Free Project: Multi-Color Lentil Earrings

As I promised, here is the first project. But first, a message to our customers in and around the UK: Craftworx is now stocking the full line of Hadar’s Clay and will have the new book as soon as it’s available in early October.

Now on to our regularly scheduled program!

The project is made from Quick-fire copper, Quick-fire Bronze XT, and low-shrinkage Steel XT. Regular bronze (mid-fire) cannot be used in this project, since the earrings are fired at high-fire schedule because of the large amount of steel that is used in them. Steel has to be low-shrinkage so it can shrink at the same rate as the copper and bronze.

You will need 4 dome molds to shape the lentils, and many circle cutters in different sizes, including tubes and straws.

1. Roll a layer of copper, 2 cards thick, over a slightly textured sheet, such as fine sandpaper. (The texture will make it easy to clean up the earrings after firing.)

2. Cut 4 circles out of the copper sheet, at the desired size of the earrings, and dome them over the molds.

Circles domed over molds

3. Pick a smaller circle cutter, and cut a circle in two of the copper domes, off-center. Remove the cutout circles. Do not cut the smaller circles before you dome the bigger ones; otherwise, the larger circles will lose their shape once you pick them up! The circles with the cut-outs will be the front parts of the earrings. The other two will be the back parts. Dry them all. If you can’t use a heating pan, dry in the air, with a hair dryer, or in a vegetable dehydrator.

Domed circles with cut-out circles

4. Once the cut-out domes separate from the molds, remove them and continue to dry them on a heating pan.

5. Repeat step 1 with steel clay. Use a smaller circle cutter than in step 3 to cut 2 circles. Lay the circles on the same dome molds as before. It is important that the curve stays the same!

Steel circles on domes

6. Use a smaller cutter than in step 5 to cut a circle, off-center, in each steel dome.

Steel domes cut out

7. Wet the steel domes with a paintbrush. Pick a dry copper dome and lay it on top of the steel one, so the wider part of the steel shows through the hole in the copper dome. Repeat this with the other earring. Then dry again.

Copper on top of steel

8. Repeat step 1 with Bronze XT. Pick a smaller cutter than in step 6 and cut 2 circles. Dome them over the same mold.

Bronze XT domed

9. Pick a smaller cutter than in step 8 and cut a circle, off-center, in each bronze dome. Remove the cut-out circle.

Cut-out bronze

10. Wet the bronze circles. Pick up the copper and steel domes, stacked, and place them over the bronze domes, so the larger area of the bronze shows through the steel hole. Dry.

Stack copper and steel over bronze

11. Rub all 4 domes on a piece of 150-grit sandpaper, using a figure-8 motion, to flatten the edges of the domes. Once you get a perfect fit between each 2 parts, join them together with water.

Join them together

12. Drill a hole at the top of each earring and insert a bronze wire eyelet or embeddable. Seal the hole and dry.

Insert embeddable

13. Fire the earrings positioned on carbon on their narrow end. Use the stove-top method for first phase, then fire in the kiln at high-fire schedule.

14. Finish the earrings by cleaning them with 2 radial discs mounted on a screw mandrel. They will be able to reach all hidden spots.

Finished

Good luck! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about this project.


13 Responses to “Free Project: Multi-Color Lentil Earrings”

  • Lynn Parrish Says:

    Thank you, Hadar, for your endless generosity. I think I will make one as a necklace pendant — might be cute with a pearl nestled inside as well!

  • Julie Cannarito Says:

    So chic! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Dawn Lawrence Floen Says:

    Thanks, Hadar! I love your projects. Will send you photos from our Sherwood Park course soon.
    Dawn

  • Diane Sommers Says:

    Thanks Hadar. These earrings are beautiful… They will go on my projects-to-do list for sure.

  • Amy Karoly Says:

    These are wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Just wondering though…have you or anyone ever tried putting the recently fired pieces in pickle instead of radial cleaning? Will it cause an adverse reaction or just not work??

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Lynn, Wait for the next one. It’s a pendant, somewhat different, perfect for a pearl.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Amy, Pickle is not recommended for metal clay. Anything made from metal clay is porous and will hold the acid inside unless it’s totally neutralized.

  • Bobbie Rucker Says:

    Thank you for the project, as always it is helpful and beautiful.
    Where do you get the cutters?
    Thanks,
    Bobbie

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Bobbie, Kitchen supplies, craft stores, bottle caps, straws, templates… anything that looks round and can cut 🙂

  • Margaret Lakas Says:

    This is such a cool project. Will start tomorrow. I like the nessled pearl idea.

  • Otteline Tuitel Says:

    Hi Hadar,
    nice project! Why do you use the low shrinkage steel for Bronze XT shrinks by 28%?

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Otteline, The answer is a little complicated. If I didn’t use copper in the project, I would probably prefer high shrinkage steel. When the clays are joined in this way, they don’t shrink the same as they would if they were fired on there own. For example, if I fire the same size squares of copper and low shrinkage steel XT, the steel square will shrink more. But if I fire them joined back to back they will shrink the same rate. The higher shrinkage clays stretch a little, since they fuse with the other metals before they have a chance to shrink all the way. Sometimes they will crack because of it (which can be repaired). The order of the metals is also a factor; in hollow forms, the high shrinkage clays should be in the inside, and the high shrinkage on the outside.

  • Karen Christ Says:

    I want to thank you for sharing your expertise with all of us. I have finally, successfully, fired several batches of bronze clay and feel fairly comfortable with my process. My class is a success and it is “Thanks to You”

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