and burnished that in as well. I peeled the backing off of the paper and adhered it to a piece of chipboard. I adhered the adhesive backed aluminum to the other side of the chipboard. Then, I carefully cut around the exterior of the frame with my sharp, pointy scissors.

I positioned the pin back on the back of the chipboard and marked the holes with a pen tip. I removed the pin back and punched the holes with my Big Bite. I repositioned the pin back and attached it through the holes with the brads.

I straightened out the "opal", which had curled a little during all that heating. It caused the embossing powder to crack a little, imitating the "crazing" or cracks in a real opal. I then peeled off the back and positioned it onto the frame. I peeled the back off of the cameo and adhered it to the "stone".

Finally, I had to tweak it just a little. I used my scissors to carefully "trim up" some of the edges of the stone to perfect it. I hit the trimmed edges lightly with a heat gun to round it off a little. I then used the permanent marker to color the edges where the chipboard shone through.

Did this take a little while? Certainly, but it was ridiculously fun to do. Most of the time that it took was thinking things out and trying various methods. Now that I have figured it out for you, and told you what to do, it should be easy for you to reproduce it. I am personally quite thrilled with this project. I successfully combined my love of cameos and of opals into the ultimate piece of jewelry for a small percentage of what the real thing would have cost. Granted, it is made of chipboard and glitter, so maybe I won't wear it to a ball, but I WILL wear it, and proudly. I made my very own beautiful, fun opal. You could, too.

Double Sided Adhesive Paper
Dreamweaver Cameo Stencil LL 3017
Large Soft Stencil Brush
Soft Bar Soap
185 Varsity Blue Ultrafine Pearlescent Art Glitter
504 Blue Diadem Microfine Opaque Art Glitter
D38 Blue Eyes Art Glitter Dazzlers
911 Lapis Shards Vintage Glass Art Glitter
Opaque White Embossing Powder
100 Sea Shell Ultrafine Transparent Art Glitter
508 Silver Moon Microfine Opaque Art Glitter
507 Black Wing Microfine Opaque Art Glitter
Adhesive Backed Aluminum
Pin Back
Big Bite
3 Square Silver Brads
Sharp Scissors
Fine Tipped Opaque Black Permanent Pen


  1. Great technique, Laura. Those various shades and textures of blue create a gorgeous piece.

  2. WOW! WOW! WOW! I can't seem to say anything else but, WOW! This is amazing.

  3. Gorgeous! beautiful job of detailing the creating process and your end result is amazing!

  4. Wow, This has beautiful detail! Lisa