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gold earrings

Cut and Sculpt Celtic Design Earrings


Step One: Making a pattern

print out (or trace from the screen) the pattern. Actual size should be approximately 1" wide. Use a photocopier to shrink or enlarge as needed.

Cutting Pattern
cutting pattern
Step Two: Making a transferable pattern

Use the straight pin to punch a closely spaced dotted line through the paper pattern along cutting pattern lines. Notice that what you are doing is outlining the holes (or spaces) in the pattern, and the outer edge.

Step Three: Conditioning the clay

Cut off about half an ounce of clay in the color you will be using for the knotwork pattern. If you are using one of the stiffer clays, hold it in your hands for about a minute to help warm the clay, then begin kneading until it is smooth and pliable. Sculpy will only require a few seconds of kneading to be ready to use. Roll between palms to form a ball, then flatten slightly on work surface.

Step Four: Creating a sheet of clay

Use the brayer to roll clay to about 1/8" thick as evenly as you can, lifting and flipping it over every so often, the way you would for a pie crust. (if you use the pasta machine, begin at the thickest setting and change one notch thinner each time through until desired thickness)

Step Five: transferring pattern to clay

Gently press the paper pattern into the clay so that the pin holes leave slight impressions. This will be your cutting guide.

Step Six: Cutting the pattern

Using the xacto knife, cut out the holes and outer edge. Peel away excess clay from outside edges and use the tip of the knife to remove clay from holes. Use spatula to carefully loosen clay from work surface...you don't want to stretch or distort your pattern. Use scissors to trim outside edges if necessary.

Step Seven: Creating background layer

Repeat steps for conditioning clay of second color and roll to same thickness. Lay cut-out pattern layer onto background. Roughly cut around outside of background leaving at least an 1/8" border. Use spatula to lift earring off work surface. Use scissors to trim a neat, even edge to the background. I prefer to leave the background layer just slightly bigger than the pattern layer (about 1/16").

Step Eight: Weaving pattern

With xacto knife, make cuts as shown following intersections of original pattern, cutting through only the pattern layer.

This can be confusing, so look at the pattern each time you cut.

Step Nine: Sculpting the weave

Use either the table knife or the sculpting tools. Place tip over the part which will weave under and press to create a bevel. each area which weaves under should be beveled, then use the tools to smooth any rough spots.

Step Ten: Adding Texture

Using the tapestry needle, gently poke dots down the middle of each path of the weave to give the design texture.

Hanging Hole Step Eleven: Finishing touch

Use the tapestry needle again to poke a hole near the top of the background into which the jump ring will be set. Don't get too close to the outer edges of the clay, or it may become fragile.

Highlights Optional: Adding luster

Final optional step is to use the brush to lightly dust the top of the design with metalic powder....not too much!


Read and follow package instructions for baking since they vary according to manufacturer.

Instructions for building and finishing earrings on Next Page.

this page last updated October 20, 2002.