Templates - Make Your Own

Template square

You can purchase templates until you are blue in the face. I purchased a template for the state of Montana. The states were all different sizes, but not a single one was the size I wanted. So I traced the shape of my state on paper and made my own template the size I wanted. 

This is how you can make your own templates. I will build on this basic concept; so, know that this is a precursor to how I set cabochons in metal clay (my process, not an official or published process). Other parts of that will be another Tidbits & Tricks or as an entire course on I Love Silver.

Here is the state of Montana I made, by hand using cardstock and strapping tape. Since those days, I have acquired a Silhouette cutting machine and now cut templates out of Stencil Paper, precisely and electronically. Either way, the outcome depends on how sharp your cutting tool is.

Here is how to make your own templates for symetrical or odd-shaped designs. Read the captions below the photos.

Draw whatever shape you want on cardstock. You can also print your design in the size you want, if you have it electronically.

Cover both sides of the cardstock with strapping tape. It is best if the tape covers the shape, leaving no seams on the design itself.

I take a bone folder or hard object like my sissors handle and rub all the air out from behind the tape.

Using a sharp scalpel or X-Acto knife, cut along the lines.
You will likely learn quickly to cut in toward the design, since stray cuts are okay in the inner part and not the outer template part.
Unless you intend to use the cut-out part of the template, which is another story itself. See Relief Sculpting.

Turn the paper often, which is easier than trying to twist your cutting hand around the design. A combo of moving both hands works best.
It is easier and more accurate to cut on the lines more than once than it is to press hard to cut completely through the first time.

Gently work the inner part out.
In this photo you can see the oops-cut at the top left where I went too far, cutting into my template.

Here is my template.

I now trim off the excess paper, striving for a final piece that is totally covered with strapping tape.

Here are examples of some templates I made.

This was a particular pair of earrings that had a smaller piece centered in a background piece, sized how I wanted them.

These were for 3-dimensional dog-house earrings with dangling dog bones. Silly but fun, as I look back now.

Then this year, I made snowboard jewelry for my local ski hill. Here they are in various sizes for pendants, horizontal necklaces, charms, and more.

What is important to note here is this template is made out of Wax-O Stencil Paper, which is a great paper to use for hand- or machine- cut templates.  There are many brands from which to choose.

This is a shell template. I used one side for one earring, then flipped it over for the mirror image on the other earring. Earrings are below.

Oyster shells with pearl dangles. Former creations are interesting. Part of me thinks, hmm, how clever.
Another part of me goes, “What was I thinking?” and is embarrassed by the workmanship and design.
Live and learn, laughing along the way.

For online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2019