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Christmas tree pendant

Decorate the boughs of this metal clay Christmas tree pendant with sparkling gems
Christmas tree pendant template
Figure

Create a simple and stylish holiday pendant with syringe-type metal clay and cubic zirconia or lab-created stones. Layers of uniform lines create a finely drawn texture, but the technique is easy enough for beginners.

SUPPLIES

Pendant 2 x 1 in. (5 x 2.5 cm)

  • 5 g metal clay, syringe type (Art Clay Silver 650, with green tip)
  • 3 4 mm fireable gemstones or cubic zirconias
  • clear Teflon or plastic sheet, to fit tile or tray
  • kiln or handheld butane torch with firing block
  • paintbrush
  • painter’s tape
  • sandpaper and/or sanding pads
  • 4-in. (10 cm) tile or tray
  • tumble polisher with burnishing compound and stainless steel shot, or burnishing compound, burnishing tool, brass brush, and finishing papers

Editor’s note: Once your pendant is dry, the thin walls become very brittle. Do all your refining while the piece is wet, and handle it carefully as you attach the bail. 

INSTRUCTIONS

Christmas tree pendant a
Photo a
1. Copy the template (FIGURE), and cut it to fit the tile or tray. Cover the template with Teflon or plastic sheet, and tape the pieces into place (PHOTO A). Do not grease.
Christmas tree pendant b
Photo b
2. Using the green syringe tip, trace over the lines of the template with the metal clay, beginning with the outside shape. Make sure to trace the small circle above the tree; this is the bail. Use a damp paintbrush to smooth the clay and nudge the syringe lines into position. Let dry (PHOTO B).
Christmas tree pendant c
Photo c
3. Using the syringe, add another layer of metal clay, working directly on top of the first layer (PHOTO C). As before, use the paintbrush to smooth and move the lines of clay. Let dry.
Christmas tree pendant d
Photo d
4. Add the third layer of clay as in step 2. While the clay is still wet, position a 4 mm stone in each of the circular settings, and gently push them down so the clay surrounds and covers the edge of each stone (PHOTO D). Let dry.
Christmas tree pendant e
Photo e

5. Add a fourth layer of clay as in step 2. Let dry.

6. Gently remove the pendant and bail from the work surface. Holding the piece carefully, sand the top point of the tree flat to provide a surface where you can attach the bail. Sand an edge into the bail to fit the top of the tree. 

7. Use a small amount of syringe to attach the bail to the top of the tree (PHOTO E), and let dry.

8. Fire the metal clay pendant according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let cool. 

9. Polish using the tumble polisher with steel shot and burnishing compound, or finish with a brass brush and burnishing compound, burnishing tool, and finishing papers.

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