When firing silver clay, choose the technique that works best with your tools and surroundings. The beauty of working with silver clay is that it can be fired using a hand torch or a kiln. So whatever level you’re at, firing silver clay is simple to do at home.
In this article, we are going to talk through how to torch fire your piece of silver clay and making you aware of the signs that will tell you are heating it up too much, which could cause it to melt.
When firing silver clay with a hand torch, just follow these steps:
- Prepare your design and workspace for heating by removing any unnecessary objects from the area and placing your silver clay design on a specialist soldering block.
- Light your butane hand torch and set to a blue flame.
- Hold the torch about 2cm away from your design, moving the flame in a circular motion around the piece. Gradually move the flame closer to the silver clay as you make that circular motion.
- As you heat the silver clay, you’ll notice that it will start to smoke and then catch fire. This is normal. It means that any organic binder is being burnt away to leave the precious metal behind.
- Continue heating the silver clay with a circular motion, until it starts to glow a cherry red colour. Once it starts to glow, you will need to keep it at that temperature for around 3 minutes to ensure all the organic binder is burnt away. Note: don’t leave the blow torch on your piece of silver clay for a prolonged period of time, it could get too hot and start to melt.
- Once the time is up you can turn off your hand torch and leave your design to cool.
Top Tips when firing silver clay
- Constantly move your blow torch evenly across your silver clay piece to distribute the heat.
- Keep an eye on your silver clay piece when firing. You may need to take it off the heat at certain points to control the temperature, so it doesn’t get too hot.
- Look out for signs that your piece could be starting to melt e.g. blistering on the surface, a wet or shiny look on the surface area of the silver clay and loss of shape to your piece.
Throughout your silver clay torch firing journey, it may require some trial and error, different types of silver clay will react differently when fired and timings could differ. Be sure to go through this process and look out for signs mentioned so your silver clay pieces come out perfect every time.
Sian has been hand making her award winning jewellery in the West Midlands for over 12 years. Sian spent 10 years in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter before relocating to a quiet Worcestershire village.