It is not a tough task to bake terracotta clay jewelry from home. I was very much interested to try out terracotta clay jewelry. But I could not go for any jewelry making classes. I found several ads online like “learn terracotta jewelry making online”, “terracotta classes and workshops” etc. My decision was to try it out myself and experiment with clay. The very first thing I noted was those who knew terracotta clay baking process often kept the method as a secret. When I searched forums and other blogs, I came to know that jewelry making experts never bothered to answer any of the doubts regarding baking. I thought to share my experiments with my readers. Hope this one would be helpful! 🙂
Step By Step Terracotta Clay Baking
My Experiments with Terracotta Clay
I bought some terracotta clay from a local store near my home. The making process includes the following steps:
- Preparation of clay
Preparation of clay is the initial step in making terracotta jewelry. Filtration of clay is often recommended to get pure clay free from dust and other particles. This you can do it by mixing clay with water. Add lot of water and just make a clay solution. The clay particles would settle down at the bottom after some time. Drain out the water from the top. It would help to wash off waste particles from clay. Repeat this few times until you get fine clay. Hope you know what is the ideal stage to make a jewelry. Just allow it to dry until it is flexible to mold.
Next keep the clay on a flat surface and roll it out to remove the air inside. If you have air caught inside clay, there are chances to break the jewelry while baking. I just made few shapes out of clay. This is my first trial with clay. I was little tensed thinking of the outcome. To my surprise, I could make some pendants and Jumkas.
- Terracotta Clay Jewelry Baking Process
There are several methods to bake terracotta clay. You may give your jewelry to a kiln to fire. When terracotta is fired, it turn red in color. But when you heat it under anaerobic conditions, the jewelry turn black in color. As I do not have an oven at home, i thought of baking it from home.
It was my grandmother who told I can bake clay using saw dust. This was actually a thrilling experiment and I was eagerly waiting to see the outcome. I just took an iron pan and kept it on fire. In order to bake the clay, you need to buy some saw dust (wood dust). This you will get easily from any saw mill and is very cheap. When the pan is hot, just put some saw dust and keep the jewelry items above it. Then put some more saw dust over it.
How To Bake Terracotta Clay Jewelry
The saw dust will start to burn at one point. Soon it will spread in the pan.
This is how the fire spreads inside the pan. Now you may put some more saw dust over the burning saw dust. The jewelry will burn inside the dust. After some time, put some more saw dust. You may be thinking this as a time consuming process compared to electric heater and oven methods. But I assure you this is quite easy If you are passionate about crafting clay jewelry.
Wait sometime so that the jewelry pieces gets cool enough to touch. This is what I got after baking the clay pieces. 🙂 I do not know why I was much happy at that moment. I was just feeling like a scientist whose experiment became success.
Now my beloved terracotta jumkas are ready to paint!!!! Wow! I am gonna paint my first set of terracotta clay jumkas!! Here is the end result of my thrilling experience. I just painted jumkas with pearl blue and emerald green color.
Here is my first terracotta set. I was really happy with the outcome.
Note: There may be many easy methods to bake terracotta clay jewelry from home. This one is just my own experiment (but I was successful!). If you are a beginner and confused about baking, feel free to try this method. You need not keep the pan on fire all the time. You may off the stove when the saw dust catches fire. Then add more saw dust and can again keep it on fire. Thus you can save gas if you give fire only at particular intervals.
1. How long you should bake the clay?
I think you need to bake the clay at least 5 hours. You can take it out after it cools down. I also recommend using charcoal to burn. You can put up charcoal pieces over saw dust and burn it. It would burn for lot of time and you can save gas. I heard potters bake for about 7-8 hrs and then only clay gets properly baked. If you have access to a kiln, I would suggest to bake it in a kiln. In my saw dust method, you may turn off the gas when the saw dust catches fire. Then you can add more saw dust to it and repeat the process.
If you are doubtful about this method, you may bake the items again. 🙂 Even if the jewelry pieces turn black soon after the process do not think that it is baked fully. As terracotta demands higher temperature, just be patient enough and leave the saw dust to burn well! I have heart about sand baking and using coil heater for terracotta baking. But I do not know much about it.
>>>It is important that the clay pieces should be completely dried before you take it for baking. You can keep it for 3 days & bake after. You can bake in low or high flame (only thing is saw dust should catch fire).
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Feel free to share your experiments with terracotta clay jewelry! 🙂