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Bronze clay and resin floral ring

Go big with bronze clay for this 1 1/4-in. wide ring

Ever since I took a seminar on the scale of jewelry, I’ve been fixating on larger scale designs. This ring is just one example. Incorporating two very different materials, bronze metal clay and resin, is leading me to design more of the same. For this project, I colored the resin; you could just as easily skip the resin, or you could fill the cups with clear resin and inclusions, such as beads.

Preview the project by reading instructions for forming the ring band below. For the complete instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Bronze clay: 200 g
  • Two-part epoxy resin, colorant

Additional tools & supplies

  • Teflon sheet
  • Ring mandrel, mandrel holder
  • Ring sizers (optional)
  • Clay-shaping tool
  • Sanding and polishing supplies: fine- to ultrafine-grit sanding sponges, 400–8,000-grit polishing papers, polishing swabs
  • Ceramic fiber blanket
  • Dust mask
  • Steel-wire brush
  • Flex shaft, sanding drums, polishing and buffing wheels (optional)
  • Plastic cups (optional)

Toolboxes

Instructions

Bronze clay and resin floral ring 1
Photo 1
Bronze clay and resin floral ring 2
Photo 2

Choose your ring size. Determine the size of the ring you want to make, and increase the measurement to allow for how much the metal clay will shrink when it’s fired and for the thickness of the ring band. I used a clay that shrinks approximately two sizes, so I added two sizes to my desired final ring size.

Wrap Teflon around a ring mandrel. Cut a 1–2-in. (25.5–51 mm)-wide strip of Teflon sheet. Wrap the Teflon strip around a ring mandrel at the desired ring size. Trim the ends of the Teflon strip so there’s only about 1⁄4 in. (6.5 mm) of overlap. Tape the seam [1], and rub the tape so the seam is smooth.

NOTE: If you’re using a ring mandrel that’s not marked with sizes, slide a ring sizer [2] onto the mandrel and mark the appropriate point with a pencil.

Bronze clay and resin floral ring 3
Photo 3
Bronze clay and resin floral ring 4
Photo 4
Roll and cut metal clay. Condition 125–150 g of bronze clay.
I condition my bronze clay by kneading distilled water into it while it’s wrapped in plastic wrap.

Pinch off approximately 20–30 g of conditioned clay (about the size of a small strawberry), then rewrap the rest and set it aside. Apply olive oil or natural hand balm to your hands, tools, and work surface. Roll the clay to 11 playing cards thick [3]. Use a tissue blade to trim the edges along the length of the band [4]. The band should be 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) wide, and the edges should be neat and straight.

Bronze clay and resin floral ring 5
Photo 5
Bronze clay and resin floral ring 6
Photo 6

Make the ring band. Wrap the clay strip around the Teflon strip on the ring mandrel, carefully overlapping the clay ends. Holding the tissue blade at a 45° angle, cut through both layers of clay [5]. Lift the top layer and remove the trimmed clay.

Use a fine-tip paintbrush to apply water to the cut ends [6]. Bring the angled ends together to meet nearly flush with a slight overlap. Apply more water, and carefully press the ends together neatly.

Bronze clay and resin floral ring 7
Photo 7

Without distorting the band, use a clay-shaping tool to blend the seam [7].

NOTE: Bronze clay does not stick easily to itself, so make sure the seam is well-blended. If necessary, add clay to this section and work it into the seam. It’s easier to remove excess clay and refine the seam later than to fix an unsealed seam.

Leave the band on the mandrel, and set the mandrel in a mandrel holder. The mandrel should be horizontal and elevated. Let the ring band dry completely.

To see the rest of the instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

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