Jellyfish earrings tutorial

The copper clay jellyfish earrings have been a hit, and someone was asking me about making them. Here is a tutorial showing how to make a pair of earrings with tentacles that move.  Note: This tutorial is intended for those already familiar with metal clay and basic jewellery making and does not explain basic steps like balling up wire, making loops, firing and finishing metal clay pieces. Those processes can be found elsewhere on the Web, or if you live in the Ottawa area, you can sign up for one of my classes.

Instructions

Roll out clay three cards thick.

Cut a circle approximately 3/4″ (1.5 cm) in diameter for the tentacles and another approximately 1 1/4″ (3 cm) in diameter for the body. These sizes are approximate, depending on what you shape the body over. Just make sure that the smaller circle for the tentacles will fit inside the larger circle for the body.

With a straw, cut 7 holes in the small circle as pictured below. Dry.

Make one hole in the centre of the large circle. Shape it over something with a dome-shaped end. I used an empty cigar tube. Dry.

Once dry, fire both pieces according to the recommended method for the clay you are using (I am using Hadar’s copper clay here, but you can use bronze, steel, silver, etc.) Once fired, sand and polish. (I left mine a little rough to give them more of an organic feel.)

Cut 7 pieces of copper or silver wire, each approximately 2 1/2″ (6 cm) long. With a torch, ball up one end of each piece (if you don’t have a torch, you can just file the end smooth).

Bend the wires to give them some shape. I did it by coiling them around a pencil and then pulling on both ends to straighten them a bit. Leave approximately 1/2-3/4″ (1-1.5 cm) at the non-balled up end unbent. You will later use this for a loop.

          

Insert the straight end of one of the wires in one of the holes around the edge of the small circle  and make a loop at the top. Repeat  until all 6 holes have a wire in them. Bend each loop 90 degrees so it lies flat against the copper circle.

Make an eye pin – cut a 1″ (2.5 cm) piece of wire and make a loop in one end.

Make a loop in the remaining balled up piece of wire and attach to the eye pin.

Insert the eye pin through the centre hole in the small fired circle, then through the hole in the top of the fired dome of the jellyfish body.

Make a loop in the piece of wire sticking out of the top of the jellyfish. Adjust the tentacles into a pleasing shape.

Add an earwire and you’re done!

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