Basics of Terracotta Jewellery making
Terracotta is a word derived from the Latin words “terra cocta” meaning “baked earth”. Terracotta Jewellery is made by baking terracotta clay. The natural color of terracotta is a natural brown-orange.
Terracotta clay is easy to shape and making terracotta jewelry is one amazing talent. Once it is shaped it should be heated to 1000 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit to harden.
Step 1: Get the clay
You might be wondering where to get the clay. Terracotta clay is something that is not readily available in all areas. It will be awesome if you could get the clay right from the river bed. Usually, terracotta clay is in orangish-brown/reddish-brown in color. We can also buy the clay online.
Step 2: Prepare the Clay
The clay has to be smooth to make any terracotta pottery. It has to be extra smooth when it comes to making terracotta jewelry. (You don’t want cracked neckpiece). The clay can be right from the river bed or bought online. We will have to prepare the clay both ways.
Case 1: If the clay is dry, pound the clay and make it into a fine powder. Use a sieve to filter out any stone or unwanted materials. Mix with water. Let it rest. The clay will settle down and the excess water can be discarded. Let it dry in sun for some time until it becomes a smooth clay to mold into any shape. Try making small balls out of it. If the balls are smooth from all sides and are not cracking that exactly how you want it. Store it in a closed bag or container.
Case 2: If the clay is semi-dry, then cut it into smaller pieces(pieces of half-inch) spray some water and let it sit. Now the clay would have absorbed the water. Now knead the clay thoroughly so that there are no molds left and it is smooth to be shaped. Store it in a closed bag or container.
Step 3: Knead and knead
Before you start making the terracotta jewelry, knead the clay, and adjust the water for consistency and retention of shape. Shape it into various shapes and make sure that all the edges are super smooth and not cracky. Perfect!
Step 4: Shape it
There are different jewelry that can be made with terracotta such as neckpieces, ear-rings, jhumkas, bracelets, etc., Terracotta can be easily shaped into different jewelry. We can make balls of different sizes, use a cookie cutter to make different shapes to make awesome jewelry pieces. You also get a lot of jewelry making tools in the market which you can use to shape and design your jewelry.
Join these beautiful shapes that you have made and make it into a neckpiece. We would be needing strings of different colors in case you are making a neckpiece. You would be needing some hooks and wires to make earrings. You would be needing a wire cutter and some basic tools. So now your jewelry is shaped. Sweet!
Step 5: Get Baking
Are you thinking about how to get a kiln at home? You can create your own mini kiln at home.
- Take a terracotta pot and fill it with rice husk
- Arrange your dried terracotta jewelry in it
- Put more rice husk on top of the jewels
- Ignite coal to be red hot
- Arrange the coal on top of the husk
- Let it fully burn and turn completely black
Step 6: Color and assemble
Let the jewelry cool down completely. Color it with paints that interest you. Varnish your piece. Assemble your piece using strings and wires. Tada! You are awesome. You are a terracotta jewelry maker.
Make more exciting jewelry and share your mastery with your friends and family.