String theory metal clay pendant

Use leftover metal clay in an easy frame adorned inside and out with colorful cord and beads.
Stringtheory

A fad in the '70s, string art has reappeared recently on the handcrafted jewelry scene. Use a metal clay frame to achieve an updated look.

SUPPLIES

pendant 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm) diameter

  • 12 4 mm crystals
  • 31 11/0 seed beads
  • 2 yd. (1.8 m) silk cord, size E, in each of 2 colors: A, B
  • beading needles, #10
  • 5 g metal clay
  • thick metal clay slip (of the same type as the lump clay)
  • acrylic roller
  • brass brush
  • cylindrical form with flat ends, 1½ in. (3.8 cm) diameter
  • 3/64-in. (1.5 mm) drill bit
  • kiln
  • nonstick work surface
  • olive oil or nonpetroleum hand salve
  • paintbrush
  • 10 playing cards
  • sandpaper and sanding pads
  • scrap yarn or cord
  • tissue blade

INSTRUCTIONS

Frame

StringtheoryPhotoA
Photo A

1. Wrap a piece of scrap yarn or cord around the circumference of your cylindrical form. Cut the cord to that length.

 

2. Apply a thin layer of olive oil or hand salve to your work surface, hands, acrylic roller, and one end of the cylindrical form.

 

3. With your hands, roll the metal clay into a narrow cylinder. Set the clay on your work surface, and place a stack of five playing cards to each side of the clay. Use the acrylic roller to roll the clay into a strip a bit longer than the cord cut in step 1 (PHOTO A). Be sure to reposition the cards as needed to keep the thickness of the clay even along the length.

StringtheoryPhotoB
Photo B

4. Using the tissue blade, cut the clay into a rectangular strip approximately 1/8 in. (3 mm) wide by the length of the cord cut in step 1 (PHOTO B).

StringtheoryPhotoC
Photo C

5. Wrap the strip around the cylindrical form, and press the ends together to form a ring. Use a paintbrush to apply a small amount of slip at the join (PHOTO C). Position the form flat-end down so the metal clay ring is parallel to the work surface. Allow the metal clay to dry completely.

StringtheoryPhotoD
Photo D

6. When the clay has dried, remove it from the form. Use a pencil to mark 24 evenly spaced dots around the outside edge of the frame. Hold the 3/64-in. (1.5 mm) drill bit between your thumb and fingers, align it with a dot, and gently twist it to drill a hole (PHOTO D). Work slowly, and use your finger to carefully support the spot you are drilling, or the clay could break. Repeat at the remaining dots.

 

7. Carefully smooth the edges with sandpaper.

 

8. Fire the frame in a kiln according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After firing, scrub the frame with a brass brush for a sheen.

StringtheoryFigure1
Figure 1

Finishing

1. Thread a needle on 2 yd. (1.8 m) of color A silk cord, and pick up eight 11/0 seed beads, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. Sew through the first 11/0 again to form a ring (FIGURE 1, a–b), then pick up a 4 mm crystal, and sew through the top hole in the frame (b–c)

 

2. Cross over the opening, and sew through the hole directly across from the one your cord just exited. Pick up a 4 mm and an 11/0, skip the 11/0, and sew back through the 4 mm and the hole in the frame (c–d).

 

3. Cross over the opening, and sew through the hole adjacent to the one your cord exited at the start of the previous step. Pick up an 11/0, and sew back through the hole in the frame (d–e).

 

4. Cross over the opening, and sew through the hole directly across from the one your cord just exited. Pick up an 11/0, and sew back through the hole in the frame (e–f).

 

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 around the frame, but pick up a 4 mm and an 11/0 as in step 2 for every other pair of holes so that the pattern alternates.

 

6. When the cord has come around to the beginning, sew back through the hole you started with, and sew through the 4 mm and a few 11/0s. Leave the cord tails to finish later.

 

7. Thread a needle on 2 yd. (1.8 m) of color B silk cord, and sew through the top 11/0, 4 mm, and frame hole, leaving a 6-in. (15 cm) tail. 

StringtheoryFigure2
Figure 2

8. Skip eight holes, and sew through the next hole and the corresponding 11/0 (FIGURE 2, a–b). Sew back through the hole, cross over the opening, and sew through the hole and corresponding 11 adjacent to the hole your cord exited at the start of this step. Sew back through the hole (b–c).

 

9. Work as in step 8 around the frame, following the existing thread path through the beads. When the cord has come around to the beginning, sew back through the hole you started with, and continue through the 4 mm and a few 11/0s.

 

10. With one tail, sew into the loop of 11/0s, and end the cord. Repeat with the remaining tails. 

 
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you find that you can't sew through the beads with cord B, tie a half-hitch knot between the crystal and the frame, and sew back through the frame.

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of FacetJewelry.com are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
PRODUCTS YOU MIGHT LIKE
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
$3.95
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
$1.99
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Get awesome news, tips, & free stuff!