If You Don’t Watch Out! Halloween metal clay and sheet metal earrings.

The earrings pictured here are titled ‘If you Don’t Watch Out’, an obvious reference to James Whitcomb Riley’s poem. They are more than that – they are an example of how you can combine metal clay and traditional metalsmithing. I’m going to tell you how to make your own pair (or, if you prefer, something only vaguely similar – there’s no reason to fixate on jack-o-lanterns). I’m going to assume basic familiarity with silver clay and basic familiarity with metalsmithing, although I will provide some shortcuts.

Requirements:

Small amount of silver clay. Amount depends on size.

Jack-o-lantern pattern (the one I used is QuikArt Pumpkins 2)

Texture sheet of your choice

Patina for silver (I used Blackmax)

Needle tool

Copper sheet

Metal saw or scissors (see below)

Torch (I used a small, cheap butane torch, so you don’t need to be fancy)

Small piece of Plexiglas or extruding tool

Two part epoxy

  • Roll your clay 1.0 mm thick. Then roll it on a texture sheet to a thickness of 0.75 mm, thereby texturing the clay.
  • Use needle tool and template to cut our shape of pumpkin, making a hole in the stem for the ear wires to go through.
  • Use needle tool and template to cut jack-o-lantern face.
  • Dry jack-o-lanterns. Finish the greenware.
  • Make the vines. This is best done by placing a small cylinder of clay on a clean work area and rolling it with a small piece of Plexiglas, holding the glass at an angle. This will make your vine become narrower as it goes. Alternately, you could simply use an extruding tool and have the vine just be a long cylinder. Your choice.
  • Attach vines to pumpkins. I put mine on opposite sides and then curved them at random. You, of course, are free to put them wherever you want.
  • Do any last-minute greenware finishing.
  • Fire, brush, and tumble the earrings. Patina them as you normally would.
  • Cut copper into the shape of the fired earrings. I used 35 gauge copper, which was the advantage of weighing almost nothing and being able to be cut with scissors. If you want to use heavier copper, you might need a metal saw.
  • Heat patina the copper. This is not necessary, but I think it looks nice. Alternately, you might choose to use some chemical means to patina the copper. It’s up to you.
  • Using two part epoxy, attach the copper backings to the earrings, patinaed side toward the face.

There you have it! A pair of earrings that both celebrate the holiday and combine metal clay with metalsmithing. Enjoy!

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