Silver Clay – What’s to love?
There is no waste.
Yes, you read that right. There’s no waste when using Silver Clay. I realise that sometimes when you are presented with that little packet of Silver Clay and you go to open it, it’s a sobering thought… What if I make a mistake? What if something goes wrong? But I only need a little bit and there’s all this in the bag? I get it. I totally understand how daunting it can be. Hard earned cash all wrapped up in that little lump / syringe / pot! I still take a deep breath when opening a packet – even now! Even when I know there’s very little waste and things can be reclaimed.
But I suspect it’s more to do with ‘What if my design doesn’t transpire into what I want?’ rather than the waste of money reason. Have a look at my blog on Creativity – What’s Stopping You? If you want to read more on that subject ;). Also have a look at my blog about storing your Silver Clay when opened so that when you are working with your Clay, you can keep it as moist as possible.
There are 3 main working stages to Silver Clay. Wet clay, dried but not fired (some call this the green ware stage) and fired (i.e. when it’s metal). The comforting thing that is that at each stage, you can redeem some if not all of the value of your Silver Clay.
Wet Silver Clay
If you don’t like what you have made, simply roll up and start again. If you find that the Silver Clay is drying out a little bit, you can do a couple of things to help it last longer.
- Add a little bit of water to the surface of the rolled ball by dipping it in your water jar and wrap it in clingfilm for a wee rest (I like to think of the Silver Clay at this stage as a sleep deprived child! Be gentle and cajoling with it!)
- If it’s getting really dry, apply some of your release agent (Badger Balm, olive oil etc) to your mat and roll out the clay very thinly without any slats or card. Apply water to the surface of the clay with your finger and fold up. Leave it aside to rest for a wee while as above.
- Add a portion of new clay to the clay that’s drying out. This should refresh it. Bear in mind that your portion of fresh clay needs to be at least double that of your ‘tired’ clay.
Dried But not Fired (Greenware stage) Silver Clay
You can reconstitute this clay back to either paste or lump, depending on your requirements. Reconstituting paste is the easier job here. I will be posting something a little bit more in depth about reconstituting to clay sometime soon.
To reconstitute to paste;
- You need a small airtight container – see above suggestion.
- Chop or grind your silver clay into small pieces. Put in your container.
- Add distilled water – the stuff that’s used in cars. You can pick this up easily in a supermarket or car accessories store.
- Mix in the water and set the container aside.
- Look in at it regularly, adding drops of water when needed to get to your desired consistency.
Fired Silver Clay
If you have fired your Silver Clay and realised you hate it (as I have done many times – despite being able to stop and rewind at the different stages above) you can send your fired silver off to a jeweller’s merchant for recycling. They will give you scrap value for it, not the full silver value – but it’s amazing how your little disasters can soon add up to pennies in your bank! So all is not lost.
Hopefully, this will give you some comfort to know that mistakes, at whatever stage in the process can be rectified! But also this, let me leave you with this one little nugget. Mistakes – no matter how painful – are how you learn and grow.
Til next time
P.S. If you want to know how to reconstitute your dried Silver Clay, then have a look at my video!