Silver Clay Openwork Pendant
Make a silver clay pendant with these step-by-step instructions.
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Project by Karen Doore from Colleyville, Texas.
Karen has been crafty all her life. It wasn’t until she purchased her first kiln three years ago that one specific craft became her favorite. Karen had been making beads for awhile until she discovered silver clay. In this project, Karen creates a unique silver clay pendant by hanging colored gems on the inside.
20 grams Art Clay Silver 650
deck of cards
appliance light bulb
Art Clay Silver 650 paste
small diamond needle files
flexible beading wire
apatite gemstone beads
assorted necklace findings
1. Roll a piece of Art Clay Silver 650 onto a Teflon sheet using a roller placed between two stacks of about four playing cards so that it is rolled out evenly and is about 1 mm thick. Keep the clay covered with a small piece of cling wrap between all steps to keep the clay from drying out.
2. Use a circular template and a needle tool to cut out a circle of clay. Tip: The silver clay dries quickly, so keep olive oil on your fingers and keep the clay covered with cling wrap.
3. Next put the circular piece onto a light bulb (which has been brushed with olive oil) for support and to provide a curved mold. Then stamp a small leaf design onto the piece (about 15 times) while it is still wet. First brush the stamp with olive oil to keep the clay from sticking to it. This gives the piece an overall background design.
4. Using a needle tool, cut out clay pieces to create an openwork design in the clay. This is done freehand while the clay is still wet and on the light bulb.
5. The piece must dry for 15 minutes in a dehydrator or toaster oven at 200 F degrees. While the first locket half is drying, create the second half using the same steps.
6. After the piece is dry, sand all the surfaces and use a mini file to smooth and refine the shape.
7. Place each piece edge side down onto a piece of sandpaper. Move the piece in a circular motion on the sandpaper to give each piece a flat surface where they will be joined.
8. Use a paintbrush to paint silver clay paste on the edge of one of the pendant halves. Attach the two sides together and hold for a minute to let the seam set. Let the pendant completely dry; then sand off any excess paste and smooth pendant seam.
9. Roll out remaining silver clay to three card thicknesses. Use the needle tool to cut the clay into ribbons that are about 2" x 3/8". Paint each piece with water and cover with cling wrap for a minute to let it absorb the water so it will be easier to manipulate.
10. Pick up the piece using a wet paintbrush and place it on the pendant. Use the wet paintbrush to manipulate the clay so that it has twists in it like ribbon.
11. Let the piece dry completely; then use sandpaper to smooth out any rough areas in the ribbon accents that were just placed on the pendant.
12. Next the piece is fired in the kiln. For maximum strength, fire the pendant at 1600 F degrees for 30 minutes.
13. After the piece is removed from the kiln, put it into a rock tumbler with stainless steel shot and burnishing liquid for 24 hours to be polished.
14. Wire wrap the four apatite gemstones that will hang inside the pendant and string them onto the beading wire, putting a silver bead between each wired gemstone.
15. Once the gems are strung on the beading wire, feed the wire into the pendant through one of the openwork design holes. Then feed the wire ends out through the hanging holes on the sides of the pendant.
16. Push each stone through one at a time so that they hang from the wire inside the pendant.
17. After the gems are inside the pendant, string gemstone beads and silver balls onto the wires that come out of the pendant. Finish the ends of the wire with crimp beads and attach an "S" hook for a clasp.
Gwenne Pagarigan of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., makes sterling charms with stencil cutouts.