First experiments with metal clay
I recently bought myself a Metal Clay Starter Kit from Jewellerymaker (on the telly). I also bought a gas torch and fire-brick, a pair of metal tongs, a digital timer and some lovely, shiny 0.8mm copper wire.
This is the result of my first experiments:
I made the three charms at the bottom of the picture with copper clay, and the two at the top with bronze clay. The two half-discs were originally one whole disc, which broke while I was sanding it! I didn't want to waste the effort, so I cleaned up the broken edges and drilled a hole in the piece that didn't have one. I'm not sure whether I used bronze or copper clay for these pieces, as they are too smooth for bronze and too yellowish for copper!
The large charm at the bottom is made of copper clay. The quote reads:
"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans"
This charm was very experimental! The stamp is a little taller than the maximum size you are supposed to stick to, when you fire your metal clay with a torch (the area of a 50p piece). This meant that I couldn't keep the whole piece glowing orange for 8 minutes as instructed, so I had to cheat! I heated the biggest area I could at one end of the piece for 8 minutes, then repeated with the other end, overlapping the centre part of the piece, which I had already fired. It seems to have worked, but the charm has a large crack in the back, underneath the word "what", so I probably wont make another one with this particular stamp. I also think I pressed the stamp into the clay a bit too hard, as the "g" of "making" has gone right through!
There was meant to be a textured, heart-shaped charm instead of the "Life" charm, but the heart broke irretrievably while I was sanding it. I'm a bit sad, as it was rather pretty, but I think I had made it a bit too thin, and it bowed whilst it was drying. I tried to "stick" it back together with a paste I made from my sanding dust, but the bowed shape meant that the heart wouldn't lie with its edges touching, so it wouldn't adhere, then I broke it again, so it went in the bin!
While my clay pieces were drying (I left them for about 3 days to be certain they were really dry!), Jewellerymaker sent my reel of lovely copper wire, which I had ordered especially to go with the bronze and copper clay. I have recently made several chains consisting of figure-of-eight links joined to each other, so I decided to have a change this time and join the figure-of-eights with tiny jump-rings. I made different sized larger jump-rings to suit each of the charms, as the holes weren't all the same distance from the edge. I made a hook and an extra large jump-ring as a clasp. The chain was originally meant to be a necklace, but my hands were so tired from using the pliers, that I had to give up at a bracelet-length!
Before I assembled the bracelet, I decided to varnish the charms, with the aim of preventing corrosion. Rightly or wrongly, I sprayed them with "Spray and Shine" from Create & Craft. I hope it works!!!!
To all the lovely people who have left comments on this post - Thank you lots! I really appreciate your comments and find them very encouraging!