How To Do Amazing Things with Precious Metal Clay

The materials are all gathered. The tools are laid out and ready to use. And the thought running through your mind is, "What can I make with this stuff?" After all, it's silly to get a PMC kiln like the RapidFire Pro-L or Pro-LP and not do something with it. Like any artistic endeavor, the only limits are the nature of the materials, the level of skill, and one's imagination.

Start Simple

Probably the easiest pieces to make are simple pendants and earrings. Basic shapes with a minimal amount of work needed to allow for wires or chains to pass through can serve as the basis for a wide variety of potential designs.

  • Want a large medallion for a pendant? A rolling pin and a cookie cutter can get the starting shape with a minimum of effort.

  • For some nice textures, consider using leaves from nearby trees. Gently press the leaf into the piece before it has dried and peel away.

  • The idea behind "gilding" a lily can lead to creating a stunning piece by repeated coatings of PMC in "slip" form on a dried flower or leaf.

Getting Fancy

When the basics are mastered, more elaborate metal clay projects are a natural evolution, such as working with bezels for gems and multiple smaller pieces to create a larger one.

  • Instead of a simple chain, use PMC to create custom connectors which can be set over the ends of a cord or thong.

  • Found an interesting stone? With a little work, a bezel can be created and the stone set inside. Dichroic glass gemstones also work well.

  • A sense of animation can be added to pendants by fashioning hinges for certain parts of the piece. Birds and other winged animals work best for this.

A Masterful Touch

Eventually, PMC design ideas are going to reach a point where a high degree of skill is required to execute them. But for those who've been working on projects long enough and have built up that skill set to an appropriate level, incredible pieces can be fashioned.

  • Consider using a Sierpinski triangle as the basis for a highly intricate necklace. The difficulty here is more about getting the details and proportions right, along with the construction of the piece. Expect a lot of work on this one.

  • For those with a military background, or those who enjoy creating non-jewelry collectibles, a challenge coin might be just the sort of project to keep things interesting. Once the initial "proof" coin has been created, moulds can be made for a "production" run.

  • Few jewelry pieces are as elaborate and as deeply meaningful as a picture locket. Whether it holds just the picture of a sweetheart or pictures of all the kids and grandkids, this is one piece that will test an artist's skills and touch the recipient's heart.

These are just a few ideas, and more are out there. Fire up those kilns and get crafting!

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