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Welcome to the Metal Clay Academy Make Your Own Metal Clay Page

If you're someone who likes to do it yourself, this is the page for you. Here you'll find information about making your own metal clay. Please get in touch with us if you have anything to add to the information on this page. You might also be interested in Sterling Silver Metal Clay, developed by staff at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery in the UK.

Article about making your own metal clay - Del Feast

This article includes a recipe for bronze clay that can be torch fired.

Update on making your own metal clay - rice starch binder - Del Feast

Del has written an update following his experimentation with rice starch as a binder.

Binders for DIY Metal Clay

Chemist Kevin has been in touch to say that ordinary wallpaper paste, the dry powder type, works well as a binder.

Sharon Morrison from the Seattle area posted some useful information about binders on the Metal Clay Yahoo! Group. She has kindly given us permission to repost her information here.

"I use various gums for gluten-free baking - xanthan gum, guar gum, methylcellulose (MC) (I am not sure if this is the same as CMC - carboxy methyl cellulose- which is used to thicken glaze mixtures and is also used for DIY glass clay).

I've tried them all for DIY bronze clay: The 'sticky' ones work best for metal clay - methylcellulose and xanthan gum. Guar gum adds body, but doesn't hold things together. I tried Wilton 'gum-tex' (labeled karaya gum), which also adds body, but not much adhesion.

My first attempt used 'pre-hydrated' methylcellulose, inspired by a glass clay recipe from Barry Kaiser's website. I substituted MC for CMC, soak MC in water for a day or so and use the resulting clear gel to form a clay-like mixture with fine particles of your choice.

I tend to mix by eye, and use leftovers from previous recipes, so my bronze clay has variable shrinkage and properties: it doesn't matter for just playing around. For rings and nice jewelry, commercial clay is MUCH better: finer finish and less shrinkage. I think a good mixture should mostly use a 'sticky' binder with a little bit of 'body' binder and then a drop or two of glycerine for added flexibility. I read somewhere than you can add a little sugar/corn syrup and oil to modifiy the clay: try home made playdough recipes?

I suppose you could mix DIY metal clay and commercial clay to get an intermediate quality clay, but you'd have to check for binder incompatibility."

Make your own Bronze and Copper Metal Clay Video Tutorial

This video has the instructions on how to mix your own copper or bronze metal clay from ingredients that are available online. The cost per 100 grams is about 1/4th the cost of commercial pre-mixed metal clay.

 

Homemade Bronze/Copper Clay Mixing Guide

This video shows the process of mixing and reconstituting the homemade metal clay from the previous video. It also shows the clay's ability to hold a texture.

 

Suppliers of Raw Materials

Suppliers of silver powder

Metal Clay Powder

Metal Clay Powder is supplied in two parts: a Silver pack and a Binder pack.  Some artist desire a binderless pure silver medium for designated projects while others want a versatile clay with almost indefinite shelf life. MCP is a value alternative enabling you to create larger artistic sculpture and maximize profit margin. The main ingredient is pure silver metal, along with organic binder and water.  When the product is fully air-dried, and fired at the appropriate temperature and time, the finished product will have great strength, and will take a polish just as any other silver metal object.

See a blog post testing this product here.

Silversmith's Metal Clay Powder

A different way to buy silver clay, this powder has a longer shelf life than PMC or Art Clay. It does require mixing and there are some issues with it. The supplier website gives plenty of information about how to use it and they have a YouTube video how to mix and use it.

Supplier of copper powder

SCAN GROUP AFRICA LTD
HELSINKI FINLAND (Head Office)
Tel: +220-7107863 (ROAMING)
Skype: sgafrica.ltd
Email: sgafrica.ltd@gmail.com

Supplier of bronze powder

TAP Plastics Bronze Casting Powder

Supplier of a range of metal powders

Douglas and Sturgess

Search for atomized metal powder for a full list of the powders they supply. Sharon Morrison recommended these two suppliers for DIY metal clayers but she adds this caveat, "Also, you might want to mention that the atomized metal powders from TAP and D & S are only -325 mesh, nowhere near as fine as particles in commercial clays.  I think you need very fine particle size to have the best results, but I haven't found much that you can buy in small quantities."