Traditionally, I have always used plaster molds to cast ceramic jewelry pieces. This works well and the plaster absorbs the liquid from the clay, allowing for a quick set time.
However, I prefer to make my own silicone molds for casting ceramic pieces as silicone molds are quick and easy to make, allow for more detail, and stand the test of time better (the detail won’t degrade as is does with plaster). See the instructions for how to make a silicone mold here.
The cost of making a silicone mold is higher than for making a plaster mold, however, one box of silicone putty will make several molds, depending on the size of the mold. Look for coupons at your local craft store and try to purchase the silicone putty with a coupon to reduce your cost.
DIY TUTORIAL – HOW TO MAKE MOLDED CERAMIC PENDANTS AND CHARMS
You may use just about any type of clay to make these pendants, however, the kiln firing time and type of glazes you use will depend on the type of clay you are using. These instructions are for stoneware clay that is a mid-range fire (Cone 5-6).
1. Pinch off a piece of clay, roll it in a ball, and press it firmly into the mold, ensuring all the cracks are getting filled. Cut off excess clay that overfills the mold and smooth the top.
2. Impress a rubber stamp into the clay as this will be the back side of the pendant and will give it a nice finish.
3. Wait an hour or two for the clay to begin setting and shrinking. Gently turn the mold over and release the molded clay onto a hard surface. The pendant should fall out fairly easily, so be gentle with it. Use clay tools, an Exacto knife or a paring knife to gently repair any areas that may have been overfilled or have blemishes.
4. Let the molded clay pendant completely dry for a day or two, depending on how thick the piece is and how dry your environment is.
5. Bisque fire the clay to Cone 04, following the kiln instructions.
6. After the clay pendant has been bisque fired and cooled, it may be glazed. Be sure to use Cone 5-6 glazes for mid-range stoneware clay. Follow the instructions for the glaze–it is usually an application of at least 2-3 thick coats. Stoneware clay pendants should only be glazed on the top side of the pendant. My absolute favorite Cone 5-6 glazes are Amaco’s Potter’s Choice glazes (see Amazon affiliate link below). These glazes may be layered for stunning effects. Charts for all the various looks of layering Potter’s choice glazes may be found on Amaco’s website–be sure to scroll to the bottom.
7. Let the glaze dry thoroughly and fire based on the glaze instructions. Stoneware pendants generally would be fired between Cone 5 and Cone 6–be sure to check the specific glaze instructions.
8. Glue a metal bail to the back side of the pendant with E-6000 glue and let dry. You are now ready to put a chain through the bail and wear your new necklace!