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Floating pearl lentil pendant

A hidden copper wire makes a pearl appear to levitate

Pearls are a snap to set, and they add an undeniable richness to your jewelry. I’m a big fan. For this project, I wanted to use a good-sized pearl and make it appear to float within the piece — the depth of the lentil’s interior adds to the illusion. The copper’s deep patina provides a stunning contrast to the pearl’s luminescence.

You can make the piece with either Art Clay Copper or COPPRclay. For the most part, the instructions are the same; however, there are a few firing and handling differences between the two. Art Clay Copper feels very firm out of the package. Much like polymer clay, you’ll have to knead it to soften it. COPPRclay is a little softer and has a slightly oily feel. If you’re using a different brand of clay, check the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Always start by having your tools ready before opening your clay.

We’ll get you started with instructions on forming the lentil below. For complete project instructions, click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Copper clay
  • Copper wire:
    - 16-gauge (1.3 mm): dead-soft, 1 in. (25.5 mm)
    - For Art Clay Copper: 18-gauge (1.0 mm), dead-soft, 1 in. (25.5 mm)
    - For COPPRclay: 20-gauge (0.8 mm), dead-soft, 1 in. (25.5 mm)
  • 10 mm half-drilled button pearl

Additional tools & supplies

  • Toothbrush
  • Circle template
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Dust mask (optional)
  • Sponge-tip makeup applicator
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers: chainnose, roundnose
  • Rubber clay shaper
  • Micro mesh sanding swabs and pads
  • Paintbrush: #4 flat
  • Open-shelf firing supplies: long tweezers, Sparex pickle, small slow cooker, copper tongs, fiber paper, heat-resistant glove
  • Liver of sulfur (patina gel)
  • Polishing cloth
  • Renaissance wax
  • Two-part epoxy
  • Diamond pearl reamer (optional)
  • Denatured alcohol (optional)

Toolboxes

Instructions

Floating pearl lentil pendant 1
Photo 1
Floating pearl lentil pendant 2
Photo 2

Roll and texture copper clay. Use natural hand balm and a toothbrush to lightly oil a texture stamp [1]. Go easy with the balm; you want the barest coating. Too much release agent can cause your leftover clay to become crumbly.

On a nonstick work surface (I use plastic notebook dividers cut into quarters), roll the clay to 8 cards thick [2] if you’re using Art Clay Copper (ACC). (You can reduce this to 6 cards thick if you’re using COPPRclay or another clay that doesn’t lose surface during firing).

Floating pearl lentil pendant 3
Photo 3
Floating pearl lentil pendant 4
Photo 4

Move the clay to your stamp, and use a plastic roller to firmly roll over the clay to texture it [3]

Cut two lentil halves. Use a circle template and a needle tool to cut two circles from your textured clay. Make the circles 1 5⁄8 in. (41 mm) if you’re using ACC or 1 3⁄4 in. (44 mm) if you’re using COPPRclay.

NOTE: COPPRclay shrinks more than ACC. For any brand of clay, check the manufacturer’s shrinkage guidelines.

Cut a 13⁄16-in. (21 mm) circle in the center of one of the lentil halves [4]. This will be the front of the pendant; the lentil half without a hole will be the back.

Floating pearl lentil pendant 5
Photo 5

Form the lentil halves. Lay the front and back lentil halves over the wide end of a plastic Easter egg [5]. Use your fingers to gently form the clay to the egg. The edges of the clay must be flush to the egg, or you’ll have trouble fitting the lentil together later. Allow both pieces to dry completely.

NOTE: Air-dry the lentil halves for 24 hours rather than trying to speed up the drying by using a dehydrator. If you try this, the pieces may warp, which will make it harder for you to fit the lentil halves together.

Floating pearl lentil pendant figure
Figure 1
Floating pearl lentil pendant 6
Photo 6

Sand the lentil halves. Lay each lentil half on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper secured to a flat, hard work surface. Using a circular or figure-8 motion, sand the halves until their edges lay flat against the surface [Figure 1].

SAFETY NOTE: Some people find copper clay dust irritating. You may want to wear a dust mask while sanding.

Hold the two lentil halves together to check the fit. They should be the same size without any overhanging edges. If one half is larger than the other, continue sanding it until the halves match. The edges of the textured clay may be ragged at this point; we’ll fix that later.

Refine the hole’s edges. Use files and/or a damp sponge-tip applicator to clean up the edges of the hole in the front lentil half [6].

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

FIND MORE: metal clay , pearl , wire , pendants

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