Q?What is metal clay? How does the clay turn into metal?

The clay is metal all along! Metal clay is made up of tiny particles of metal which are held together with an organic binder and water. Combined like this we can actually work with metal in a clay-like state allowing us to roll, texture, extrude, carve, and sculpt easily and with many fewer tools than required for traditional metalsmithing.

Q?What kinds of metal clay are there?

Metal clay comes in many different varieties, with more coming out every day! Silver was the first to be developed. after that came gold, bronze, copper, steel, white bronze, rose bronze, sterling silver, and many more.

Q?Do I have to have a kiln?

No, you do not have to have a kiln! There is so much you can do with a small creme-brulee style torch and silver clay in three minutes! You can make pendants, earrings, charms and even incorporate cubic zirconias into your silver pieces. Many people want to give metal clay a try before they decide to invest in a kiln. A kiln will give more versatility to your metal clay work because with a kiln you can fire paper clay, glass, cork clay, base metal clays and more.

Q?Is silver clay toxic?

No! It is completely non-toxic.

Q?Can I do this? I’m not creative!

The great thing about metal clay is that it is great for people of all levels of creativity. A person with a rubber stamp and a cookie cutter can get a very professional-looking result, as can a visionary who sculpts and carves unique dimensional creations. This is truly a medium that offers something for everyone. Even beginners can make pieces they are proud to wear and give. You won’t believe what you can do!

Q?What do I need to get started?

You can get started with some very basic items that you can find around the house like playing cards, plastic wrap, page protectors, a piece of PVC pipe, rubber stamps, cookie cutters, sandpaper, and a small butane torch. If you want to step it up from there, Creative Place has put together starter kits that can help you get going for any budget from the “Necessities Kit” to the “Deluxe Starter Kit”. Shop Now!

Q?Can I teach myself?

Due to the unique properties of metal clay, I suggest that you take at least one introductory class to get familiar with the clay. You don’t want to waste anything!! Tip: never throw anything away, even if it gets hard as a rock.

A hands-on class is best if you can find one locally. The Creative Place offers Cindy’s “Introduction to Art Clay Silver” which will teach you all the foundation skills that you will need to get started, everything from rolling, texturing, trimming, attaching, drying, firing, polishing and patinating silver clay as well as how to store, reclaim scrap clay and fix mistakes. Click here for classes.

The next best thing would be a video class or a book like Cindy’s Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Metal Clay Jewelry.

Q?Should I start with copper because it is less expensive than silver?

While that can seem like an obvious choice, I don’t recommend it. Silver clay is the easiest and most reliable to work with, in my opinion. Silver clay comes already made up in paste and syringe form so you can get creative easily. Also is the easiest to make connections, repairs and to fire so I suggest beginning with silver then moving on to other metals. Another consideration is most base-metal clays require a kiln to fire (Art Clay Copper is an exception), and they can require pickling to remove oxidation after firing. Silver does not require any of that.