How to Make a Precious Metal Clay Dragonfly Pendant

Create this shimmering dragonfly pendant using precious metal clay.

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Materials and Tools:

Precious Metal Clay and syringe form
Hot Pot ceramic heating pot
dragonfly rubber stamp
small paintbrush
toothpicks
distilled water
olive oil
roller
razor blade
craft knife
wire brush
jeweler's files
burnisher
polymer clay
pasta machine
rotary tool
20-gauge sterling silver wire
2 flat silver spacer beads
6mm bead
wire cutters
round- and flat-nose pliers
plastic sheet
cardboard
mini terra cotta flowerpot
tweezers
dish soap
toaster oven
playing card

Steps:

Wings and upper body

1. Cover the work surface with a plastic sheet and hands and tools with olive oil.

2. Roll out the clay with roller using cardboard guides to measure consistent thickness.

3. Stamp clay with a dragonfly stamp. 

4. Cut out the dragonfly wings with a craft knife. Place it on a playing card.

5. Roll a piece of PMC (precious metal clay) around a toothpick. The toothpick will burn away when fired, creating a hollow space to thread the wire through.

6. Use another toothpick to shape the ridges on the upper body by gently pressing down on the clay. Attach the clay roll to the top of the wings.

7. Use a paintbrush with a little bit of distilled water to smooth out any edges around the upper body and wings.

8. Let the clay air-dry overnight or dry with a hair dryer within 10 minutes.

9. Fire in a ceramic pot also following manufacturer's instructions. Gather the materials included with the ceramic pot and a long match.

  • Take the lid off the ceramic pot and place the mini flowerpot in the pot.
  • Fill it to the rim with the fuel that is in the squeeze bottle (approx. 1.1oz.).
  • Place the circular firing grate on the pot.
  • Set the PMC piece on the firing grate. Put the lid back on the pot.
  • Install the mesh flame arrestor on top of the pot to keeps flames from coming out of the top of the pot.
  • Place the pot on the included heatproof square.
  • Insert a lit long match in the large hole in the side of the pot to ignite fuel.
  • The pot will burn for approximately 15 minutes. Let it burn out. Caution: The pot will be hot. Do not touch it with your bare hands.
  • After it has cooled, remove the piece using tweezers, as it may still be hot

10. Scrub the dragonfly piece with a wire brush and little dish soap to remove white residue.

11. File any rough edges using a jeweler's file.

12. Polish with a burnisher to bring out the details of the wings and to add shine.

Body

1. Create a polymer clay bead base by rolling a scrap of clay into a snake. Cut the base bead one inch long from the center of the snake using a craft knife.

2. Form stripes and spirals with clay scraps. Run a scrap of clay through the pasta machine at the thinnest setting. Trim the edges to form a rectangle. Cut thin strips from the ends of the clay sheet and stack them. Trim the edges, cut the stack in half and stack the two halves together. Press together to form a striped piece of clay. Cut thin cross sections to be applied to the base bead.

3. Roll another scrap of clay through the pasta machine, trim the edges to form a rectangle and roll it up starting at one short end. This will be a cane. Roll the cylinder very thin on the work surface using your fingers.

4. Use a razor blade to cut thin cross sections of the cane, apply designs to a base bead and roll gently on the table to smooth out any ridges.

5. Cut bead to 1 inch long.

6. Use a headpin to create a hole straight through the bead.

7. Bake in toaster oven according to manufacturer's instructions.

8. Trim off any jagged edges with a razor blade. Lightly buff the bead with a felt-polishing wheel attached to the rotary tool.

9. Wrap a spiral with the wire using flat-nose pliers. String on the art bead, a spacer, the wings, a spacer and a 6mm bead.

10. Using the round-nose pliers, wrap the pendant with wire to form a bail and tighten up the wire under the loop.

11. String on a silver chain.

Heather Powers, San Antonio, Texas
Website: humblebeads.com

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