I offer you a tutorial on creating an openwork ring from silver metal clay PMC using different forms of clay (paste, syringe and dough-like clay) and detailed step-by-step guide. If something remains unclear, feel free to ask questions in the comments or through messages.
So, you need:
- silver PMC (Precious Metal Clay) in syringe
- paste silver PMC *optional but desirable
- dough-like silver PMC
- metal or wooden mandrel for ring shaping (or any cylindrical object of the right diameter)
- ring sizer
- paper and Scotch tape
- brush and water
- blade or sharp knife
- hairdryer to speed up the process of clay drying
- muffler, gas torch or Hot Pot ceramic torch for baking
- brush with steel bristles for removing oxide film
- emery paper or sandpaper for polishing
This is what you get at the end: a ring made of 999 fineness silver which combines floral (sprigs and fruit) or space motifs (planets and signs of comets). To your liking! Imagination is the only limitation when working with silver clay :)
Let's get started!
Step 1. First of all, determine the size of the future ring. I decided to make a small ring to wear it on the little finger or on the upper phalanx of the middle finger. Take contraction of the ring when baking and add 10-12% too the diameter you need.
Step 2. Cut a strip of paper and wrap it around the wooden mandrel, fix with a small piece of sticky tape. Sketch a ring on this paper tn order to model the ring on it and then easily remove from the mandrel.
Step 3. So, sketch the ring with a pencil. This will simplify the further work (though, any project does not always stick to its plan). Take a PMC-3 syringe and slightly cut its nozzle to give clay a larger way out.
Step 4. It is important to take the syringe in hand the right way; grasp it with all your fingers and compress with your fist so that only its nozzle was seen at the bottom. It's more convenient to press the syringe with your thumb top-down, placing the tip of the syringe right over the place that you're decorrelating at the moment. Start to apply patterns, evenly squeezing the clay and rotating the mandrel with the other hand.
Step 5. Continue applying the pattern with the syringe as shown in the picture. To finish, press the syringe a little harder and take it aside with a wiping motion. Don't worry if some of the lines are not as smooth as they were expected: you can fix it with wet brushin the next step.
Step 6. While the clay is drying out, you can provide the pattern with some filigree decor. To do this, take a thin round or flat brush and slightly wet it with water. You will be surprised how easily one can 'move' clay lines on paper :) Carefully pressing, wet all the ring layers with the brush so that they stuck to each other better.
Step 7. While our blank is drying up, attach the pieces of filigree. If I worked in a traditional jewellery techniques, this would take more time and require a lot of effort — but here I did all for a couple of minutes: take a little bit of silver clay (you can take any — PMC-3, PMC Flex) and olive oil or a special balm for hands and SLIK clay. Oil your fingers so that clay didn't stick to them and roll small balls.
Step 8. To attach the filigree to the ring, use silver PMC-3 Paste as the adhesive substance, but if not, you can do with the wet brush. Apply a small amount of toothpaste (or water) to the place where a ball should be. While the pasta is still wet, carefully put the ball.
Step 9. Smooth the joint with the wet brush or (preferably) gently coat it with the same paste for a better fastening of the parts.
Step 10. Once all the beads are set in their places, coat the entire blank with the silver paste using the brush to give it more homogeneity and strengthen it.
Step 11. Take a hairdryer and dry the ring carefully until it gets a homogeneously light (white) colour, until it completely dries out. It may take about 10 minutes.
Step 12. Carefully hook the sticky tape with the sharp blade so as not to damage the ring (at the dry clay loses its flexibility and becomes quite brittle - be careful!), and remove it from the wooden base together with the piece of paper.
Step 13. Since the ring was pretty thin, I decided not to take risk and leave the paper base. In any case, paper burns out during baking, so the quality of the finished product is not affected. Put the ring in the muffler (or use the Hot Pot ceramic torch or the gas burner) and bake according to the instruction. In practice, the optimal temperature / time — 800 C for 20-30 minutes. During this time, binder and water burn out and the particles of silver fuse together tightly, forming a solid ingot of 999 silver. Wait for complete cooling before you take the ring out of the oven!
Step 14. After baking, silver is covered with white matt oxide film. To remove it, you need the brush with steel bristles. It easily penetrates into all cavities cleaning them. This is probably the most magical moment of the process: finally the metal begins to shine in your hands!
Step 16. Then different types of sandpaper and abrasive pads of different grit are used. This all depends on how shiny you want the surface be. Start with high grit tools and go to finer ones. Remember to remove the oxide film from the inner side of the ring: if the brush does not go through, roll a piece of sandpaper into a tube and rub the surface. Finally, wipe your silver ring with a cloth for mirror polishing, and it will shine in your hands, wishing to adorn your finger!
Your ring is ready! Wear it and let it inspire you and others with creativity :)
Thank you for your attention!
P. S. As promised, the international ring size chart is below.