Shaping Bails - Various Tools

Shaping Bails

Plastic Drinking Straws

Be ready to become a straw aficionado. And a kleptomaniac. I particularly enjoy bringing home a coffee stirrer whose diameter thrills me.

When you cut straws with an X-Acto knife or sissors, you tend to change their roundness. To help them get back in curvature shape, you can slip inside of your desired straw another straw or round object, such as a knitting needle.

Here are some coffee stirrer snippets.

Shapers 3

Another cool thing about straws is you can cut a slit in one end and slip on a clay piece that you are working on. The straw then becomes a holder.


Knitting Needles

Knitting needles are consistently round and come in sizes, such as 10 or 10 1/2. Here is a knitting needle inside a straw for a just-the-right-size-and-shape bail or charm opening. I could have skipped the straw part and used just the knitting needle. I believe I cut this needle with a cutter on my Flexible Shaft.


I found that bamboo knitting needles tend to absorb my anti-stick oil or solution, so I cover a needle with a straw or work fast and remove the piece before it is completely dry. 

How do you cut a bamboo kniting needle to the length you want? 'Got me. I think I used a pruning sheers, working my way around the needle to maintain its shape. Or maybe I used the small cutting tool on my Flexible Shaft again.,d.aWc&psig=AFQjCNHjyFx5mCdattyWLCe215j3D0wlgA&ust=1388776617382045

Anodized Aluminum

As you may know, aluminum compromises the integrity of silver clay, and contact between the two is to be avoided. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that gives the aluminum a corrosion-resistant finish and prevents it from interacting with the silver clay. Most aluminum knitting needles have been anodized. You can purchase rods of anodized aluminum, too.

An assortment of anodized aluminum bail shapers will be available at PMC Connection in mid January 2014.



Bails 1
Holders 2
Hermie169's Charms 7

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 2018