Constellation Jewelry using Ceralun Clay

November 8, 2018

Ceralun Ceramic Epoxy Composite by Swarovski

It’s enjoyable to work with Ceralun, a high quality, flexible product that is easy to use and durable. A few features of this clay:

  • The clay is easy to shape and mold.
  • Ceralun has a high level of hardness and rigidity.
  • This clay is resistant to humidity and does not crack or show aging.
  • It is an air dry, self-hardening clay with no baking or firing required.
  • Clay colors can be mixed, blended, marbled, swirled or layered.
  • Surfaces can be domed, dazzled, flat and shiny, or textured.
  • The clay can be used free form, with stamps or in silicone molds.
  • It comes in a range of colors.
  • Ceralun adheres to metal, glass, crystal, plastic, rubber, wood, cork and porcelain.
  • The clay be used as an alternative to gluing or soldering in some cases.
  • You can inlay crystals and other small objects into the clay. Stick to non-porous decorative items like crystal headpins, rhinestone chain, crystal chatons, vintage jewelry, glass/gemstone/metal beads, buttons, ball chain and charms. Don’t need to leave a minimum space between embeddables; they can be applied as closely as desired.
  • Experiment with adding small amounts of mica, pigments or fine iridescent powders. You can color finished designs with Gilder’s Paste, Vintaj Patina, Ranger Alcohol Inks or paint. Ceralun can be painted or sanded (wear a mask).
  • The maximum pot (work) time is 3 hours, and the clay starts losing adhesion at 2 hours.It will harden within 72 hours at room temperature (note: time and adhesion vary depending on room temperature). You can store already mixed clay in a ball, inside a sealed baggie, in the freezer for up to 24 hours at -20C or (-4F), just remove any condensed water and let clay defrost before using).
  • Unused ceralun epoxy clay will last up to a year when stored at room temperature.
  • Wet clay is sticky. We recommend you work in a warm, lint & pet-hair free work area.

Clay Constellation Jewelry

It’s fun to create custom pendants by setting ball-end and crystal headpins in clay. This easy, portable project requires few supplies and roughly one hour to complete.

Supplies

  • Bezel Cups: We have a great selection in a variety of shapes, sizes and platings.
  • Swarovski Ceralun Ceramic Epoxy Clay: Select your favorite colors to blend.
  • Head Pins: Ball-end and Swarovski crystal head pins work well for this project.
  • Nitrile Gloves: One set for each color of clay, minimum
  • Exacto Knife: To cut clay in equal portions
  • Wire Cutters: To cut headpins
  • Small Baggies: For storage of leftover clay
  • Tweezers: For placing headpins in clay
  • Apron: To protect clothes
  • Moist Wipes: For smoothing clay and tidying up
  • Paper: A few sheets to protect your work area
  • Toothpicks/Skewers: For manipulating clay
  • Plastic Container with Lid: To cover pieces during curing
  • Alcohol Swabs: For cleaning bezels.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Select a constellation from a preferred book or website. Decide on how domed or flat you want your piece to be (this will determine the length to cut the headpins). Determine how many colors of clay you want to use, and how blended or striped you want your design. Lay out an extra idea or two, and plan for extra clay (consider a clay bead or a textured dangle).

Clean bezels with alcohol wipes, and thoroughly dry them. They need to be clean, dry and free of oil and grease.

Using wire cutters, cut the headpins to fit inside the bezel. It is better to have them slightly too short than too long. Be sure to cover when cutting to avoid flying metal bits!

Next, prepare the clay. Use a knife to cut equal sized slices of resin and hardener. The mixing ratio is 1:1 for both components. Combine only the amount of clay you need at one time, saving the rest for later. Wearing gloves, knead two equal sized portions together until the clay is consistent and not marbled (roughly 4 minutes). It is sticky to mix, and leaves colored residue on your gloves. You should have a nicely blended ball of color when you are done.

Wearing fresh, new gloves to prevent cross-contamination, prepare the next color (following the instructions above). Once all individual colors have been mixed and formed into balls, coil each color into a snake. Twist snakes together to create a giant coil. The coil can then be folded and twisted to create a pleasing pattern. Cut off a slice to ball, and embed into the bezel cup. Be careful not to overwork the clay or you may end up with a muddy color. Lightly work the clay to achieve clearly defined color striations.

Set clay into center of surface you want it to adhere to and work your way out and around, being careful not to trap air between the clay and surface. Gently press clay into center of area, patting until clay is flush to the edges, domed or flattened as you wish. Ceralun will hold whatever shape you create. Rub your finger or a moist wipe across the surface to remove any fingerprints or cracks. Texture surface if desired.

Use a skewer or toothpick to make indentations to aid with headpin placement. Press headpins firmly into place. The clay will move as you add pieces, keep pressing pieces in as you go. Make sure the crystal headpins are level, and not tilting to one side. Repeat until all stones are set. Use your fingers to make sure headpins are secure and piece is evenly domed.

Clean unwanted clay from any surfaces. Once clay has cured, it is permanent. Allow your piece to cure in a covered container. Package epoxy and hardener into separate, sealed bags (they cannot be packaged together, touching).

Constellations, Zodiac & Birthstones

For another free project featuring constellation jewelry, check out our blog. Constellations pair well with crystalsbirthstones and zodiac charms. Add a few to your finished jewelry design!

PS: If you are having trouble, consider the following:

Did you follow all of the steps, in the right order?

Was the ratio when mixing the two components equal?

Did you thoroughly mix the components?

Were the headpins cut short enough, and securely pressed into clay?

Did you exceed the processing time?

Have fun making stars!  

–Sondra

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