How to Make an Art Clay® Pendant

How to Make an Art Clay® Pendant


From beginner to expert it’s all here
today on Beads, Baubles and Jewels. Stephanie Girdlestone is here
from Fire Mountain Gems & Beads and she’s here to teach us how to work
with metal clay. Stephanie, this is something that I like looking
at the final product but I’m a little nervous about getting into.
Are you going to make it easy? I’m going to make it very
easy, don’t you worry about it. Just like you used to play with clay
when you’re a kid, you just want to roll it up into a ball to begin. And this is a metal clay. This is
ninety nine point nine percent pure silver. That is silver? It looks like clay.
That’s exactly what it is and the clay burns off and it has the silver
molecules inside of it. Then the heat of the kiln or the torch is what
activates it to become pure silver. So it’s really great for people
who have metal allergies that can’t wear sterling, because they don’t
have all the other alloys like nickle. What’s the first step? First thing is
we are going to roll it into a ball already done and I’m just going
to lay it here, on a teflon sheet on top of a ceramic tile, just to give
myself a nice firm surface to roll it on. I’m using this acrylic roller that has
two O-rings which I just bought at the hardware store and that is simply so that
the rolled clay does not get too thin. When it does get too thin, it makes it difficult to fire.
That’s a very good tip. We’re just going to go ahead and
roll it out and you can see you need to push hard on it to get it to go. Sometimes it’ll stick a little bit
and what you can do is put a little bit of olive oil on the roller and
that will actually help. So I’ll just hold it with my fingers to
make it a little bit easier. I like to turn it sideways so you get a
nice flat surface. Don’t be afraid to get your fingers very gooey with this.
It’s kind of a dive in thing. Really we’re working with
metal, not with clay and you have to expect to get dirty. It doesn’t matter that it’s kind of an unusual shape.
What we are doing is using this rubber stamp and I want the shape of the rubber stamp
today, so I’m using the back of the rubber block to get the
shape of the pendant. Using a utility knife, I’m just
quickly cutting the clay out. I’m going to go around all four
sides which is really easy. There I go. Now I have the shape and I’m going to turn my rubber stamp over
and I’m going to imprint the shape into the clay. Now remember, when you’re using rubber
stamps, you want nice even pressure. Don’t rock from side to side. You want
to make sure and put both hands into it, like you’re doing. Again, don’t be afraid to apply that
pressure and get this clay real dirty. You can see that it comes out really nice.
The last thing is simply using a regular coffee stirrer to
make a hole in the corner. Be careful on that as you want to get
fairly close to the edge but not too close because you are going to fire it.
Can you reuse that excess? Absolutely, you would just pull it away
from here and just use it for something else. So once that’s done,
then we’re going to let this dry. There’s a couple of ways to let it
dry, you can do it just overnight by setting it on your stove top or on your
countertop and let it dry. You can put it out in the sun. We can also use a dehydrator. It is kind of
the preferred method, it’s efficient, it’s constant heat and circles around the piece
at all times, so that’s really great. When you get it dry like this, then you
can look at and say “Is it the right shape? Do I want
to shape it a little different?” Now’s the time to do that while it’s
still there. We’re just going to use a regular
nail block that you would buy at the drugstore or jeweler files. If you had
any extra clay in the hole, you could use a little file to clean it out, like something
that you would use to file your nails with. We are using the rubber block again. You
want to be kind of gentle with it, as it is still clay, but we want that nice
stability and that’s why I have it on the block. I look at it and say “You know it’s
not really popping for me”, “it’s not really working”, so I’m going to embellish
it just a little bit more. Another product that I have, let me do it this way, is a syringe. This is a really great
product that comes prepackaged with the clay in it. So you don’t have to put that
in there, that is great. I told you it would be easy. It has three nozzle sizes, this is the
largest nozzle that it comes with and it leaves just a line of clay. And you see you start it little bit. This is much like cake decorating where you
want to lay the clay out as opposed to just laying it flat. So I went ahead and I did that on
this piece already and I dried it again to make sure everything
was real dry. It’s very important it’s completely dry
because when you go to use the kiln or the torch on the piece, it can
actually break apart if there are any air bubbles or if it’s
not completely dry. At this stage we are
ready to use the torch and the torch that you see here is
just a regular butane torch that you can buy the butane
for it anywhere. And the most important thing with the
torch really is just to remember consistent heat. Keep it at the same level
all the time on the piece, evenly firing it, waiting for it to get up to a fiery
red color, then go about another three minutes and it’s ready to go.
Safety measures include don’t touch it when it’s hot; wear
your safely goggles and things like that. So you have to
be real careful with that. The kiln, again, is the preferred method,
constant heat and does it really nicely. What does it look like when
it comes out .What it’s going to look like is this little white piece of metal and actually what this is, is covered
with the residue from the clay. You can tell it got a deeper,
whiter kind of look to it. Very much so. And you use just a fine wire brush to get
that off. I will show you again, using the rubber
block for stability and a little bit of pressure. Remember don’t
be afraid to get dirty. You can see that I’m just taking that
right off the top and it’s becoming silver now that it’s turned
into in the firing process. Perfect! You can see the difference right like that.
Now once we’ve got all of that off of there, I could look at it again
and say, “am I happy with that?” Do I want to shine it up a bit,
use a little sand paper? You can tumble it in a rock tumbler. The ring that
I’m wearing was actually tumbled in a regular rock tumbler. Let’s look at some of the other
things you brought, Stephanie. Some of them are made with many different
techniques, there’s a texture plate, a mold that we’ve
used, the syringe, a lot of different ways to use this product.
That’s great. Thank you Stephanie. Today in our beading lesson, Katie
helps you to assemble your very own jewelry toolbox.

3 thoughts on “How to Make an Art Clay® Pendant

  1. Hello 🙂 thanks so much for your tutorial, If I buy a 10gm bag of metal clay, how many charms could I make out of that amount of clay if they were roughly the same size of your charm in the tutorial? Thank you xx

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