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.
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