Metal clay (sometimes called precious metal clay) can be easily manipulated at home making it perfect for unique and fun jewelry like the Han Solo in Carbonite pendant in this Instructable. Basically, you roll out the clay, form it as you wish, dry it, tidy it up, fire the dried clay piece with a torch, quench it in cool water, tidy it again and finish as desired. 

There are a number of Instructables that illustrate how to make jewelry from polymer clay and then make the plastic look like silver or gold.   This is a fine approach, but for me it's not quite the same as having a piece of metal jewelry.   Fortunately, for a little cash and a small amount of time you can easily make copper or silver jewelry with fairly common tools from metal clay.

So get your Star Wars geek on and make your very own pure copper Han Solo in Carbonite pendant in a few hours. I suggest starting with copper clay because it's a lot cheaper than silver so mistakes are easier on the wallet.  Once you feel comfortable with the copper piece, or if you just feel like jumping right in, you can make one out of silver clay by following essentially the same steps and be the most chic geek on the street.

NOTE – YMMV.  I am not an expert in jewelry making nor am I a metalsmith or metal clay expert.  My formal training in using metal clay comes from a one-day class. I've learned alot from the excellent sources on the internet on how to use metal clay and how to finish pieces.  Some are from Jewelry Making Daily,Art Jewelry Magazine, and Holly Gage.  

SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!  While metal clay seems to be generally viewed as non-toxic, please be careful in its handling, wash your hands, don't use your tools for both food and jewelry making.  Once the piece is dry, you'll likely be generating dust which is probably not so great for your lungs, so wear appropriate protection like a dust mask.  If you follow this Instructable to torch the piece, you'll be using a propane torch.  Fire is dangerous, in case you hadn't heard, so be extremely cautious. If the piece is not completely dry when fired, it might burst/explode, so wear safety glasses.  You'll be making a very, very hot metal piece which will give you a nasty burn if you're not careful.  You'll also be quenching the hot copper piece in water, brushing it with a prickly brass brush, and if you choose to add a dark patina to finish your piece, you'll be using a solution of Liver of Sulfur which is a stinky chemical.  Wear safety glasses/goggles and protective gloves as appropriate during the torch firing, quenching, pickling and patina process in case things go poof or boom or splash. Be sure you have adequate ventilation for all of the above and dispose of all of your waste thoughtfully.  Whew.

Note: please let me know of any typos/errors/comments so I can continue to improve this Instructable.
I'd also appreciate it if you'd vote for me in the contest. Thanks.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With Metal Clay

Metal clay is made of metal powder mixed with an organic binder. A nice history and how to make your own from scratch can be found here. I buy mine online premixed and ready to go so haven't tried making it from scratch myself.   It's really easy to roll metal clay like dough, shape it any way you want and finish it without the use of specialized tools.  If the piece is reasonable in size and once it is thoroughly dried, it is heated to first burn off the organic binder and then to form pure metal pieces.  For pieces made of copper or silver metal clay you can use just a butane or propane torch – no kiln is required!

By the way, you could use 3D printing to make metal pieces, too.  I haven't tried this out and it seems a bit more expensive than this diy approach, but some of the services/vendors that do this are 123D, Tinkercad, I.materialise, Sculpteo and Shapeways.
Nice instructable. I feel inspired!
This is pretty cool, i think i might just try this but instead of making a pendant i'll try to make a casing for a flash drive.
Thanks! I like your idea for a flash drive case and would love to see how it turns out. Here's a video using a kit that might offer some tips and tricks for that. <br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ27w-jrYCQ&amp;feature=youtube_gdata_player
Thanks for the link, it was quite interesting. Now just to find the supplies...

About This Instructable




Bio: She is a crafter including bookbinding, jewelry design and paper crafting. He prefers electronics with lots of blinky lights and an Arduino to control them ... More »
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