Jan 11, 2010

Making Molded Bronzclay Jewelry

As an artist and life long learner, I love trying new things and learning new techniques.  I have recently finished some new Bronzclay pieces and I wanted to share my process with my readers.  For information on Bronzclay see the following post: Bronzclay Information and Tutorials.

First I made a mold of a Sedum plant that I had in my graden by pushing the plant into a slab of Sculpey Super Elasticlay Moldmaker.  See link at end for purchasing information.

I can make a mold from just about any object.  Dusting my object with cornstarch helps to keep the object from sticking to the clay.  I then bake this mold as directed on the box.  I used my daughter's toaster oven she uses to bake her polymer clay work.  Be sure to use an oven thermometer to keep track of the temperature as the toaster oven can run hot.

In the end I get a reusable mold that is flexible and sturdy.  I was surprised by the amount of detail that transfers and stays in the mold, even after it is baked.  After making the mold, I then can take my Bronzclay, Copprclay or Precious Metal Clay and use the mold to transfer the image to my metal clay.

I dry my Bronzclay pieces in the refrigerator so that it dries slowly and doesn't warp.

After the piece is completely dry, I drill any holes, file the rough edges, and smooth the piece with fine sand paper and emory boards. Using an agate burnisher, I then burnish the high spots to a nice smooth shine. The sanding and finishing are very important steps as it is easier to manipulate and finish in the pre-fired state before it becomes solid bronze.

Then following the package directions for firing Bronzclay, I kiln-fired the pieces for approximately 9 hours.  Because I had prefinished the pieces before firing, I had minimal finish work afterward. 

To protect the new bronze pieces, I sealed them with Renaissance wax.

Here is the finished bronze Sedum piece:

Links to products used in this post: