Crafting Earrings With Artclay Silver

By: Breedon Erway

Artclay Silver feels much like modelling clay, but it is made of fine silver powder, in a water- soluble organic binding agent. When the clay is fired, the binding agent vaporises, leaving a piece of .999 silver behind.
Because Artclay is soft, and easy to work with, you can make beautiful jewellery and decorative items, as easily as you could make a ceramic pot.
The complexity of any Artclay Silver project is totally up to you, from bold geometrics to the most delicate and intricate designs. It can be cut, moulded, stamped, sometimes with items you may have right at home.
Let's walk through the steps to craft a pair of simple round, drop earrings, using Artclay Silver.
What you will need:
The Artclay - you can choose regular, slow-dry, or slow-tarnish formulas.
A clean, smooth surface, as would be suitable for ceramic clay.
A small roller
A piece of pipe, or tubing, based on the diameter you want the earrings to be.
Some olive oil.
A clean rubber stamp, or flat textured item.
A cocktail straw.
A kiln, or other high heat source, such as a butane torch, or your kitchen hob.
An emery board, or piece of fine sanding paper.
A wire brush, and polishing cloth.
1) Apply a bit of olive oil to your roller, to keep the clay from sticking, and roll a bead of Artclay silver to the thickness you like. Note - not so thin that it will be overly fragile.
You may also want to apply a bit of olive oil to your hands, as the clay can stick to you as well.
2) Using your piece of pipe, or tubing, cut two circles into the clay, and remove the excess.

3) Press your rubber stamp, or other raised patterned item, into each Artclay silver circle, for your earring design.

4) Using your cocktail straw, punch a small hole near the edge of each circle. This is where your wire will go, and saves you from having to drill it out later.

5) Let the Artclay circles dry, overnight. When dry, they turn white.

6) After the circles are dry, gently smooth off the edges with your emery board, or fine sandpaper.

7) Instructions are included with your Artclay for proper firing. Fire the pieces in a well-ventilated area. If you have a kiln, follow the directions from the manufacturer.

It can be a bit trickier with a butane torch or on your kitchen hob. Remember, you don't want to overcook your jewellery.

If you are using a torch, hold it a few inches from the Artclay disks, and watch for them to turn a peachy colour. If they begin to bubble or look shiny, pull the heat back. Fire for a few minutes after the pieces have begun to change colour, then remove the heat and let them cool.

8) Use the wire brush to clean the fired pieces, and a jewellery cloth or polish to smooth off any rough spots.

9) Attach earring wires through the holes you punch earlier, and your Artclay silver earrings are ready to wear.

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Making stunning earrings is just one of the things jewellery hobbyists can do. This article looks at ways of crafting delightful earrings with Artclay Silver.

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