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Create a real silver charm bracelet with this silver jewelry clay lesson
9, 10, 11, 12
Title – Create Real Silver Jewelry With Clay!
By – Delphi
Primary Subject – Art
Grade Level – 9-12
Time Required: Three Sessions
Combine the magic of jewelry clay with the simplicity of stamping to create beautiful and unique jewelry. Simply roll out the clay, stamp the design or letters, finish shaping the jewelry and you’re ready to fire. Roll on texture sheets to give silver textured designs. Fire and students have a 99.9% pure silver charm bracelet that they created!
Students will 1) learn basic jewelry composition; 2) work with a unique new substance to create a piece of fine jewelry; 3) be introduced to stamping, firing and polishing silver working.
Imagine A New Type of Silver…
Soft enough to shape and mold like modeling clay — that hardens into genuine silver jewelry. All without complex and expensive forging and casting equipment! It’s not myth: it’s a real material called Silver Jewelry Precious Metal Clay (PMC) that’s absolutely fun and fascinating to work with. Just mold the clay, let it dry, do final shaping, then fire, polish, and wear!
- What Is Silver Jewelry Clay?
- Silver jewelry clay is a mixture of tiny particles of silver, a binding agent and water. A unique substance that can be sculpted and formed, the clay is fired to burn out organic binders, leaving behind a 99.99% pure silver project.
- The amazing nature of this clay means that a finished piece only shrinks by about 8 to 10% of the original design size.
- Silver jewelry clay can be fired using a hand-held micro torch or a small kiln.
- Basic Tools And Common Uses
- PMC+: Available in clay, syringe and paste forms.
- Roller: use to roll clay out to a uniform thickness.
- Cardboard Slats: use with the roller as a gauge to maintain uniform thickness (most projects require about 1.2 mm thickness for strength).
- Palette Knife: use to cut clay and to smooth surfaces as needed.
- Paint Brush: use to apply silver jewelry paste or to moisten clay as you work on a project to prevent cracking (clay dries out as you work, so reapplying water keeps the clay malleable).
- Half Round File: use on dried project to smooth rough spots before firing.
- Firing Brick: a heat resistant surface for torch firing.
- Butane Torch: fires silver clay project to burn off organic binders. Good for most small projects. Large projects, or those using advanced techniques may require a small kiln to fire evenly.
- Tweezers: use to handle newly fired projects. Also works well for burnishing fired projects. Delphi Tip: To get additional shine on a finished project, use the side of the tweezers to rub the surface of the silver.
- Stainless Steel Brush: use to polish the fired project to remove the white residue that is a result of firing.
- Polishing Block: a small rubber surface that grips your project while you polish. Allows for firm scrubbing without having the project roll away.
- Tinted Safety Glasses: wear when firing project.
- Additional Recommended Supplies
- Small cups of water.
- Baking parchment or plastic page protectors to use as a work surface.
- Bag balm, olive oil, or other organic oil to use as a release agent. It will burn off during firing.
- Fine grit sandpaper for fine finishing (1200 grit wet/dry works best).
- Pie tins to further protect the table during firing.
- Butane, which is available in pressurized canisters at most convenience stores.
More Jewelry Clay Instructions and
Great Beginner Project Supplies
Introduction to Precious Metal Clay Book #6289
This do-it-yourself guide by Mary Ann Devos provides all the information you need to get started — and advance– to a “master class” level. This easy-to-follow guide explains the clay and tools you’ll need, as well as showing step-by-step projects with detailed instructions and photos.
Rubber Stamps and Texture Sheets
Combine the magic of jewelry clay with the simplicity of stamping to create beautiful and unique jewelry. Simply roll out the clay, stamp the design or letters, finish shaping the jewelry and you’re ready to fire. Roll on texture sheets to give silver textured designs. Stamps available in individual letters, entire Alphabet Set #1044, Romance Set #6845650, Winged Creatures Set #6845651, Feng Shui 1 set # 6845670 and Feng Shui 2 set #6845671. Texture sheets come in a package of 18 different designs #68301.
- Tips and Techniques
- To extend the working life of your clay, make sure all clay is properly wrapped when not in use.
- If clay dries out, reconstitute it by adding a few drops of water and letting it sit wrapped. Then work back into original state.
- For proper strength, clay should be approximately 1.2 mm thick (the size of the cardboard strip set).
- Make sure all surfaces that touch the clay are lightly coated with an organic release (i.e. olive oil or bag balm).
- Your working area should be cool and without direct lighting, fans or fireplaces, to prevent premature drying and cracking.
- If cracks occur, projects are not ruined. They can be filled with paste and sanded when dry or the clay can be broken down and reconstituted (see above).
- Allow clay to thoroughly dry. Dry time can be sped up by placing project in front of a fan, drying with dryer or using a warm plate.
- Projects that are dried but not fired are not yet definite. Cracks can be filled; details can be added by using your paste as a glue then attaching syringe work or other small pieces of clay.
- Before firing your work make sure your project is exactly what you want the finished piece to look like. Sand all edges smooth, make sure cracks are filled and all parts are secured. Once fired the piece is final.
Materials for 12 Projects:
|12||#69148||Silverplated Charm Bracelet|
|2||#69150||Silverplated Oval Jumprings|
|1||#68704||3/16″ Pattern Cutter Set|
|1||#68301||Texture Sheet Set|
|1||#684565||Romance Rubber Stamp Set|
|12||#67002||PMC+ Clay, 20 gm|
Tools: See Basic Tools List above or find tools needed in Delphi’s Silver Jewelry Clay Starter Kit #1041. Each 20 gram package of clay makes 4-6 pendants. Additional clay and all materials can also be purchased separately.
Optional: Alphabet Rubber Stamp Set #1044, Winged Creature Set #6845651, Feng Shui 1 #6845670, Feng Shui 2 #6845671.
Refer to Delphi’s Silver Jewelry Clay Instructions above for additional information.
- Divide clay into sections of about 5 grams each (1/4 of package), leaving one out and wrapping the others securely in plastic to prevent drying.
- Roll out clay using roller (and cardboard strips to gauge thickness) over the texture sheet of your choice.
- If you wish to use a rubber stamp to imprint a design, oil the surface of the stamp lightly. Align the stamp over the rolled out clay, then set it down flat on the clay surface. Press firmly and evenly to imprint the design, then lift the stamp straight up to prevent uneven pressure in the design.
- Trim to the desired shape using the palette knife.
- Using the round 3/16″ pattern cutter, carefully punch where you would like to make a hole by which to hang the charm. You will want to allow several mm. on all sides around the hole to ensure sturdiness. Press the end of the cutter into the clay and lift up.
- Use the pattern cutters to add any additional embellishments as desired. You can also create charms by rolling the clay onto the texture sheets and cutting out the surface design with a palette knife (as we did with the leaf charm in the picture shown above).
- Dry the charms using a blow drier, letting the clay set, or placing on a warming tray.
- File the charms to clean up the edges and shape (you can further clean up the surface by sanding with 600 grit sandpaper and following up with 1200 grit sandpaper). Brush off any particles on the surface and inspect. Make any repairs now by applying paste, drying and filing again. Use pre-made PMC+ Paste #67003 or create paste by adding water to the clay.
- Add design elements to the back side of the charm if desired, dry, file and clean up the surface.
- Place the dry charm on your fire brick or kiln shelf an fire. To torch fire heat evenly until the pendant reaches a faint orange color and hold at this temperature for about 3 minutes. To fire in a kiln heat to about 1650 degrees F, hold for 10 minutes then cool.
- Brush off the white residue from the firing using the wire bristle brush. Continue polishing as desired. You may also “burnish” the high points on the surface of the charm by rubbing the edge of the stainless steel tweezers firmly against the areas you wish to enhance.
- Attach the charms to the bracelet with jumprings and jewelry pliers.
- Add CZ stones to the charms
- Cut out charms following the contour of the imprinted design
- Use PMC+ Syringe #67004 to add lines or details
More Jewelry Clay Instructions and
Great Beginner Project Supplies
Working with Precious Metal Clay Book #6318
Comprehensive guide presents 50 projects and plenty of useful tips for working with silver jewelry clay. Finished items are show in color; directions are augmented with color illustration to guide you through the creative process. Hardcover and spiral bound.
Use the Kemper Klay Gun #68709 for a limitless number of decorative clay effects. Includes 19 assorted discs with easy to use extruder gun. Pattern cutters allow students to make precise, even shapes quickly and easily. Sets include four cutter shapes: round, teardrop, star/flower and heart. Available in 3 sizes; 3/16 inch #68704, 3/8 inch #68705 and 3/4 inch #68707. Use multiple sizes to layer shapes on top one another. Designer Dot Set #68701 is a handy tool for quick and easy imprints in a variety of small designs. Includes eight interchangeable tips.
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