Introduction: Faux Gemstones (Fantasy Bling)

Picture of Faux Gemstones (Fantasy Bling)

When I was looking for faux gemstones for costuming, the choices were very limited. The colors were also boring and didn't have any of the natural variations I was looking for. So I made them myself out of a few basic craft materials.

These faux gemstones are intended to look like cabochon stones in whatever setting you desire. They have a sort of medieval flair to them. As such, I have used them in fantasy costuming, like the wizard costumes my family wore to Harry Potter book releases or Halloween costumes. However, they are a flexible embellishment that can be adapted for home decor and jewelry.

I have instructions for other fantasy craft items and examples of items with these gems in them posted on my crafting blog Craftastic World.

I also have a flickr photo group with pictures of these in use, if you need to be inspired. You can join it if you'd like and post your own creations: Faux Gemstones Photo Group

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Picture of Gathering Materials

You will need:
Clear or colored flat glass marbles
Aluminum foil
Permanent markers in colors that you like (I prefer Sharpies)
Polymer clay
Clay tools for your polymer clay
A glass pan (for baking the finished piece)

Step 2: Making It Sparkle

Picture of Making It Sparkle

A shiny backing behind the glass stones creates reflectivity within the faux gem, allowing it to sparkle. Aluminum foil works well to achieve this. You can use either the shiny side or the dull side of the foil to back the glass stone but the shiny side has a better sparkle effect.

Tear off a piece of foil that is more than large enough to cover the bottom of the stone. You can use smooth foil or crinkle it for an interesting effect. I prefer it crinkled because it allows for more variations in color. If you want a crinkled effect, wad it up several times first. Smooth out the foil or, to get really deep creases, press down on the foil to flatten it. This retains the deep creases and prevents the foil from getting holes when it is over-worked.

Step 3: Color

Picture of Color

To add other color elements to colored glass stones or to create a unique color effect out of clear stones, use your permanent markers to color the shiny side of your piece of foil. You should also color the flat back side of the glass stone you are using.

Swirl together different colors and experiment with the results but be warned the different colors will bleed together onto the tip of the markers. (I just ran the bled color out by scribbling it on paper.)

For more variations, dab clean foil against the coloring while it is wet (to blend colors together) or blot it the colored portion with paper to remove heavy color. Another way to create a swirled or varied coloration is to add other colors and patterns in permanent marker on the flat back side of the glass stone. When the foil and stone are put together, youll combine both effects for a unique look. Continue to the next step once the marker is completely dry on both the foil and glass.

Step 4: Backing the Stone

Picture of Backing the Stone

Place the glass marble against the colored side of the aluminum. Cut a circle out of the colored foil that is larger in diameter than the base of the glass stone. I did this by holding the stone against it while cutting around it. Center the stone on the foil and press the overlapping edges up the sides. Press the folds flat against the stone.

Step 5: Making the Setting

Picture of Making the Setting

I won't go into a long treatise here on how to use polymer clay. There are plenty of places online that can provide more comprehensive details on the subject. Polymer clay works very well for making brooches and medallions into which your new sparkling gem can be set.

Create the setting by pressing the stone into a base of unbaked polymer clay and building up the clay around the stone. If you already have an unbaked polymer clay piece that you want to place it on, use that. Otherwise, you can simply make a circular base that's large enough to accommodate the stone. Carefully press the stone and the attached foil onto the base, making sure that the clay conforms well to prevent air voids.

You need to surround the sides with clay in some manner. You can make a rope to encircle it or press down little balls of clay around the stone--anything you can think of. The foil and stone will not stay stuck to the base without something holding them on, like the setting in jewelry. The main goal is to embed the stone in clay well enough so it cannot fall out while you also want to cover the sides of the stone to hide the foil and coloring work.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Embellish the clay piece further, if desired. If you want it sewn on or used as a necklace medallion, make the appropriate holes in the clay prior to baking.

Place on a glass pan and bake your clay piece as instructed on the packaging of the clay. I just use my home oven but I know there are people who worry about clay and marker fumes. So, if you are worried, use an oven dedicated to polymer clay work and ventilate if possible.

Slap that sucker onto a brooch back or use however you'd like.


JackU3 (author)2017-01-12

I bought a bracelet with peridot cabachons in it. I was told the cabachons were "real peridot". After 6 months or so, I noticed the stones looked funny to the naked eye. Using a simple magnifying glass, I saw that it looked like part of the stone was "torn" on the bottom, with some areas the original green, and the other part looked much much paler. Two things. The bracelet was over $500 and I was assured the stones were real peridot. Secondly, I never take the bracelet off, so it "gets a shower" at least once a day. Any ideas as to what is happening? The store insists the gems (cabachons) are real (each is smaller than a pencil eraser in diameter) but have agreed to have the stones replaced, but will not explain why.

Thejesterqueen (author)2015-12-30

What if instead of foil, you paint the bottom with some metallic paint. Like how a mirror is done, or used to be done.

As long as the paint can withstand the heating process of firing the clay around it, that might work.

starforest (author)2015-01-31


CiCi! (author)2013-06-05

Super awesome!!!

dqdenyse (author)2011-10-10

Amazing! Can't wait to create!

htonks (author)2011-09-20

Can you glue this down to the foil? cause i want to use mine for jewelry

Short One (author)2009-06-25

Is there a cheap easy way to attach the foil to the stone without setting it in clay?how would it look if you dipped the whole thing in mod podge?

I haven't tried this but let me make a couple of observations that might help. It seems to me that any air that gets caught between the foil and the back of the stone will be a problem. The foil needs to be sealed onto the stone well because air voids make it easy to tear and ruin the effect. Pressing the stone/foil combo into the clay pushes out the air voids. Having the foil in direct contact with the stone creates a magnification effect which enhances the look of the stone--makes it seem slightly more realistic. If you want to glue to foil to the stone, I think it would probably be a good idea to use a truly clear glue directly between the foil and the glass. This could require some experimentation to see what happens to the coloring when it is in contact with the glue. Water-based glues should have less problems because this ink is alcohol-based. I'm not sure what kind of glue I would recommend but perhaps other crafters can make suggestions. (I thought I'd tell you, I tried a little experiment with super glue on a faux green stone--it made the green blue! So, yeah, I'm thinking water-based.) Other than issues with air voids, I'd worry that that modge podge might cloud the look of the stone if it is used to cover the glass. I know it's supposed to be clear but is it crystal clear? Maybe test some on glass to see what happens to its opacity. That said, I can see that there are probably a lot of uses for faux stones not covered in clay. I use the clay to conceal the back and the sides. However, I've made other projects with these stones by just covering the backs, which can be concealed easily enough if the stones are glued to a flat surface. I've made little button magnets by backing these same stones with tiny pictures. I just glue them straight onto the back of the stones without any problems--as long as the glue is crystal clear. However, when I did that, I only used a circle that fit the flat back of the stone--not curving it up the sides. It works great. Maybe you should make your foil backing as a disk that fits the back of the stone and glue it on that way. The side view of the stone will be clear, rather than colored but it will be much easier to hide the foil backing. To make the backing circle, I used circle hole punches. For smaller stones, I use a 1/4" circle punch. For the bigger stones, I have a 1" circle punch. I hope I didn't ramble on too much. I hope it helps.

Good things to know. I'll let you know my result's when I have a chance to experiment. Thanks! Oh, also...Maybe soldering? just another thought.

Rowen27 (author)Short One2010-05-04

perhaps you could try using some of the faux stained glass paint as both colorant and adhesive?

Rowen27 (author)Rowen272010-05-04

(clarification) I mean the brush on type, and although not as effective as an adhesive, I imagine the spray stuff could be fun as well...

imagigadgets (author)2009-08-30

This has got to be one of the best instructables I have ever seen 200/10! An awesome job!

canida (author)2009-01-15

Those look great! I wonder if hot glue would enable you to make more complex gemstone shapes?

imagigadgets (author)canida2009-08-30

I tried hot glue, and while it did make a more complex shape, it also clouded it, which was actually kinda cool looking!

starshipminivan (author)canida2009-01-18

Ah, hot glue--the staple of the crafting world. I'll have to see what I can do with it. Thanks for the idea!

annaharris (author)2009-08-28

These would make a really nice starting point for sparkly silver snowflakes or lush tree ornaments.

artquilter (author)2009-01-29

Fab idea! Every time I noticed that after wrapping the foil on the glass that my fingers had a little black on them that transferred to the clay. Having a papertowel on hand fixed that. Also, could use foil from chocolate candies (don't ask me how I know that!), some of them are already pretty colors. I made mine into cone shapes, with the 'stone' in the base of the cone, and put a used dull sewing machine needle in the point of the cone, baked it and I have a really cool push pin for the bulletin board.

artquilter (author)artquilter2009-02-23

here's the push pins I made...I haven't used a lot of clay, so I'm just a beginner here.

Those turned out really neat! The clay is kind of fun to play with.

I didn't think of candies as a source of foil. Good idea! Maybe floral foil will work too. I keep looking for more places to put these. I thought of pushpins by forming the clay around a tack but it's not nearly long enough. I like your idea for that though.

dwhp (author)2009-02-22

cool!5 star and favorites!

rimar2000 (author)2009-01-16

starshipminivan, accidentally yesterday I discover a cheap, easy and fast way to create little blinks. Buy a spray aluminum paint (good), paint a polythene bag and let it dry well. Then squeeze it or scrape it with a knife, and you will get thousands of tiny bright scales. The same you can do with gold paint.

I finally took a picture of the little faux topaz I made with little glints of gold inside from your idea. It's here: faupaz. Thanks again!

I had a go with this and slipping in some of these scales between the glass and the foil really set off a faux topaz nicely. Thanks for the idea!

Charleyy (author)2009-01-31

I certainly will be trying this out. It's so simple and easy!

kathynv (author)2009-01-24

One way of making faceted gems is very easy, but you will have to glue them into the polymer clay settings after it is baked. Simply use something called UTEE, aka Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. You melt this stuff and drop it into a mold, and there are molds specifically made to look like faceted gemstones. Enough UTEE for about a hundred gemstones will set you back ten bucks or so, and the mold is another five. UTEE comes in clear, which can be colored, but it also comes in a range of gorgeous gem colors, too. It is quite versatile and pretty fun to work with as well. Thanks for the very fun Instructable. I love working with those little glass pebbles, because they are inexpensive and versatile. I like to work with kids, and your Instructable can be another way to let their imaginations run wild. Thanks again.

eridyn (author)2009-01-20

The stone set into a ring I made years ago was lost a while ago... I believe you've just answered my question on how to make a passable fake stone to replace it.

wobblestar (author)2009-01-16

These are "cabochon" gemstones! Nice work

Oh thanks so much for that! I didn't know the terminology for the style.

capricorn (author)2009-01-16

Being on instructables is to be reminded that the solution to your problem is simple, logic and has been sitting under your nose for about a decade You rule mate :)

foobear (author)2009-01-15

so simple, so awesome!

ChrysN (author)2009-01-15

Ooh shiny, those look really nice!

CarpetGnome (author)2009-01-15

Very well done. I like coloring the aluminum foil idea, I tried taking a sharpie to the glass, it did not turn out well after handling. Great job!

About This Instructable



Bio: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I ... More »
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