Tips and Information about making jewelry

With this blog, I hope to share my knowledge, successes, trials and errors, student's work, tips, and information about making jewelry.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Think about Shrinkage when Designing Sterling Silver Metal Clay Hollow Ring!

Hi everyone, I have continued to work with the new sterling silver metal clay trying to solve the problems I had from my last posting. Success!

I recreated the ring in my last post, but this time I made sure that the inside ring shank was not attached to the outside ring band. I also made both inside and outside ring bands the same thickness, 6 cards thick.

In my first attempt, I made the inside ring shank thinner, thinking that the sterling silver clay is stronger and it didn't need to be so thick. Which is true, but it also shrinks quite a bit!  So, while firing, the outside larger band pulled the thinner band apart creating a small tear in the inside ring shank.

Here is the new ring showing the two bands separate and the same thickness. I made them thicker so that I could carve into the clay and set stones later.

Another problem I had with the first ring was the carbon indenting the metal during firing. This time I encased the ring with fiber blanket during the second firing.

First I fired the clay on the shelf (per the instructions) and then wrapped the ring inside fiber blanket with a small amount of fiber blanket inside the ring shank.
 I made sure the carbon below the fiber blanket was 1/2" thick (per the instructions).

I then covered over the fiber blanket 1/2" with activated coconut carbon. The lid was placed tightly on the stainless steel container and fired at 1500 F for one hour. I fired it for an hour because the ring is so thick in mass.

The ring came out fine fully sintered with no dents from the carbon!


  1. Can't remember (already) where I saw this suggestion this morning, but have you thought about trying to wrap the ring in a little bit of steel wool? that might work too.

    Great experiment with the blankie.

  2. No, I haven't tried it. I saw it posted on the Yahoo Metal Clay group. I try to stay away from steel wool as it tends to get airborne easily and its not good to breath.

  3. Great idea. I had heard of making a steel mesh box to put it in, but I like your idea better and I have to fire two sterling rings soon. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Lisa. I have material to make a steel mesh box but haven't used it yet (got lazy).

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