Monday, September 3, 2012

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Cabochon Mandrel

By on Monday, September 03, 2012 2 Comments

Guest Tutorial by Judy Larson
It is tricky to make wire wrapped cabochons as there are at least 3 wires to be grouped together and curved around the gemstones. Many accomplished artisans make them beautifully through sheer practice.  But you could also make it easier on yourself if you used a wire wrapping mandrel.

I bought an excellent metal set from Bezelform some years ago.  It comes in different shapes and sizes which helps me form wire around standard size cabochons.  However, if you are a starving artist and can't afford to buy or have irregular cabochons, then Judy's clever mandrel tutorial is for you!

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.  Judy explained, " Years ago, I found that mandrels were the best way to form the wires for cabochons. I was not about to invest tons of money in something I would not use that often so I made my own with polymer clay. "

The mandrel created is much thicker and flat unlike the thin curved edge of the cabochon. So there is more room to wrap the bundled wires around. The disadvantage is you cannot hammer to work harden as you can with metal mandrels. But you can always work harden by tumbling after the pendant is finished, assuming the process is okay for the type of gemstone.

Judy does not sell jewelry nor has a website. But she does give free jewelry making lessons locally and has graciously allowed me to share her PDFs originally written for her students. Read more about Judy here.

Judy's Past Tutorials:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. I've been making jewelry a long time; however, I haven't the slightest idea of what to use this bezelform for. I'm completely clueless of why I would want to make a bezelform; this or any other. I make bezels all the time; very time consuming and frustrating if it melts. I would have been nice to have a little more instruction.

  2. If you already are an experienced wire worker and can do cabochon pendants then you don't need a bezel form. This is for people who struggle with trying to bend the groups of wire around the cabochon.