Precious metal clay bracelet

What your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.

This bracelet is an excellent example of the wonderful things you can create from Precious Metal Clay. After firing in the kiln, the bracelet is transformed into pure silver. It is very light after firing, yet sturdy. The texture on this bracelet comes from a cut crystal glass. You can use rubber stamps, grasses and plants, lace, pasta (uncooked, please) or anything else that makes a pattern that pleases you. With PMC, you are only limited by your imagination. Something this pretty shouldn't be so easy to make!

Materials

Tools

Original PMC (two packagos or 60 g)

PMC tools

Wire mesh

A variety of synthetic gemstones

Oi.vo Oil

Tweezers

measuring 4 mm or loss

Emery board or nail We

Kiin

Toggle clasp

400- or 320-gnt sandpaper

Plastic bags to keep

HaH-bard, half-round

Drinking straws (various diameters cut

clay moist

14-gauge d-63 mm) sterling silver

into thirds)

4 Jump rings.

wire (for the bracelet links)

Craft sticks or tongue depressors

9.5 mm. 16-gauge

28-gaugo (0.321 mm) fine stiver

Plastic wrap

round wwe

Formica work surface

22-gauge (0.644 mm) fine silver

Paintbrush

round wire

Fin» round file

22-gauge (0.644 mm) 24k gold

Sitpped/cbain-rtose pliers

round wire

Bowl of water

figure«

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Make the cmMIishments for (he bracelet first. The woven piece at the top of Figure I is made of 28-gauge (0.321 mm) fine silver woven in four sets of two wires. The piece beneath is of the same gauge, but it's woven as twelve sets of one wire. Make each weave I" to 6* (10 cm to 15 cm) long. The width will be about '/." (ft mm).

The star-shaped piece in Figure I is 24k. 22-gauge (0.ft44 mm) gold round wire that has been crimped with pliers. The curlkues are of the same wire twisted randomly. 'Die tiny gold balls with the stems arc also made of the same wire. The silver ball is nude of 22-gauge (0.321 mm) line silver wire.

Make the little lulls by cutting round wire into '•'■* (ft mm) lengths. Meat up one end of the wire with a torch until it forms a hall, lease the other end straight to use as a stem. These stems will be pushed into the PMC to help hold the balls in place.

Using pliers and/or your fingers, bend and curve portions of the woven pieces, then cut them into segments of varying lengths, about '/.* to '/." (ft mm to 1.3 cm). Create sizes and shapes that please you.

Use fiat-nose pliers to bend one row of weaving at a 90* angle on both ends of each woven piece (Figure 2). These bent ends will be pressed into the PMC clay to hold the woven pieces in place. Reserve a few woven pieces to wrap around some of tin* preset stones (Figure 3).

Now we'll make those preset stones in Figure 3. Have all your PMC supplies close at hand. PMC dries very quickly—if you arc going to leave your work, even for a moment, cover the clay with plastic-wrap. First, we'll make settings out of PMC and then set the synthetic stones in them.

Lightly coat your work surfacc and your hands with olive oil. Unwrap the PMC and pinch off a piece the size of a pea. Roll the piece into a smooth ball (Figure 4) and llattcn it on the work surface.

Use a drinking straw slightly smaller than the stone to press a hole through the middle of the clay. Press the straw all the way through, rotate it to release it from the clay, and remove the straw and the "donut" hole (Figures 5 and 6). Smooth out any cracks in the clay with your oiled finger or a clamp paintbrush.

Pick up a stone with tweezers and place it in the hole (Figure 7). Press the stone into the hole so its top lies slightly beneath the surfacc of the clay. Put the piece on a scrap of wire mesh or anything that will allow the air to circulate freely on all sides of the piece. Doing so will help the clay to dry evenly.

Figures 8 and 9 show the front and back of the stones set in PMC. We've left the kick of the setting open. We're using a faceted stone, and the <>|H*uiiig allows light to pass through, giving it extra spat klc. You may also opt to cover the hack ol the stone with clay I«» enhance the «.olm ul the stoiu\

Figures

Ctaoseaitraw

Figure 10

Figure 11

Craft simfcs and day rtttrlo rciouL

Figure 12

Ctty roflod (tot

Figure 10

Try lots of different si/c> and shapes for settings, as in Figure 3. Figure 10 shows a set stone that has hail the IhycI cut «town with a tissue knife while still wet. The he/el tan Ik- left as in Figure 10 or you can ait the corners off with a tissue knife. After drying, this bezel can be sanded until it is a thin band surrounding the stone.

To wrap a setting in a woven piece, roll the weave around a dowel or pencil to form a tight circle. Open up the circle and place the setting carefully inside. Hie ends of the woven piece should evenly abut.

Now we'll make the sections for the bracelet. It is important lliat the stone settings be completely dry before you Ivghi this port of the bracelet.

l ightly coal your work surface and hands with olive oil. Roll the remaining PMC! into a long snake and flatten it into a rectangle. Place a craft stick on either side of the clay and cover the arrangement with a plastic bag (Figure 12).

Use a '/■" (IJ cm) diameter PVC pipe (or whatever you haw chosen as a rolling pin) to roll the clay flat and even (Figure 13). Roll the clay until it is the same thickness as the craft sticks.

Remove the plastic covering and use the crall sticks to square up the sides and ends of the clay (Figures 14 and 15).

We've used a piece of cut glass to give this piece an interesting pattern (Figure 16). Use whatever you like for texture and press it evenly into the clay (Figure 17).

Figure tS

Square the

Figure 16

Cut glass tor crraJngn the day

Figure tS

Square the

Figure 16

Cut glass tor crraJngn the day

Figure 17

Press itv the tiny

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Comer hotel punched tor

Pressing will thin .uul widen the clay (Figure 18). When you are happy with the look, use the craft sticks to push the clay kick to its original thickness and I" (2.5cm) width (Figure 19).

We have decided to make each section square. Use a tissue knife to cut the sections I" (2.5 cm) long. You can calculate the length of the bracelet easily in this example because the sections are lH (2.5 cm) long. We'll cut six sections for this bracelet, which should give us a finished length of about ft'/:" (16.5 cm). Change the length and number of sections to fit the wearer's wrist size.

figure»

Comer hotel punched tor

Pick the sections up with the tissue knife to separate them from each other. With a narrow drinking straw, punch corner holes through the clay for the connecting links (Figure 20).

Use a large-diameter drinking straw to punch holes for the preset gems in whatever pattern you like (Figure 21). Push the straw all the way through and rotate it as before. Any clay that doesn't lift out with the straw can Ik- removed with tweezers. Saw clay scraps to make slip.

If the clay ha» begun to dry, making the holes may cause the edge of the section to bulge slightly. Kesquare the section with craft sticks.

Paint PMC slip on the hacks of the preset stones and press them gently into place over their holes (Figure 22). Remember to wrap the sections you arc not working on in plastic to keep them from drying out.

Figure 23 shows a finished section. The preset stones have been pressed into place, and we've added a piece of woven wire, three gold balls, and a gold curlicue. Press the ends of the woven wire into the day.

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