Being able to create something and personalise it to our liking are what a lot of people enjoy doing.

Stickers on photos, accessories with our names on it, iron-ons on our clothes or bags, handphone covers with unique designs... and so on. One business that thrives on this desire of ours, is that franchise of tiny stores which provide the service to put our names on stickers and stamps. You know, the one with lots of Disney-themed name stickers? Yea... I know because I have fallen "victim" to that one too many times and I have a stack of stickers with my name on it. Lol.

I guess we all just wanna have a more tangible "sense of ownership" to our things? I don't really know the psychological reason behind this characteristic of ours. Let's not over-analyse it anyway.

Ok, let's also not digress.

Quite a while back, while we were planning to get our wedding rings, I thought of having ours done with our own design. However, after searching about it online, I realised it's simply too expensive and out of our budget.

But I came across some information regarding classes on making pendants, rings and accessories using PMC (Precious Metal Clay) silver clay.

We went on to get our wedding rings at a gold shop and that's that.

I forgot about the PMC silver clay class. Until recently...

We were brainstorming on things to do, and this came to my mind.

I googled it and found a blog post on a class conducted in Singapore, by a Japanese lady, Naoko, who is a member of the Japan PMC Guild.

Apparently, she's been here for years and is the "only Certified Senior Instructor for Precious Metal Clay instruction in Southeast Asia", as quoted from N' Craft Room's website.

I asked him if he's game to go for that class together and we can make our own 1st year wedding anniversary's "wedding rings". Haha... He agreed and I wrote an email to N' Craft Room (info@ncraftroom.com.sg) and we managed to book our places for today's afternoon class (3-6pm)!

They have lessons from Tuesday to Saturday, with only two time-slots per day. Morning class starts at 11am, while the afternoon class starts at 3pm. Each lesson will last for about 3 hours.

We went for the trial lesson, which cost us S$60 per person. Tools are free for us to use for the first trial lesson (rental fees for tools are applicable for any subsequent "single" lesson that you might wanna go again, unless you sign up for one of their different types of course packages). "Firing" for the clay is also free for the first trial lesson, but chargeable for the next "single" lesson unless you sign up for a course.

Example of a PMC kit from Sacred Cove.


And the PMC silver clay is not included in the class fee of S$60. This is because, the PMC silver clay turns into 99% pure silver once it's been "baked". Pure silver! So, it's S$3.50 per gram of clay. Naoko, the instructor, will gauge the amount of clay you'll need based on the design you've selected and shown her. She will then measure the clay in front of you with her cute pink weighing machine. You don't have to use all the clay she gives to you... any leftover that is not used and is not dried up, she will take it back and only charge you for the amount you've used. So it's important to always wrap up the clay you're not using in the cling wrap she provides... this is to prevent the clay from drying up.

A simple ring or pendant would only use about 5-7 grams of clay. So that's an additional S$20 or so apart from the class fee.

After we sat down, we filled up a form and browsed through a few magazines they provided. The magazines have pictures of accessories made from silver clay. But we went with our designs in mind! :D



Another couple was there and they chose to use a mould to create a pair of rings with the same design.

We showed Naoko our designs, and she told me her reservations on my initial design. So I quickly drew out another possible design that I like, and she gave me the go ahead.

My initial design is on the bottom right... Naoka explained that for beginners, rings like that may end up breaking when it's baked. So she advised me to make a normal "whole ring" for the first time. 


She gauged the amount of clay we'll need, and wrote it down on a piece of paper for our reference. The second numbers are the amounts of clay (6.5 and 5.5).

She even helped Mister Ko to draw his design on that paper. 


We were anxious and excited at the same time by then.

Naoko measuring the clay for us...

I started out being really anxious because we were supposed to do it fast, before the clay dries up. We must also ensure the remaining clay is wrapped up properly so they don't dry up as well. Naoko was guiding each person one by one, so I couldn't really "snatch" her back from the others when she was busy. 

I ended up redoing the first part of my ring 3-4 times? Some clay even got stick onto the paper that I have for rolling the clay.

Clay wasted. I bet that's 1 gram there. :(

When Naoko came over to help me, I slowly became more confident and sure about what I was doing... She was very clear and direct on what are the steps to take. 

Luckily while I was panicking, Mister Ko was beside me asking me to calm down and comforting me that it's ok. I think for any first-timer, it's normal to feel nervous when things don't go the way you expect it. 

We don't have any photos for the first part of our ring-making process. Our hands were stained with wet and dried clay, so we couldn't really take pictures of the process at this stage. Plus, we were too gan chiong to think about anything else.

My ring has a infinity shape and his a square shape, so we did that first. Once done, they were wrapped in cling wrap while we did the actual ring using the long stick you've seen in the previous photos.

The yellow part on the stick is a piece of paper stuck on by Naoko. That's the place we should make our ring on as it's our ring size. We measured our ring size beforehand. There's this string of rings for you to stick your finger into each one and find the correct size. :P The clay will actually shrink quite significantly after baking, so Naoko will gauge the size you need to create on to get the right size after-shrinkage. I am a size 10, and I created my ring on 15.5 ring size on that stick.

The ring should not be rolled too thin or flat. This is also to allow shrinkage to happen.

Naoko will help out if we got lost in what we were doing. But sometimes, we needed to wait for her to finish helping the others, so we tried to keep the clay wet by dapping it with a bit of water (provided in a small dish tray). 

Once we were done with making the basic shape of the ring, Naoko took it away to dry in that box you see below:

The shoebox with a hairdryer is used to dry the clay. While the orangey-red oven beside it is to "fire" or bake it to become silver. 

Once they were dried or slightly baked, our rings were given to us to file it smoothly and to even out any rough and uneven edges.

Tada! My half-done ring!







The filing and sanding took up most of the time in the whole process.

I really tried to make sure all the edges were smoothened out. 

All the files and sandpaper.

Mister Ko had engraving to do on his tiny little square... 



He wrote on it first, engraved it over the pencil markings.

It was really difficult so he actually redid the engraving a few times. That made me dropped my idea of engraving my ring. Hahaha...

Naoko gave us wet wipes to wipe our hands while we were waiting for the rings to dry... and she even shared tidbits with us. :)

Almond Cheese snack thingy from Naoko's Indonesian student.

The dirty wet wipes. :P

After we've smoothened our rings properly, joined everything together... our rings were sent for baking. 

And this is the result:

We have to use a brush to "polish" the ring...

Once we brushed off the white stuff, the silver shows!

Magic!

His ring in the process of getting silver-fied. And that stringful of rings in the background!

The back of my ring. A heart. 

Infinity x heart. :)

Almost done. 


Him brushing and brushing....

We could choose to let it remain matte like this, or polish it shiny. I chose to let my ring remain matte silver. 

Only the heart was polished to be shiny. 



By the time we reached this stage, it was already 6+pm. And we were so tired. But felt so accomplished!

And here are the results of our hard work!

His ring with his surname!

Naoko gave us the small ziplock to put our work in... very thoughtful.


My ring's side view. 

The infinity.

The heart.




We were so hungry by the end of the class because we woke up early today and had brunch at 10-11am. 

But it was all worth it.

We really enjoyed ourselves a lot and like our rings tremendously!

Wouldn't mind going back for another single class to make a pendant or something. :)

If you're interested in this PMC silver clay class, you can either go to N' Craft Room's website, or email them (email address in one of the paragraphs above). They are in the Beads Etc shop at Orchard Central, shop unit number #03-27.

If you don't mind paying some money for a pure silver accessory made with your own design and to learn something new... go for it!

Naoko is really patient and nice. And the class is kept at four persons maximum, so she can really help everyone as much as possible.

Oh, one more thing, you'll have to pay in cash as Naoko only accepts cash. So withdraw your money before going to class! 

If you do go for it, enjoy yourself! :)

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We are a married couple who love sharing our different experiences with family and friends. So we thought perhaps our insights can be shared with people around the world. So read on and chat with us.
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