Torch-Fire Metal Clay Jewelry Making: From Beginner to Advanced

Metal clay jewelry making is my favorite, due partly to the versatility of the different metal clay types. But mostly, I love it because of the magic of starting with clay and ending with metal! So I’m always encouraging friends and family to try metal clay jewelry making. Now that I’ve mastered torch-firing metal clay, I’m an even bigger fan. I no longer feel limited in doing my favorite jewelry-making technique by not having a kiln.

If you are also kiln-less like me, we have just the thing for you. Darlene Armstrong has a four-part series of online courses about metal clay jewelry making. In her Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series, students learn everything from the basics to texturing and finishing metal clay jewelry designs.

torch fired metal clay jewelry making

If you’re new to metal clay jewelry making, you’ll get a thorough introduction and master all the basics of working with this incredibly fun material in Darlene’s intro course. If you want to go beyond the basics in metal clay, learn intermediate and advanced techniques like using molds, layering, and stone setting in her more advanced courses. Pick and choose which of Darlene’s classes are right for you, depending on what you want to learn. Let’s take a closer look at each class.

Torch-Firing Metal Clay Jewelry: PMC Introduction

This is where you’ll get to be a wizardly alchemist and work your magic when you wield your flaming “wand” (aka, torch) and magically turn “mud” (actually, metal clay) into gleaming treasures and riches (silver)!

With Darlene’s help in Torch Firing PMC Introduction Course, you’ll learn to prepare and work with metal clay for best results. Darlene covers all the tools and supplies you’ll need to enjoy metal clay jewelry making, as well as safety procedures. You’ll learn how to roll, texture, cut, dry, and torch-fire metal clay, for one-of-a-kind metal clay jewelry. Each piece is unique, even when you use a mold, so I love to leave my fingerprint on the back of some of my metal clay designs to note its handmade nature.

torch fired metal clay jewelry making tool and supply setup

Even the newest beginner can make earrings, charms, pendants, and rings, no kiln required! You’ll learn which metal clay jewelry and which types of metal clay can be fired with a simple handheld butane torch–and it’s not just silver clay! There is a limit to the size of metal clay jewelry pieces that can be properly fired and sintered with a torch, but it’s a generous size with loads of potential. Darlene will teach you all about it.

Proper finishing techniques are as essential to metal clay jewelry making as proper firing techniques, so Darlene covers that as well. You’ll learn about tumbling pieces (if you choose to tumble), choosing and adding patinas, polishing, and more. Along the way, you’ll even learn how to store and reconstitute metal clay if it dries out during use. It’s a very thorough introduction to my favorite jewelry technique!

molds for metal clay jewelry making

Darlene found this mold in the cake-decorating department at Michaels

Torch-Firing Metal Clay Jewelry: Using Metal Clay Molds

Using molds in metal clay jewelry making is my favorite use of this magical material. I have a bag full of buttons, metal stampings, shells, and other objects that I use as molds in my designs. I also use molds specifically made for metal clay jewelry making, polymer clay, resin, etc., and rubber stamps.

In Darlene’s course, Torch Firing PMC Projects: Molded Earrings, you’ll learn how to choose just the right molds and how to get perfect impressions from them. She covers best practices for using molds and texture materials, including how to keep your metal clay, which is actually quite sticky, from sticking to your molds and texture plates. Without this essential step, frustration is certain and wasted clay stuck in nooks and crannies is guaranteed. That’s no fun at all!

Then, you’ll learn how to attach jump rings to your designs, turning them into metal clay jewelry components like charms, pendants, and earrings.

overlay metal clay jewelry making

Torch-Firing Metal Clay Jewelry: Overlay Designs

If you want to learn to create layered, multi-dimensional metal clay jewelry designs, Darlene’s Torch Firing Projects: Overlay Earrings Course is the way to do it. In this course, Darlene helps you master an essential metal clay jewelry-making technique: overlay. By using metal clay slip like glue, you’ll layer simple designs to create more interesting pieces with dimension and texture. Darlene shows you how to create overlays at just the right thickness and then how to assemble them into earrings.

Bonus: Layering also allows your torch-fired metal clay jewelry designs to be larger and more dimensional. Because torch-fired pieces shouldn’t be more than four cards thick, layering provides a way to create more depth in your designs. You can create thinner pieces and then fire or solder them together to create thicker pieces.

setting stones in metal clay jewelry making

Torch-Firing Metal Clay Jewelry: Setting Faceted Stones

Finally, the piece de resistance for metal jewelry making: setting stones. Some of my metalworking friends might disagree, but for me, setting stones in metal clay is easier than setting stones in traditional metal settings like prongs and tubes.

metal clay jewelry making

You likely know that some stones can’t take the heat from a kiln or torch, so they can’t be fired in metal clay. But there are other options for stone setting. In Darlene’s metal clay jewelry-making course, Torch Firing Projects: Faceted Stone Earrings, students learn which stones can be fired in place. You also learn how to form metal clay bezels for faceted stones.

After you’ve formed and fired your pieces, Darlene teaches you how to professionally finish them and turn them into earrings (or charms or pendants!). It’s a complete metal clay jewelry-making course packed with instruction.

Learn more about Darlene and her torch-fired metal clay jewelry-making courses here:

Darlene’s Top 5 Metal Clay Tips

Q&A with Darlene, Plus Bloopers on Set

Learn More About Metal Clay Overlay

 

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