Hadar’s Molds – Inlay

Which of the molds are good for inlay? In general, only molds that have deep, relatively wide indentations. The mokume-gane molds will not show good results with inlay. If you want more than one metal in a mokume gane pattern, the best way is to follow the projects in my books Patterns of Color in Metal Clay and Metal Clay Practice. I have only made molds for those patterns that I didn’t see a point in teaching, since they involve losing big amounts of clay and requiring many re-firings.

Here are examples of molds that work well with inlay:

Kandinsky Squares

Kandinsky Squares

1. Press a lumpy chunk of clay into the mold. Press hard with your fingers to get a good impression. The chunk will become thinner. Remove the clay from the mold and check your results. Cut it to the desired size or use the whole mold. Dry thoroughly.

Press clay

2. Paint-brush the piece with some water, and press another, compatible clay, as deep as possible into the indentations.

Press another clay

3. Make sure the whole piece is filled and covered and none of the original clay shows. Dry completely.

Cover the whole piece

4. Sand off the surface until the original pattern reappears. Do not over-sand or you will wipe off the inlay!


5. Roll out a layer of copper, slightly textured, 6 cards thick. Lay the inlay piece over it. (Use copper backing even if you made step 1 with bronze).

Backing layer

6. Trim the copper layer to the desired size. Dry.


7. Drill two holes on the top of each side.

Drill holes

8. Fire at mid-fire schedule. The uninterrupted schedule that I posted a few days ago works every time. In my brick kiln it takes 11-12 hours – a single overnight firing. Keep in mind that the majority of the time the kiln is not even on – just cooling.

9. Finish the piece following the instructions in the document entitled “Finishing Fired Metal Clay“.


Here are earrings made with this mold with no inlay:

Kandinsky Earrings

Empty Spaces

I have considered including the project for these earring several times in my books, and each time decided against it. Over the years, this project has rightfully earned the name “The Project from Hell” among my students. Hence the mold.

Empty spaces

When you press the clay into the mold, you get a solid piece, with indentations, but no empty spaces:

Press clay into mold

After drying, fill the spaces with another, compatible clay, as in step 2 above.


Sand off the inlay until the pattern re-emerges.


Fire and finish as described above in steps 8 and 9.

Inlay earrings

Next time I will show you how to empty out the spaces, in another project that my students have dubbed “Another Project from Hell.”

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