Dozens of little metal clay stars…

Channeling Carl Sagan…these petite, textured stars are  what I’ve been making. I like having them in my stash, ready to use as bead caps or to sew onto bead embroidered pieces. I’ve made these with bronze metal clay and have given each a slightly curved surface that can accommodate a 20mm bead nicely. However if I want to use them with smaller beads, such as the petite polymer clay flower buds that were used in my “Belles Fleurs” bracelet design, the curve must be far deeper and the bead cap made smaller. To accomplish this, I employ the use of a weighted mallet, steel dapping block and steel punches shown here, which allow me to form a metal piece into a smaller and deeper shape. Care must be taken to start forming with the star placed in a dap about the same size, and then progressively move down in size.  Forming the piece in stages prevents stressing the metal which would cause fissures and large cracks, rendering the piece useless. Some metal are softer and more forgiving than others. Fine silver, high carat gold, and annealed metals fall into this category. However, bronze is quite hard and can be somewhat brittle so extra care must be taken when forming it. I find that approaching the task with a gentle hand is the safest way to assure a successful outcome!

~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on July 25, 2012.

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