Brooch with PMC+™ (Precious Metal Clay), Art Clay®, Swarovski Crystal Beads and Gold-Plated Brass Chain

Deck a gleaming metal clay fine-silver tree brooch with chain and Swarovski crystal drops.
Lightly oil your hands, roller, work surface and a Super Slicer blade. Open one package of clay and compress it between your fingers a few times. Place the clay between two slats, 4-cards high. Using the acrylic roller, roll over the clay 1-2 times. Flip the clay over as well as rotate it 90-degrees. Roll and flip again, repeating until the clay is rolled to the thickness of the slats.
Move the clay to the texture plate. Place slats, 3-cards high, on either side of the clay, on top of the texture plate. Roll across the surface until the clay is rolled out to the thickness of the slats.
Rotate the clay 90-degrees. Press the triangle bead dish onto the surface of the clay; it will leave a mark as well as impress a new layer of texture.
Using the Super Slicer, trim the clay at the triangle marks.

Wrap the excess clay in Saran Wrap®; spritz with water if it seems like it's drying.
Place a piece of Saran Wrap over the cut-out triangle to prevent it from drying. Set it aside so you have room to work. Clean off the work surface as any remaining oil can make this next step tricky.

Open a new pack of clay; pinch off about 1/4 of the package. Roll the clay into a log shape. Place it onto the work surface. Press the bead roller onto the log and begin rolling--not flattening. While pressing down, so the clay stretches, and continually rolling, the clay log will get thinner and longer and become more of a rope. As needed, move the bead roller down the thinning rope so you can continue to thin the still-thicker sections. Roll until the rope of clay is even and about 2 times the height of the tree (made in Step 4) so it makes a nice frame and is thick enough to insert the upeye findings later.

Starting at the top of the tree, bend the clay, don't fold (as the rope might break in half), slowly over the point of the tree.

Continue to work the rope down the sides of the triangle and then across the bottom. Overlap the two ends, then trim on an angle. Remove the excess and bring the two angled ends together to form a nice and neat seam. Using a paintbrush, apply water.

Using the end of the paintbrush, smooth the two ends together so the joint is seamless.
Apply water along the entire length of the rope. Press the rope against the tree so the two layers marry.

While the clay rope is still wet, press the upeye findings along the rope in places you can envision the chain swagging from.

Set the triangle aside to dry.

You can place it onto a curved surface for the effect shown in the finished tree or leave it flat.

If the clay dries too quickly it sometimes warps, so keep an eye on it as it dries. If the clay starts to warp and you want it flat, flip it over so gravity can do its thing.
Roll out a small layer of clay, 2-cards thick. Using the Super Slicer, trim the clay to about 1-inch by 3/4 inch square. This will be the trunk of the tree. Using the paintbrush, apply some water to the center of the rope at the base of the triangle. Put the trunk on this area then apply slip or paste-type clay to cover the seam where the two layers meet.

Neaten up as best you can without removing the slip from the seam.

As the slip or paste dries, it will shrink and as it shrinks, it will pull into the seam leaving a gap. You want a smooth seam, so leaving extra now will help.

Let dry completely. If the seam appears after drying, fill in with slip and let dry again.
Using the 400-4000 polishing papers and sanding swabs, working in successive grits from lowest to highest, refine all areas of the tree.
Shape a small piece of clay. Wet the area on the back of the tree, where you want to place the top of the pin finding, with a bit of water. Apply the small piece of shaped clay. Press the clay to the surface so it is secure. Using tweezers, press the top half of the pin finding into the wet clay. Press in until the foot of the pin finding is embedded in the wet clay and the pin finding is level with the surface of the wet clay.
To determine where to place the second half of the pin finding, place the pin into the top half (do not secure at this time, this is for placement only) of the pin finding. Place the second half so the tip of the pin is just at the bottom to middle of the inside curve. This is where you will place the second half; make a mark. This placement will allow for shrinkage.

Repeat Step 11 to connect the second half of the pin finding to the back side of the triangle.

Using the paintbrush, apply paste or slip to the seams where the pin base and the triangle base meet so the joint is seamless and smooth.
Using the polishing papers, refine all areas where you applied new clay so the finish is nice all over.
Place the fiber blanket into the kiln. Nestle the tree, pin finding side down, onto the fiber blanket. If you curved the triangle, make sure the fiber blanket is against the inside curve so it remains curved during firing.

Fire the kiln:
  • Art Clay: full ramp speed to 1472°F, held for at least 30 minutes.
  • PMC+: full ramp speed to 1650°F, held for at least 30 minutes.
You can fire at these temperatures for less time--be sure to see manufacturer's instructions.

Let the kiln cool to room temperature.
Using a stainless steel brush, burnish the surface of the tree. You can stop at this stage if you like a brushed, satin look. If you want a brighter finish, use the agate burnisher and polishing papers. Finish by applying a small amount of Pikal Care to a soft, lint-free cloth then rub all over the surface of the tree. Rub the Pikal Care off using a clean cloth.
Line up the hole of the pin with the knobs on the inside of the top of the pin finding. Using chain-nose pliers, compress the sides of the pin finding, capturing the pin.
Place a crystal onto a headpin. Using a pair of round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers and flat-nose pliers, form a simple loop on the end of the headpin to create a crystal dangle. Repeat for each crystal.
Using a pair of flat-nose pliers and chain-nose pliers, open each of the jumprings.
Put one open jumpring through the first link of chain and the top loop (of the up-eye finding) in the tree. Close the jumpring.
Drape the length of chain to the next loop, creating a nice swag. Use a jumpring to secure the chain to the loop. Repeat down the length of the tree, connecting the chain to each loop.

Using a pair of chain-nose and flat-nose pliers, open the loop on one crystal drop. Place it through the top jumpring. Close the loop to secure the drop in place. Repeat adding crystals to each jumpring and along the length of chain in the pattern of your choice.

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