Adding fingerprints into the metal of your jewellery designs using metal clay is a lovely way to create personal and sentimental jewellery designs.
Fingerprint jewellery is surprisingly easy once you have the right equipment. On this page you will find everything you need plus instructions on how to create your own fingerprint jewellery.
(What's the difference between Art Clay Silver and Precious Metal Clay? -Pepsi and Coke! They are the same product but from different brands! Your choice in these products is really down to your personal choice and maybe some experimentation with the two.)
Plastic Rolling Pin - allows you to roll out your clay nice and flat without getting extra fingerprints in the clay. If you use a wooden rolling pin the clay will pick up the grain of the wood.
Find a flat surface without any grain or texture, we often use a plain piece of paper. Get your clay and roll a small piece out using your plastic rolling pin. It's worth remembering that metal clay shrinks when it is fired by around 10-15% so add a little extra size for shrinkage.
A great way to ensure that our clay is rolled out evenly is to use a pack of playing cards or sheets of card - stack a pile of cards either side of your piece of clay to the thickness you want to roll your piece to and then use this to rest your rolling pin on.
When you are ready to add your fingerprint ensure that the finger is clean, grease free and completely dry. Gently push your finger into the clay remembering your design and where you need the fingerprint to be.
Push gently down and slowly rock side to side to ensure all the fingerprint is taken. Now remove your finger from the clay and check you are satisfied with the print.
Next use a cutter or knife to cut out the shape you want around the fingerprint. Remove the excess clay and keep for another project. If you are making a pendant or charm make a hole to hang the piece from when finished.
Now leave your clay piece to dry. The clay needs to be completely dry before firing otherwise your piece may crack or be ruined in the firing process, if you are leaving it to dry naturally we recommend leaving the clay overnight.
Using the wet and dry sanding sheets or a polishing stick, gently file the edges of your piece until smooth and ready for firing.
On a heat proof surface (i.e. the soldering block) use your torch to heat the clay. At first you will see a smoke-like substance burning off, this is the binder in the clay. Your piece will then begin to glow at a faint pink/red colour, you need to keep your piece at this temperature for a couple of minutes and then remove the heat. It's important to remember that it won't look silver at this point. Drop your piece of silver using the reverse action tweezers into a cup of water to cool it.
Using the brass brush under water to gently scrub the white layer which is over your silver. If the silver isn't appearing it may be that you haven't fired your piece for long enough and you can dry it and fire it again.
You can now use the polishing papers to polish your piece up to a high shine.
Your piece is now ready to incorporate into your design!
For any further advice regarding the contents on this page or for any other general jewellery making enquires, please feel free to get in touch, we would love to hear from you.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call our friendly team who will be more than happy to give you some advice through Facebook, Twitter, Email or simply calling us on 01872 573888 8.30am-4.30pm.
Alternatively, for more information and how to's on all areas of jewellery making visit our other Gemstone Setting Advice pages.