Multi-Strand Necklace with Art Clay® Silver and Sterling Silver Chain

Geometric shapes are always in fashion--this season it's circles, circles, circles and feminine curves. Art Clay® works great no matter the shape--so when trends change, all you have to do is change the shape of the elements found in this multi-strand necklace.

Creating the Silver Elements

STEP 1
On a sheet of cardstock, draw a curvy shape, about 2-1/2 inches tall and 1-1/2 inches at the widest point. Cut out the shape which will be used as a template for the pendant; set aside.
STEP 2
Set up your work area and gather all supplies so they are close at hand (once you open the clay, it begins to dry so you want to optimize the working-time). To prevent the clay from sticking to your tools and hands, lightly oil your work surface, the acrylic rod, a texture plate, the plastic template and your hands. Remove one lump of clay from packaging; compress the clay in your fingers for about 30 seconds.
STEP 3
Place the lump of clay onto the oiled area of your work surface. Place a stack of cards three-cards high, on either side of the clay (the cards will maintain an even thickness in the clay as you roll it out). Using the acrylic rod, roll across the surface of the clay. Lift the clay off of the work surface, flip it around and over, then place it back onto the work surface and roll the rod across the surface of the clay again. Continue rotating the clay and rolling it out until the thickness of the clay equals that of the stack of cards or cardstock.
STEP 4
Place the 2-card stacks on opposite sides of the oiled texture sheet. Place the rolled out clay onto the texture sheet, between the card stacks. Roll across the surface of the clay, pressing it against the texture sheet. Carefully remove the textured clay from the texture sheet and place the clay, texture side up, onto a non-stick square.
STEP 5
Place the curvy template (made in Step 1) onto the surface of the clay. Using a craft knife, carefully cut along the template. Remove the template and carefully remove the excess clay from around the cut-out design.

Using a fine knitting needle, start a hole near the top of the shape, which will be used to suspend your pendant later and place a hole near the bottom, which will be used to join two curvy shapes together--do not put these holes too close to the edges--when the clay is fired, it will shrink and make the holes even closer to the edge, which could lead to a weak connection. Carefully set the non-stick surface aside, with the clay still in place, so the clay can dry thoroughly.
STEP 6
Repeat Steps 3 - 4. Flip the curvy template over (so it mirrors the one you cut out in Step 5) and place it onto the surface of the textured clay. Using a craft knife, carefully cut along the template. Remove the template and carefully remove the excess clay from around the cut out design. Using a fine knitting needle, start a hole near the top of the shape and at the bottom, mirroring the holes made in the first curvy piece. Carefully set the non-stick surface aside, with the clay still in place, so the clay can dry thoroughly.
STEP 7
Repeat Steps 3 - 4. Place the oiled circle template onto the surface of the clay. Using a craft knife, carefully cut along the template. Remove the template and carefully remove the excess clay from around the cut out design. Using a fine knitting needle, start a hole near the top of the shape, which will be used to suspend your pendant later--do not put this hole to close to the edge--when the clay is fired, it will shrink and make the hole even closer to the edge which will lead to a weak connection. Carefully set the non-stick surface aside, with the clay still in place, so the clay can dry thoroughly.
STEP 8
Repeat Step 7 to create multiple circle cutouts, varying the size so you have a nice assortment.
STEP 9
Choose one of the larger circles cut out in Step 8. Position a smaller circle from the circle template on top, off center. Cut out the smaller circle. Place a hole in the smaller circle cut out and set both circles aside to dry. Repeat to make several.
STEP 10
Select two circles with cutouts made in Step 9 that match in size. In addition to the hole made at the top, make 3 holes along the opposite side; the three holes will be used as a multi-strand connector to attach multiple layers of chains later.
STEP 11
Once all of the cutouts have dried thoroughly, they need to be refined. Gently rub a salon board along all the outside edges until they are smooth and no rough edges remain. Use the needle files to refine the holes and openings. Dust off all loose particles using a soft paintbrush--if you leave any particles they will fire in place.
STEP 12
Fire the pieces.

Firing with a kiln:
Place the dried, refined pieces onto a kiln shelf. Place the kiln shelf into the kiln; fire at 1472 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let the kiln return to room temperature.

Firing with a torch:
Clear your work area of any combustible material. Place a dried, refined piece onto a fire brick. Dim the lights if possible. Ignite the torch, hold at a 45 degree angle, about 2 inches above the piece, and begin to heat the piece, working in a circular motion so you heat the piece evenly. As the piece heats up, the binder will begin to burn off; you will see a small flame and smoke which will fade quickly. Continue to heat the piece until it changes to a salmon color. Hold the entire piece at this color for at least two minutes; if you start to see the piece turn shiny (indicating the metal is melting), pull the torch back but continue to heat the piece, holding it at the salmon color. Let piece cool to room temperature.
STEP 13
Once pieces are cooled to room temperature, the surface needs to be burnished. Place one piece onto a rubber block (used to lift the piece off of your work surface) and begin to brush across the surface with the fine steel wire brush; continue brushing until you've brushed the entire surface, revealing a bright and shiny silver.

You can further burnish the silver pieces with an agate burnisher followed by Wenol® silver polish--the brightness of the finish is up to you.

Creating the Finished Elements

STEP 14
Cut two 1-inch sections of 20-gauge wire. Place one end of the wire into the round-nose pliers, about 1/4 inch down the barrels and, so no wire is peaking out. Rotate your wrist away from your body to form a small loop. Repeat on the other end of the wire so the loops face opposite directions, like an ''S.''

Repeat to create eight small S-links.
STEP 15
You can use a purchased clasp or make an S-hook clasp yourself. To make your own clasp: cut a 3-1/4 inch length of 14-gauge wire; blunt cut both ends. Hammer 1/4 inch on each end to flatten the wire slightly. Grasp one end of the wire in the round-nose pliers, about 1/4 inch down the barrels. Rotate your wrist away from you to form a small loop. Repeat on the other end of the wire so the small loops face in opposite directions.
Place the wire into the round-nose pliers, so one small loop is resting on top of one barrel and is facing toward you, positioned at the widest part of the barrels. Rotate your wrist away from you to form a large loop; the wire should look like a shepherd's hook. Repeat on the other half of the wire so the shape resembles and ''S.'' This ''S'' will work as your clasp.
STEP 16
Cut a 5-inch length of 3mm chain.
STEP 17
Thread a 6mm Swarovski crystal light amethyst cube and a sterling silver 3mm bead onto a headpin. Begin a wrapped loop. Before completing the wrap, slip the loop onto the second link of the 5-inch length of chain; complete the wrap. Repeat adding Swarovski crystal light amethyst cubes down the length of chain in a random pattern.
STEP 18
Using two chain-nose pliers, open a jumpring. Place a silver circle onto the open jumpring then thread the jumpring through a link in the 5-inch length chain; close the jumpring. Repeat adding circles down the length of chain in a random pattern. Set aside.
STEP 19
Cut 1 inch of 3mm chain. Place a Swarovski crystal 4mm amethyst AB cube onto a headpin. Begin a wrapped loop; before closing, add the loop to the last link on one end of the 1-inch length of chain; complete the wrap. Repeat adding a Swarovski crystal 4mm amethyst AB cube to the second link and the third link. Repeat adding a Swarovski crystal 6mm crystal vitrail medium round crystal to the first and fourth links. Repeat adding a Swarovski crystal 6mm tanzanite to the second and third links. Repeat adding a Swarovski crystal 6mm light amethyst cube to the last link of the chain so it rest below the other crystals.
STEP 20
Cut 14 inches of the 5.7mm chain. Using two chain-nose pliers, open one jumpring. Slip on the holes in the top of the curvy shapes, the last link in the 1-inch length of chain (so the crystals hang through the opening the two curvy halves create) and the center link of the 14-inch length of 5.7mm chain; close the jumpring.
STEP 21
Open a jumpring and it slip through the holes in the bottom of the curvy shapes; close the jumpring.

Assembling the Components

STEP 22
Cut two 7-1/2 inch lengths of 5.7mm link chain.
STEP 23
Open one loop on a small S-hook made in Step 15, opening the loop up--not out to the side, and slip on the last link on one end of one length of chain. Open the other loop on the same small S-hook and slip on the top loop of one circle made in Step 10. Repeat, using the other small S-hook, the other length of chain and the other circle made in Step 10.

Slip the last link on the other end of one length of chain onto one half of the large S-clasp made in Step 16; repeat for the other length of chain.
STEP 24
Open one loop on a small S-link, pass the open loop through the last link on one end of the 5-inch length of chain from Step 18; close the loop. Open the loop on the other end of the S-link and pass it through the top of the three holes on the circle attached to the chain assembly created in Step 23.

Repeat to attach the 5-inch length of chain to the other circle in the chain assembly.
STEP 25
Open one loop on a small S-link, pass the open loop through the center hole of one circle in the chain assembly; close the loop. Open the other loop in the S-link, add the last link of the remaining 22-inch section of 3mm chain; close the loop.

Repeat, attaching the chain to the other circle in the chain assembly.
STEP 26
Open one loop on a small S-link, pass the open loop through the lowest hole on one circle in the chain assembly; close the loop. Open the other loop in the S-link, add the last link on one end of the length of chain that has the curvy pendant attached; close the loop. Repeat to attach the chain to the other circle in the chain assembly.

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The pieces featured in the Gallery of Designs are copyrighted designs and are provided for inspiration only. We encourage you to substitute different colors, products and techniques to make the design your own.

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