PMC Metal Clay | Hollow Beads
Making Hollow Beads from Precious Metal Clay
Making hollow beads out of Precious Metal Clay is a good way to keep your pieces lighter weight, and use less PMC per piece. That means that the jewelry you end up with would be less expensive to the end user. It also allows you to make much bigger pieces that won't weigh the customer down when they are wearing your piece.
Hollow beads can be made in any shape, round, oval, square, triangular, or anything else you want. They can be plain or fancy, have decorative additions in the surface or on the outside of the bead.
This lens is going to give you step by step instructions on how to make hollow beads from Precious Metal Clay.
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Making the Mold or Placeholder Out of Cork Clay.
In order for the hollow beads to keep their shape, you need to make a placeholder for the center of the bead. A good material to use to make the placeholder is cork clay.
Here are the steps:
Making the mold or placeholder out of the cork clay.
Cork clay comes in a plastic wrapped package and is damp. It can only be formed when it is wet, so you definitely want to make sure that you keep the package tightly sealed. Once it is dry, you can no longer work with it.
Take a piece of the cork clay and mold it into the shape for the inside of your bead. You can make as many of these as you like.
Decide where you would like the hole to cut through the bead.
When you have decided where you would like the hole to be, then take a wooden toothpick or similar item, and push it through the cork clay. Leave the toothpick in the the cork clay. There should be ends of the toothpick sticking out on both sides. When you fire the bead, both the cork clay and the toothpick will burn up in the kiln.
Let the cork clay overnight. Do not put PMC over the cork clay while it is still wet.
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Forming the Bead from the Raw PMC
Making the bead.
Now that you have the placeholder, you can form the bead around it.
Use olive oil to moisten your hands and work surface. Just use a few drops. You don't want your surface to be real slick.
Use your plastic roller to roll out your PMC to 3 or 4 cards thick.
To do this, place your clay on your work surface, then put 4 cards on each side of the clay, then place the roller with each end on a stack of cards. Roll your clay. You want it to be at least 1 card thicker than it will be when finished. Remember that it will shrink in the kiln.
You do not want to waste any of your Precious Metal Clay, so put any excess back into the ziplock bag.
You can either cut out the shape beforehand or form the clay around the cork clay and cut the shape as you go.
It is best to have a slight overlap where the two edges join together and seal the overlap with paste or slip.
If you want to press a design into the PMC, do it before you form it around the cork clay. If you want to etch a design into the PMC, wait until you have formed it around the cork clay, then do your etching.
Decorating or Embellishing Your Bead
Next add any embellishments that you want around your bead. You can add PMC paper cut outs, additional pieces of rolled out PMC, or filigree with the syringe. You can also cut out spaces in the bead to make it lighter. If you attach pieces of clay to the bead, make sure to use slip as a "glue." Pieces of PMC sheet can be attached with a very small drop of water.
Once you are satisfied with your design, let the bead dry overnight. Do not dry it with a heater because it will dry unevenly and potentially crack.
Make sure that the bead dries thoroughly.
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Green Finishing Your Dry Bead
After the bead is dry, green finish it with an emery board or light sandpaper. You may need to fill in any holes or cracks with slip.
Slip or paste is the perfect filler for cracks or holes that you do not want. You can buy slip or make it from your dry PMC dust and water. Use a small inexpensive paint brush to paint it where you want it to go.
Let it dry again, and repeat the process until you are satisfied with your work. Be patient and let it dry thoroughly or your result will be disappointing.
You can file and sand the slip once it is dry just like you would any other part of the clay.
Final Finishing of Your Bead
Firing and polishing
Fire your bead in your kiln at the proper temperature. The cork clay and toothpick will burn away. You may be left with an ashy residue. The residue will come off with a brush or soap and water.
The organic binder comes to the surface of the bead after firing. You need to clean it off. To clean your bead after firing, you can use a wire brush and polishing cloths to do it by hand, or a tumbler. Each gives you a different finish.
Once your bead is clean, you can oxidize it with liver of sulphur or bleach to change the color, or you can leave it as is. Your bead is done and ready to assemble into jewelry.
Precious Metal Clay Tutorials
- Create Designs Using Precious Metal Clay Paper/Sheet
- Easy Ways to Add Texture to Precious Metal Clay
- How to Make a Simple Pendant from Precious Metal Clay
- How to Oxidize Precious Metal Clay with Liver of Sulphur
- How to Use Liver of Sulphur to Oxidize Silver
- PMC Metal Clay | Creating Design Motifs
- PMC Metal Clay | Hollow Beads
- PMC Metal Clay Tips and Tutorials
- The Best Tools to Use for Working with Precious Metal Clay
- The Top 10 Reasons that I Love to Work with PMC
© 2009 Paula Atwell