Toggle clasps are a great finding for finishing jewelry designs. Metal clay makes it possible to create a toggle that matches the style of the design you are working on, as well as allows you to incorporate gemstones during the designing phase. Once the toggle is out of the kiln and polished, you are good to go.
Sketch a shape for your toggle. Increase the shape by 10 percent to allow for the shrinkage that occurs during firing. Cut out the shape and the opening in the center.
Apply a non-stick coating to your work surface, tools and your hands. Roll out the clay to 4-cards thick.
Transfer the sheet of clay to your chosen texture. Roll the clay to 3-cards thick.
Transfer the clay to a non-stick sheet.
Place the paper pattern onto the clay. Using the tip of a beading needle or an awl, cut out the shape for your toggle and the center opening of the toggle.
Using a wet paintbrush, clean up the edges of the clay. Set the clay aside to dry.
Clean off your work surface. Pinch off a piece of clay and shape into a thick rope. Using the bead roller, roll the rope of clay into a thinner rope that suits the size toggle bar you would like for your toggle clasp.
Optional: Roll the rope of clay on the textured mat to match the texture in your toggle.
Using the clay blade, trim the length of the toggle bar so it is suitable in length--it should span beyond the width of the toggle.
If necessary, use a wet paintbrush to clean up the edges of the rope.
Repeat Step 4 to form a thin rope. Wind the rope of clay around a thin straw.
Set the straw onto supports that suspend the straw so the coil of clay is not resting on a flat surface; allow it to dry.
Using sanding boards and polishing papers, refine the surface, edges and back of the dry toggle and toggle bar.
Using a wet paintbrush, apply a bit of water to the first area where you are addinga gemstone; allow the water to absorb into the clay. Apply an area of syringe claythat is slightly larger than the stone, so it is 2-3mm high. Using tweezers, place the stone into the center of the syringe clay.
Using the end of the tweezers, press down onto the center top of the stone so the clay comes up along the edges of the stone and begins to form the bezel.
Using a wet paintbrush, press the clay into a neat bezel, surrounding the stone and up high enough to keep the stone in place.
Repeat Steps 7 and 8 to set as many stones as you would like. Make the bezels as neat as they can be, then set the toggle aside to dry.
Using the polishing papers, refine the area surrounding the stones so they are as neat as the rest of the toggle.
Slide the coil off of the straw. Using the clay blade, cut the rings of the coil apart then trim off the lower third of one ring.
Hold the top of the cut ring using tweezers. Glide the ends of the ring across a sanding board, to ensure the "feet" of the ring are flat and even.
Apply a bit of water on the underside of the toggle where the refined ring will go. While holding the ring with tweezers, dip the "feet" into metal clay paste. Set the ring into place on the toggle.
Allow the clay to dry. Repeat adding a cut ring to the toggle bar.
Using the sanding and polishing supplies, clean up the area where the ring was applied. If needed, apply more paste to fill any gaps so the ring has a seamless transition into the toggle and toggle bar.
Place the toggle face down or face up onto the fiber blanket. Face down, the fiber blanket will protect the texture as well as the stones; face up, the fiber blanket will protect the loop from being flattened due to gravity. Place the toggle bar onto the fiber blanket or onto the kiln shelf with either the loop up or off to the side--it does not require the same support as the toggle, given its design.
Allow the kiln to cool to room temperature so the stones can cool slowly. If you open the kiln door too early, the stones could be shocked and crack.
Once the kiln is to room temperature, remove the toggle and toggle bar. Burnish using the steel wire brush or other finishing techniques of your choice.
The brush will offer a brushed satin finish. If you brush then tumble the clasp with steel shot in a tumbler, it will offer the finish as you see in the finished toggle on the facing page.
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.