Below you will find links to some amazing metal clay projects by some of the top metal clay artists in the world. Follow their instructions to recreate their work or use these projects and techniques to inspire you to create similar works or your own unique designs!
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Rustic Copper Cuff
by Emma Baird
Take advantage of the strength and affordability of COPPRclay with this beautiful rustic bracelet. Copper's strength makes it ideal for a cuff, which needs to be strong as it will be prone to more wear and tear than a pendant or pair of earrings. In sheet metal a complex pattern like this would require an expert hand with a jewellers saw, but with the clay it’s a breeze as the pattern is all cut out at the wet clay stage! The design principle behind the cuff offers endless possibilities for truly unique and beautiful pieces of jewellery!
Make a Template
On a piece of paper, measure a rectangle 17cm long and 5cm wide. Make the ends of the cuff only about 3.5cms and taper the bracelet's shape so that it's slightly rounded and not square. Design your pattern and cut the shape including the internal pattern with a craft knife.
Try the template on for size before you cut out its pattern. You may need to make it a little bigger (or smaller) to fit.
When designing your own pattern take care not to make the areas of connecting copper in between the cut outs too narrow.
- 100g COPPRclay
- Oval Wooden Bracelet Mandrel
- 1.5mm spacers
- Large mat
- Teflon Square
- Cling Film
- Card/heavy paper
- Craft Knife
- Clay Shaper
- Olive Oil
- Sanding Pads
- Needle File
- Coconut Activated Carbon
- Stainless Steel Container
- Paragon SC2 Kiln
- Kiln Stilts
On paper measure a rectangle 17cm long, and 5 cm wide. Make the ends of the cuff only about 3.5 cms and taper the bracelet’s shape so that its slightly rounded and not square. Design your pattern and cut the shape & internal pattern with a craft knife remove & condition the clay. Prepare your mat and madrel with release agent & roll the clay out 1.5mm thick. Place your prepared template on top of the clay and cut out the main shape with a craft knife. Put excess clay into cling film.
Take a Teflon square & cut it in half. Tape it together to make a longer length of teflon. Take your paper template and find where you will position the clay. You want the gap between the two edges to be fairly narrow – but you need to be able to slide the finished bracelet onto your wrist. Mine is less than 3cms. Make it larger if you don’t have very slender wrists. Wrap the paper onto the mandrel and secure with tape. Place the clay over the mandrel.
Support the clay on the mandrel it at all times with your hand. Place the template on top of the clay, aligning it carefully. With a craft knife gently cut the pattern out of the copper. Take care not to “drag” the clay as this can cause it to rip or tear. Put any excess clay into your cling film. Lift the bracelet slightly up on the mandrel so that it’s a little loose and air dry overnight. Then place onto a wire mesh to dry thoroughly.
Once the cuff is cool assess it for any cracks. Mix up a thick paste with copper clay and water and use a clay shaper to fill the gaps. Dry again. Place onto the mandrel for support and sand with a sanding pad. Remove from the mandrel and sand the inside. The copper is very flexible but care still needs to be taken at this stage so the cuff doesn’t break.
Fire the clay as follows – Spread 1 inch of activated coconut carbon granules on the bottom of a stainless steel firing pan. Place your cuff on top of the layer and pour the granules on top until the container is full. Cover with the lid and place in a paragon SC2 on 1 Inch Stilts to allow good heat circulation. Ramp at full speed to 927 Degrees C and hold for 3 hours.
Allow the firing pan to cool completely before removing it. Take out your cuff and gently brush off any granules that have stuck. If your cuff has colours on it that you like then progress onto filing the insides of the cut out details with a needle file for contrast. If you would prefer your copper shiny then brush with a brass brush and polish with clean sanding pads.
This project was originally featured in the December 2009 issue of Making Jewellery Magazine.
Last updated on Wed, February 3, 2010 by Metal Clay Guru