Pin this on Pinterest

Wood-grain metal clay pendant

Replicate the appearance of mokume gane using copper, bronze and steel clays

When metalsmiths create mokume gane (from the Japanese term for “wood-grain metal”), they create billets of layered metals in contrasting colors, which they roll out into sheets. They then carve (or forge) and sand these sheets and roll them out again to reveal the namesake wood-grain pattern. With the different types of metal clay now available, metal clay artisans can achieve a similar effect. In this simple pendant, you can combine copper, bronze, and steel clays in a mokume-gane pattern with the help of a clay extruder.

Read the first portion of the project instructions below; for the complete instructions, click here for the free project PDF.


  • Metal clay*:
    - Quick-Fire copper: 25 g
    - Quick-Fire bronze: 12 g
    - Quick-Fire steel XT or Pearl Grey Steel XT: 6 g

Tools & supplies

  • Battery case for 4 AA batteries
  • Clay extruder
  • Circle cutter the same size as the inside diameter of the extruder: 20 mm (3⁄4 in.) for the Makin’s Professional Extruder (optional)
  • Hard clear plastic sheet
  • Craft sticks
  • Flex shaft, or rotary tool
  • Drill bit or diamond bur
  • Extra-fine mini fiber wheel
  • Baldwin’s Patina


*A note on materials

For this project, we called for a specific brand of clay, because we cannot guarantee that other brands of copper and bronze clay will work with Hadar’s steel clay. If you are not using steel clay in your blend, you can experiment with different brands as you wish; the factor to keep an eye on is the shrinkage rate. Use clays with shrinkage rates that match as closely as possible in order to achieve a seamless blend in your finished piece. Jacobson posts updated firing recommendations for her clays at

Wood grain metal clay pendant 1
Photo 1
Wood grain metal clay pendant 2
Photo 2

Roll out the metal clays. Apply olive oil to your work surface, a roller, and your hands. Roll out the following sheets of clay: Quick-Fire copper: 6 cards (1.5 mm) thick; Quick-Fire bronze: 3 cards (0.75 mm) thick; Quick-Fire steel: 1 card (0.25 mm) thick [1].

Cut out the circles. Use a circle cutter with the same diameter as your extruder (or use the barrel of the extruder itself) to cut five circles out of each layer [2].

Wood grain metal clay pendant 3
Photo 3
Wood grain metal clay pendant 4
Photo 4

Stack the circles. Make a stack of circles in a repeating sequence of copper, bronze, then steel, using all of the circles [3].

Put the stack inside the extruder. Insert the stack into the extruder, with the first copper circle facing the opening of the extruder [4] so the copper is the first to come out.

NOTE: The clay that comes out of the extruder first will be the main color for the extruded cane. The proportion between the thicknesses of the layers is always the same: copper = 6 cards, bronze = 3 and steel = 1. If you want bronze to be the main color for your cane, roll one bronze circle to 6 cards (1.5 mm) thick and place it facing the opening of the extruder; the rest of the bronze circles remain 3 cards. Steel cannot be the main color, because the temperature needed to fire the copper and bronze is too low for a large amount of steel to sinter properly.

Wood grain metal clay pendant 5
Photo 5
Extrude the clay cane. Insert a disk with a 6 mm (1⁄4-in.) circular hole into the extruder cap, and screw the cap onto the extruder. Press or twist the handle to extrude the whole stack of clay [5].
Wood grain metal clay pendant 6 7
Photos 6 and 7
Cut the cane. Cut the cane in half [6, top], then into quarters [7, bottom].
Wood grain metal clay pendant 8
Photo 8
Wood grain metal clay pendant 9
Photo 9

Stack and twist the cane pieces. Bundle the four cane pieces, and twist them [8].

Form the cane into a cylinder. Place a hard, clear plastic sheet over the twisted cane, and roll it into a cylinder [9].

NOTE: If the cane gets longer as you roll it, press the ends in toward the center to keep it at its original size.

Wood grain metal clay pendant 10
Photo 10
Wood grain metal clay pendant 11
Photo 11

Split the cane. Use a tissue blade to slice the cane in half lengthwise [10].

Form the cane halves. Place the cane halves cut-side down into non-adjacent indentations in a clear plastic AA battery case [11].

Wood grain metal clay pendant 12
Photo 12
Wood grain metal clay pendant 13
Photo 13

Press the cane halves into the indentations until they conform to the plastic [12]. Look at the plastic case from underneath to see the pattern [13].

For the remaining instructions on refining, assembling and finishing the pendant, click here for the free project PDF.

FIND MORE: metal clay , pendants

Want to leave a comment?

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

Login or Register now.
Get awesome news, tips, & free stuff!