Polymer clay, move over! Art Clay is here to stay.
Art Clay, or Metal Clay, is a revolutionary new way to create original precious metal jewelry designs. Learn how to create the finished piece and then turn your creativity loose. Combine polymer clay techniques with metal finishing techniques for amazing results!
Open your package of art clay (you will need roughly 1/2 of 50 gram package).
Condition (or soften) clay by kneading with your fingers for 20 - 30 seconds.
Roll out the clay on a Teflon sheet with an acrylic roller.
Note: The clay shouldn't be too thin. You can use O rings from the hardware store on each end of the roller to control width of the clay.
Lay rubber stamp on clay with wooden side down, cut around it with the utility knife and turn stamp over.
Push down firmly and evenly on the stamp (don't rock side to side) to form an imprint on the clay. Remove stamp and any excess clay around the stamp.
In the left corner of the stamp: press down the end of the stir stick and then twist to remove the clay to create a stringing hole for finishing.
Practice with the syringe on a Teflon sheet until you're comfortable with manipulating. Using the palm of your hand press plunger on syringe down so clay is expelled. With continuous pressure, apply embellishment to the pendant surface.
Note: a wet fine-tipped paintbrush can be used to manipulate, smooth or move syringe applied clay if put where not desired.
When the embellishment is done, the piece is ready to dry. To ensure that it is completely dry, you can place it on a paper towel or metal and if there is no condensation mark left, the piece is dry. Note: A dehydrator works best for constant heat and speed.
When dry, use the rubber block for stability to shape up any final touches before firing. You can use jeweler's files or even a regular fingernail file to smooth the edges and take off any rough spots.
When that's complete you are ready to fire the piece. A kiln works best for constant heat and speed, but you can use a butane torch that reaches a minimum of 1200 degrees. With a fiberglass block holding your pendant, heat with a constantly moving torch. The pendant will smoke at first (which is the clay burning off) then it will turn red. Once it turns red, heat for another 2 - 4 minutes. Allow the pendant to cool down on the fiberglass block before handling. Use proper safety goggles and a well-ventilated area when using the torch.
After firing, you have a pendant that is 99.9% pure silver. There will be a white residue of clay that can be removed with a fine steel wire brush. Brush in one direction as the brush leaves fine scratch marks on the silver pendant.
Select your finish. You can leave the pendant with a matte finish as it appears once the white residue is removed or you can use heavy to fine grits of wet/dry sandpaper to bring to a mirror finish, or you can tumble the piece in a regular rock tumbler which will give a polished finish.
Note: For this project we have opted for a matte finish on all but the raised portion. To make that shiny, see Step 13.
Using an agate burnisher you can bring the raised portion of the pendant to a high shine. Simply run the agate burnisher back and forth across the raised portion with light pressure. You can use the tip of the burnisher to bring a shine to the imprint of the rubber stamp if you wish.
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