Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hand Drawn Templates for Precious Metal Clay

If you are new to precious metal clay, read my earlier post here for an overview.

Transferring hand drawn images to precious metal clay is a fun way to enhance creations.  The process is quite similar to making texture templates but allows more personalization of the artists' work.

The materials needed to make a hand drawn template are:
  • two ounces of polymer clay
  • wooden stylus
  • clay shaper tool, firm with tapered end
  • toaster oven *
* It is best to designate a small toaster oven exclusively for use with polymer clay projects. Do not use a traditional home oven.  Polymer clay emits low-level fumes while heating.  Though non-toxic, the fumes would be re-released when baking food.

The Process
  1. Take 1/4 of the polymer clay and condition until flexible.  A good tutorial for conditioning clay can be found here.
  2. Roll the clay out on a non-stick surface.  1/8 inch thickness is good to begin with.
  3. Carefully draw your image onto the soft clay with a wooden stylus.   Press lightly.  As you add more, retrace the existing lines keeping the image depth even throughout.  The shaper tool aids in "erasing" and smoothing edges.  My drawings average between 1 and 1.5 inches in height.  This is large enough to add details.  The final product on precious metal clay will be slightly smaller after firing the piece.
  4. If you are not happy with the results, fold the clay into a ball and start over from step 1.
  5. When finished, place the drawn template onto a plain index card and bake in the preheated toaster oven at 275 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes. 
  6. Turn off the oven and allow the clay to remain inside while the device cools completely.

The drawn template is now ready to use.  Practice on a softened piece of polymer clay.  Spritz with distilled water before testing so that the clay will not stick.  

Lightly apply a product such as Cool Slip or olive oil to precious metal clay prior to using the template.

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