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Bracelet for every season

Assorted accent beads and metal clay give design options
BraceletforeveryseasonHero
Seasonal stamps and careful patination create a uniquely customizable bracelet.

SUPPLIES

bracelet 7 in. (18 cm)
 

  • 35–50 assorted accent beads
  • lobster claw clasp with soldered jump ring
  • 15 in. (38 cm) 22-gauge wire, half-hard
  • 25–30 1-in. (2.5 cm) 22-gauge head pins
  • 15g metal clay
  • acrylic roller
  • chainnose pliers
  • 3⁄4-in. (1.9 cm) diameter circle cutter
  • cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
  • copper tongs
  • emery board
  • finishing items: tumble polisher and burnishing compound, or brass brush, burnishing compound or dish soap, burnisher, fine-grit jewelry-grade sanding pads, set of finishing papers, and polishing pad
  • food dehydrator (optional)
  • 2 glass bowls
  • jeweler’s files, half-round and round
  • kiln
  • liver of sulfur
  • nonstick work surface
  • olive oil or nonpetroleum hand salve, such as Badger Balm
  • paper towels
  • 8 playing cards
  • roundnose pliers
  • sandpaper
  • 1⁄2-in. (1.3 cm) diameter stamp(s) with seasonal image
  • wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Links

1. Lightly grease the work surface, roller, circle cutter, stamps, cocktail straw, and your hands with olive oil or hand salve. Roll out the metal clay between two four-card stacks of playing cards. Using the circle cutter, cut four circles from the clay.
BraceletforeveryseasonA
PHOTO A
2. Stamp an image in the center of each circle. Gently rocking the stamp on the surface of the clay helps to impress the image. Use the cocktail straw to punch a small hole on opposite sides of each circle (PHOTO A). Immediately rewrap and store any leftover metal clay.

3. Dry the links in a food dehydrator, or allow them to dry overnight.

4. Once the links are dry, use the files and emery board to refine the shape of the links and the holes. Lightly sand the top and bottom surfaces of the links, taking care not to destroy the stamped images.

5. Fire the links in a kiln, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let cool completely before removing.

6. Tumble the links in a polisher, or finish them manually: Brush the circles with a brass brush and burnishing compound or soapy water. Rinse and dry each piece, then rub them with a burnisher. Use the sanding pads and papers, graduating from the roughest grit to the smoothest, to remove any irregularities from the surfaces.

Patina

Patination is an imprecise science, but it is possible to patinate your pieces to the shade you desire. The temperature of the liver of sulfur solution and the texture of your stamped image both impact the final result. Shallow images with more texture show color best, and cooler temperatures allow the colors to change more gradually.

1. In a glass bowl, prepare a liver of sulfur solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fill the other glass bowl with water.

BraceletforeveryseasonB
PHOTO B

2. Holding a link with tongs, quickly dip it into the liver of sulfur solution, and remove. Dip it in the water. Check the color of the patina, and repeat until you reach the color desired (PHOTO B). If you continue dipping, or let the link sit in the liver of sulfur solution, the patina will be black.

3. After the final rinse, blot the link with paper towels, and use a polishing cloth to remove the patina from the surface areas. The patina will remain in the recessed image.

4. Repeat steps 1–3 with the remaining links. If desired, use the same process to patinate the head pins and wire to match the links.

Assembly

1. On a head pin, string one or two accent beads, and make a wrapped loop. Repeat to make a total of 25 dangles.

BraceletforeveryseasonC
PHOTO C
2. Cut a 2-in. (5 cm) piece of wire, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Slide a lobster claw clasp into the loop, and complete the wraps. String a bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Slide two or three dangles into the loop, and complete the wraps (PHOTO C).
BraceletforeveryseasonD
PHOTO D

3. Cut a 2-in. (5 cm) piece of wire, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Slide the wrapped loop from the previous unit into the loop, add two or three dangles, and complete the wraps. String an accent bead, and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Slide one hole of a link into the loop, and complete the wraps (PHOTO D).

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 four times, substituting the second hole of a link for the clasp. Attach the soldered jump ring to the last wrapped loop.


Fall design option
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