I always wanted to create a pendant out of our wedding wax seal. I’ve been researching ways on how to do this until I stumbled upon this material called Metal Clay. Metal Clay has actual gold, silver or bronze particles that are held together by an organic binder. After the clay has been heated in the kiln, the binder evaporates leaving you with pure gold, silver or bronze.
I searched for classes that would teach me how to handle Metal Clay safely. Since I’ve never handled the material before and it involved using a kiln I figured enrolling in a class was better than doing the project by myself at home. My friend Herlin from theRshop joined me that day. It was her birthday and she crafted a cute ring for herself.
I found this course conducted by Naoko from ncraftroom.com. Naoko is from Japan and she’s been living in Singapore for the past 16 years teaching different craft classes. She’s very pleasant and she gently instructs you with each step. She even provides a lot of useful information about the process itself and even provides some background about the material itself. She conducts certification classes for Metal Clay where you complete a lot of advance projects and you become a qualified instructor.
The trial crash course is only $60 for 3 hours with free use of all materials excluding the metal clay. The metal clay is sold to students at $3.50 per gram. Classes are scheduled twice a week on Thursdays at The Heeren at Orchard and on Saturdays at Jalan Kuning, Chip Bee Gardens near Holland Village.
Metal clay is pliable so you can easily mould it into any shape you want. As it can easily dry up when exposed to air for short periods, the clay was placed in cling wrap.The paper guides beside the clay ensured that I would get an even thickness for the pendant I wanted to make as I rolled the clay flat using a piece of plastic tube. I prepared my seal by placing some oil on the seal so that the clay will not stick to the metal. I cut off the extra clay using a sewing pin and wrapped the excess clay back in cling wrap to avoid wasting precious material.
Metal clay can be air dried overnight but as the class has a time constraint, Naoko showed us this DIY clay drier using a regular hair drier and a shoe box. She placed my pendant on a glass tile and let the clay dry for about 6-8 minutes. Once the clay was dry it turned white like Plaster of Paris. I was instructed to use a very fine grade of sand paper to remove any rough edges and correct any cracks on the design using this Metal Clay paste which is like the regular metal clay only its diluted to a glue-like consistency.
I used a thick pin to inscribe a message at the back of the pendant. You can use water a drop of water to soften the clay in the area where you want to carve a few letters. Do not use to much water as the moisture will make the material soft and you might deform the piece. Just add a drop of water again if you’re not done carving. After sanding my pendant, Naoko helped us dry the pieces again the in the dryer. She explained that it is important that the piece is completely dry before you place it in the kiln or else the trapped water will produce steam and distort the material by creating bubble like deformities in the piece and it is also a safety hazard as the piece might pop-up and launch as a projectile.
She placed the piece in the kiln and set it to 900 degrees C. When the piece came out 10 minutes later, it had a powdery pearly sheen to it. Naoko explained that this is the binder of the metal clay. I used a steel brush to remove the powder and the silver sheen slowly revealed itself. After a thorough brushing the piece had a “brushed aluminium” or matte silver effect. I used this large pin tool and rubbed it against the silver to scratch the surface. This made the silver shiny like stainless steel.
I recommend this class to anyone who wants to make their own custom jewelleryand make something special. Our names and our 10th year anniversary date is inscribed at the back and this piece will be an heirloom for our family. The piece that you make will become a special gift to your loved one.
For more information about the class, please get in touch with Naoko at http://www.ncraftroom.com/silver.html