Double-Strand Bracelet with Art Clay®, Cultured Freshwater Pearls and Sterling Silver Chain
-- Designer --
Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
To learn more about Tammy Honaman, read her jewelry artist success story here
- Bead, sterling silver, 2mm seamless-look round (11 beads)
- Bead, peridot, faceted flat round, 5mm (6 beads)
- Pearl, cultured freshwater, green-gold, 10mm flat round (5 pearls)
- Art Clay Silver 650, low fire
- Clasp, sterling silver two-strand hook with 2 loops (1 clasp)
- Chain, sterling silver, 5.7mm heavy cable
- Headpin, Hill Tribes fine silver, 1-1/2 inch with ball, 24 gauge (11 headpins)
- Jumpring, sterling silver, 5.5mm round, 16 gauge (8 jumprings)
- Jumpring, sterling silver, 6.8mm round, 16 gauge (4 jumprings)
- Non-stick art sheet, Teflon, white, 6x6 inch
- Needle files, 5-3/4 inch
- Acrylic roller
- Pliers, side-cutting
- Pliers, flat-nose
- Pliers, chain-nose
- Pliers, round-nose
- Firing with a torch
- Fire Block
- Micro Butane Torch
- Firing with a kiln
- Brush, steel short bristled
- Block, rubber black
- Tool, burnisher
- Tumbler, rock/jewelry
- Burnisher, agate
- Rotary tumbler shot mix, stainless steel
- Tool, acrylic slats
- Beading awl set
- Polishing paper, 400 grit
- Polishing paper, 600 grit
- Polishing paper, 1200 grit
- Polishing paper, 4000 grit
- Polishing paper, 6000 grit
- Polishing paper, 8000 grit
Fine mist spray bottle filled with distilled water
Rubber stamps themed to your project
Butane fuel if firing with a torch
- For safety - Have on hand
- Tool, tweezer 4 piece set
- Safety glasses
Bowl of cold water
Have all supplies ready--the clay air dries so it's best to be prepared before you open the package. Lightly oil your roller, the rubber stamps you'll be working with, your work surface, hands and circle cutter and/ or template. Unwrap your clay and condition it by pressing it between your fingers for a few seconds.
Place the clay onto the oiled area of the work surface, between two green slats one on each side. Roll across the clay using the roller. Flip the clay and roll again. Continue flipping and rolling until the clay is rolled to the thickness of the slats.
Place the clay onto the non-stick art sheet. Using the small rubber stamps of your choice, decorate the smooth surface of the clay, spacing each design far enough apart so you have enough room to trim around them.
If the clay is starting to dry out and it isn't taking a good impression, spritz the surface of the clay with distilled water using the spray bottle. Let the clay absorb the water and re-impress the clay with the stamp.
Impress the round cutter into the clay, working around your stamped designs, working until you've cut out all the stamped images. Collect the excess clay and wrap it back up in the packaging or a piece of plastic wrap.
Press the point of a beading awl into the top of the cut-out clay, creating a hole for linking the jumprings through later.
Make sure you don't go too close to the edges. As the clay shrinks in the firing process, the distance between the hole and the edge will get smaller, making it a weak spot on the link.
Leave the circles on the non-stick sheet and let them dry thoroughly.
Drying time will vary based on conditions in the room and your environment.
Repeat Steps 1-4 if you want to make more charms for your bracelet.
Once the charms are dry, it's time to refine them so they are perfect before firing.
The clay is most fragile at the dry stage so be very careful when handling and refining.
Using the polishing papers, working from the lowest grits to the highest grits, go over the front and back surfaces of each charm so they are nice and smooth. Also go around the edges of the charm, working to keep the circular shape while removing any rough edges.
Be careful not to remove so much clay that the jumpring hole you made comes too close to the edge.
Once you have sanded the edges and are happy with the overall appearance, check the jumpring hole. This is where the files come in handy. Using the round file, refine the inside of the hole in each charm--do not remove so much material that you thin out the edge.
Firing the Charms with a Butane Torch:
Work in a well-ventilated area and on a heat-proof surface.
Place the fire block on the heat-proof surface. Fill the chamber of the butane torch with butane fuel. Set your timer for 2-1/2 minutes. For safety purposes, have a pair of long handled tweezers and a bowl of cold water near where you are working; put on your safety glasses.
Place a charm onto the fire block. Press the safety on the torch, ignite the torch then press the switch to keep the flame lit (so you don't have to hold the trigger while working). Begin to heat the charm, moving the torch in a circular motion around the charm, ensuring even heat. Soon, the charm will begin to smoke, then a small flame will appear; that is the binder burning off. Continue to heat the piece until it reaches a peachy-salmon color.
Tip: Dim the lights in the work area, if possible, so you can see the color while firing.
Once the charm reaches the peachy-salmon color, start the timer and let it countdown from the 2-1/2 minutes. Continue to heat, working the flame over the entire surface, in a circular pattern. This will help ensure the piece is heated properly.
If the charm begins to appear shiny (it is getting too hot), pull the torch away slightly, so the flame isn't so close; continue to heat and maintain the peachy-salmon color.
Once you have fired the piece for 2-1/2 minutes, you can turn off the torch and set it aside. Let the charm cool to room temperature.
Repeat until all the charms are fired and cooled to room temperature.
Firing the Charms with a Kiln:
Place the charms on the kiln shelf. Once all the charms are in position, fire the kiln to the manufacturer's recommended temperature for the recommended length of time.
Once the kiln cycle has ended let the kiln cool to room temperature.
Place a cooled charm on a rubber block and, using the steel brush, go across the surface until you achieve a silvery-satin finish. You can further enhance the shine of the silver by going over the surface again with a burnisher or placing all the charms into a tumbler and tumbling for 20-30 minutes.
Place a peridot bead and a 2mm sterling silver round bead onto a headpin. Begin a wrapped loop but stop once you've created the loop and before wrapping. Repeat to make 6 peridot dangles.
Place a pearl and a 2mm sterling silver round bead onto a headpin. Begin a wrapped loop but stop once you've created the loop and before wrapping. Repeat to make 6 pearl dangles.
Using the side-cutting pliers, cut two 6-inch lengths of chain.
Open the loop slightly above a peridot dangle. Slip the opened loop onto the first link of one length of chain. Close the loop and then make three neat wraps to secure the dangle to the chain. Trim any excess wire then, using chain-nose pliers, tuck in any excess wire for a smooth finish. Repeat adding a peridot dangle to the last link on the same length of chain.
Using two pair of flat-nose pliers, open the jumprings. Link one small jumpring through the fourth link in the chain then add one charm; close the jumpring. Repeat adding a second charm to the same link on the chain. Repeat on the other end of the same length of chain.
Skip two links in the chain and add a pearl dangle the same way you added a peridot dangle. Repeat for the other end of the same length of chain.
Repeat Step 14 adding a peridot dangle to each end of the length of chain.
Repeat Step 14 again.
Skip two links in the chain and add two charms as you did in Step 13.
Skip two links and add a peridot dangle. Repeat for the other side of the length of chain.
Skip two links and add a pearl dangle to finish.
Use two larger jumprings to add the last link on each end of the length of chain to corresponding loops on the clasp.
Repeat Step 20 to attach the second length of chain to the top corresponding loops on the clasp to complete the bracelet.
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