Frequently Asked Questions
Art Clay is water-based clay made of pure silver powder, water and non-toxic organic binder (bonding agent.) Once Art Clay Silver is dried, it becomes hard like plaster, enabling you to carve it, engrave it, file it and sand it to a perfect finish before firing. Even after drying, Art Clay Silver may be changed back to clay with the addition of water. Leftover pieces and powder resulting from filing may be recycled, leaving no waste. During heating (firing) the non toxic binder burns away and the silver particles combine together to form a solid 99.9% pure silver object which can be hallmarked Heating can be performed over a simple kitchen gas hob, camp cooker, blow torch or kiln.
Is it necessary to condition the clay once I open the packet?
Yes, definitely. The best way to do this is to wrap the clay in a piece of gladwrap to stop the air getting to it therefore drying out prematurely and ‘moosh’ it around to work it. If you don’t condition your clay, you risk air bubbles, which could lead to a blister or crack during firing.
What is the best surface to work on?
I always use my underlay sheet or ACS Exclusive work surface and baking paper. The underlay or work surface provides a smooth surface (no dents or bumps) and the baking paper provides a non stick surface. Some people use silicon sheets as an alternative to baking paper.
How long should I dry my Art Clay piece for?
It depends on the thickness but as a general rule, 650/1200 Art Clay should be dried for at least 15 minutes under a hairdryer (45 minutes for the Slow Dry varieties), a similar time if you are using a food dehydrator, or allow 12 hours for a piece to dry naturally. You can leave your piece in the sun on a window sill, in the hot water cupboard or any safe place. You can leave it for as long as you like. Just be careful if you leave it on the window sill overnight as windows can collect moisture and this will stop your piece from fully drying. To check your piece is dry, place it on a mirror or piece of stainless steel, then remove it – look for any condensation or clouding – this means it needs more drying time. If pieces are fired before they are dry, the moisture in the piece will expand, which will create a blister or crack in your piece.
Can I reconstitute my sanding dust?
Yes, all Art Clay Silver prior to firing can be reconstituted by adding water – you can make it in to paste or clay.
If I break my piece before firing, can I still use it?
Yes – virtually everything is fixable! Simply wet each broken area with a little water then place some paste on one side and ‘stick’ the two pieces together. Dry and sand. Continue pasting, drying and sanding until you have your piece back to its original condition.
Can I fill the syringes with clay or paste?
It’s almost impossible! The clay inside the syringe has a unique consistency and no air bubbles, so it’s best to purchase the syringes, pre filled. They come as a no tip, 1 tip and 3 tip, so once you have purchased your 1 or 3 tip syringe and you look after the tips correctly, you can purchase no tip syringes and reuse your tips.
How do I look after my tips?
You can either leave your syringes in a cup of water (check the water has not evaporated on a regular basis), take the tip off, clean it out and replace the yellow stopper or use the syringe end caps we have for sale on our shopping cart. If your tips dry out then it can be quite difficult to get the dry clay out without ruining the tips.
Will Art Clay Silver tarnish?
Art Clay Silver will tarnish but not very quickly. Base metal jewellery, silver plated jewellery and sterling silver jewellery tend to tarnish because of the ‘other’ metals they contain such as copper and nickel. As Art Clay Silver is pure 99.9% silver, you will find it will take a long time to tarnish.
Can I hallmark my piece?
Yes, your piece can be hallmarked “999” or “999FS”.
How do I polish my piece after its fired?
To get a matt shine, use either a stainless steel brush or a soft brass brush. For a shinier finish use the agate after the stainless steel brush and a little silver polish (we have Pikal Care on our website). For a mirror finish, use the stainless steel brush, the 3 grades of sandpaper (red, blue and then green – from rough to fine) and then silver polish. You can also use a jewellery tumbler.