Art Jewelry Magazine Acrylic Challenge

I have been totally stressed. There are so many things going on. That is part of the reason that I haven’t been posting lately. There hasn’t been time to do the things I need to, not to mention all the new things that have just cropped up. Oh, we are moving, by the way. Where? UTAH! I am very nervous about this. I swore I would never return to Utah. I LOVE living away from Utah. I have been enjoying my adventures living in the DC area, Ohio and now Washington along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. The timing is good though. As you might remember, my dad’s health hasn’t been doing well and this will be good for us to be close to them to be able to help out. The job seems to be a MUCH better fit for my husband. Sadly, the housing market is a HOT market, prices and interest rates are on the rise and the houses are snapped up almost as soon as they are listed, for asking price or higher. *Sigh* Let the search for the new studio begin. Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

Acrylic Challenge

About a month ago, I was informed that I had been selected by Art Jewelry Magazine to participate in a challenge using acrylic in a piece of jewelry. There were five readers and three of their editors participating in the challenge. They sent me three pieces of transparent acrylic, green, red and blue (I was really hoping I would be one of the lucky ones to get a slice of purple, but alas, I was not.)

The challenge won’t be appearing in the magazine, but it will be in their early December Newsletter (I think). So if you get that, be sure to keep your eyes open for it. I am really excited to see what some of the other artists come up with.
I have been thinking about this project really hard since I found out I had been among those selected for this challenge. It seems that my creativity has been taking a very long vacation. It has been really frustrating and quite discouraging. When I try to make something in the studio, the ideas are just not there. Then when I try to work through it anyway, I find that I am not at all pleased with the results and things look very amateurish and not up to my old standards.
Thursday night I was down to the wire. I needed to have the piece(s) sent off no later than Saturday in order for them to arrive to the magazine by their deadline. I have worked with acrylic before, but nothing seemed to be coming to me. I was literally in the phase of where I wanted to just throw up. I went to bed somewhat defeated, but determined that it would all come together on Friday after I took the baby to the sitter and got the girls off to school.
I sat looking at the pieces of acrylic that I had formed. I sat there for a good 2 hours just trying to come up with some settings for them, and of course I said a lot of prayers too. I had already done the prep work of sawing, shaping, forming and polishing. So it was just a matter of coming up with a way to set and secure the pieces and I was totally at a loss….. and then an idea came to me…. and then the next step…. and then the next. And by the afternoon and several mishaps and extra filing and polishing, I was done! I am very pleased with how these turned out.
I am sure the intent was for us to use multiple pieces of acrylic in one piece, and perhaps not. I am sad that I didn’t get the red piece used, but I do have a couple of ideas for that one now, and will do those soon…. I hope.


This is what I started with…. obviously I had more green. I just forgot to take a picture of them before I got started.
I started by forming the acrylic
Then added the tube set CZ in sterling. It turned out so pretty and feminine. I wish I could have done a better job with the photography.
This is a shot from the side to show you the puffed form.
The blue is a beautiful transparent cobalt. Again, I have formed this so that it is not just a flat piece of acrylic.
There is a swirl that is embossed in the center. You can also see a little of the wave shape.

From the side to show more of the depth to the piece. I LOVE this color.

From the other side to show a little more of the setting.
It was such an honor to be chosen for the challenge. What a great opportunity it was to participate. I am very excited to see what the others have done with their pieces of acrylic.

29 thoughts on “Art Jewelry Magazine Acrylic Challenge

  1. Heather Lewis

    Hi Melissa,
    I remember reading about that challenge. I adore both of those pieces and can,t wait to see what you do with the red piece. I’m really curious how you managed to give the acrylic the puffed/domed shape and how on earth did you get that swirl on the blue one? Did you use the press? And didn’t you have to heat the acrylic first? If so how did you heat it?

    So sorry to hear that your dads still not well and that you all are facing another move so soon. I’ll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Hope you can find a great place and that things won’t be too hard on you. Try not to be to hard on yourself about the creativity block. Sometimes life just gets in the way. You are so talented just cut yourself some slack and know that when life gets back to normal you’ll be producing like a mad woman lol. Hang in there. Thank you so much for all your great posts and helpful insight into this art form .


  2. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Heather. I appreciate that. I know the move will be a good one. They all have been good ones. Hopefully this will work out better than I hope. 

    I did heat the acrylic in my little toaster oven. I made sure there were no apples in there first. As far as forming them I just recently (like last weekend) got some neat metal molds for forming metal. And I decided to give it a shot with the acrylic. I had to do it a few times to get it just right, but it worked in the end. 
    Thanks again! 
  3. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Brad. I know. I love holding these things. I love the way they polished up. But dang there was an awful lot of sanding first. You should have seen me. I was covered in colored dust.  

  4. Lisa W.

    Hi Melissa,

    These are beautiful! I would love to hear about the molds you used for these, how you used them, and what other uses these molds can be put to. I would also like to hear about the sanding process, what grits, what machines and/or hand tools you used. You got a beautiful polish on them!

    I think they will be proud to use your pieces.

  5. Dawn Horner

    Thank you for your honest sharing about how unflattering the creative process can be 🙂 Also for speaking to the stresses of business and life here at the end of the year. It’s good to hear the real life behind the blog and know we’re all similar. But your pieces turned out great, in spite of it all ! Congratulations for getting to participate in that!

  6. Cory

    Melissa, these are just precious!! I’m glad your inspiration came back in the end and you were happy with what you made. Challenges are such a great way to “push” us and many times the results are just amazing. The blue swirl is so feminine and I love the ball ends on the wire, great touch! The color that came out on the green is beautiful too!

  7. Tara Hutchinson


    I love the blue one – it has so much movement in it. Really, really pretty. I like how you set all of your gemstones; they are all so light and airy.

    Art Jewelry will be impressed. I look forward to reading about it in the newsletter!


  8. Dale Hoffman

    Boy you do keep getting with that train 🙂 But I bet you find that perfect home you’ve been looking for with just the right studio. The pieces are just beautiful.

  9. Lori Coffelt

    Your pieces are beautiful. I have never worked with acrylic before and wouldn’t have an inkling of an idea for the project. So kudos to you.
    Maybe someday you could do a post or better yet a tutorial on how you did one of these pieces from start to finish. Thanks in advance if you do.

  10. Denise

    These are beautiful! What advise would you give for care for acrylic pieces like these? I imagine sunshine cloths would be ok to keep silver sparkling, but what about the acrylic? Thank you again for your posts. I always get excited when I see them in my inbox.

  11. Lucia Tremont


    Your pieces are beautiful!

    Hard to move, but good that you will be close to your dad. Keep praying. Lucia

  12. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Cory. I was really excited for the challenge because I knew it would do exactly that, push me a bit. 

  13. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Becky. The purging begins today, even though the move won’t happen until the spring at the earliest.

  14. Melissa Muir

    Thank you Denise. You know, I am still not certain as to the care and keeping of the acrylic. I have a couple of pieces that I have made in the past, but I haven’t worn them a ton so as to know the care and keeping of the acrylic. The acrylic takes a special kind of polish. But I would think that the necklaces wouldn’t get TOO much ware. But you never know. 

  15. Terry Brake

    Yes!! nice work…I would want both of them. Forming the acrylic, did not consider that, but way back in KSU, did do just that for mounting enamels… woo hooo! you did very well!

  16. Jodie Pastor

    The blue one is gorgeous! Melissa, I can’t find your email address. Please email me? I’d love to catch up!! Jodie


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