A bronze cuff with a stone

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I have previously talked about making bronze cuffs. I wanted to add a stone to one. While the technique for building is similar to making a cuff without a stone, I thought it was worth an update.

I used Fastfire Bronz clay. This clay has the advantage of being pre-mixed (comes as clay, not powder) and of having a good record of sintering well. First, rolled out the clay 2 mm thick, and, using a texture sheet (the hexagon pattern was made for use with polymer clay, but it works fine with metal clay) textured the piece,  leaving it 1.5 mm thick.

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I have a wooded bracelet mandrel. Wood plus metal clay is not necessarily a good thing, because the wood causes the clay to dry too quickly. Wrapping the mandrel in plastic wrap addressed this issue. I then formed the cuff around the mandrel and added a bezel cup. It might take several attempts to make the bezel cup stay in place. If it doesn’t the first time, add more clay thinned with distilled water and stick it in place. Eventually, it will hold.

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There was some distortion of the pattern due to fixing the bezel cup in place. I turned a weakness into a strength by doing a bit of simple sculpting, thereby hiding the distortion. After standard greenware finishing, the piece appears below.

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After that, it was fired according to package directions, then patinaed. I chose to add a green stone, because I thought it would stand out well against the bronze.

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That’s it. Making a cuff in bronze is in no way difficult. The only issue is overcoming the psychological barrier or working with so much clay at one time. If you use bronze, copper, or some other relatively inexpensive metal, that needed be a barrier. I encourage you to try your own!

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