This bangle was inspired by nature. Find a branch or other interesting linear item to turn into your own unique silver creation.
Find a tree branch with wrinkles, knots and branch starts--the more the better! The branch needs to be as straight as possible and at least 8 inches long. Leave the bark on the branch for texture.
Make a fist with your hand. Measure around the widest part of your hand (where the bangle would have to cross over to get to your wrist), to configure how wide the bracelet needs to be. Add 1/2 inch for shrinkage of the clay.
Use a tapered drinking glass to serve as the bracelet mandrel. Clay should be able to slide on and off easily. Tape the non-stick work surface sheets onto the glass.
Take equal parts of the two-part mold mixing compound and blend together until there is no color differentiation; form the compound into a snake equal to the length of the tree branch.
Use the plastic roller to gently flatten the snake. Lay the tree branch on top of the snake and press down to create an imprint. Press the mold around the sides of the branch, bringing the compound up to tightly fit around the branch. Let the mix cure 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the branch from the mold and clean thoroughly, removing any remaining bark or grit.
Clean the workspace and lay out the clay molding tools (plastic roller, paste, paintbrush, prepared drinking glass and the mold).
Open the packets of Art Clay and knead together, until warm and rubbery. Form the clay into a snake and place into the mold.
Start at one end of the mold and press up, pushing the clay with your thumbs, toward the other end of the mold. Avoid breaking the clay into pieces as you press it into the mold--any breaks would cause stress fractures which would cause the bracelet to break.
Take the plastic roller and roll over the mold and clay to smooth the surface.
Turn the mold over and pull away from the clay.
Take the pointed stylus-type carving tool and cut away the overhanging clay from the branch form.
Gently turn the clay branch form over so the flat side is facing up.
Take the drinking glass and carefully place it on top of the clay. Pull the ends of the clay up to meet on top of the glass; use Art Clay paste to secure the two ends together. Set the up-eye into the clay.
Place a layer of bubble wrap onto your work surface and set the glass on top. The bubble wrap will cushion the weight of the glass. Let the clay sit for 15 minutes.
Stand the glass upright and check for any cracks or weak spots. Put paste anywhere that needs re-enforcement.
Let dry overnight.
Take the bracelet off the glass and file any rough edges. Sand the inside of the bracelet with 600-grit sandpaper.
Fire in the kiln at 1250° F for 30 minutes. Let cool.
Brush the surface of the silver with the steel wire brush, then burnish with the agate burnisher, or put into a rock tumbler for at least three hours.
Paint on liver of sulfur as a patina to highlight the wrinkles and textures.
Make 2 of each dangle in the following configurations:
Headpin, hex-cut amethyst AB bead, 8mm Swarovski cystal Tanzanite cube, hex-cut amethyst AB seed beads, 4mm Swarovski crystal Tanzanite cube, hex-cut amethyst AB seed beads; create a wrapped loop.
Headpin, Swarovski crystal mauve pearl 8mm round, hex-cut amethyst AB seed beads, sterling silver seamless round 3mm bead; create a wrapped loop.
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.
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Fire Mountain Gems and Beads - One Fire Mountain Way, Grants Pass, OR 97526-2373
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