Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Layered Acrylic Chain Link Necklace

The studio, this is where the magic happens. And by magic, I mean a lot of hard work!

I start by ripping pages out of great art and fashion magazines, and select the most dynamic images to create the necklace. I then go through all the images, comparing them with the templates of the necklaces link shapes and cut the images into small link sized sections.

I also cut down large sheets of acrylic into small link sized sections so I can layer them with the imagery that I collected.

This is my scroll saw where I do all of the cutting and shape my work.

I always wear a respirator and protective eye wear so that all the acrylic dust particles created while cutting and sanding the acrylic don’t blind me or clog my lungs.

This is my studio assistant George.

Once I cut the acrylic sheet down, I organize all the little link sections into stacks in preparation to layer them with the magazine images. Each necklace has 24 links, each section of acrylic has masking on it to prevent scratching. I have to remove the masking from the side of the acrylic that I plan to bond with the magazine images. I also have to hit the unmasked sides of the acrylic sections with sand paper so that it adheres better to the paper.

I use a top secret resin to bond the layers together.

I found some pretty awesome images for this necklace!

Now I have the sections layered, it’s time to get ready to cut out the links.

So many links to cut.

Cutting acrylic is kind of a pain in the ass. The acrylic saw dust created during cutting can end up melting in the cut line because of the heat caused by the fast moving saw blade. To help prevent this I put a layer or two of masking tape on the back sides of the link sections, and attach a printed paper template on the front side so I can follow the lines while cutting. The masking tape and template help to create a bit of dust that doesn’t melt.

Now I am finally ready to cut them out! After each link is cut, I use a disc sander to refine the shape of each link.

But wait, we’re not done yet…

Each and every one of these links needs to be sanded and polished.

Sanding takes forever, not my favorite part…

I sand all 24 links with two grits of sandpaper before I can polish them.

On the right you can see the rough edge that the disc sander leaves behind. The link on the left shows the smooth finish after the second grit of sand paper it used.

Now I’m ready to polish the links so that the edges are clear as glass.

Polishing is a very messy process, I have to wash polishing compound residue off all the links (omg, am I done yet!)

I wasn’t lying when I said polishing was messy, look at all the residue left behind on my face! That’s why I wear all that gear when I work, and I still get covered…

Now that the links are all clean and shiny, I pop them together, and voila! a finished necklace =)

Behold, the layered acrylic chain link necklace.

Colorful Layered acrylic Chain Link Necklace.

Link detail.

Black and White Layered acrylic Chain Link Necklace.

5 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Layered Acrylic Chain Link Necklace

  1. Linda Jacobson says:

    Your results are magical! Some of the most interesting jewelry I’ve ever seen in fact….very inventive! Thanks for sharing your process because it makes viewing the results that much more intriguing.

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