Introduction: Star Wars Rebel Alliance Pendant in Fine Silver
So I decided to follow Instructables advise and I've switched paper for metal.
In the following steps. I will show you how to use PMC sheet (Precious metal clay sheet) to make a quilled pendant in real silver.
This is the first time I make a quilled pendant in fine silver. It has been a lot of fun but also a lot of learning; and in the end, it was very rewarding. As a good geeky Star Wars fan, I decided to make the Rebel Alliance symbol for this first attempt.
I hope you enjoy doing yours and, of course you can follow the same technique to make any design you want
If you notice some grammar errors and typos, please let me know. English is not my first language so any suggestions to make my instructable better are very welcomed.
Step 1: Safety Advises
This work involves handling, firing and sanding metal clay. Appropiate safety measures must be taken to avoid accidents.
Wash your hands after you finish working with metal clay
Do not eat and work at the same time
Do not use kitchen items as tools. If you do, do not use it again for food.
When torch firing: wear safety glasses all the time, keep an extinguisher nearby, make sure you have an appropiate surface for torch firing. Tip: torch firing bricks are available at a very reasonable prices. Avoid any distractors when torch firing (kids, pets, cell phones, etc). Keep flamable items and liquids away.
Do not touch the metal piece after firing, it is extremely hot and you can suffer serious burns if you do.
When sanding, wear a dust mask and safety glasses
Step 2: Materials
You will need:
A precious metal clay sheet (PMC sheet). These are sold at specialized jewerly supplies stores. If you do not know where to buy one, just google "PMC sheet" and choose the supplier that is most convenient for you. The average price is around $15 USD/sheet. Word of advise: If you live outside the USA, check your specific customs rules before ordering to make sure you will be allowed to import it to your country.
A fine brush
A soft wire brush
Non flammable firing brick or a safe and fire resistant surface for torch firing
Sand paper for finishing (600, 1200, 2000)
A small sterling silver jumpring
A coffe heater or a reptile heat mat (optional)
An agate burnisher (optional)
Lots of patience
Step 3: Making Strips
The PMC sheet is made out of .999 fine silver and organic binders. It is soft to touch and it can be treated like paper, however it is not as stiff as paper, it is more flexible. Be gentle when working it.
Using a ruler and a pencil, make 3 mm marks on the PMC sheet
Cut the strips using a exacto knife
Since the PMC sheet measures 6 x 6 cm, in order to make larger strips, we need to join the strips together.
To join them, damp the strips ends using the tip of the brush and a little bit of water. Put one end strip on top of the other and join by softly pressing them together. Be careful, if you add more water than the needed one, the strip will desintegrate.
It is not easy to tell the exact amount of water, you will learn by trial and error. I advise you to make a small test with a spare strip before attempting the real thing.
If you want to create strongest bonds, cut a small piece of the strip, add water until you form a paste, use that paste on top of the strip joint to strength the union.
Step 4: Making the Frame
Print and cut the attached pattern,
To make the frame, join 3 PMC strips together.
Glue the strip to your pattern as showed in the pictures. Work carefully and slowly.
Once you finish, cut the excess strip, damp the edges and join them by gently pressing them with tweezers
Let it dry
Step 5: Filling
Using 6 cm strips, make rolls using the quilling tool and start filling the inside of the piece. Follow the pictures.
For the center, join three strips together to make a bigger roll.
It is very important that you join all the rolls together and to the frame by dampening them with the brush once they are in place. Do not use glue it does not work. The idea is that the PMC stripes bonds together, and that is achieved with water not with glue. Again, be careful with the amount of water, if you add more than it is needed, the piece will disintegrate, if you add not enough water, the pieces will not join properly and the piece will break appart while torch firing. It is not easy to tell the exact amount of water, you will learn by trial and error. I advise you to make a small test with a spare strip before attempting the real thing.
Once it is finished, let it dry overnight. If you want to accelerate the process use a reptile mat or a cofee heater.
The piece must be completely dry before torch firing, otherwise the water contained in the piece may burst while torch firing which can be dangerous and will ruin your work. To test if it is dry, put the piece in a mirror, if you notice that the piece fogs the mirror, it is still damp.
Step 6: Sanding the Strip Joints (optional)
It may happen that some strip joint is visible in the edges of the piece.
You can use some paste to cover it. Once it is dry, you can sand it carefully with the 600 sand to disimulate the joint.
This step is optional, if you do not care about the joint being visible, you can skip this step and proceed to torch firing
Step 7: Torch Firing
Before moving forward, review the safety measures, then when you are ready, proceed.
In this step, we will remove all the organic materia including the paper pattern and the only thing that will remain is the silver.
Place the piece in the firing brick
Using a butane torch, fire the piece for 7-10 minutes, then turn it over and fire for another 7 - 10 minutes. The piece will be extremely hot. DO NOT TOUCH IT. Use tweezers to manipulate it. If you fire less than 7 minutes, the piece may be britle thus weak and it will break once it is cool.
To make sure your piece fires properly, respect the timing and make sure the color of your piece is similar one as showed in the picture. Once you start firing, it will take 2-3 minutes to reach that color. If it starts to turn cherry red brilliant, it is too hot, it may start to melt, move your torch around a little bit to lower your temperature.
All the paper of the pattern must be turned to ashes. Also you will notice your piece will shrink around 10% of the original size. This is normal because we are removing all the organic binders to leave the metal only, that is the reason it shriks.
Once you finish firing it, let it cool completely. Again: it will be extremely hot, do not touch it until you are sure it is cool. Also, do not leave it unnatended while is cooling, we do not want that someone that does not know it is hot, tries to touch it.
An alternative method for a fast cooling is to drop your hot piece into a glass with water. That will instantly cool down the piece. If you do this, be careful because the water can burst due to the sudden change in temperature.
If after firing, you notice that it lost its shape a little bit, once it is cool, use a tweezers to fix it. Be careful to not break it
Step 8: Finishing the Piece
Your piece will be white after torch firing, this is a kind of oxide caused by the exposure of the silver to the fire.
Wear your dust mask and using a wire brush, brush it until you remove all that white oxide. Brush in one direction only. Be patient it takes time to remove all the oxide but is the easiest way to remove it.
Optional: for a more polished finish, after you finish brushing it, sand the edges starting with the 600 grit sand and finish with the 2000 grit. Then use an agate burshisher to give a mirror finish to the piece
Using the tweezers, add the jumpring to the piece.
Congratulations!! You are finished! Enjoy your new pendant!