Like normal clay, Precious Metal Clay
is very malleable, allowing it to be rolled, sculpted, pressed into moulds & impressed into textures. Once the clay has been formed it can be fired with a hand held torch leaving behind a Fine Silver product. Our range of Precious Metal Clay offers the least shrinkage and is the strongest and most durable of the PMC range.
Precious Metal Clay Step by Step Guide for jewellery craft making.
1. Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Moulding
Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Moulding
It is best to design your piece before getting started, that way the clay won’t dry out and you can allow for the the shrinkage of about 10%.
- Start by rubbing a little badger balm onto your hands. Place the Teflon on your work surface and use your spacers and roller to roll out the clay.
- Take a fresh leaf and roll onto the clay to create an imprint. Alternatively, you can also use a rubber stamp mat, piece of lace or any other texture. Return any unused clay back into the pouch and add some wet tissue to keep it moist.
- Cut out around the leaf. Smooth the edges using a damp paintbrush. Now create a hole for adding a jump ring by using a small straw.
- Leave the pendant to dry. Once dry, use fine sandpaper to gently smooth the back and edges of the your piece.
- Use PMC paste to fill in any holes or cracks.
To achieve the best finish, refine your piece as much as possible prior to firing and make sure you leave it to dry thoroughly after any refining.
Tip! Check your Precious Metal Clay jewellery does not have any significant flaws or cracks before firing.
Tip! If there is no condensation upon removal of your piece from a mirror, its ready for firing.
Tip! This the most important step as it forms the basis of your piece. Take the time to really work your piece to perfection as once dried and fired any imperfections can not be removed.
2. Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Firing
Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Firing
Torch firing is suitable for items approximately 2.5cm in diameter as you need to keep the entire item heated. Any items larger than this should be fired in a kiln.
- Place your item on the torch block.
- Switch on the torch and gently heat your PMC item. After a few seconds you will see a flame appear – this is the binder burning off.
Once the binder has burnt off the PMC item will start to glow orange. Be careful not to let the piece glow dark orange or red as it will melt. This is when you need to start timing the sintering process. For PMC3 the firing time is 2 minutes from the moment your piece starts to glow. After two minutes quench your piece in water or leave to cool.
Tip! Before firing make sure your item is absolutely dry or it will crack.
Tip! It is important to respect the firing times.
3. Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Finishing
Precious Metal Clay Jewellery - Finishing
Once fired your PMC
will look white, due to the uneven textured surface. By polishing the surface the molecules compact and a high shine can be achieved.
Step 1: Matt finish
Use a stainless steel brush to smooth the surface and achieve a matt finish.
Step 2: High shine finish
Continue to smooth the surface by burnishing with an agate or metal burnisher.
Step 3: Add strength & shine
The use of a barrel polisher/tumbler will polish and compact your PMC thereby making it stronger.
* Maintaining your PMC: As PMC is pure silver the rate of tarnish will depend mainly on the way the piece is worn. PMC can be polished using silver polish.
* You will find a selection of books on Metal Clay in our Books category.
* If you are looking for courses, we recommend the PMC Studio that runs an extensive range of accredited certification courses suitable for anyone wishing to learn about PMC. For further details go to www.thepmcstudio.com