How to Make a Ceramic Necklace With a Gold Leaf Glass Bead

Go big and bold with this chunky ceramic necklace project featuring a dangling glass bead.

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Materials and Tools:

clay
rolling pin
oval template
craft knife
blade cutter
water
paintbrush
crystalline glaze
kiln
torch
mandrel
bead release
glass rod
gold leaf
nail
tweezers
spoon
needle tool
bead masher
vermiculite
20" sterling silver 18-gauge wire
round-nose pliers
flat-nose pliers
2" sterling silver head pin
two 4mm beads
sterling silver chain with small clasp
didymium safety glasses

Steps:

  1. Pinch off a piece of clay and roll it flat.
  2. Cut the clay in half and place one piece on top of the other.
  3. Place the oval template over both pieces and cut out the oval using a craft knife to cut two pieces.
  4. Gently peel apart the two clay ovals. Place a nail across one of the ovals to form the holes for the chain. Score the perimeter around both pieces.
  5. Paint a small amount of water over the score marks and then gently press the two ovals together, sandwiching the nail in between. Smooth and blend the inside and outside edges with your fingers. Set the piece aside for about 20 minutes.
  6. Gently twist the nail out. Let the piece air dry for three to four days.
  7. Bisque-fire the piece in the kiln. Cool and remove it from the kiln.
  8. Paint on three coats of crystal glaze for the base coat.
  9. Scoop up the crystals from the bottom of the bottle with a spoon. Pick out individual crystals with a pair of tweezers and place them around the top surface of the oval.
  10. Fire the piece in the kiln according to manufacturer's directions. Cool and remove from the kiln.
  11. To make the glass bead, put on didymium safety glasses and light the torch. Slowly warm up a mandrel coated with bead release. At the same time warm up the glass rod using your other hand.
  12. When both are hot, slowly wrap the hot glass around the mandrel to form the bead. Always keep the bead in the flame as you work.
  13. Flatten the molten glass using a masher.
  14. Pick up a piece of gold leaf using tweezers and rub it on the front and back sides of the bead.
  15. Return the bead to the flame, turning it until the entire bead is hot. Remove it from the flame, turn a few times and place it in a bowl of vermiculite to cool. Anneal the bead in the kiln according to manufacturer's directions.
  16. Feed one 4mm bead onto the head pin, add the glass bead (with gold leaf) and the second 4mm bead. Using flat-nose pliers, bend a 90-degree angle on the head pin behind the last bead. Make a loop with the round-nose pliers. Wrap the remaining wire around the loop close to the wire and cut off the excess.
  17. Using a 15-inch piece of 18-gauge sterling silver wire, bend up one end about 1/2 inch and insert the loop from the glass bead dangle. Using flat-head pliers, wrap this wire around the longer wire to secure the bead dangle. Cut off excess wire.
  18. Wrap the remaining wire through the open hole in the ceramic pendant three times loosely so that it can move. Shape it with your fingers and the pliers to form a cage.
  19. Wrap the remaining wire twice around the bottom part of the cage using pliers. End the wire by pushing it inside the cage and securing the end around an inside wire.
  20. Insert a silver chain with small clasp through the holes in the ceramic oval made by the nail.

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