Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons, Stones. . If you are like me, you have a TON of beads.
Making Cobblestone Cabochons
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Stones
  • Technique(s): General Education
  • Skill Level: Beginner
If you are like me, you have a TON of beads. I love the little square beads, but what can you do with them besides stringing them in some manner. SOLUTION! A little bit of glue and UV resin and you will have one-of-a-kind cabochons!

Materials

4mm x 4mm square beads
  • Lesson Quantity: 12.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 12.00 each
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Tools

UV Resin
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Flex Shaft System, 1/4 Horsepower Motor
HDP-150.00
  • HDP-150.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $123.97
  • Gold Club Price: $92.98
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Unmounted Silicone Polisher, Square-Edge, White, Coarse Grit, 12 Pack
POL-300.10
  • POL-300.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $6.97
  • Gold Club Price: $5.23
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the directions before starting the project.

Collect and divide 4x4mm beads into colorways. Even random broken rectangle beads can be used-or break a few in half if they are the color needed.
Select the beads to be used in the cabochon. If several cabochons and/or sets are made at once, an easy way to work with them is to place each set of beads on quarter sections of index cards. Place the beads so the side facing up will be the side seen in the finished cabochon.
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 2
To assemble the cabochons, work with one set of beads at a time. Place a small amount of e-6000 glue on a scrap piece of paper. Separate the beads into rows. Use a toothpick to place a small amount of glue between each the beads in each row. Try not to use so much glue that it squishes out the top, but still enough to hold the beads together. If this happens, leave it alone. It can be more easily removed when dry than when still tacky.
Place glue between each row and gently push the rows together. Notice the glue squishing out between a few of the beads. It can be pulled off after the resin backing is applied and the glue completely set in a day or two. Line all the beads up as deired, trying to keep the cabochon a square as possible. . These beads are not calibrated, so are not all exactly the same size. Do not worry about that, but push the beads tightly together, squaring up the pieces as much as possible.
Since all the beads are likely not the same thickness as in the photo on the left, it is necessary to make the tops of the cabochon beads flush with each other. Place the cabochon right side down onto a stiff surface, here an index card, and push all beads down so the top of each bead is flush with the table surface. Carefully check both sides of the cabochon, realigning the beads and pushing them together as needed. Finally place it top down on the card. Let the glue set at least overnight, 2 days is better, before the next step. Hint: Carefully move the cabochon around a bit to make sure it does not become glued to the card. Notice the hole in the pink bead on the right? This was a third hole in the bead, so it would not have been usable in most bead projects. Perfect for the cab because the extra hole is on the bottom!
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 3
To help stabilize the cabochon further, place a drop of UV resin on the back of each cab. Spread it around with a toothpick to fill in the crevices. If there are large gaps between the beads the resin will flow between them, which is undesireable. Use several very thin layers of UV resin in this case.
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 4
Transfer the card with the cabochons to a UV light source, or set in the sun. The UV resin will cure within 10 minutes or so as it is so thin. After removal from the light source, if any resin ran between the beads to the front of the cabochon, use baby wipes or an alcohol soaked pad to remove it before it has a chance to set (light could not penetrate the beads, so the resin did not cure on the front of the cab.).
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 5
It is time to square up the edges of the cabochon. Dust and small bead shards will be flying everywhere so it is IMPERATIVE that safety glasses and a dust mask be worn during this process.

If needed, mark the cabochon OUTSIDE the finished size. Use a soft lead pencil to draw the desired size/shape of the finished cobblestone cabochon. Do not use a permanent marker on the stones. It was only used here so the lines would show up in photos. Permanent marker may be impossible to remove, even with alcohol.
The three cabochons on the bottom have been ground down as far as needed. The upper six have yet to be finished. This photo gives an idea of all the ways that square edged beads can be connected to make cabochons.
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 6
Use a coarse square edge polishing wheel to grind the edge of the cabochon down to the desired size. Hint: This process produces a lot of dust, so do the grinding in the garage or outdoors on a calm day to avoid having to clean up indoors.
Use a muslin buffing wheel to shine the beads back up.
Pro Tip: When I come up with an idea on how to use gemstones, designs just seem to keep popping up in my brain. I number each design, then place a piece of painters tape on the back of each cab with a corresponding number. Since I tend to work in "batches" I like to keep all the supplies, also numbered, for each design separated in trays. I make all the bezels, then cut the all the backplates before soldering again. It is like assembly line construction, only each jewelry piece is usually different. Carol Erickson, my proof reader, read on a jewelry blog about using ice cube trays to keep components separated. Great idea!
Judy Larson's Making Cobblestone Cabochons - , Stones, , cobblestone cabs
Step 7