The magical medium of Art Clay Silver clay consists of finely ground pure silver mixed with non-toxic binders and water. Presented as an off-white putty, this malleable clay can be easily worked into unique and personalised jewellery or ornaments. Items can be made as thin as 1mm thick. Once fired, the binders (which are made from harmless pulp fibres) burn away leaving pure, 99.9% silver which can be hallmarked .999. The difference between the silver produced, and sterling silver, is that sterling silver is 92.5% silver combined with other metals, generally copper. This makes the metal harder than pure (or fine) silver. Both metals will tarnish but sterling silver more so.
The firing process is remarkably simple and can be achieved with the minimum of cost. Small pieces of Art Clay Silver can be fired easily on a wire mesh laid across a gas hob or the pieces can be fired using a blow torch and a fibre brick. Kiln firing is also an option and allows more than one piece to be fired at a time. Although the kiln can be a costly investment, it can also be used for other craft techniques such as ceramics, glass fusing and bead making, and annealing and hardening of metals.
Working with Art Clay Silver
The clay will begin to dry out the moment it is exposed to air. These tips will help to increase the working time:
- keep a bowl of water near by to dip fingers and tools in
- work in a cool room and try to avoid direct heat from light bulbs etc.
- rehydrate drying clay by wetting the surface, wrapping in cling film and kneading through the film. You may have to repeat this process a couple of times before it is fully hydrated
- work the clay on a smooth, non-porous surface such as a tile or glass board
- only break off the amount of clay you think you will need and put the remainder in an air-tight wrapper. Covering with a damp cloth or kitchen paper will help
- aluminium will contaminate and discolour silver clay. Do not use tools or containers made from aluminium
- plan your design before you start – this will reduce the amount of working time
- use the Kemper cutters to work your Art Clay Silver into tiny shapes
- finished pieces should be allowed to out dry fully before firing. Give between 24 – 48 hours in a dry, warm atmosphere
When the Art Clay Silver clay is thoroughly dried it is ready to fire.
- if the product gets in eyes or mouth, flush immediately with plenty of water. If necessary, seek medical advice
- follow the firing instructions carefully remembering to carry out the process in a well ventilated room
- place fired items in an appropriate place to cool; keep away from children
You can find out more about using the new formula Art Clay Silver clay from our PDF