Channel Necklace Bails

Channel necklace bails are an inexpensive and creative way to turn a fused piece into a spectacular piece of jewelry.

Often referred to as channel pendants, these pieces can be taken to a full fuse.

A channel pendant is one where a groove has been fused into the piece using fiber paper.

Since these are fashioned during the fusing process, there is no need for a standard jewelry bail.

Jewelry bails can sometimes distract from the work of art being created, and gluing bails on pendants makes some individuals nervous, so try making channels.

If you want your hand made jewelry to stand out on its own, include a channel bail in your design.

Necklace bails are formed much like making a kiln formed bead or making a glass bail.

These can be made in large chunks and then using a glass saw cut them down to the desired size.

Sometimes the glass will pull in and distort the edges if the necklace bails are taken to a full fuse, therefore it is suggested that the piece only be taken to just above a tack fuse for best results.

The sides of the top and bottom layers pull in at the fiber paper location, because it's so thin at those points.

If you go really slowly and fuse a bit longer at a lower temperature, it is a little easier to control the glass.

Instead of fretting over the bulges, make them part of the design.

The easiest way to accomplish making these necklace bails is to make a larger piece and cut it down after fusing.

It will require doing some cold work, reinserting the fiber paper and then doing a fire polish.

The advantage of this method is that you can cut several pendants, and cut any pulled in edges off the piece.

Either way still requires multiple firings, so by making a larger piece, you gain several pendants at the same time.

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  • Glass
  • Fiber paper
  • Glass glue
  • Kiln
  • Prepared kiln shelf
  • Glass saw
  • Grinder
  • Directions:

    1. Cut base glass and a cap piece. If making several pieces, try cutting a piece about 2 inches by 6 inches and then it can be cut into 3 or 4 large pendants.

    2. Place the bottom piece of glass on a prepared kiln shelf inside the kiln.

    3. Use glass glue to tack the fiber paper to the bottom glass. Place the paper just a bit from the top of the base. Make sure that the fiber paper is sticking out both sides of the glass.Cover the fiber paper with the top piece of glass. Add a few pieces of clear frit to help balance the top piece.

    4. Shut kiln and bring the piece to a little more than a tack fuse with a long bubble soak.

    5. Anneal the glass.

    6. Once cooled to room temperature, draw shapes in the glass with a glass saw to take advantage of the patterns and color and to create as little waste as possible.

    7. Use a grinder to give the edges a very slight bevel.Scrub the piece really well.

    8. Reinsert more fiber paper (The original fiber paper will come out during all of the cold work).

    9. Place back inside kiln on prepared kiln shelf and fire polish. Fire polishing will give the edges a nice smooth texture.

    There are other ways that can be used to make these necklace bails:

  • Use a mandrel that is coated with bead release.
  • Use thin fire paper instead of fiber paper.
  • Use the grinder with a jewelry bit to make a groove in the glass. Stuff the area with ¼ inch fiber paper. When the top layer is then added, it should lay flat on the bottom piece.
  • Design and create a pattern upside down on the kiln shelf. Arrange the design pieces of glass, then add the fiber paper strip and just a thin strip of clear on top of the fiber paper. You can add a few chips of clear glass to the edges to keep the piece balanced during firing. This will give you a clear channel to mount the piece on a chain, or add it to a necklace.
  • A toothpick or bead mandrel dipped in bead release can be used to make a channel. A toothpick will burn out during the firing process, but the channel will be tiny.

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