Adventures with Art Clay Silver

My Art Clay Silver starter kit arrived this week (more details in this post), and I was patient enough to wait until the weekend to try it out (which also meant that the eye infection I had had cleared up, which was helpful, as I needed to be able to see what I was doing :D).

I was very excited about trying it out. So much so that I just went ahead and starting playing with the clay, instead of calmly taking photos. So the photos start halfway through the process – sorry!

The clay looks a disappointingly dull grey when it comes out of the packet, and there’s not much of it. At all. So you have to be vewy carefuw with it. [/Elmer Fudd] I spent a long time deciding what to make, as there were so many things to try. I really wanted to make myself a ring, but had read that it wasn’t the easiest thing for a beginner to try, so I settled on making a pendant.

I assembled the required kit on the ironing board craft worktable, rolled out the clay and then cut out the shape I wanted. Fortunately I had some cutter shapes left over from my polymer clay work, so I was able to use one of those. I cut out a star shape, gave it texture using a metal button I had (yes, had to get buttons in here somewhere) and pierced a hole in the top of the star, ready for a jump ring later on. The clay was then baked in the oven for about 20 minutes to dry it out. Once dry, you can file and smooth any rouch edges on the piece. I did this, although clearly not as thoroughly as I should’ve – see quality control comments later. *tuts*

Now for the exciting bit.

After drying, the clay turns from grey to white.

Yeah, it doesn’t look much now…but just you wait!

The next step is to ‘fire’ the clay. I used a cook’s torch – the type wielded on TV by chefs making creme brulee and so on. Meet….The Flameinator!

For some reason, I had a total mental block with the torch, and kept turning the gas dial the wrong way, thus extinguishing the flame. *makes loser sign at self*

Anyway, the clay piece was placed onto the fire block (which itself was resting on an old wooden chopping board), I lit the torch, and began to fire the clay.

Once the clay starts to heat up, the organic binders burn away, and the piece bursts into flames for a few seconds. I’m making it sound way more dramatic than it actually is, but it’s my blog, and I likes a bit o’ drama.

After a short while, the clay begins to glow and once it reaches a ‘peachy-orange’ colour, you need to start a timer, so you can fire the piece for the right amount of time.

See? Glowy. Pretty.

Once the time is up, the piece is left to cool, or if you’re impatient, you can ‘quench’ the piece in a bowl of cold water. Guess what I did? 😀

The clay is still white and dull – it looks pretty much the same as it did after drying out in the oven. But this is where it all gets a bit magical. Using a wire brush, you gently brush the clay to reveal the sparkly silver.

You can just about see the difference between the brushed silver side and the unbrushed, white side.

I continued to brush the clay until it was silver. You can choose to stop at this point, and the piece will have a ‘satin’ finish.

However, I wanted to make it shinier, so I used different grades of sandpaper, some silver polish and a cloth, to finish the piece. And here it is:

I am quite happy with how it turned out. I think it needs a couple of sparkly beads or crystals hanging from the jump ring, but overall, I’m pleased with it. My Quality Control Officer (aka Mr B) was slightly more critical about it, noticing the slight fingerprint mark on the back of the piece (I couldn’t see it, although I’ll admit that the back of the piece could be smoother).

Anyway, for a first attempt, I am pleased with it. I will definitely be making more metal clay items in future. I want to investigate the possibilities of adding items to the silver clay after firing as well…*mysterious*

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One response to “Adventures with Art Clay Silver

  1. Pingback: Handmade balled sterling silver wire headpins | Kitty Ballistic

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