SILVER CLAY TOOLS
recommendations for starting out
Based on the tools I use in my own practice, and the silver clay tool kits I developed for in-person classes, these are my recommendations for those wanting to set up a basic silver clay studio.
If you are just starting out, I suggest buying just a little at first - clay, a work surface, a way to fire your work and maybe a few shaping tools - and getting your hands into the clay to find out what more you'd like before purchasing many supplies. Molds, texture tiles and stamps are just some of the ways to shape silver clay.
Shopping for any of these supplies through the below affiliate links helps support me (thank you!): Most items are available at both Cooltools (a small business!) or Amazon.
Important notes about clay: I link to Cooltools for PMC3 clay. This is the primary fine silver clay I've used in my work, but it has been announced that it may be discontinued*. I also link to Amazon for Art Clay Silver. I currently recommend either; they are similar. If you plan to join elements I find buying paste much easier than making paste. Generally, buy the paste that matches the brand of your clay. Flex is a slower-drying version of PMC3, and can be used with PMC clay paste.
A photo of the silver clay kits I previously offered.
- Silver clay: PMC3 (Cooltools) *may be discontinued in '23
- Silver clay option for beginners: Flex (Cooltools) *MBD
- Silver clay: Art Clay Silver (Amazon)
- Paste: PMC clay paste (Cooltools) *MBD
- Paste: Art Clay Silver Paste (Cooltools)
- Work surface, non-stick - tuff cards or clayboard (both Cooltools)
I also find these quite helpful:
- CoolSlip (Cooltools) to keep clay from sticking to tools, used very sparingly
- Silicone polishing wheels (not an affiliate link but absolute best price for full starter set I can find, as of publication)
- The most basic method is with a small butane torch, such as Proxxon (Amazon). That cheaper butane torch from your local hardware store is (very probably) hot enough to fire clay and may work just fine. This is how I began! But they also may at some point overheat when used for 10+ minutes, which eventually means they won't ignite again. The cost of low-mid end torches varies considerably and I would say it's fine to begin with anything inside your budget.
- If using a torch, you will need butane (Amazon).
- To use a torch, you will need a firing surface, such as a firing block (Amazon) or firing block (Cooltools). You can also use a fire brick, fire safe tile, or other fire repellant surface. This block can be placed on another fire repellant surface for height, to further protect the surface you set it on. Be mindful of what is flammable, the reach of your torch flame, etc. Safety first!
- The kiln I use - Paragon SC2 Digital Kiln (Cooltools)
Shaping: - Basic: Explore the "Texture" and "Template" pages in the Cooltools menu for many options and inspirations. For pre-made molds find "ready molds" on their site.
Please read all safety sheets that accompany any tools and chemicals you purchase. I wish you happy, safe working!