Metal Clay Information and Tutorials for Beginners

On this page you’ll find information, tutorials and projects about metal clay for beginners. Content checked February 2018.

If you’re a complete metal clay beginner, have a look at our metal clay for beginners page.

External links open in a new window.

Introduction to Metal Clay

Adjusting for Shrinkage

Great article about metal clay for beginners detailing how to calculate shrinkage for your designs when it really matters to you.

Aluminum Contamination and Silver Clay – Med’a Creations

Beginners often make the mistake of leaving metal clay in contact with aluminum/ aluminium, either in the form of foil or leaving it in contact with cutters. This causes contamination of the metal clay. This article has excellent information about this contamination. Mary Ellin D’Agostino has carried out a number of experiments on this and shares her findings here.

Art Clay Copper Instruction Sheet

Instruction sheet from Art Clay World about metal clay for beginners. Will download when you click the link.

Art Clay Silver Instruction Sheet

Instruction sheet about working with Art Clay Silver Clay. Will download when you click the link.

Art Clay Gold Instruction Sheet

Instruction sheet from Art Clay World. Will download when you click the link.

Binder Problems – Janet Alexander

Useful blog posting about failed binder and how this affects the clay. From Janet Alexander through PMC Connection.

Binder Problems: Restoration Experiments – Janet Alexander

Follow up blog posting from Janet with some experiments to see if the binder can be restored once it’s failed. She tests some of the things people have said help, with mixed results.

Forming Bails – Kris Kramer

Some great metal clay for beginners with tips and tricks from Kris about forming bails for metal clay.

FYI Clay

Useful site explaining all about FYI brand metal clay for beginners.

FYI Metal Clay Testing by Paula Long

This great downloadable PDF is a comprehensive testing of the silver clay brand FYI. Will download when you click the link.

FYI Metal Clay Testing by Silver Clay School

Useful article about working with FYI999 clay.

Getting Started with PMC

Comprehensive instruction sheet about working with PMC metal clay for beginners. Will download when you click the link.

Helpful Terminology – Lora Hart

This useful blog post from Lora contains lots of terms often used in connection with metal clay which beginners find confusing. Use this glossary to help you understand what we’re all talking about!

Introduction to PMC

Useful metal clay for beginners introduction from Silver Clay.

Keeping Clay Hydrated – Janet Alexander

This blog post for PMC Connection gives you lots of ways to keep your metal clay hydrated between uses.

Lubricants to use with Metal Clay – Mary Ellin D’Agostino

This useful article from Mary Ellin outlines the type of things to use as a release agent to stop your metal clay getting stuck to surfaces, textures and your hands. 

Making your own gold paste from gold clay – Med’a Creations

Great little metal clay for beginners tutorial about gold clay, when to use it and how to make your own paste with it. Has firing tips too.

Metal Clay 101 – Tools – Lora Hart

There are a plethora of commercially made tools on the market. But there are many tools you can adapt from odds and ends around your home, purchase inexpensively from hardware or beauty supply stores, or make yourself. If you take a class, and have the opportunity to use the instructors’ loaner tools, make a list of the ones you specifically found useful. If you haven’t yet taken a class, perhaps you’d like to print out this page, and make a check list of tools you want to acquire. 

Metal Clay Firing Guide – Cool Tools

Comprehensive guide to firing metal clay.

Metal Clay Shrinkage Calculators

Due to differences in the binder and size and type of metal particles, different metal clays will shrink at different rates. You can calculate the finished size of a metal clay piece using the correct shrinkage rate for your clay. Note that these calculations can only give an approximate size. The firing temperature and time will affect the shrinkage.

Metal Clay Techniques – Margaret Schindel

Comprehensive and detailed HubPages tutorial on working with metal clay. This page has links to numerous others with information about metal clay. There’s everything from the brands and varieties of clay available, through to texturing, setting stones and weaving.

Patrik Kusek – FAQ’s about Metal Clay

Interesting Q&A with metal clay teacher and artist Patrik Kusek.

PMC+ vs FYI Silver Clay

Great comparison between PMC+ and the newest of the silver clay brands, FYI.

PMC Comparison Chart

This very useful comparison chart for the PMC brands of metal clay includes the new PMC Pro. It shows comparative shrinkage, firing schedules, tensile strength, bending strength, surface hardness and density. It also includes explanations of what all that means!

PMC – Guide to Working with PMC for Beginners

This guide was written for the PMC Guild and is a good introduction to working with PMC.

PMC Comparison Chart – shortened version

A one page chart of all the PMC varieties, great for teachers.

PMC Introduction – Society of American Silversmiths

A comprehensive introduction to the material, tools and techniques of working with Precious Metal Clay.

PMC Pro

PMC Pro, launched at the PMC Conference in July 2010, is the strongest of all the PMC clays. It is a mixture of fine silver and copper. Download basic information about it from the link above. PMC Pro has been discontinued.

PMC Pro – Steel Firing Box DIY

If you fancy making your own steel firing box, here are the instructions. Much cheaper than buying a box – and you can make it whatever size you like. Here’s a template for a box size 3” x 4” x 2½” deep. PMC Pro has been discontinued.

PMC vs Art Clay, what’s the difference? – Margaret Schindel

Brilliantly comprehensive and clear explanation of the differences between Art Clay and PMC on HubPages.

Reclaiming Metal Clay – Maggie Bergman

Great alternative way of reclaiming metal clay from the dried stage back into workable clay.

Reclaiming Metal Clay – Barbara S Ferald

Fun blog post about reclaiming metal clay.

Reconstituting Binderless Metal Clay

Really useful blog post if your dry clay lacks binder.

Reconstituting dried metal clay – Angela Baduel-Crispin

Great tutorial in French and English showing how to reconstitute dried metal clay. One of the great things about metal clay is that if you make a piece and don’t like it – before firing – you can reconstitute it into a lump of clay again.

Reconstituting dried metal clay – Interweave

Great article about metal clay which also shows step by step instructions about how to reconstitute totally dry clay back to useable clay.

Rehydrate or Reconstitute Dry Metal Clay – Margaret Schindel

Another of Margaret’s very thorough tutorials about rehydrating and reconstituting dry metal clay.

Remoisturising Metal Clay – Gordon Uyehara

Easy to follow tutorial with great pictures.

Shrinkage Calculator – Metal Clays

This brilliant online tool will help you to calculate the shrinkage of the clay, no matter what clay you’re using. Rings and flat things shrink at different rates so this calculator takes that in to account too.

Syringe Tutorial

Great tips and tricks from Kris Kramer about using the syringe. This is page one of three syringe tutorials, use the arrow buttons on the page to see the other tutorials.

Tips and Techniques – Holly Gage

This great resource from Holly Gage collects together tips and techniques from a wide range of sources. Grouped into an alphabetical list, scroll through to find lots of useful information.

Understanding Metal Clay – Hadar Jacobson

Very useful and informative article by Hadar. It explains the sintering process that all metal clays go through during firing. Hadar demystifies the alchemy of metal clay firing and talks about all types of metal clay.

Other Tutorials

5 Tips for Perfect Ring Sizing – Metal Clay Cyprus

Useful article if you love making rings.

Adhering Two Pieces of Silver Clay – Kris Kramer

This great tutorial explains the process of simple construction using wet to wet, wet to dry and dry to dry metal clay elements.

Angela Baduel Crispin – Make an Economical Rubber Block

Great idea for making your own cheap rubber block to work on.

Art Clay FAQ’s – Art Clay World

Useful Q&A format for everything to do with using Art Clay. This includes useful safety information.

Art Clay Paper Type Applique technique

Interesting handout from Art Clay World

Celie Fago – Experiments with 960 Mix of Clay

Celie Fago shares her findings from mixing PMC Sterling with PMC3 to create a strong clay which can be open shelf fired. This results in a silver object which is 960 parts per thousand of silver.

Drill Bit Size Chart – Nancy Hamilton

Really useful chart showing drill bit sizes for different wire gauges plus the sizes in mm, inches etc.

Hadar Jacobson – How to make your own metal clay extruder

This useful tutorial shows you how to make a metal clay extruder cheaply. On Hadar’s blog she also shows how to make extruder discs cheaply using base metal clay.

How to use the Art Clay syringe

Good how to guide from Art Clay World

How to solder onto metal clay.

Very useful guide.

Lavender Paste

This useful pdf from the PMC Guild tells you how to make lavender paste. This is the equivalent of Art Clay oil paste and allows you to connect fired metal clay pieces with a strong bond.

Painting Leaves with slip by Sherrie Perkins

Good little how to guide for using slip to make metal clay leaves. Lots of practical hints and tips.

PMC Gold Technical Data

Technical data on PMC Gold from the PMC Guild

Polishing and Finishing from Kris Kramer

There are some great tips and tricks in this tutorial from Kris.

Tips on finding a good leaf to paint with Art Clay

Also shows how to ensure you have a good strong piece – from Art Clay World

Tips on Using PMC Gold

Useful FAQ based handout on using PMC Gold from the PMC Guild

Tools and Tool Enhancements – Kris Kramer

There are some great ideas from Kris in this tutorial. Learn to make your own tools and adapt others.

Tumble Polisher Tips and Hints

Have you opened your rotary tumbler barrel expecting sparkling, shiny jewelry and instead found your silver covered in either a black sludge, a yellowish, bronzy or black film? For those of you with a magnetic tumbler, has it ever served you up dark grey water and dull, greyish silver? It can be quite a shock and very puzzling when it happens, but there is a logical explanation, cure and treatment for this tumbler affliction. From Chain Weavers

Using a double sided mould

Picture based tutorial from Art Clay World

Technical Information

The ABC’s of PMC, basic technical information

Nice introduction from the PMC Guild.

Density and Tensile Strength of PMC

Useful guide to the strength of PMC depending on how long and hot it is fired.

Fuming Test Results

In response to concerns about the safety of metal clay and related materials, a controlled test was conducted to measure the quantity and severity of fumes produced during the firing process. Handout from the PMC Guild.

General Health Tips

Fact sheet on Health and Safety from the PMC Guild

PMC Guild Technical Information

Fantastic resource from the Guild, now through Rio Grande, listing many tests, comparisons and how to guides. Well worth a browse.

PMC MSDS

Material Safety Data Sheet for PMC from the PMC Guild

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