Presented by Lisa Pavelka, Award-Winning Artist, Author and Instructor,
Instructions by Ian, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Wear your heart around your neck by making this fun jewelry project. Renowned mixed media artist Lisa Pavelka explains each step on how to make a heart pendant from Art Clay® silver metal clay and a few other jewelry-making tools.
Using fingers or a cosmetic sponge, precondition all tools that will be coming in contact with Art Clay® with a release agent.
Remove the Art Clay from its package and place it onto a sheet of plastic food wrap. Condition the Art Clay by folding and flattening while it is in the plastic sheet.
Place a sheet of Teflon non-stick paper on the work surface then place a 1mm thick slat on each side of the Teflon sheet, leaving a gap between the slats. Place the Art Clay on the sheet of Teflon between the two slats then use a clay roller to flatten out the Art Clay (the roller will use the two 1mm thick slats as guide rails to ensure the clay is flattened to precisely 1mm).
Note: If the Art Clay sticks to the roller and does not cleanly peel off, use the plastic sheet to flatten the clay out and remove any air bubbles then let it sit out for a minute to slightly dry out.
Use a finger to smooth any rough areas, which may have stuck slightly to the roller, on the surface of the clay.
Place the flattened Art Clay face down onto a Lisa Pavelka Love Letter stamp. Place a Teflon sheet over the clay then very lightly roll the clay roller over the Art Clay to emboss the stamp design into the clay.
If too much pressure is applied during the embossing process, the stamp will cut through the clay
If the letters are jagged on the clay after removing the stamp, apply water to the finger and gently rub over the embossed letters to give them a smooth appearance
Use a heart-shaped clay cutter to cut a heart out of the embossed Art Clay then remove any excess clay from around the heart.
Tip: The excess Art Clay can be preserved for several more days to a week by wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it into a plastic baggie with a damp paper cloth.
Remove the clay cutter from the Art Clay.
Roll a BB-size ball of Art Clay in your palm. With a damp brush, wet the corner of the heart then apply a very small amount of paste on the wet corner to add extra security. Place the BB-size ball of Art Clay onto the wet corner over the paste of the heart and flatten.
Use a needle tool to create a hole through the center of the flattened piece of clay, continuing through the heart itself. Be sure to make the hole big enough that it will not close up during the firing process.
Let the Art Clay sit out overnight or according to the manufacturer's instructions to dry.
Using a rubber block for a stable working surface, carefully file the edges of the dried heart for a smooth and rounded border.
Use a round file to very gently file the inside edge of the corner hole to enlarge it, then very lightly sand the face of the heart with 2000 grit sandpaper to give a smooth finish. Use a dry artist brush to remove any residue or it will fire into the design.
The remaining shavings from the filing process can be saved for later use
The heart is very delicate when in the greenware state. Approximately the strength of a potato chip.
Place a firing block onto a ceramic tile then place the heart onto the block. In a room with good ventilation and dim lighting, light a firing torch and adjust the settings so the flame comes to a point.
Carefully fire the heart heating it up to a light pink glow then continue to fire for approximately two to three minutes keeping the pink glow the whole time.
If the heart turns from pink to red during the firing process, it is getting too hot, slightly reduce the heat by moving the flame farther away
Failing to properly sinter (fuse the silver molecules) by not firing long enough or at the right heat will cause the heart to be weak or brittle
Be careful working around the firing block as it will stay hot for quite some time
When firing is complete, use metal tweezers or pliers to carefully place the heart into a bowl of water and quench the now metal heart.
Carefully move the firing block and the ceramic tile away from the work area, it will still be very hot.
Place the heart back onto the rubber block then use a metal brush to aggressively refine the front, back and edge of the heart to give a matte finish.
To give the heart a shine, burnish the front, back and edge with the flat edge of an agate burnisher.
To give a patina to the heart, lay a napkin down under the heart then apply Liver of Sulfur to its surface. The longer Liver of Sulfer is left on the surface of the heart, the darker it will become. When you are satisfied with the darkness of the patina, clean the Liver of Sulfur off with a napkin and baby wipe. Finish removing the Liver of Sulfur from the surface of the heart by scrubbing the surface of the heart with a Moonshine polishing cloth, leaving the recessed areas patinated.
Pass a jumpring through the hole of the heart and around a decorative chain then close.
Tip: If desired use the rounded file to enlarge the hole in the corner of the heart.
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