Working with Silver Art Clay

May 14, 2012


In June we will be publishing our latest on line course videos, focusing on working with Silver Art Clay. This is an interesting and versatile medium that is easy to use at home. The article below by Adam Hunter – E-commerce Marketing Manager of explains more about working with Precious Metal Clay.

Silver metal clay allows for an array of jewellery designs that are not possible with traditional silver-smithing techniques. Silver metal clay is made of pure silver molecules mixed with water and organic binders to form a clay. Once fired the binders burn away to leave almost pure silver, which can make stunning pieces for you to share.

You can make almost anything with precious metal clay, with silver items looking particularly high quality. You can make anything from delicate bracelets to chunky rings. Silver clay allows you to make pieces for both men and women and looks great with any stone, gem or bead. There are varying degrees of difficulty, so you can create something yourself or follow an instruction guide depending on how easy or hard you want your piece to be.

You can shape and use metal clay best on a slick, smooth surface in the same way ceramic clay is used. It can be pressed into moulds, textured using special plates or tools, made into three-dimensional work, or flat pieces. Silver metal clay can even be purchased in a paper form, which allows items, such as origami, to be made into solid pieces of silver.

You don’t even need specialist tools when it comes to working with silver clay. Most use things from around the house to create shapes and imprint patterns onto the clay and some say using two stacks of playing cards a few inches apart on a flat sheet of plastic and rolling a piece of clay over can help you create a smooth and flat strip. There are, of course, more professional tools that you can buy for those who are truly skilled and have a lot of experience working with silver clay.

Be sure to let your clay air dry properly before firing. This will usually take overnight to be completely dry. Then you can fire your item. You can use a specialist oven or toaster oven or you could even use a hairdryer but this may take longer. Silver metal clay will come with instructions on basic handling and proper firing temperatures. And firing techniques may also vary depending on the inclusion of other materials, such as gemstones.

Once your work is done firing it will appear to be white. Polishing it with a wire brush will bring out the silver colour and a high polish can also be achieved. Beautiful colours can also be produced on the silver by using liver of sulphur at various temperatures for differing lengths of time.

Try experimenting with your own finishes to find out what works best and what you like most. A high shine on the silver makes it look elegant and expensive but a more matte finish looks better when created jewellery for men and they tend to prefer jewellery that is less flashy.

So now you can assemble your jewellery. Whether you create items just for yourself or as gifts for friends and family, you can be sure they will love the fact that you have taken time and effort to design and make something especially for them. Lots of keen jewellery makers also sell a lot of their products, by having their own market stalls and websites. So you never know, something you make today could lead to a profitable business further down the line.


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