Brooch made with Art Clay®

You'll find step-by-step instructions for this Brooch made with Art Clay® project and more Art Clay projects and tutorials in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' exclusive ''Secrets to Art Clay Success'' instructional video.

Tammy Honaman, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads online "Ask the Experts" host, author and noted jewelry-making expert, guides you through seven jewelry-designing projects where you'll learn the secrets of working with Art Clay precious metal materials.

Have all supplies ready--the clay air dries so it's best to be prepared before you open the package.

Creating the Mold

Gather equal portions of each part of the two-part molding compound, so when combined it equals an amount that's larger than the object being molded. Blend until the compound is one uniform color. Work the compound into a ball shape. Place the ball onto the work surface and flatten slightly. Press the item to be molded into the molding compound, so the entire shape is captured and the item is level. Let the item and compound rest in place until the compound is cured, approximately five minutes.

Tip: You will know when the compound is cured when you can press your fingernail into the side of the compound and it doesn't leave a mark.
Once cured, remove the molded item from the mold.
Remove an appropriate amount (enough to fill the mold) of clay from the package. Condition it by compressing between your fingers for a few seconds, then form into a small ball shape.
Press the ball of clay into the mold so it fills the space created by your object and is level.
Using tweezers, grip one half of the pin finding and place it into the clay, approximately 1/2 of the way down from the top and about 1/4 inch from the edge. Place the second half of the pin finding in the same position opposite the first half. Check to make sure the pin-finding parts are positioned directly across from each other so the pin will line up straight once the brooch is fired.

Tip: It's good to have the pin finding positioned above the center of the brooch so it doesn't flop forward when you wear it.

Set aside to allow the clay to dry. Drying time will vary based on conditions in the room and your environment.

Tip: You can wait 30 minutes, carefully release the clay from the mold and set the clay onto a candle warmer or in a food dehydrator to expedite the drying.
Using the paintbrush, apply paste-type clay over the flat parts of the pin finding, closest to the brooch's surface. Repeat to have two good layers securing the finding parts and let dry.
Once fully dried, remove from the mold (if you haven't already). Refine the entire surface of the brooch, using the salon nail boards, sandpapers and polishing papers, working from the lowest to the highest grit. Use the needle files to refine the finer details. Remove any remaining particles from the surface of the brooch before firing it.

Firing the Brooch

While working in a well ventilated area, place the fiber blanket onto the kiln shelf. Place the brooch face down onto the blanket. Fire the kiln to the manufacturer's recommended temperature and time. Let the kiln and brooch cool to room temperature.

Tip: Placing the brooch onto the fiber blanket (as opposed to putting the brooch directly onto the surface of the kiln shelf) will help maintain the texture of the brooch during firing.
Place the cooled brooch onto the rubber block. Brush the surface of the brooch using the steel wire brush for a satin finish. Go over the surface again with the steel burnisher to bring the surface to a higher polish.

For the ultimate shine, apply a dab of metal polish to a soft, lint-free cloth and rub onto the surface of the brooch. Follow this with the Moonshine® polishing cloth.

Attaching the Pin to the Finding

Check the length of the pin against the space between the two halves of the pin finding. If the pin extends past the end of the brooch, use the flush-cutters to trim to the appropriate length--the point of the pin should extend just past the catch of the pin finding, yet not past the edge of the brooch. Use the sandpapers, working from the lowest to the highest grit, to re-sharpen the end of the pin.
Position the circle end of the pin into the hinge-half of the pin finding, so the knobs on the inside of the finding fit into the open circle. Using chain-nose pliers, close the pin finding to secure the pin.

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.

Have a question regarding this design idea? Email Customer Service.