Powdered Metal Clay

 

The Lapidary club made special arrangements for a teacher to come and teach classes on how to use powdered metal clay.

What is Metal Clay?

Metal clay is a jewelry making material that can be used by just about anyone to create jewelry and small decorative objects. Metal clay is made from powdered metal mixed with water and a substance called “methyl cellulose”. Methyl cellulose may sound like a nasty chemical, but it’s actually made from the cell walls of green plants. It’s an organic ingredient used in food additives and is non-allergic, non-toxic and perfectly safe to work with.

Metal clay handles similar to traditional modeling clays, and, when dried, it is transformed into a solid object through a firing process. During firing, the methyl cellulose, typically called “binder”, is burned away and the metal particles “sinter” into a solid form. Sintering is the process of making a powdered material (in this case, metal clay) coalesce into a solid mass by heating it to a very high temperature, just below the point of liquefaction.

There are several types of metal clay available: fine silver, silver alloy, gold, gold alloy, copper, bronze and steel. Each type of metal clay has unique firing requirements because each metal has a different melting point.