Art Clay Copper

The makers of Art Clay, Aida Chemicals have just launched their own copper clay. This has a much simpler firing schedule than the other copper clays available. It's now available to buy in the UK and the USA through limited suppliers.

Key facts:

  • Shrinkage during firing - 10%
  • Firing - Place the piece into a kiln at 970C/1778F and hold this temperature for 30 minutes. Quench immediately to remove oxidisation.
  • Pickling will remove oxidisation left after the quenching process.
  • The resulting fired piece is 100% pure copper.

Art Clay Copper can be fired in an electric kiln without using carbon, with the resulting fired piece being 100% pure copper. The percentage of copper in the Art Clay Copper in its clay state is 90%.

Due to the differences between Copper clay and Silver clay, the clays may contaminate each other if mixed accidentally during preparation. This can occur by using shared tools. It is recommended to use separate tools for each type of clay.

After firing in the kiln, the surface layer of the piece will oxidise similar to soldered sterling silver. You will need to take away the oxidised surface with pickling solution such as powder form pickling compound to obtain a pure copper color.

Storage

  • Use the product as soon as possible after opening the original product package.
  • After opening your package of clay, the surface of Art Clay Copper will naturally start oxidizing and the color will darken if left in the air. If you see a darkened surface, please scrape off the darkened layer and use the internal clay to make your piece.
  • To avoid oxidation of unused clay after unsealing the original product package, wrap it in layers of plastic wrap tightly, than place in a zip up type plastic bag or airtight container.
  • Try to estimate accurately how much clay you will need for your project before opening the package.
  • Keep the clay indoors at a moderate room temperature out of direct sunlight.

Instructions

Art Clay Copper is a water-based clay and dries naturally in the air. To avoid drying, when starting your piece, only take out the needed amount and store the rest of the clay as instructed above.

The shrinkage of Art Clay Copper during firing is under 10% in length, so please consider this when making your piece.

Make paste in exactly the same way you would with Art Clay Silver.

Drying

Dry completely after molding. The dried clay will become hard like plaster and you can easily drill, file and sand it. Drying guidelines for a 1mm thick, 5g piece...

  • Hot air dryer - more than 10 minutes
  • Electric hot place - more than 10 minutes at 150C/302F
  • Electric kiln - more than 10 minutes at 150C/302F
  • Natural air drying - more than 24 hours

Firing

Place the piece into a kiln at 970C/1778F and hold this temperature for 30 minutes.

After firing take out the fired piece with tweezers or tongs and quench immediately with water so that the oxidised layer will peel off.

It can be fired with a torch but the torch power and firing time effects the result.

Caution - if a hot piece is left in the air right after firing, the oxidised layer on the surface will fracture and at times small pieces can fly into the air. For your safety, immediately place a fiber cloth over the piece.

You can also leave the fired piece to cool in the kiln.

Pickling

Place the fired piece into a pickling solution to remove oxidisation. Take normal precautions when using a pickling solution.

Finishing

After firing the piece is pure copper and can be polished as usual.