Make unique metal clay texture sheets
Follow this easy guide to make your own unique texture sheet using black and white images and photo polymer plates and use the texture to make a metal clay pendant and matching earrings.
You will need:
U.V Light Source
Photo Polymer Plate (PPP)
Overhead Transparency Sheet (OHP)
Bull Dog Clips
Glass Clip Photo Frame approx. 10.5 cm x 15 cm (to fit under your UV light source)
Soft bristle brush (an old soft toothbrush works well for this)
Timer with second hand display
Heavy Duty Scissors
Fine Black Marker – such as a Sharpie
Small amount of Corn Starch
Small Soft Paint Brush
Black and White Images Drawings or Photographs
Access to a photocopier
Sufficient metal clay and metal clay tools (or polymer clay and tools if preferred) to make a pendant and pair of earrings (NB this project requires a basic metal clay /polymer clay skills)
This guide to making textures is by Mary Ann Nelson. When she is not either designing, making, talking or dreaming about jewellery she teaches resin and metal clay at the London Jewellery School.
Photocopy your image onto an overhead transparency sheet (OHP sheet)
Experiment with the contrast to make sure the image on the OHP sheet is as black as possible – but not smudged or distorted in any way
You can also make two copies of your image onto OHP sheets and place one over the other if the image is not black enough.
It is also possible to use a fine point marker draw your image onto the OHP sheets or to fill in or darken the photocopied the image
Unwrap your photo polymer plate (PPP) away from a direct light source and cut it to size – no larger than the clip frame that you are using. Rewrap the PPP in the packaging that it came in.
You may put many images onto one piece of sheet to make a large texture mat or chose to just use one image per plate; it is more cost effective if you can put several images on one PPP.
Remove the clips from the glass frame and lift the glass off the foam.
Peel off the protective plastic sheet from the surface of your PPP and place it that side up on top of the piece of foam in the clip frame.
Put the image (s) which you have copied onto the OHP sheets on top of the PPP
Carefully replace the glass on top of the image. Using at least 3 bulldog clips press the glass securely onto the PPP, foam and backing board.
If the glass is not pressed firmly enough onto the PPP the image will not be as detailed as it might be otherwise
Place the frame under the UV light source.
Using the timer expose the frame for the required amount of time (see extra information below for testing exposure time).
Remove the frame from under the UV lights. Take off the bull dog clips and remove the PPP from the frame.
Gently wash the PPP under warm running water for two or three minutes using a soft bristle brush to remove the photo polymer that was not hardened by exposure to the UV light. Don't over wash or scrub the plate too hard because this will ruin the texture.
Carefully blot the finished texture sheet with a paper towel and the expose it once again to the UV light for the same amount of time that it was originally exposed. If it is still sticky, gently brush a very small amount of corn starch onto the PPP with a small clean paint brush.
You must always use a release agent, such as olive oil on the PPP before use with metal and polymer clay.
To make the pendant and earrings. Roll out your metal clay to 5 cards thick. Then replace the 5 card spacers with 3 cards.
Apply release agent on the PPP texture sheet and place it on the clay. Roll over the PPP texture sheet once (if you roll over it more than once you will not get a clear texture). Lift the PPP texture sheet off the clay.
Using a cutter of your choice cut out shapes for your pendant and earrings.
Put a hole at the top of your pendant or attach a bail to the back and put holes in the earrings.
Fire metal clay according to the instructions supplied with your chosen clay.
Polish and finish. For more information on finishing your earrings and pendant see our other metal clay projects.
You can use the same technique to create pieces in polymer clay.
Additional information: Making a test strip for your PPP
To determine how long to leave your PPP under the UV light:
Type or write large heavy black numbers 1, 2,3,4,5 in a line on a piece of paper and photocopy them onto an OHP sheet and cut the strip out. Cut a piece of PPP the same size as your strip of numbers.
Put the OHP with the numbers on it into the PPP frame as per steps 2 and 3.
Cover all the numbers except number 1 with a piece of heavy card. Expose the frame for 20 seconds, move the card down to expose each number for 20 seconds until you have exposed all 5 numbers for 20 seconds each.
Number 1 will have been exposed for a total of 100 seconds; number 2 will have been exposed for a total of 80 seconds and number 5 for a total of 20 seconds only.
Wash and dry the plate as per steps 4, 5 and 6.
The number that is the deepest and clearest corresponds with the correct exposure time for your lamp. Keep a note of the correct exposure time and test your lamp often to determine the optimal exposure time.