Metal Clay Challenge
This georgeous aquatic piece was made with Metal Clay, Colores Resin and Titanium. Laura said, ".... It immediately reminded me of a piece of coral under the sea where the water would make it look blue and pink and gold, like the titanium." "I certainly wanted to do justice to that gorgeous piece of titanium!" I think she accomplished that don't you?
PMC+ Silver Clay
Kraft knife or needle file
Roll clay out at 4 cards thickness. Cut an oval measuring 2-3/4” long and 1-75” wide (or size needed for your Titanium piece) using your needle tool or craft knife. Be careful to keep your cutting tool straight up at 90° so you will have straight sides on your pendant back. Allow this piece to dry. It is best to allow this piece to air dry, since drying using any other method may make the piece warp. After dry, check the symmetry of the pendant back and using sanders, sand to obtain a perfect oval with straight sides.
Roll out clay again at 4 cards thick and using a tissue blade cut a strip wide and long enough to wrap around your bezel back. Apply paste lengthwise to one half of the strip. Wrap strip around the now dry bezel back, overlapping the ends. With the tissue blade or craft knife, cut diagonally where the strip overlaps and then paste the diagonal ends together. Afterwards, using a slightly dampened brush, wick water between the back of the pendant and the strip surrounding it. Allow to air dry.
After the bezel is dry, flip it over and supporting it by holding it between your thumb and forefinger, check the seam between the pendant back and the bezel strip wrapped around it. Apply paste or syringe clay to the seam and clean to leave a smooth seam with no cracks.
Take a medium sized ball of clay and using the snake roller, roll out a conical length of snake (one end will be smaller than the other). Cover with a light coating of olive oil using your finger. Coil this snake flat around a coffee straw twice to create the bail, and curve the tail up and over as shown in picture. Apply diluted slip to the areas that touch each other in the coil. Allow this to dry.
Once dry, hold the coiled snake bail up to the back of the pendant in the position you would like it to finally sit. Draw a curve along the area where the two pieces come together as you hold it in your hands. Using a sanding sponge, curve the sponge at the same angle as the curve you want to put on the bottom of the coiled bale. Sand slowly and carefully until you have achieved a curved area on the bottom of the coil.
Carve lines into the coiled bale to simulate an ocean creature. Smooth with a baby wipe to even out the chisel marks.
Smooth all pieces using sanding sticks, emery boards, baby wipes, and/or sanding sponges or your favorite method.
Attach coiled bale to the pendant using clay and slip. Clean up only a bit, so as to not weaken the bond between the bale and the pendant. Make sure the bale is securely placed on the bezel. Allow to air dry on foam, keeping the bale supported in the correct position. Once dry, very carefully clean the area where the bale is attached to the pendant.
When you are happy with the smoothness of all joins and any cracks you have repaired, fire at 1560 °F for 20 minutes.
You may create a CZ set in PMC+ at this time. Set aside and allow drying, then fire separately using a torch. This is the easiest way to fire a tiny piece like this one, in my opinion. [But you can kiln fire this as well if you do not have a torch]
Brass brush the fired PMC and then put through the tumbler until it reaches the degree of smoothness you want in the final piece.
Filling the bezel:
Choose a picture that coordinates with your titanium piece. Print out using a high quality color photo printer and glossy photo paper at a size that will work with the size of your bezel back. Allow the picture to dry. Place the bezel on top of the picture in the position that you want for your finished piece, and using a pencil, draw around the outside of the bezel. Cut out your oval from the photograph.
Insert the oval cut photograph into the bezel bottom. It will probably be too large, since your drawn line was around the outside of the bezel and you are placing it inside the bezel. Try to estimate how much more you need to cut off noticing where the photo hangs over the bezel as you try to fit it. Cut to fit. Continue to place the photo in the place you want it to finally go and estimate what else you need to cut off. Continue doing this until it fits perfectly. Do not force it into the bezel.
Once the photo fits into the bottom of the pendant, remove it to a work surface. Make sure the work surface is very clean and free of dust or any clay scraps. Using a paintbrush, paint the front of the photograph using the Sobo glue. If you are using Elmer’s glue, dilute the glue with water in a ratio of 1:1 glue and water.
Set the painted photo up and allow drying without touching the glued surface. Once it is completely dry, flip it over on your immaculately clean work surface and repeat the glue painting as described above. Allow to completely dry.
You are now ready to place the photograph (covered with glue) inside the bezel.
Arrange several silver and gold balls in an attractive arrangement, going from large to small, so that they imitate bubbles. You may also include the fired CZ imbedded in a PMC bezel to this group of "bubbles".
Arrange these in an area where the CZ, gold and fine silver bubbles will not be covered by the titanium piece.
Now you are ready to apply the resin to the piece. The ratio of the resin must be EXACTLY 1 part resin and 1 part hardener.
Combine the 2 drams of Colores resin in one of the cups provided in the kit. You can measure this in the cup, but you should then weigh it on a gram scale to make sure you get exactly the right proportion between the resin and the hardener.
Mine weighed 8.5 grams. After weighing the resin in the cup, remove the cup with the resin, and place an empty cup on the scale. Slowly add the hardening agent to it until it reached 8.5 grams. If you get more hardener in the cup than you want, simply remove it back to its container. Add more if necessary in small increments, until you have exactly 8.5 grams of hardener.
NOTE: If an empty cup is placed on a gram scale before it is turned on, it will usually compensate for the weight of the empty cup and read 0 grams.
Then, pour the hardener over the resin in the first cup. Use a popsicle stick to fold the hardener over the resin to minimize bubbles forming. The mix will be slightly cloudy. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, the mixture will be clear again.
Set the mixture in the cup aside to allow the bubbles to rise to the surface and pop. You may tap the sides gently to hasten this action. Let rest between 5 and 10 minutes.
After this, use the popsicle stick to slowly drip the prepared resin into the pendant over the photograph and the metal bubbles. Keep dripping the resin mixture into the center of the bottom of the pendant until it is almost full.
Keep the cup with the remaining resin mixture. You will use this to test to see how hard the resin is getting, without touching your piece.
Set this aside in a safe place. Test the resin in the cup by dipping the popsicle into it to see if it is becoming thickened. Once the resin is thickened, set the titanium in its place with part of it over and touching the resin.
Allow this to dry in a clean environment, using the left over resin mixture in the cup to see when it is completely hardened (about 24 hours). At that time, your pendant’s resin will also be hard!
Once the resin is completely hardened, apply a patina to the silver using a weak LOS solution to mimic the colors in the titanium.