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Topics: Metal Clay, Design, Firing

Q.
I want to make a bracelet that is not a bangle but one that doesn't touch each side. What can I use to mold and fire on?
- Melissa
A.
Determine the size of the bracelet you want and factor in shrinkage during firing to ensure a good fit after firing. Art-Clay® shrinks an average of 8-10% and PMC® shrinks an average of 10-12%.

Translate the determined size onto the appropriate spot on a bracelet mandrel (most bracelet mandrels are not marked by size like a ring mandrel) and tape a piece of Teflon® sheet at the spot while it dries. You could also look around your house for a suitable form, such as a large light bulb, plastic soda bottle or other large enough item.

Note: Aluminum is not a good form to use since there is a chemical reaction between the clay and the aluminum that will not translate well in firing--as in, your piece will be ruined.

Once the design is complete, determine if the bracelet can lay on its side. If so, can it lie flat on a kiln shelf or does it have too much detail and needs to rest on a fiber blanket or a bed of vermiculite?

Note: It is advisable to wear a dust mask when working with vermiculite.

Fill the opening of the bracelet with either a section of fiber blanket or dome the vermiculite inside the opening to help maintain the shape.

Note: It is advisable to wear a dust mask when pulling apart fiber blanket.

If the bracelet needs to remain vertical and you have a kiln with a large enough interior space, consider filling a kiln-proof (like an unglazed terra cotta pot) container with either fiber blanket or vermiculite and place the bracelet in accordingly so it is supported during firing.

- Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator

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children 14 years of age or younger should use these products with adult direction.

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