If you've recently taken up an interest in jewelry making, you may be wondering which metal clay you should start with. There are several different types of metal clay available, and clays come in a wide range of materials, temperature ranges and formats.
Here's how to pick the right one for you.
If this is your first time attempting to sculpt jewelry with metal clay, it is recommended that you begin with one of the less-expensive metals first. For instance, copper and bronze clays are relatively inexpensive and can help you get the hang of molding, shaping and sculpting.
On the other hand, silver metal clay is one of the most pliable options and is very easy to find, but it is more expensive. If you're feeling really adventurous you can try gold, or you can mix multiple materials to create other options.
There are a number of guides that provide useful information about blending materials so you can fire them correctly in your tabletop kiln.
Another decision you need to make is what format you want to purchase your clay in. You can find a variety of metal clay types, including lump clay, syringe clay, paste and paper. Each format serves a different purpose and allows you to shape the clay in different ways.
For instance, lump clay is easy to mold and form, while paste is used to attach multiple pieces. Paper is perfect for folding into delicate origami shapes or cutting into two-dimensional designs.
When deciding what kind of metal clay to use, consider what you are trying to create and watch tutorials to see how other people have created similar shapes.
Among metal clay products, there are also big differences in the firing instructions. You can choose from both slow-drying and slow-firing options. There are also low-temperature clays, which may be useful depending on the temperature range of your metal clay kiln.
Lastly, some clays are designed to shrink significantly during firing so you can create intricate details on a larger-scale object and fire it down to the size of your finished pendant or ring.
Ultimately, the type of base material and the firing temperature you choose will determine the strength and durability of your finished piece. Having your own tabletop kiln gives you a great way to experiment with a variety of clay options.