How to Make an Enameled Precious Metal Clay Necklace

Make this chic, enameled necklace by imprinting a clay pendant with a patterned button of your choice.
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Materials and Tools:

precious metal clay (PMC)
olive oil
enamel powders
button with decorative detail
small beads
silver chain and clasp
distilled water
kiln
tumbler with steel shot
paintbrush
food jar or roller
craft knife
needle nose pliers
fiberglass brush
silver polishing compound
polishing cloth
safety gloves
hair dryer (optional)

Steps:

  1. Rub olive oil on your hands and roll the PMC (precious metal clay) in your hands to lock in moisture.
  2. Flatten the clay with the bottom of a food jar or a roller.
  3. Press a decorative button into the clay to imprint the design.
  4. Trim the excess clay with a craft knife while the button is still in place. Press the edges of the clay with your fingers to bevel and convex the pendant to prevent the piece from warping in the kiln.
  5. Remove the button from the clay and press a small bead into the center.
  6. Let the clay dry completely before placing in the kiln. This may take several hours or speed up the drying process with a hair dryer.
  7. Put the dry piece in a cold kiln and turn on to about 1110 degrees F. Fire the pendant for 30 minutes. Caution: Never look into a glowing kiln without eye protection.
  8. Quench the piece in water. Place it in a tumbler with steel shot and tumble for an hour. The silver is porous after it comes out of the kiln, and the tumbler helps to compress the silver and polish it prior to the enamel process.
  9. Brush the silver with a fiberglass brush to make sure it is clean.
  10. Choose the enamel colors and test fire. The color after firing is very different from the powder, so test fires are important.
  11. Create a color wash by mixing the enamel powders with distilled water. The water helps the enamel to spread.
  12. Paint on the enamels with a very small brush and let the piece dry on top of the kiln for a few minutes. Prior to inserting the pendant into the kiln, the kiln temperature should be 1550 degrees F with the bricks glowing orange.
  13. Put the pendant in the kiln and fire it for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the enamel thickness. Caution: Wear proper protection when inserting the pendant into the kiln. Take it out and let cool for a few minutes.
  14. Polish the piece with silver compound and a cloth.
  15. String silver chain and beads and add the silver pendant to the center of the chain.

Lissa Lander, Salt Lake City, Utah

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