Make Metal Clay Findings: How to Create, Fire and Solder Metal Clay Jewelry Components
When I work with metal clay, it’s usually to make pendants, charms, or similar pieces for earrings. I treasure the bracelet of charms made by members of my former metal clay guild, and my favorite metal clay jewelry pieces I’ve made are charms and pendants. It just lends itself well to those things; make a piece, put a hole in it for a jump ring later, and voila. Metal clay jewelry.
And then I saw a video about making metal clay findings.
In her video, Make Metal Clay Findings for Pins and Pendants, Noël Yovovich shows you how to turn your metal clay pieces into metal clay jewelry. “When you make a metal clay piece, generally–unless it’s a ring–it’s just a flat piece of metal. A flat piece of metal is not jewelry,” Noël says. “What makes it jewelry is what we call findings . . . a bail, a pin back, anything of that sort that transforms your piece of metal into something you can wear.”
Sooo, not just a jump ring, then? “There are going to be times when you’d really like to have a finding that is specially made for your piece, that works with it, that is integral to it, and that’s made out of metal clay itself,” Noël says. And then she shows us how to do it.
There’s a time and a place for the charms or earring designs on jump rings, but bold pendants need a bold, integrated bail. And maybe your bold pendant can double as a brooch/pin? Noël shows how to make a hidden bail on the back of a metal clay pendant along with a pin back that allows your pendant to do double duty as a brooch/pin when the need arises. Pins and brooches are enjoying a resurgence of popularity in fashion lately, and with fall coming (soon, please!), peak pin/brooch-wearing time is just around the corner.
Because clasps and other findings are the utilitarian support pieces that finish your work and hold everything together, they must be strong and secure. So more than ever, it’s important that these metal clay jewelry components are formed, fired, sintered, and attached properly. In some cases, that means soldering them in place.
Soldering metal clay? Yes, you can do it, with only a few special considerations, which Noël details in her video. But what if you don’t know how to solder? That’s a bonus technique in Noël’s video: Even if you don’t know how to solder already, you’ll see how to solder your metal clay jewelry and findings in Noël’s video tutorial. Noël shares how to properly add a piece of fine silver sheet or bezel wire/strip to silver metal clay components to prepare them for soldering (because unless you’re using Sterling PMC, silver metal clay is fine silver, not sterling).
You’ll also learn lots of metal clay jewelry tips ad handy information throughout the video, such as:
- when to use purchased metal clay slip vs slip you’ve made yourself by recycling all those metal clay bits
- how to make your sharp tools, like a polymer clay blade often used in metal clay work, safer for use
- how to fire metal clay pieces to maximize their density and strength as metal clay jewelry pieces as well as to make them more suited for findings
- how to work around the natural porosity of even properly sintered, already fired metal clay when soldering to keep solder from soaking into the porous clay
- where to place the catch on the back of a pin/brooch, whether it’s a vertical or horizontal piece (who knew there was a specific way to do that?)
- how to attach fine silver purchased findings or wire to metal clay pieces before firing (but not sterling silver–and why)
- how to add a special secret “dangle wire” to the back of a piece that will allow you (or your buyer) to easily add dangles to pendants, pins, or even earrings
- how a ballpoint pen can create faux rivet effects and help you attach findings to your metal clay pieces, and more.
Give your metal clay jewelry more wearability and versatility! Make metal clay clasps and multipurpose brooch findings that are as detailed, hand-formed, artistic, and truly one-of-a-kind as the charms, pendants, and brooches they support with help from Noël Yovovich’s new how-to DVD, Make Metal Clay Findings for Pins and Pendants (also available as an instant download!).