Hello Everyone, if you’re considering booking our 1 day course on making jewellery from Silver Clay then please take the time to read this article written by Adam Hunter from CooksonGold. It’s interesting to read and may help you decide whether or not to sign up. Personally Silver Clay is my favourite medium, it’s easy to use and the design possiblities are endless. Let me know what you think of the article. Cheers Delia
(START) Whether you are an experienced jewellery maker or a complete beginner, silver metal clay is by far the easiest of the metal clays to use. The possibilities are endless; you can twist it, roll it, bend it, sculpt it, pull it or cut it and when fired it becomes pure, 99.9% silver.
It’s a fun and exciting material which means you can be as creative as you like and you can make anything from decorative necklaces to wear at parties to gorgeous drop earrings as a Christmas present for your mum. But there are a few basics you need to know before making a start.
You will firstly need a supply of silver art clay, which you can easily buy from jewellery suppliers. Silver art clay is the best clay for using at home as it requires a lower firing temperature than other metal clays. You will also need a wire brush for cleaning your silver clay after being fired, as there will be a remaining layer of clay that appears dull and uninteresting which needs to be removed before it is used or worn.
You will also need somewhere or someway of firing your silver clay creation, but this doesn’t necessarily mean buying a proper kiln. Firing can be done at home with a pot that can be used with your gas stove or even a blow torch, meaning it is easier and cheaper than you might think. You will also need heat protective gloves, a kitchen timer and a special spatula or kiln fork so that you can add and remove silver from the firing process.
Once you have all your essentials, you need to start thinking about what you want to design, who it’s for and what you want it to look like, as this will determine the decorative materials and tools you will need to create your silver clay piece.
There is everything from tiny jewels to gold leaf that can be used along with your silver clay, so that your design is unique and attractive. Once you have decided what your silver clay piece is going to look like, you need to decide how you are going to make it.
Cookie cutters are an easy way to shape the silver clay and are available wherever you purchased your clay from. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be used to make some interesting pieces. When it comes to effects on jewellery, again, the possibilities really are endless. After shaping your jewellery you can add your chosen effects. You can carve into the clay to create intricate details that will make it stand out from the crowd or you can use liquid silver for adding on details and shapes, such as flowers, snakes or initials. You can also add texture or embossing by using seashells or tree bark. This makes the jewellery look professional and different from just a regular silver item, adding intrigue and personality. Try not to handle the silver clay too much as it loses moisture as soon as it leaves the packaging and needs to be kept as moist as possible throughout moulding and decorating. You can use basic olive oil on your hands to keep the clay moist or a spray bottle filled with water for the odd top up when needed.
Once designed and created, your silver clay needs to be dried overnight or for 30 minutes when dried at 100°C (a hairdryer is fine for this) and then can be fired at a temperature of around 1600°F.
Once dry you can then brush off the remaining outer layer of dull clay revealing a sparkling, shiny silver underneath. You can then polish it and add any additional effects or polishes, completing your silver jewellery so that it is ready to wear.
Whether it is a single piece or lots of silver pieces put together, jewellery making with silver art clay is fun, easy and anyone can do it. It could save you money and you will own a unique piece that no one else has. And now is the perfect time to try it out for yourself. (END)
Adam Hunter – E-commerce Marketing Manager of cooksongold.com