Domino Pendants

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As I mentioned earlier - recycling and jewelry really can be friends. Best friends, even :)
After a bit of research, I stumbled upon the underground practice of domino pendant making. It seems to be very popular with stamp artists. The general idea is to take an old domino, paint/dye a base or background, and then stamp on a fun image, adding additional color with ink, paint or chalk. There are some really beautiful domino pendant ideas out there. My favorite website is She sells domino stamps, as well as some really beautiful molds (for resin or clay beads etc) however, her guide to making your own domino pendants is fantastic.

For my purposes, I dug out an old domino set that we weren't using (I suppose you could buy dominoes, but my goal is to recycle)

Before you even begin designing your domino bead/pendant, you need to consider how you are going to string it - will you drill a hole, or epoxy on a bail? This will affect what kind of design will look best. And who doesn't LOVE power tools?! So, I have decided to drill some holes with my dad's drill and a small drill bit. I was nervous about this whole process, but there is no need to be.
  • Just like in home-ec... measure twice, cut once kind of deal. Or you know... estimate. Mark where you want the holes with a small sharpie or a pencil. If you are making a connector bead out of the domino - with two holes - you really should measure twice though, to make sure the holes line up.
  • Use the edge of a table to clamp your domino so it doesn't move while you're drilling. I used a thin piece of cardboard between the domino and clamp to prevent scratching or any other not-to-nice markage. You don't have to go all superman tight on the clamp, just check that the domino can't move on you.
  • If you had to change the bit, make sure it's snug in the chuck - you don't want that baby wobbling around
  • Line up the end of the bit with your mark, and start slow and steady. Remember to let the drill do most of the work. It takes a bit more pressure when you start drilling to keep it straight, and in the right place, but once you've got it started, it should be smooth sailing.

It's a little challenging to keep the bit lined up with the little dot I marked to make centered holes. I suspect this will get better with practice. I had to dig up an old clamp (the nicer ones were being used) but I have seen methods of taping a row of dominoes to a sheet of foam, placed on top of a scrap piece of wood and then drilling. Clamping and re-clamping is annoying, so I may try that. Anyways, try drilling holes in different place - in the corner, so the domino hangs on an angle, or two holes on either side to make a sort of connector bead. You could also drill several holes along the edges and then wrap with fun craft wire (or recycled electric wire!)

The next step is to clean your domino - you want all your beautiful designs to stick, don't you? Even if you've purchased brand-new dominoes, they can still have residue from the factory, or collected some oils from being handled. There are plenty of cleaning products out there... but, hey, rubbing alcohol is cheap, and works just as well.

Alllllright. So now you are ready to add your designs. Here is where it gets really fun. There are literally tons of options.

I know that using stamps is a very popular method for making domino pendants, and I am a big fan of how they come out. However, something about them feels... unorriginal to me. Maybe it's my art student big ideas or something, but I keep thinking to myself, I should be creating my own unique images. However, if stamping is your thing (Which I not only respect but admire) use permanent inks or embossing powder with your stamps.

Free-Hand Designing
So... you want to go ahead and create your own design. Great. Narrow sharpies work well... but it is still tricky getting the fine lines that you see in stamped designs. There may be smaller markers out there, but I haven't seen any. Pencil will work as well - try drawing your design out in lead and then adding sharpie in just enough places to give it value and solidity.

Image Transfer
Another technique, if you have a hard time drawing such tiny pictures, is to print out a resized/reformated image on an inkjet printer, and then transfer the picture to the domino using nailpolish remover. It's important that the nailpolish remover has acetone in it. Simply cut out the image, lay it face down on the domino, damped a cotton ball with acetone/nailpolish remover (not too much!) and wipe it on the back of the image. Bear in mind that anything you transfer will be in reverse. You can edit your artwork or designs on photoshop. Don't have photoshop? Me either! I use GIMP a freesoftware program that does the same stuff... but for FREE!

Acrylic Paints
As an art student... and an artist... I have lots of acrylic paints anyways. So, I figured, why not? A few suggestions when working with acrylic. You may want to apply a thin coat of gesso first. Paint in thin layers, allowing the paint to dry completely between applications. If it's still wet, some layers will smudge/lift from the smooth plastic-y surface of the domino. Try marbling and texturing techniques! Use a matte or shiny varnish to seal the mini painting, and then coat with modge-podge or whatever other sealer you're using for the rest of your pendants.

There are more techniques, which I plan on working with ASAP: Alcohol Inks, Embossing Powder, Gold Leafing

Supply List:
  • Dominoes - prefereably used, but you can also order pre-drilled dominoes, in various sizes
  • Drill with small bit
  • Bails
  • Waterproof/Water resistant epoxy (Someone recommended E-6000 glue - I'll check it out)
  • Stuff to make 'em pretty: inks, dyes, paints, embowing powers, glitter etc
  • Sealer - Kimberly Krick ( has samples from various sealers and recommends modge-podge