Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.

Tuesday Tips - Using bisque molds to press pendants

Last week I showed one way to make a bisque mold to press pendants here.  So if you are new to this, check that out and head back over. I've got a few tricks up my sleeve on how to use your mold.

There's my bisque mold on the left and a couple of freshly pressed pendants on the right. Ah, but those ones in the first picture are round and this mold is clearly square. Yes, that's true, but when I was designing this, I sized the mold so I could cut either round or square pendants. So with a little planning you can get two designs out of one mold.

I start with slabs of clay that I've rolled out to be roughly a 1/4" thick. They get quite a lot thinner as I manipulate them. I then cut sections of the clay so they are slightly larger than the surface of the design. I pick up the mold and a small slab of clay and use my thumb to press the clay into the mold. This forces the clay into the design and produces a raised pattern on the surface of the clay that you can't see here because it's the back side.

I use a pony roller to further compress the clay into the mold and smooth the back of the pendant. This is one of those dual purpose steps. Clay has memory, sometimes I think more memory than I have. It will twist and turn as it's fired because it kinda remembers how it was handled during the making. This is especially true of porcelains and clays without a lot of grit in them. By rolling the clay across the back sideways, up and down, and diagonally, you can trick it into lying flat and not warping in the final firing. Well, most of the time, anyway.

I use those red and white drink stirrers straws to put a hole in my pendants. They come in packs of 1000 from the local party supply place and work a real treat. Because they are so inexpensive, I just toss them out when the hole gets clogged. Usually, I press a few pendants and keep them under plastic until I'm ready to punch holes in the pendants.

The next step I take is to use the end of a paint brush and twirl it into the hole of the pendant a couple of times to make a little divet there. This makes it easier to glaze right up to the edge of the hole and not have the pendant stick to the rod I fire it on. Leaves a little space between where it hangs on the rod during glaze firining and the glaze.

Once the pendant is dry, I use a spoon shaped dental tool to scoop out the back side of the pendant hole.

This little step of making the outside of your pendant hole on both sides a bit larger than the place where it will hang on a rod during firing can save you heaps of cleaning up or sticking to the wire it was hung on. I am so for not doing anything at all once a piece comes out of the kiln!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wish I had read this tip two years ago! Great idea!

  3. This is a great tip! It will make my life so much easier!Thanks for the sharing all these helpful tips!

  4. I feel like a dummy. No wonder when I've tried doing these delicate textures I have not had any luck! I needed a roller! Thanks!

    Awesome tips!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.