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Woven metal clay pendant

Remember the first paper arts technique you ever learned? Use it to weave a sophisticated pendant with silver metal clay and brass.

Over and under; under and over. The quintessential weave you learned in elementary school (think construction-paper place mat) is the foundation for the woven panel in this pendant. My grown-up version of the weave combines metal clay paper with brass foil strips. Firing this woven duo yields a classic two-tone checked pattern. All that’s left to do is add a metal clay frame, attach a complementary brass-tube bail, and then fire the assembly.

SUPPLIES

  • Brass tubing: 20-gauge (0.8 mm), 5 mm outside diameter, 1 1⁄4 in. (32 mm)
  • Art Clay Silver Paper Type metal clay: 1 x 1 in. (25.5 x 25.5 mm)
  • Brass foil: 44-gauge (0.05 mm), 2 x 2 in. (51 x 51 mm)
  • Metal clay: 25 g (formula with same shrinkage ratio as metal clay paper)
  • Metal clay paste
  • Metal clay syringe clay
  • Scissors
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Supplies for cutting tools (optional):
    • Scrap polymer clay
    • Metal shears
    • Brass sheet: 30-gauge (0.26 mm)
    • Pliers: chainnose, roundnose
    • Cyanoacrylate glue
  • Mini craft clothespins (optional)
  • 000 steel wool
  • Pickle, pickle pot or citric acid (optional)
  • Baking soda
  • Liver of sulfur

TOOLBOXES

INSTRUCTIONS

Bail

Use a jeweler’s saw and a 2/0 blade  to cut a 1 1⁄4-in. (32 mm) piece of 20-gauge (0.8 mm) brass tubing. Place 400-grit sandpaper on a flat, hard work surface. Holding one end of the tubing flat against the sandpaper, use even pressure to move the tubing in a circular motion to smooth its edge. Repeat on the opposite end of the tubing. 

Woven panel
Metal clay woven pendant 1
Photo 1
Metal clay woven pendant 2
Photo 2

Make a metal clay paper “warp.” Use a straight edge and pencil to draw a 7⁄8-in. (22 mm) square on a sheet of metal clay paper [PHOTO 1]. Use a craft knife and a straight edge to cut out the square. 

NOTE: I use Art Clay Silver Paper Type because it’s thicker than PMC Sheet; the thicker sheet makes the woven panel stronger.

Leaving a 2 mm (5⁄64-in.) border along two adjacent sides of the square, use a pencil to draw diagonal lines about 1⁄8 in. (3 mm) apart on the square [PHOTO 2].

Woven metal clay pendant fig 1
Figure 1
Metal clay paper warp
Metal clay woven pendant 3
Photo 3

Making sure not to cut into the 2 mm (5⁄64-in.) border, use a craft knife and a straight edge to cut along the diagonal lines [PHOTO 3]; this fringe of strips will be the warp [FIGURE 1] of your weaving.


 
Woven metal clay pendant fig 2
Figure 2
Brass foil weft strips
Metal clay woven pendant 4
Photo 4

Cut brass foil into “weft” strips. You’ll make brass foil “weft” strips and weave them into the warp [FIGURE 2]. Using scissors, cut 44-gauge (0.05 mm) brass foil into slightly curved strips about 4 mm (5⁄32 in.) wide and slightly longer than the warp. 

Measure the brass strips on the warp. Place the brass strips on the warp. Based on the curves of the strips, determine what order you want to weave them in. Mark and trim them to a manageable weaving length [PHOTO 4]. 

Metal clay woven pendant 5
Photo 5
Metal clay woven pendant 6
Photo 6

Weave the strips. Lifting every other strip of the warp, weave the first brass strip into the warp until the brass strip is snug against the warp’s uncut border.

Lifting the warp strips adjacent to those you lifted previously, weave the second brass strip into the warp. Use the tip of your craft knife or a needle tool to snug this brass strip into the warp. Continue weaving this way until you’ve woven all of your brass strips into the warp. Use the tip of your craft knife or a needle tool to carefully nudge the brass strips snug into the warp [PHOTO 5]. 

Fire the woven panel. Fire the woven panel in a kiln according to the clay manu-facturer’s instructions. Allow the panel to cool completely. The brass strips will be coated with a layer of oxide, which you can remove by brushing them with a soft-bristle brush [PHOTO 6].

Metal clay woven pendant 7
Photo 7
Metal clay woven pendant 8
Photo 8

Trim the woven panel. Use scissors to trim the excess brass strip [PHOTO 7].

Metal clay frames

You’ll sandwich your woven panel between a two-layer metal clay frame and a metal clay back panel made from lump clay. To make the frames, use a silver metal clay formula that has the same shrinkage ratio as your metal clay paper. 

Prepare your tools. Lightly coat your hands, a plastic roller, a tissue blade, a texture sheet, and a flexible Teflon sheet with hand balm or olive oil.

Make frame A. Roll 25 g of metal clay into a square that’s 2 playing cards thick. Use a 1 1⁄8-in. (29 mm) square cutter to cut a square in the clay sheet. Use a 3⁄4-in. (19 mm) square cutter to cut a square in the center of the first square [PHOTO 8]. Carefully remove the excess clay, leaving a metal clay frame. 

NOTE: I made my own frame and back-panel cutters for this project. To learn how, see “Make Your Own Clay Cutters.”

Metal clay woven pendant 9
Photo 9
Metal clay woven pendant 10
Photo 10

Make frame B. Roll the excess clay into a square that’s 2 playing cards thick. Use the 1 1⁄8-in. (29 mm) square cutter to cut a square in the clay sheet. Use a 7⁄8-in. (22 mm) square cutter to cut a square in the center of this square. Remove the excess clay, leaving a metal clay frame. 

While the frames are drying completely (see the “Metal Clay Dryness” chart), collect the excess clay to make a back panel.

Back panel and bail strips 

Roll out and texture the clay. Roll the excess clay to 3 playing cards thick. Reduce your thickness guides to 2 playing cards thick. Place the oiled side of the texture sheet on the clay sheet. Roll over the texture sheet to impress the texture into the clay [PHOTO 9]. Remove thetexture sheet.

Make the back panel. Use a craft knife to cut a 1 1⁄4 x 15⁄16-in. (32 x 33 mm) rectangle from the clay. Use a 3⁄4-in. (19 mm) circle cutter to cut a circle in the center of the rectangle. (I used one of my custom cutters to make my panel [PHOTO 10].) Remove the excess clay, and let the back panel dry completely.

Metal clay woven pendant 11
Photo 11
Metal clay woven pendant 12
Photo 12

Make bail strips. Roll the remaining clay to 2 playing cards thick. Use a craft knife to cut the clay into two 3⁄16 x 5⁄8-in. (5 x 16 mm) strips [PHOTO 11].

Attach the strips to the brass tube. Wrap clay strips around the brass tube, positioning the strips so they’re 3⁄16 in. (5 mm) apart and centered on the tube. Working on one strip at a time, use a craft knife to cut the excess clay where the strip overlaps to make a clean join [PHOTO 12].

Use a fine-tip paintbrush to apply metal clay paste to the joins. Use a clean paintbrush to smooth the seam and remove excess paste. Support the ends of the tube with playing cards while the clay dries completely.

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

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