I recently made a ring out of Art Clay silver, and can't get it off the mandrel! I've found a lot of suggestions for preventing Art Clay from sticking in the future, but none that help me fix what's already been done. How do I get my ring free without breaking it or having to start over?
Adding water to the ring band will soften the clay and help relieve some of the tension being applied to the mandrel from the ring which occurs when the clay dries and subsequently shrinks. I would apply water to the area on the mandrel where the ring is stuck rather than to the outermost surface of the ring. This will allow the ring to soften at the spot where you need it most. Let the water absorb into the clay and work into the particles, then apply a bit of olive oil to the same area. Carefully try to move the ring off the mandrel. If that doesn't do the trick, apply more water to the entire ring, let the water absorb into the clay and try to slide it off again. Keep adding water until the ring is soft enough to slide off.
Once the ring is free you can follow instructions for the method you like for keeping this from happening again. As a suggestion, here is how I would proceed: tape a single layer of a Teflon® non-stick art sheet together so it fits the mandrel in the area where you are making the ring. Slip this ''cone of non-stick work surface'' onto the mandrel then place the ring onto the non-stick work surface. Reform or refine the ring until you are pleased with the shape. Let the ring rest and begin to dry. Once the ring is dry enough to be removed from the mandrel, carefully slide the non-stick work surface off of the mandrel and let the ring dry further. Once you are sure the ring is dry enough to where the shape won't be affected, remove the non-stick work surface from inside the ring so it can dry completely.
- Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator