Earrings with Art Clay® Flat Round Focals and Sterling Silver Chain
Circles All Around
-- Designer --
Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
To learn more about Tammy Honaman, read her jewelry artist success story here
- Art Clay, Silver 650, low fire
- Jumpring, sterling silver, 6.8mm round, 19 gauge (8 jumprings)
- Chain, sterling silver, 4x3mm flat cable
- Klay Kutter tin set
- Non-stick, Teflon, white, 6 inch art sheet
- Needle files, 5-3/4 inch
- Polishing paper, green, 400 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, blue, 1,200 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, mint, 6,000 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, pink, 4,000 grit, 5-inch square
- Tweezer set
- Brush, fine steel wire, 8-1/4x5/8-inch
- Rubber block, black, 4x4x1-inch
- Pikal Care metal polish
- Polishing cloth, Moonshine, 7-1/4 x 5-3/8 inch
- Safety glasses, plastic, for use while firing with kiln and torches
- Earwire, Argentium silver, 14.5x9mm leverback with loop
- Acrylic roller
- Texture plates, plastic, clear, 5x4-inch
- Pliers, chain-nose
- Pliers, flush-cutters
Salon nail board
Work surface (rotary cutting mat, sheet of acrylic or safety glass)
Tbsp. olive oil
Small cup to hold olice oil
Single-sided invisible tape
Fine mist spray bottle with distilled water
Food dehydrator or candle warmer (to speed up the drying process)
Digital kitchen timer
Soft, lint-free cloth
- Metal clay
Create these earrings using any shape you like and, for a fuller effect, hang more shapes along the lengths of chain.
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 with olive oil. Remove one lump of clay from packaging; knead the clay in your fingers for about 30 seconds.
||Place the lump of clay onto the oiled area of your work surface. Place a green slat (approximately three playing cards thick) on either side of the clay. These will maintain an even thickness in the clay as you roll it out. Using the acrylic roller, roll across the surface of the clay.
Lift the clay off of the work surface, flip it over and turn 180 degrees, then place it back onto the work surface and roll 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.
To texture the clay, place a yellow slat on each side of the oiled texture sheet. Place the rolled out clay onto the texture sheet, between the slats. 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.
||Press the largest circle Klay Klutters™ into the clay.
Remove the excess clay from around the cutter and place it back into the packaging. Place the medium-sized circle cutter into the center of the large cut-out circle.
Remove the cutter and the cut-out clay.
Place the smallest circle cutter into the center of the small cut-out circle.
Place a small hole near the top of all the cut-out shapes, which will be used to suspend your circles later. Do not create this hole too close to the edge--because 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.
Repeat Steps 2 - 4 to create a second set of circles.
||Once all of the cut-outs have dried thoroughly, they need to be refined. Gently rub the medium grit side of the salon board along all the outside edges. Repeat with the fine-grit side.
Gently rub across all surfaces of the circles using the polishing paper, working from the lowest to the highest grits. 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.
||Firing with a kiln:
Place the dried, refined pieces onto a kiln shelf. Place the kiln shelf into the kiln; fire at 1472 degrees Fahrenheit 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 circle 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.
||Place the cooled circle onto a rubber block (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 Pikal Care metal polish--the brightness of the finish is up to you.
Cut two 2-1/4 inch lengths of chain; two 2-inch lengths of chain; and two 1-1/2 inch lengths of chain.
||Using two chain-nose pliers, open a jumpring. Place the small silver circle onto the open jumpring then thread on the last link of one 2-1/4 inch length of chain; close the jumpring.
Repeat adding the large circle with a cut-out onto the 2-inch length of chain and the medium circle with a cut-out onto the 1-1/2 inch length of chain. Open a jumpring and slip on the first link in each length of chain and the loop on the bottom of an earwire; close the jumpring.
Repeat to complete a second earring.
Create more circles and string them onto a bracelet- and necklace-length of chain for a matching suite of jewelry.
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