air-dry foam modeling compound
and asked to knead it and roll it
into a ball.
I gave each student a large glue
stick and asked them to use it to roll
out their compound to ¼" (.635 cm)
thickness. Students cut out the main
shape for their pendant and refined the
shape gently with their fingers.
Though the compound dries
overnight, it can be painted right
away. Using a small rag, a very small
amount of metallic acrylic paint was
lightly rubbed over the surface to
bring out the texture and add color.
The paint was then quickly dried
with a hair drier.
of the necklace through which a
cord or string is threaded for wearing.
To create a loop, the metal was bent
tightly around a round pencil and hot-glued to the back of the pendant.
Moving into Metal
Remember that second shape students were asked to draw? They were
instructed to cut it out, tape it to a
small scrap of 36 gauge aluminum
I randomly placed my finger
on the poster and told
myself that whatever career
I touched would be the
basis of a future project.
tooling foil and trace around it using a
dull pencil. (Place a piece of felt or soft
cloth underneath the aluminum when
doing this.) Students then flipped the
metal over and, using a craft stick or
rounded wooden stylus, gently rubbed
within the shape to create relief.
A pattern was then drawn into the
metal to create another texture. The
aluminum was painted with black
India ink, allowed to dry, then rubbed
lightly with fine steel wool to add
shine. Students carefully trimmed
Adding Beads and Adornments
Students were encouraged to bring in
a small assortment of glass beads of
their own. An assortment of necklaces
procured from garage sales was also
available for cutting up, as were inexpensive seed beads, rivets, eye pins,
cord and other jewelry findings.
To attach the beads, students first
put a small drop of hot glue onto the
end of a wire eye pin and inserted it up
into the bottom edge of the pendant. A
second eye pin was slightly opened up,
looped onto the first eye pin, and then
closed up using small needle-nose pliers. Beads were added.
One last loop at the end of the eye
pin was added to secure the beads in
place, again using the pliers. Most
students needed help with this part. A
black cord was threaded through the
bail and cut to the length the student
wanted. Once finished, we marveled
at our inexpensive, yet sophisticated
creations. We mounted them on black
board for a classy display. Next step:
Let our local jeweler know he had
their metal shape, leaving a small
border around it. It was then attached
to the pendant with a hot glue gun.
(Note: the metal gets warm; instruct
students to watch their fingers!)
Leftover aluminum was cut into a
1 x 2" ( 2. 5 x 5 cm) rectangle and trifolded to make a bail, approximately
½ x 2" ( 1. 25 x 5 cm). A bail is the part
Mary Coy teaches art at Spry Middle
School in Webster, New York, and is on
the advisory board for SchoolArts.
Students intentionally take advantage
of the qualities and characteristics of
art media, techniques, and processes
to enhance communication of their
experiences and ideas.