An Art Clay Silver project by Sue Heaser
Art Clay Silver clay is made of pure silver powder, water and binder. It can be modelled like modelling clay or polymer clay and is easily fired at home using a gas hob or a blow torch. Here is a beginners’ Art Clay Silver project by Sue Heaser to get you started;
These little frames can be displayed in a group on a shelf or they can be used to decorate a dolls house. Another idea is to turn the pretty little frames into a pendant. You will find that you have most of the tools and other materials you need already in your home.
We suggest the following silver clay equipment for this Art Clay Silver project:
- 7g Art Clay Silver 650 (makes 3 frames) - Slow Dry is easiest to use
- A small ceramic tile to work on
- A saucer of water
- Baking parchment - about 15cm (6in) square
- A craft knife
- Vegetable oil
- A stamp for creating texture and decoration (optional)
- Cling film
- Rolling strips - 1mm (1/32in) thick (or use thick cardboard)
- A small, smooth rolling pin
You will also need a paper template (see below) or you can use two different sized cutters. The bigger cutter should be approx. 10mm larger than the smaller cutter (e.g. 20mm and 10mm). The range of precision cutters offer a variety of shapes and sizes - the heart and oval shapes being perfect for pendants!
Step 1: Rolling the Clay to an Even Thickness
Open the packet of silver clay and knead the clay until it is smooth. Smear the clay surface with water occasionally as you knead to keep it moist.
Roll the clay into a log and flatten it a little. Lay it on one side of the baking parchment square and fold the parchment over to cover it. Lay the two rolling strips on either side of the clay and roll to flatten the clay into an even sheet. Remove the clay sheet, which will not have stuck to the parchment and place it on a tile. Roll over it again lightly.
Step 2: Cutting the Clay
Smear the clay surface with vegetable oil. Lay the cut-out template on the clay and use the knife or blade to cut out the shape. Do not attempt to move the cut-out frame until it has dried or it will distort - remove the waste clay from the centre of the frame with care. Dab any waste clay with water, wrap it in cling film and return it to the re-sealable packet to keep moist for another project
To make your silver frame into a pendant you will need a pure silver screw eye and Art Clay Silver 650 Paste. Put a dab of Art Clay Silver 650 Paste in the centre of the top of the frame and press the pin of screw eye into the moist clay. Cover the pin with more paste. Allow to dry.
Step 3: Drying the Art Clay Silver Clay
Leave the clay to dry completely on the tile. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the process or place in an oven on 120ºC/265ºF for about 20 minutes. Remove it from the tile. Use a fine sanding pad to sand away any lumps or bumps. The clay is about as strong as dried plaster so take care not to snap it! If you do snap it, you can mix a little clay with water and use it to repair the break.
Step 4: Firing the Silver Clay
Art Clay silver clay is fired using a gas blow torch or a kiln, and the most economical technique is on a gas stove top using a stainless steel firing mesh on the burner. Find out more about Firing Art Clay Silver Clay
Step 5: Cleaning & Polishing the Fired Silver Clay
Once fired, the piece will look frosty white. To remove this residue, brush all over the frame with your stainless steel brush to reveal the beautiful silver beneath. Finish off by sanding the piece again with the sanding pads, working from coarse to fine and finish with silver polish.
Step 6: Mounting the Pictures
Lay the completed frame, face up, onto one of your pictures so that the image is in the right place, and draw round the frame. Next, cut out the image inside the pencil line and glue it to the back of the frame with PVA glue. Make the back of the frame out of a piece of stiff card and glue it to the back of the picture. Finally, make and cut out the frame stand, bending it out a little where indicated below, and glue the top of it to the back of the frame so that it stands up.