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Rose in bloom metal clay pendant

Dream of spring with a metal clay pendant that captures the look of an open blossom.
Rose in bloom metal clay pendant template
TEMPLATES

SUPPLIES

pendant 1 1⁄4 x 1 1⁄4 in. (3.2 x 3.2 cm)

  • 15 g metal clay
  • 5 g metal clay slip
  • 7 mm round-cut cubic zirconia (CZ)
  • acrylic roller
  • awl or needle tool
  • blending tool
  • drinking straw
  • emery board
  • finishing items: brass brush, burnishing compound or dish soap, burnisher, ball burnishers, fine-grit jewelry-grade sanding pads, set of finishing papers, and polishing pad
  • food dehydrator (optional)
  • jeweler’s files, half-round and round
  • kiln
  • magnifier
  • nonstick work surface
  • olive oil or nonpetroleum hand salve, such as Badger Balm
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • 6 playing cards
  • sandpaper
  • shallow dish or plate with curved edges
  • utility knife or flower cutter with large and small petal cutters


INSTRUCTIONS

Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo A
PHOTO A
Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo B
PHOTO B

1. Lightly grease the work surface, roller, edges of the cutters or utility knife and drinking straw, shallow dish or plate, and your hands with the olive oil or hand salve. Roll out the metal clay between two three-card stacks of playing cards. Using the cutters or a utility knife, cut one flower base, five large petals, and five small petals from the clay. If using the utility knife, follow the TEMPLATES to cut the shapes.

Using the drinking straw, cut out three small circles in the flower base (PHOTO A). Immediately rewrap and store any leftover metal clay.

2. Lay the petals on the shallow dish or plate so that they will dry slightly curved. If your dish has curved corners, use them for the large petals (PHOTO B). Allow the flower base to dry flat. Dry the pieces in a food dehydrator, or leave them to dry overnight.

3. Once the pieces are dry, use the files and emery board to refine the shape of the flower base and petals. Sand the base and the petals to smooth the surfaces.

4. Use the file and awl to gently roughen the area around the central hole of the flower base. Roughen the top and bottom surfaces at the base of the large petals, and the bottom lower edge of the small petals, where you will attach the petals to each other.

Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo C
PHOTO C
Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo D
PHOTO D

5. Use a wet paintbrush to lightly dampen the flower base and the large petals where you will attach them to each other. Use a generous amount of slip to adhere the large petals to the base, overlapping the edges of the petals slightly (PHOTO C). The petals should curve away from the base (PHOTO D). Let dry.

Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo E
PHOTO E
Rose in bloom metal clay pendant Photo F
PHOTO F

6. Use a paintbrush to lightly dampen the top of the large petals where you will attach the small petals. Use slip to attach each small petal to the large petals and the base (PHOTO E). Use the blending tool and awl as necessary to tidy the surface of the flower while the slip is still wet. 

7. Push the cubic zirconia (CZ) into place in the center of the flower. Using the remaining metal clay, roll out a thin “snake” 1⁄2 in. (1.3 cm) long and form it into a ring that will cover the edges of the CZ. Apply a small amount of slip to the ring and push it into place around the CZ. Use the blending tool to attach the ring to the surface of the petals, making sure that the edges of the CZ are covered (PHOTO F). Use slip to fill in gaps, if necessary.

8. Allow the piece to dry completely. Use the files, emery board, and sandpaper to refine the edges and surfaces as much as possible. Use care around the CZ, as the ring must be thick enough to hold the CZ in place when fired. Remove any slip stuck to the exposed surfaces of the CZ. Use a dry paintbrush to brush any dust from the surface. 

9. When the piece is completely dry, fire it in a kiln at 1100˚ F for 20 minutes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let cool completely before removing.

10. Brush the piece with a brass brush and burnishing compound or soapy water. Rinse and dry the piece, then rub it with a burnishing tool, using a ball burnisher to get to the small spaces. Use the sanding pads and papers, moving from roughest grit to smoothest, to remove any irregularities from the surfaces. Lastly, use a polishing pad to buff the piece to a high shine.

Tip!
The three-dimensional nature of this project means that special care should be taken in handling and finishing the piece. The individual petals can be very fragile before firing, so do most of the sanding with the base resting on a flat surface for stability. After the piece has been fired, it can be tumble-polished, but its many small crevices and layers require the use of a ball burnisher, followed by sanding pads and finishing papers, to get a uniform surface. 
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