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Silver clay and resin memory pendant

Make your own texture molds, use your own photo, and capture a perfect moment.

Making your own molds is one way to add custom tactile surfaces to your metal clay work. Impressed from a handmade mold, the distinctive texture on this pendant draws attention to the double-paned resin window that holds a favorite photograph.

We’ll show you how to make your own texture molds and sheets, using a two-part silicone molding compound. Then, you can use your molds to give your pendant and its bail a custom texture. You’ll also learn how to incorporate a photocopy of a personal photograph or image within your pendant by encasing the image between layers of quick-curing adhesive epoxy resin.

SUPPLIES 

  • Metal clay: 20 g
  • Metal clay paste
  • Photocopy of photograph or copyright-free image: 3⁄8 x 3⁄8 in. (10 x 10 mm)
  • Two-part epoxy resin adhesive: quick-cure formula
  • Necklace cord or chain
  • Olive oil or natural hand balm
  • Acrylic roller
  • Flexible Teflon sheet
  • Texture sheet; or two-part silicone molding compound: room-temperature-vulcanizing formula
  • Drinking straw
  • Playing cards
  • Tissue blade
  • Paintbrushes: fine tip, flat tip
  • Distilled water
  • Blending tool
  • Mug warmer
  • Emery board or 400-grit sandpaper
  • Cutters:
    • Oval: 1 1⁄2 x 2 in. (38 x 51 mm)
    • Square: 3⁄8 x 3⁄8 in. (10 x 10 mm)
  • Carving tool (optional)
  • Craft sticks, toothpicks
  • Cosmetic foam-tip applicator
  • Kiln, kiln shelf
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Tumbler, steel shot, burnishing compound
  • Clear packing tape
  • Duct tape (optional)
  • Cardstock
  • Tweezers

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Silver clay and resin memory pendant Step 1
PHOTO 1
Silver clay and resin memory pendant Step 2
PHOTO 2
MAKING THE PENDANT FRAME
Roll out clay for the bail. Lightly oil your hands, an acrylic roller, a flexible Teflon sheet, a mold or texture sheet, and a drinking straw. For instructions on how to make your own mold or texture sheet, see “Make a Mold or Texture Sheet,” below.

Roll about 4 g of metal clay to 3 playing cards thick. Use a tissue blade to trim the clay into a rectangle that’s approximately 7⁄16 in. (11 mm) wide and long enough to wrap around the drinking straw with some overlap [PHOTO 1].

Texturize and shape the clay strip. Press the clay strip into your mold or texture sheet, and then wrap the clay strip (texture-side out) around the straw. Use the tissue blade to cut the clay strip where it overlaps. Remove the excess clay.

Form the bail.
With a fine-tip paintbrush, apply a line of distilled water along the clay strip’s seam. Use a blending tool to smooth the seam and to make sure that the edges have bonded. Place the straw with the clay strip on a flexible Teflon sheet, and put the sheet on a mug warmer [PHOTO 2]. Let the bail dry completely.

Refine the bail. When the bail is completely dry, smooth and refine each end on an emery board [PHOTO 3] or piece of 400-grit sandpaper.
Silver clay and resin memory pendant Step 3
PHOTO 3

Make the panel. Roll about 15 g of metal clay to 4 playing cards thick to make a clay sheet that’s slightly larger than a 11⁄2 x 2-in. (38 x 51 mm) oval cutter.

Place the clay sheet on your texture sheet. Roll over the clay with the acrylic roller. Carefully peel the clay from the texture sheet [PHOTO 4], and set the clay texture-side up on the flexible Teflon sheet.

Oil the cutting edge of your oval cutter. Cut out the oval panel and remove the excess clay [PHOTO 5].

Silver clay and resin memory pendant Step 4
PHOTO 4
Silver clay and resin memory pendant Step 5
PHOTO 5

MAKE A MOLD OR TEXTURE SHEET
Textures are all around us, and with the help of a two-part, silicone, room-temperature-vulcanizing (RTV) molding compound, you can make molds or texture sheets of just about any texture. Later you can use the molds or sheets to transfer the textures to your metal clay.

RTV molding compounds are packaged as two “putty” formulations in separate containers. The putties are color-tinted to help you tell the formulations apart and determine when you’ve mixed them completely.

Before you mix the putty formulations together, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Note the amount of time it takes the product to cure (you’ll start timing as soon as you completely mix the putty formulations together).
Molds and texture sheets 1
PHOTO A
Molds and texture sheets 2
PHOTO B

Mix the putty formulations together. Measure equal amounts of each putty formulation [PHOTO A]. I use plastic spoons to scoop out equal amounts from each container. Then, knead the putty until the compound is a uniform color.

Make a mold.
Working quickly, and keeping in mind the cure time for your compound, press the compound against your chosen texture [PHOTO B].

NOTE: If you are taking an impression from organic materials, it’s helpful to cover the object with a light coating of olive oil so that the molding com-pound doesn’t stick to the surface of the organic material.

Remove the compound and allow it to cure at room temperature according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The cured silicone mold is now ready to use for texturizing your metal clay. There is no need to use a release agent with the mold; the silicone will not stick to your clay.

Make a texture sheet. To make a texture sheet, use an acrylic roller to roll out the kneaded compound, then place the compound on a flat, textured surface and roll over it again with the acrylic roller. Carefully peel the compound from the textured surface, and allow it to cure.


For the rest of this project instructions, including finishing and firing your metal clay pendant and adding resin and a photo, click here to download or print the free PDF!

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