Project for the Holidays – Chip Inlay

Haven’t posted in a while. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is on Facebook. So, I’m back – after experimenting with chip inlay – with a free project for the holidays.

First, here are some photos of inlay pieces I’ve made:









These pairs of earrings were inspired by the look of the concrete in my back yard.


If you haven’t made chip inlay before, the following project will make it easy for you.


1. Find an actual rock that you like and make a mold out of it.

2. Press clay into the mold, and release it (for color I used Dark Champagne Bronze).

3. With the head of a stylus, mark a groove along the rock.


4. Dry the rock. You can deepen the groove with a ball-head diamond burr.


5. To make the rock look more authentic, I sprinkled some Low-shrinkage Steel XT and Friendly Copper on it, in powder form.


6. Spray the rock with water to make the powder stick. Then dry again.


7. Add a bail on the back of the rock.


8. Fire the rock:
Ramp at full speed to 1000F (for brick kilns) or 1100F (for muffle kilns)
Hold one hour (the rock is solid and a lot of binder needs to be burned)
Ramp at full speed to 1720F (brick) or 1770F (muffle)
Hold two hours.

I find that this schedule works better than slow ramping and it does not take longer. You can program your kiln to do it all in one phase.


9. After cleaning the rock it is ready for inlay. You don’t need to shop for crushed stones. Get some Turquoise beads and crush them with a mortar and pestle or put them on a plastic bag and hammer them against an anvil. Only a very small amount is required. Some chips will be bigger than others and you’ll get some powder that can serve as a space filler.


10. Fill the groove with chips. Make sure to work over a Teflon sheet (the only thing the glue doesn’t stick to). Use tweezers to move the chips around.


11. The glue that I find best for this purpose is CA glue (Cyanoacrylate). It comes in a few grades. Thin or super thin works best since they run like water and are invisible and strong. They are available from hobby and woodworking shops, and online, of course. Be sure to wear gloves and a respirator!

One drop of glue should be enough. A needle dropper will prevent it from spilling outside the groove. Tilt the Teflon paper to help the drop run along the groove. This glue dries within seconds, but I would wait five minutes before touching it.


Have fun, and happy holidays!

21 Responses to “Project for the Holidays – Chip Inlay”

  • Melanie Curry Says:

    I LOVE this project! It’s giving me all sorts of ideas. Thanks Hadar and Happy Holidays!

  • Diane Sommers Says:

    Right up my alley. Love this. Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  • Diane Sommers Says:

    Right up my alley. Love this. Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  • Marlynda Taylor Says:

    These are exquisite, Hadar. I think your imagination is limitless. Thank you for these possibilities.

  • Elena Says:

    Beautiful – thank you, Hadar!

    A quick question:
    Should the metal be sealed before or after applying the inlay? I usually seal my base metal projects with PYM II. Hopefully it will not react with the glue…

  • christine sekino Says:

    You are an inspiration!

  • MargaretWells Says:

    I am ready to get into the grove. I hammered my beads in a thin flour sack towel so that I wouldn’t loose any pieces. I love this project and the look is so cool!

    Thank you Hadar

  • Kathryn Doll Says:

    This is so unique and beautiful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and creativity!

  • Sheila Says:

    Dear Hadar,
    What a wonderfully unique & fun project! I love it! Thank you so much!

  • Silvie Waals Says:

    I’m sure going to try to make this one. Thanks Hadar. It looks really cool.

  • Charlotte Tyler Says:

    These are very exciting. I love your experiments and playfulness.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Elena, After the glue hardens it is not reactive anymore. I would seal after.

  • Suzyn Gunther Says:

    Thanks, Hadar! This is a great idea. And you are a lovely person for sharing. I really enjoyed your class in Chicago a few years back. I just ordered my glue on Amazon and probably paid too much, but I’m lazy 🙂 I’m going to get my hammer out and start smashing. I have lots of ideas running through my mind!

  • Dawn Lawrence Floen Says:

    Love the inspiration of the sidewalk groove! Thanks for another creative tutorial, Hadar!

  • Nancyrose Green Says:

    This is a great idea! I’ve been saving those expensive broken little apetite beads that have such small holes that most of them break. What a great project to use them for! Thanks Hadar. Happy Holidays everyone!

  • Nicole Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks so much, Hadar…at least a few people on my list will be getting inlaid rocks for the holidays. 🙂

    Question………..I’m a little confused as to whether you apply the glue before or after setting the chips in the crack. I assume, before, but I notice that you talk about the glue in your last step, so I wanted to make sure.

  • Vivien Bowling Says:

    I love your blogs! I totally envy your ability to play and come up with these wonderfully creative ideas, often very simple but so inspiring for that. I just want to run off and play too – stuff the washing up and the shopping!

  • Jenny Says:

    Beautiful work, thank you so much for Sharing.

  • Jamie Conner Says:

    I just love your work. Right now, I’m pretty homebound, but would take your class in a heartbeat if I could get out!! I’m planning a new collection to be introduced in January inspired by your lovely work! And this project sounds like something I can’t wait to get my fingers messy creating and experimenting, so thanks again for your wonderful inspiration and generous spirit!!

    Happy holidays to you, Hadar!!

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Nicole, I apply the glue after I set the chips.

  • Nicole Says:

    Good to know…….thanks very much, Hadar!

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