Trinket Box

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Art Clay Silver - the making process.

I thought it'd be cool to show you how I make a simple pair of earrings with art clay silver.

For those of you who don't know, art clay is a precious metal clay, which when fired becomes 99.9% pure silver. It's one of the main things I use in my work, and I absolutely love it. It is quite expensive to buy, but the results you get are really worth it.

Right, first of all I rub a little badger balm on my hands and tools - this stops the clay sticking. Then I roll the clay out using my little rolling pin and spacers.

I then choose a texture to use - I do have various different texture plates, but I find lace is a great thing to use - cheap to buy, and it gives a gorgeous print, plus there are so many different types of lace available. I simply place the lace over the clay and roll over it.

The next thing I do is cut the shape I want! I have various cutters for this, but this time I wanted a rectangle shape, so I just used my tissue blade to cut this. I then make a hole for it to hang from, and apply a little bit of slip [clay mixed with water], then add a fine silver prong setting.

I wait for this to dry overnight - you can dry the piece with a hairdryer, but I can rarely be bothered to sit there for 45 minutes doing that. The next thing to do is sand and smooth the piece! This can be quite time-consuming but saves a lot of work later.

And now to fire it! Ah, I wish I could say I owned a kiln - I wish I had the money/space for one! But no, I simply use a little camping stove. That, or my torch.

Once it's fired, you can leave it to cool for 20 minutes, but I'm impatient so I 'quench' it in some water. Now the pieces look like this...

Yep, white! But not for long! Using a stainless steel brush I brush the pieces, to close the surface and bring out the silver shine.

Once I've polished the piece, I can then oxidize it using liver of sulphur - if I'm unhappy with the results later then I can refire it.

Once they're out, they're a grey/black colour. Just need a polish up!

Then all that's left to do is set the little stones and attach the ear wires!

I was planning on saying that these earrings are now available to buy in my folksy shop, but I've literally just sold them! Only listed them about half hour ago - my fastest sale yet, me thinks!


  1. Ooh they look lovely! (: I really like the art clay silver effect! Thank you again for the necklace, it is SO pretty! xxx

  2. Cool! I didn't realise you fired the silver art clay on a stove or with a torch, I thought it could be fired in an oven. I guess an oven isn't hot enough? Very clever, I didn't know the results were 99.9% silver either, you learn something new every day!

  3. What a really interesting post. Absolutely fascinating to read.

  4. Great post about art clay silver...I enjoyed using it when I had a go. The earrings are gorgeous, by the way, not surprised that they sold so fast :)

  5. I have nominated you for a Stylish Blog Award! Pop over to my blog to claim your award!

    Dottie x

  6. Art clay!! Eeeeesh never heard of it! Amazing! :~}