Work Safely with Metal Clay
This page has information about safety and metal clay. It includes tips on how to work safely with metal clay which are important for teachers and artists.
Content checked July 2018.
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General Safety Advice
Metal clay is generally a safe product to work with. Some basic safety precautions should be taken though. Fine silver metal clay is the least likely to react with skin but Sterling silver clay, bronze or copper clay can react with some peoples’ skin. If you are allergic to copper, wear some form of barrier cream – like Gloves in a Bottle – or gloves when working with these products.
When you are sanding and filing any metal clay, avoid breathing in the dust. If you are particularly susceptible to dust particles or have a weakness in your chest, always wear a dust mask.
If you are teaching metal clay, make sure you explain about safety and metal clay and the potential issues to students. Always provide the relevant safety equipment in case any student needs it.
Firing metal clay is probably the most dangerous activity in the normal use of the material. Torch firing is the most potentially dangerous as it uses an open flame. Always wear suitable, non-flammable clothes and closed in shoes, tie back long hair and avoid trailing sleeves, scarves etc.
If you are teaching students to fire with a torch, you must have performed a risk assessment and provided fire fighting equipment. A fire blanket is useful as a safety and metal clay resource. Access to a fire extinguisher is also recommended.
From Metal Adventures, this is the Material Safety Data Sheet for Fast Fire Bronzclay. When considering safety and metal clay, having access to the MSDS for all the metal clay brands you are using is sensible.
In response to concerns about safety and metal clay and related materials, a controlled test was conducted to measure the quantity and severity of fumes produced during the firing process. Downloadable handout from the PMC Guild.
Download this fact sheet on Health and Safety from the PMC Guild.
Mary Ellin D’Agostino’s blog which includes information about safety and metal clay.