Saturday, October 10, 2009

Adventures in making a Medic Alert Bracelet

I wanted to make a medi-alert style bracelet for my Dad's birthday. He'd looked at them online and didn't like any of them.
I thought it be pretty easy to do in silver clay. It wasn't.

I looked online for a medi-alert stamp. No go. So I decided to make my own stamp. First, I tried clay. I carved something I liked, but when I tried to fire it, it broke. Next, I carved soap. This worked pretty well, as the photo shows.

I purchased some silicon mold making compounds. The first mold I took from the soap it was a fail. The second one wasn't bad. I
put silver clay into the mold and let it dry.

Major fail. The silver clay adhered to the mold. I had forgotten to put a release onto the mold first! Note to self. Spray release into the mold before using. (Olive oil works well).

Next, I made a bracelet by hand. Using only the logo part from the silicon mold, I stamped it into the bracelet. So far, so good.

Next, I stamped the back. This ended up crushing the logo on the front. Stamping both sides is not easy. Silver clay dries very quickly as well, which doesn't help. I eventually got both to show up, but the stamped letters on the back were a bit crooked. After trying three times, they had to stay that way, as the silver clay was drying rapidly.

To fix the logo on the front, I ended up using a syringe of silver clay to "draw" in the snake on the pedestal, which actually looked better than the original on the mold anyway.
After drying the bracelet thoroughly, I fired it with a torch.

This photo is after brushing the white coating off after firing. You can see the brush marks from the wire brush. At this point, you also file down any rough edges or thick spots. You can also smooth it a bit with sandpapers.

Next, to make the lettering and logo stand out, the bracelet was dipped into liver of sulphur. This is the back after taking it out of the liquid.

After sanding the black patina off with several kinds of sandpaper, the logo and lettering stands out and the bracelet is much more smooth.

TaDA! The finished product. I made two different straps for Dad to wear with different things.

So... now that I've done this once, I can do it again MUCH more easily. Special orders are welcome!

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