Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Foray into Silver 'Art Clay'

I've been wanting to try "silver clay" for a while now.... It is (from what I have read), 99% silver, in some sort of binder that makes it look and act like clay.  It reminded me of "paperclay" when working with it... it starts to dry in the wink of an eye and if you add water to "rehydrate it" a bit, it turns to smoosh!
I found it very stressful to work with, not physically, but mentally.
It's sold by the gram, and I had to mortgage a small dog to get a miniscule amount of the stuff.
It's not like you can say, this isn't going well.... I don't want to play anymore when you have $5.00 worth of clay under your finger nails alone!
So... here we go.

This is what I made, they look just like paper clay right?
 What you see there used about half of my 10 grams.
(For those of you not in the US,  a dime is 17.91 mm across, or .705 of an inch.)
(* measurements according to wikipedia,  I'm not really that smart....)
The directions said to make sure the clay was dry before "firing" it. Apparently, if it's not completely dry, you run the risk of it exploding ~ and sending metal bits flying about the place...Didn't sound like much fun. So they sat in my oven for 24 hours. (it's got a pilot light always going that keeps the oven at a gentle 100 degrees or so. (may I note that when we loose power for some reason ~ the oven still works, unlike those stoves with electronic ignition, which is why i insisted on going "old school"....*cough* but i digresss) Once dry (it was noticibly heavier when dry), the stainless steel mesh was put directly on the gas stove burner.
It burns the binder off, and makes a small flame for a few seconds..and then i sort of waited and watched. It said that it would glow a peachy orange from the inside... and when i saw that glow to start timing my "firing".  (When I use the other half of the package I will be firing it at night, with the lights off. Daylight makes it near impossible to see the glow or lack there of.)  It said you couldn't fire it too long (unless it started to sweat or melt...) so I just waited... after what seemed like forever, I could see it start to look almost gray (like a charcoal briquette)... and sense a glow.  When I couldn't stand it anymore, and my face felt sun burned from my near constant inspections of it's glow... I shut the stove off, and this is what I had.
It looks just like it did when I started? Where the heck is the silver???
 Then the bunny when on the hot seat....
Same drill;  much waiting and more watching; the bunny was bigger and thicker.

So there they are, in their shiny splendor!
As you can see, I found the silver.  You have to use sandpaper, or a wire brush of some sort to remove the white clay residue (or whatever it is).... and then I used my silver jewelry polishing cloth to make them shiny. I can see now how making them smoother to begin with would be helpful.
Teeny little heart! Lopsided, just like I like them!!
And the bunny, nestled into a blossom of my lovely Geranium!
I am ridiculously proud of them.... and I don't usually say I'm proud of much I do...
But it is just SO COOOOL that I made a little silver rabbit.
He's not perfect, but who is?
 I know his ears are a bit wonky.. and his feet are a bit small; but he mostly looks like a baby bunny right?

Next post we can chat about all rabbits ~ both real and imaginary.... 


  1. They look great Mel, I'm not surprised you're proud of them! I have a gorgeous little wren pendant made of this stuff (not that I made it myself, I bought it from a fellow blogger's Etsy store). I enjoyed seeing how they are made.

  2. A peek into the inner sanctum of art clay... Glad you enjoyed it!
    What is the Etsy store called? I'd love to check it out! :)))))

  3. Wow had me on the edge of my seat willing the bunny and heart to be shiny silver...and I wasn't disappointed - they are brilliant! It sounds such a complex combination of waiting and doing things at just the right moment...not something I would have the confidence or patience for! Well done for persevering! You are so right to be proud of the assymmetry of the heart and the bunny's just adorable!
    Wondering which small dog you have mortgaged..and what you have planned for the other half of your treasure. (I wandered onto a crafting channel on tv today and heard that all crafters have 3 thats too good to use, one that's always in use and one thats too shabby to use...I thought I was the only one with those categories..but mine extends to my wardrobe too!!)
    Talking of rabbits could tell you a story about my copy of Watership Down....but its late and I've just seen a white rabbit rushing by.....
    Look forward to hopping back to you soon
    xx Ali

  4. They are just perfect, Melody. I admire your zest for trying new things and your patience with dealing with such little treasures.

  5. They are lovely Mel ... really lovely. You did a great job. In this post I can feel your tension when your creations were on the stove. But it's cool stuff, isn't it ... clay turning into silver ... that's pure alchemy ;-)

  6. So I see you are really MAGIC, what a great post. That was an exciting read! It sounds sort of typical of crafting forays into new worlds. You have made 2 lovely cute shiny things. Little bunny is sweet. A friend of mine has done this too, I bought her a book on it last year, and she said it was tricky. You can press leaves into the clay and it comes out looking like a silver leaf. However the tiny leaves she used meant the clay crumbled for some reason, she got 1 bigger Ivy leaf, which i am now the proud owner of:) Hope you are brave enough, or have enough animals to mortgage and carry on. Best wishes, Julie X

  7. I have counted up the rest of the animals and if I mortgage all but the mouse ~ I think i can get the next size up "pat" of clay! :))))
    I have seen the silver leaves...but i wasnt sure if the leave was inside the clay or squished in to make a print, good to know the technique.
    Do you suppose I can add "magician" and "alchemist" to my business card now? The husband insisted i'm sprinkled with fairy dust; which is why i can find 4 leaf clovers and he can't!! :)))
    I have stashes for each area of interest... and each of them have things that are too good to use...
    Thank you all so much for visiting, I love to read your comments, and hear what you think!!

  8. very nice.. yeah, its very costly.. if only we can diy the clay from beginning.. haha..