Kiln fired bronze clay and other clays are versatile and easy to use in home jewelry creations.Bronze, copper and steel clays are recent additions to the metal range of products for jewelry making.
Bronze, copper and steel are cheaper to use than the pure silver range of products.
Bronze clay is composed of 11% tin and 89% copper, water and non-toxic binder resulting in a solid bronze piece after kiln firing.
Copper is 90% copper, water and non-toxic binder resulting in a pure copper piece after firing.
These mixtures can be rolled and manipulated exactly as you do with PMC; the basic methods are the same.
The same types of tools used for PMC can be used on both clays. If you work with different types of mediums be careful of cross contamination of your tools.
Firing Bronze And Copper
Kiln firing is the preferred method for achieving great results with these items.
To prevent oxidation both types must be fired in a closed container surrounded by a coconut shell based carbon,coal carbon can only be used on bronze.
As these materials fire at a high temperature care must be taken adding cz stones to the design as they may collapse from the heat.
The same applies to fused glass cabochons as the glass may begin to flow.
There is one brand of copper that can be kiln fired without carbon; it must be removed from the kiln whilst still hot and quenched in cold water.
Small pieces can also be fired with a butane torch.
Fire scale may be present and the piece will need to be placed in a pickling solution to remove the scale.
This type of copper can also have PMC added to it after the initial firing and be re-fired to incorporate this addition.
Some fired copper items will accept enameling if fired initially with the correct firing schedule.
Steel has a shrinkage rate of about 28%, this high shrinkage rate can cause cracks during the firing process as friction is built up with the carbon.
Pieces can be repaired with additional clay and re-firing, a number of firings may be needed to cure the problem.
Fired steel must be protected from corrosion. A rust inhibitor spray works well.
After the spray dries the item should be sealed with Carnauba Wax, this is an auto wax and is readily obtainable.
Finishing Metal Clays
Once fired these materials are like normal metal and can be drilled, filed, sanded, cut, patinated or soldered.
The finished item may be burnished with a hand burnishing tool or finishing papers. A small stainless steel brush can also be used.
Fired items can be finished in a rotary tumbler, thoroughly clean tumbler and tumbling medium before and after tumbling.
Always check the makers’ directions before purchasing these products.
Metal Clay Tutorials
Copper Clay Pendant - copper clay tree of life pendant.
Bronze Clay Pendant -bronze clay filigree pendant.