Earrings with COPPRclay™ and Antiqued Copper Finish Chain
-- 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
- Bead, antiqued copper, 5x1.5mm rondelle (6 beads)
- COPPRclay, 1700-degree formula
- Headpin, copper, 2-1/2 inch with 3mm ball, 22 gauge (6 headpins)
- Chain, antiqued copper finish, 5x3.5mm cable
- Acrylic roller
- Texture plates, plastic, clear, 5x4-inch
- Non-stick, Teflon, white, 6 inch art sheet
- Needle files, 5-3/4 inch
- Brush, fine steel wire, 8-1/4x5/8-inch
- Polishing cloth, Moonshine, 7-1/4 x 5-3/8 inch
- Paragon kiln, model SC-2, 1400W-120V
- Polishing paper, green, 400 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, grey, 600 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, blue, 1,200 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, pink, 4,000 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, mint, 6,000 grit, 5-inch square
- Polishing paper, light green, 8,000 grit, 5-inch square
- Slats, acrylic
- Super slicer
- Firing pan and lid, stainless steel, 7 x 6-1/2 x 4-inch
- Carbon, clay firing, acid-washed coal-based
- Carbon, clay firing, activated coconut shell-based, for BRONZclay and COPPRclay
- Earwire, antiqued copper, fishhook with 2.75mm ball and loop, 20 gauge
- Pliers, side-cutting
Paintbrush, fine-tip artist
Nail board, medium-fine grit, cushioned
Olive oil, Small container
Plastic cling wrap
Pinch off a bit of COPPRclay, the size of a strawberry, from the brick in the packaging. Add water and condition the clay. Wrap the clay in plastic wrap until you are ready to begin working with the clay.
Lightly oil your hands, work surface, a straw and the roller with olive oil. Apply olive oil to the texture plate so you are sure the oil is in the crevices of the texture. Unwrap the clay and pinch off half (rewrap the remaining half so it remains moist and pliable).
||Place the new pinch of clay in between two stacks of slats, 7-high. Using the roller, begin to roll out the clay. After passing over the clay twice with the roller, pick it up and flip it over--this will help prevent the clay from sticking to your work surface. If the clay is already sticking, ball the clay up, re-oil the work surface and start again. Roll the clay until it is the thickness of the slats.
Tip: As you roll out the clay, have a sense of the final shape you need so you can dictate the movement of the clay as it is thinned out.
||Pick up the clay and place it onto the oiled surface of the texture plate. Place slats, 5-high, on either side of the clay, placing the slats on top of the texture plate. Roll the clay out until it is the thickness of the slats.
||Remove the clay from the texture plate and place it onto the oiled area of the straw. While holding the clay that is already on the straw, carefully wrap the rest of the clay around the straw until each side meets and you have a little bit of an overlap.
||If you have a large overlap, use the super slicer to trim the excess.
Where the two sides overlap, press on the clay to bring the two layers together and blend so there is little evidence of the seam.
||Using a paintbrush, apply water to this area to assure the layers meld together. Depending on the pressure you used for this step, you may find the texture is distorted in the overlapped area--gently press the texture plate on the spots that need touch up, trying to match patterns. If needed, use the super slicer to trim the ends of the tubes.
At this point, if the tube is long enough to be cut in half and yield two finished tubes for a pair of earrings, cut the clay with the super slicer. If not, that's fine, just keep going with the one you currently have formed.
Using the tip of an awl, place three holes along one side of the tube. Using the awl again, place holes on the opposite side of the tube so each set of holes will match up once off of the straw.
If you weren't able to cut the tube you've formed in half to create two, repeat Steps 2-5, working carefully on the same straw and not disturbing the first tube or using a second straw.
Set the straw(s) aside so the clay can dry.
Tip: You can place the straw across two cups or other stable objects so the clay is not resting on a flat surface.
Once the clay starts drying and is firmer, carefully move the tube down the length of the straw until it is removed. If the tube doesn't want to budge or you are distorting the shape, wait a little longer. Once the clay tube is removed, set it aside to dry where it won't be disturbed.
Tip: By removing the tube from the straw, more of the surface area is exposed so there will be less drying time; also, as the clay dries it shrinks - the shrinkage could cause cracking as the clay shrinks against the straw or it could become "stuck" and not be able to be removed at all.
Once everything is dry, use the salon boards and the polishing papers to refine the edges along the outside of the tubes. Use a round jeweler's file to refine each of the holes along the tubes.
Fire the tube bead along with a test piece.
Once the bead is fired, and you are sure the clay sintered properly, decide if you like the finish of the beads. If you are happy, skip to "Making the Earrings" section. If you would like a brighter shine, brush the surface of the bead with the steel-wire brush and polishing papers, using them in progressive grits, working from most coarse to most fine. From there, use the burnisher to bring out a higher polish or you can place the tube bead into a rotary tumbler with mixed steel shot and burnishing compound for a very high polish.
Using side-cutting pliers, cut eight lengths of copper 5x3.5mm cable chain:
Two 7-links in length
Two 8-links in length
Two 10-links in length
Two 14-links in length
Cut the ball off of a copper ballpin. Form a simple loop on one end of the wire. Repeat to create four copper eyepins.
Open the loop on an eyepin and pass the loop though the first link on a 7-link length of copper chain. Close the loop.
Pass the eyepin through the first set of holes on the copper clay tube. String onto the ballpin one 5x1.5mm beaded rondelle. Form a simple loop above the bead to create a beading link. Open the loop and pass the first link on an 8-link length of copper chain. Close the loop.
Open the loop on an eyepin and pass the loop through the last link on the 7-link length of copper chain attached to the first eyepin in Step 4. Close the loop.
Pass the eyepin through the last set of holes on the copper tube bead. String onto the eyepin one 5x1.5mm beaded rondelle. Form a simple loop above the bead to create a beading link. Open the loop and pass it through the first link on a 10-link length of copper chain. Close the loop.
Pass a copper ballpin through the center set of holes on the copper clay tube. String onto the ballpin one 5x1.5mm beaded rondelle. Form a simple loop above the bead to create a beading link. Open the loop and pass it through the first link on a 14-link length of copper chain. Close the loop
Using a pair of chain-nose pliers and flat-nose pliers, open a 6mm jumpring. Pass it through the loop on an earwire and the 4th link on the 7-link length of chain attached to the eyepins above the copper clay tube. Close the jumpring.
Repeat Steps 4 - 7 to create the second earring.
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