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How to Dry Metal Clay

Margaret Schindel is a jewelry artist and internationally known expert on metal clay techniques. PMC-certified in 2006 by Celie Fago.

Which metal clay drying options should you choose?

Which metal clay drying options should you choose?

Metal Clay

Metal clay pieces made from silver, gold, copper, bronze, or other base metal clay formulas must be completely dry, all the way through to the center, before firing them. If even a small amount of moisture remains in the center of the clay, it can cause problems, including warping, blisters or bubbles (air pockets caused by steam that is created as the residual moisture is heated), or even craters if the blisters or bubbles burst open under the force of the steam's pressure.

There are multiple methods for thoroughly drying your metal clay pieces before kiln firing or torch firing them. This article reviews the pros and cons of each option to help you choose which is best suited to your needs.

Metal Clay Drying Methods: The Trade-Off of Speed vs. Even Drying

In general, choosing a method for drying metal clay involves making trade-offs between speed and even drying. When you're creating a new piece, it's easy to be a bit impatient and crave instant gratification.

Unfortunately, using an electric cup or mug warmer or a hotplate to dry your metal clay pieces as quickly as possible often causes them to warp or crack unless they are both thin and fairly small. As the clay dries, it shrinks somewhat (although not as much as during firing). So, if the bottom of the piece dries significantly sooner than the top, or if the surface of the clay dries much faster than the interior, the parts that dry first shrink before the parts with more moisture, potentially leading to warping or cracks. The thicker or larger the piece, the more unevenly the clay will dry.

The good news is that these problems can be minimized or avoided by choosing a slower, gentler drying method, especially for thicker or larger metal clay pieces, and placing them on a surface that lets air circulate under, over, and around the piece, such as open-cell foam or smooth wire mesh. The goal is for the top, bottom, sides, and interior to dry at the same time and at as close to the same rate as possible.

A Word About Warping

Metal clay tends to warp as it dries when the entire piece does not dry evenly at the same rate. The center of the clay dries last, as it is not directly exposed to the air, so the more slowly you dry the clay, the more evenly it will dry and the less prone to warping it will be.

Of course, it's natural to be impatient for your clay to dry so that you can refine it, assemble it with other pieces, if necessary, and fire it. Just be aware that, in general, the more you accelerate the drying process, the less evenly your clay is likely to dry and the more susceptible to warping it will be.

The best way to avoid this is to air-dry pieces rather than dry them with heat, and if possible, to dry them in a way that allows air to circulate around all sides of the clay at the same time. Air drying on a piece of soft, open-cell foam sheet lets metal clay pieces dry evenly, but it's fairly slow.

You can accelerate the drying process by placing the clay (on the foam sheet) into a food dehydrator to increase the air circulation. Ideally, using a no-heat setting is best and will dry the clay most evenly. However, you can use a low heat setting if you wish (never use medium or high heat). If you choose to use the low heat setting, don't leave the metal clay in the dehydrator too long to avoid warping. You also can make a homemade metal clay drying box to use with a hand-held hair dryer, aka a blow dryer.

If you are going to dry metal clay on a nonstick sheet or another nonporous surface, you can help minimize warping by not lifting your clay from the sheet after the last pass with the clay roller, and after cutting the desired shape, removing the excess clay without lifting the edges of the piece you have cut out. The nonstick sheet has a very slight texture that grabs onto the clay a bit, so the clay is less likely to curl up at the edges if they remain adhered to the sheet.

If you are going to use a hotplate or cup warmer to dry your clay faster, you'll need to monitor the drying and flip the piece over frequently to minimize warping.

The rest of this article will go into more detail about each of these drying methods and their respective pros and cons.

Air-Drying on Open-Cell Foam Sheet

Especially for volumetric pieces that aren't being dried over/around a support, it's a good idea to air dry the fresh clay on a piece of soft, open-cell foam sheet 1/2" to 2" thick. It is often sold by the yard at fabric stores and is sometimes used for upholstery.

  • Use foam that is soft and squishy (not dense), which is filled with air pockets and will allow air to circulate around all sides of the clay. This will speed up the drying process somewhat and also eliminate the need to flip the piece over in order to dry both sides.
  • Another benefit is that it prevents the clay's surface (whether smooth or textured) from being marred while it's still "wet."
  • If you can't find this type of foam by the yard, you can use the thicker piece of foam from a package of Wilton Fondant Shaping Foam or the Ateco Molding Mat for fondant. Both are made of food-grade foam and designed for drying soft fondant cake decorations.

Make a Folded Foam Drying Support

Celie Fago taught me a neat trick, which is to fold a piece of the foam sheet accordion-style to fit inside a drinking glass, mug, jar, etc. While you wouldn't use this method to dry fresh metal clay pieces, there are two situations in which it's extremely useful.

If you want to attach a new element to the edge of an already dried piece, you can carefully place the greenware inside one of the folds in the foam sheet so that the piece is vertical (i.e., perpendicular to the work surface), with the edge where the new element will be attached at the top. The foam should hold the piece in that vertical position while the new element is attached and the joint dries.

If you are joining two dry metal clay components, such as adding a tube bail to the top edge of a pendant, keeping the pendant vertical makes it less likely that gravity will cause the bail to roll to one side or even fall off completely.

If you are joining a fresh clay element to the edge, maintaining the perpendicular orientation will help the moist clay addition to dry without being marred or distorted by gravity.

Copper clay pieces propped up vertically in a folded piece of foam sheet, using gravity to advantage while fresh clay additions or repaired breaks are drying.

Copper clay pieces propped up vertically in a folded piece of foam sheet, using gravity to advantage while fresh clay additions or repaired breaks are drying.

One Example

The photo shows an example of a dried copper clay kimono that I propped up vertically in the folds of the foam so that the fresh copper clay collar pieces I attached could dry without flattening, marring, or sagging—all of which would likely have happened if I had laid the pendant flat to dry after adding the collar.

You can also see the fragile, slender, tapered copper clay rod in another fold in the same piece of pleated foam sheet. The rod had broken in the center, so I used the foam to hold one of the broken halves vertical, with the broken edge at the top. After I repaired it very carefully, with the top half balanced precariously on the bottom half, gravity helped hold the halves together while the fresh clay I used to join them dried.

If I had tried to dry the rod horizontally, gravity would have made the tapered ends sag rather than remaining on a straight axis, pulling the two halves apart before the fresh clay repair had time to dry.

The folded foam sheet drying support is also extremely helpful for holding dry metal clay components together securely after you have joined them with fresh clay, paste, slip, or another metal clay “glue,” such as Aussie Metal Clay’s ClayStay. Nestling the newly joined pieces inside a fold in the foam sheet will hold them together with gentle, even pressure as they dry, helping to keep them in the correct position as the joint dries and facilitating a more secure bond.

Using a Food Dehydrator

A food dehydrator is an excellent way to dry metal clay, providing gentle, even drying when used on low to no heat. The dry, circulating air speeds up drying significantly and is less likely to result in warping than a direct heat source, such as an electric cup or mug warmer or a hotplate.

It's important to use a dehydrator that allows you to dry with no heat or very low heat to minimize the chances of warping.

To protect the fresh metal clay from becoming textured by the mesh screen shelves in the dehydrator, always line the shelf with a piece of nonstick sheet before drying your clay. To further decrease the chance of warping, especially if you are using (low) heat, either use the same piece of nonstick sheet on which you rolled out your clay (without lifting the edges of the clay from the sheet after rolling or cutting) or place it on a piece of foam sheet and put the foam on top of the nonstick sheet in the dehydrator.

Choosing a Dehydrator for Metal Clay

Some of the features to consider include the usable tray space, whether it has a thermostat, where the heating element is located, the efficiency of the airflow, the spacing of the trays, the warranty, and the company's customer service reputation/track record.

1. Round Dehydrators

Round food dehydrators are the most commonly used type for drying metal clay. Here are the advantages of this type:

  • Most are fairly inexpensive; sometimes, you can find them used or at yard sales.
  • They're very common, so they may feel more familiar.

But they also have several disadvantages:

  • Most are designed with the heating elements and fans at the bottom, so the temperature varies significantly from the bottom tray to the top tray.
  • How efficiently the fans circulate the air can vary widely from one brand or model to the next.
  • These units are round, and the drying trays are doughnut-shaped, which cuts significantly into their usable area. In fact, you may lose as much as 25% of the tray space because of the "doughnut hole" in the center.
  • The trays are stacked so that they rest directly on top of one another. That means you need to lift off not only the lid but also the upper trays when you want to load or unload pieces on the lower trays.
  • The trays are fixed-height, so if you need to dry something tall (or on a piece of foam), you'll need to jury-rig height spacers. You can do this fairly easily by placing three drinking glasses (or even sturdy foam cups) spaced equally around the tray in between your metal clay pieces. However, that not only cuts further into the usable space but also opens up the sides, which prevents the air from circulating efficiently or evenly.

2. Square Excalibur® Dehydrators

If you're a professional metal clay artist and can justify the cost, square Excalibur brand dehydrators are the best and most versatile on the market. Advantage include:

  • Excalibur dehydrators are square and feature a unique and efficient design that gives you use of the entire surface of each tray. You can dry many more pieces at a time, or much larger pieces, than you can in a round model with open-centered trays.
  • The trays slide in and out from the front, like drawers. That means:
    • You can pull out a tray with one hand and load your pieces onto it with the other hand, which makes loading and unloading much faster.
    • You can remove some of the trays to accommodate taller pieces (or pieces that are sitting on a piece of open-cell foam).
    • Excalibur dehydrators have built-in thermostats that allow you to control the temperature within a fairly wide range. So you can reduce the temperature to very low to minimize warping. This is a major benefit!
    • The company's unique ParaFlexx™ Horizontal Airflow drying system creates a much more efficient airflow for faster, more even drying.
  • They come with a generous warranty—5 or 10 years, depending on the model and where you purchase it.

Of course, all these features come at a price, and Excalibur dehydrators are significantly more expensive than those from other manufacturers. However, if you make a lot of large pieces, do production work (or just make a lot of pieces at a time), or teach metal clay classes, you may want to consider investing in one.

For maximum drying space and versatility, I recommend the 9-tray Excalibur 3926TB dehydrator model. There are less expensive knock-offs, but they don't have the same quality, reliability, or service and support as genuine Excalibur units.

Using a Homemade Drying Box and a Hairdryer

For drying metal clay, the next best thing to a dehydrator is a homemade drying box. The simplest and cheapest version is simply a cardboard box with a hole cut into one side of the box just large enough for the nozzle of a handheld hairdryer, aka blow dryer, to poke through. Here's one way to make one.

Making a DIY Metal Clay Drying Box

  1. Find a cardboard box, such as a shipping box from a package delivery. Ideally, it should be approximately 12 inches deep.
  2. Cut off the open flaps on the top. As an alternative, you can fold the flaps inside, as long as they will stay flat against the sides of the box.
  3. Cut an opening in the bottom of the box that will fit the nozzle of your hairdryer snugly.

Using the Drying Box

  1. If your metal clay piece has a flat bottom or back, try to leave it on the piece of nonstick sheet you formed it on, if possible. Otherwise, place your metal clay piece (or pieces) on a piece of nonstick sheet or open-cell foam. You also can place your clay pieces on a raised platform or shelf made from a piece of fine stainless steel mesh or screen, which will allow the air to circulate underneath the clay as well as over and around it. Choose a fine wire mesh to minimize any marks on the back of the clay unless you like the light texture created by the mesh.
  2. Place the dryer box upside down and centered over the clay.
  3. If your blow dryer has a concentrator or diffuser attachment on the nozzle, remove it. Then, poke the nozzle through the opening on the side of the box. The nozzle should parallel to the top of the box, so the warm air will blow across the box and above your metal clay pieces.
  4. Set the hairdryer to low speed to avoid blowing the piece around and to low heat to minimize cracking or warping. Then turn on the power button or switch.
  5. Allow it to run for at least 5–10 minutes (assuming you want your piece to be bone dry). Every few minutes, turn off the power, lift off the box, and check the top of your piece for dryness.
  6. When the top has dried completely, turn the piece over and repeat to dry the back.

Note: The length of time required to dry your metal clay piece thoroughly will depend on a variety of factors, such as the size and thickness of the clay, the porosity of the surface you are drying it on, the size of your box, the location of the opening, and the speed and temperature of the hairdryer. Typically, pieces that are a few cards thick and not very large need approximately 10–20 minutes in total to dry on both sides.

Fine Stainless Steel Mesh Racks for Drying Metal Clay

Stainless steel mesh screen made from fine wire is very good for making racks or shelves for drying your metal clay pieces. The air can circulate all the way around pieces that are elevated on the mesh rack, and the fine wire mesh minimizes the likelihood of a pattern imprinting on the back of the clay.

You can cut squares or rectangles of mesh to the desired size with wire cutters (or buy a piece that has been cut to a convenient size, which is more convenient but also more expensive for the same amount of mesh). 304 stainless steel mesh sheet, 20 x 20 mesh with a 0.0016" wire diameter and 46% open area, is a good choice.

To make a drying rack, lay the wire mesh over an open frame (or raise the edges with stacks of thickness spacers, the type used to roll out metal clay) or make a drying shelf by grasping each corner of the mesh at a 45-degree angle with parallel pliers and bending it down 90 degrees, thereby creating four "feet."

Air Drying on Nonstick Sheet

Another option is to place your metal clay piece or component on a piece of nonstick sheet. After one side is dry, flip the piece over and allow the other side to dry.

Another tip I learned from Celie Fago is to roll out the clay on the nonstick sheet, cut out the shape, and take care not to lift or loosen it from the nonstick sheet when you remove the excess clay from around the shape you just cut. The surface tension between the clay and the subtle texture of the nonstick sheet helps them remain fully in contact as the clay dries, which helps to minimize warping.

I find it works best if you tape the edges of the nonstick sheet to the work surface to keep it as smooth and flat as possible as the clay dries and shrinks. Let the top of the clay dry as much as possible before flipping over the piece to allow the reverse side to dry.

When choosing a nonstick sheet, you can use the type made for lining food dehydrator trays, baking pans, or ovens, or the ones made specifically for craft use, as long as the sheets are very thin, and the surface is very smooth. For example, Silpat and similar nonstick surfaces will leave a woven texture on the back of fresh clay. (Of course, you might like the texture for certain pieces!)

I recommend cutting large nonstick sheets into smaller squares or rectangles that make it easier to move or transport your pieces. I also cut some of my nonstick sheet into circles and squares to fit into the flat heating surfaces of my two cup warmers, which I sometimes use for very small, fairly thin pieces, such as charms or small components.

Using an Electric Cup Warmer or Hotplate

If you need to dry a metal clay piece quickly—especially something flat, small, and fairly thin—you can place it on a piece of nonstick sheet on an electric cup warmer (also called a mug warmer or candle warmer) or a hotplate. However, because the surface of the clay touching the warmer will dry very quickly, you'll need to turn the piece over every minute or two, at least for the first 5 minutes or so, to try to heat both sides as evenly as possible to minimize warping or cracking.

The reason clay tends to warp when dried on a cup warmer is that the surface of the clay that is touching the heated surface dries quickly and shrinks (because the moisture has been driven out and evaporated by the heat, and the metal and binder particles are compacted.

The rest of the clay (especially if it is thick) hasn't yet dried and shrunk. Visualize a clay slab, and then imagine what would happen if just the bottom surface shrank: the clay that had not yet shrunk (or shrunk as much as the bottom) would start to dome slightly, i.e., warp.

For flat pieces, after you heat the first side for a minute (which will firm up the surface of that side enough to protect the texture), flip it over with a flat metal spatula and press the spatula against the piece for 5 to 10 seconds to keep the piece flat while the other side firms up. Continue to flip and press about once per minute until the clay is dry all the way through to the center. The amount of time will depend primarily on the thickness of the clay.

When you think the clay is thoroughly dry, move the piece from the warmer to a mirror and let it sit for between 5 and 20 seconds, depending on the thickness of the piece. Lift the clay and immediately check for any cloudiness on the mirror. If you see any cloudiness, it's condensation from moisture that's still in the clay, so dry the piece a while longer.

You can also allow the clay to cool completely and then hold it against your chin. If it feels cool, it isn't dry all the way through.

Note: These tests are not infallible, especially for thick pieces, but they do provide a helpful indicator. When in doubt, dry your piece longer than you think you need to!

Combining Drying Methods: The Best of All Worlds

As I explained at the beginning of this article, choosing a drying method for metal clay involves a trade-off between drying a piece quickly and drying it evenly. However, in some cases, using a combination of drying methods can help you strike a balance between speed and drying evenness.

For example, you might start by air drying the clay (on a piece of foam sheet or stainless steel mesh, or in a dehydrator or drying box) until the entire piece is mostly dry, then move it to an electric hotplate or cup warmer to drive out any remaining moisture.

Tip: Even if you have air-dried your piece until you think it's thoroughly dry, it's good insurance to place it on an electric cup warmer for a minute or two (or longer, for thick pieces), just as extra insurance against possible warping, blisters or craters developing during firing.

Questions & Answers

Question: Roughly how long does metal clay take to air dry?

Answer: It depends on a combination of factors, such as how moist the clay is, how thick the clay is, how large your piece is, how much lubricant you used, how dry or humid the environment is, the temperature of the room in which you are drying your piece, how porous or solid the drying surface is, etc.

Question: My kiln isn't ready yet but I have all my tools and I am eager to start making something. Can I make a piece out of flex clay and leave it to dry for more than a week before firing it?

Answer: Yes, once you have finished your piece and it is ready to be fired, you can set it aside for a long time before firing it. While I haven’t done this with flex clay specifically, I have made pieces with PMC fine silver clay that I fired successfully more than a year later.

Question: How long should PMC dry in a food dehydrator?

Answer: It depends on how thick, long and wide your clay piece is. A thin, small charm might only need 30 minutes, whereas a thicker, larger piece might need an hour or even two. A good way to determine whether your piece is thoroughly dry is to use the mirror test I described in this article.

© 2010 Margaret Schindel

Was This Information About Drying Metal Clay Helpful? Do You Have Any Other Metal Clay Drying Tips to Share?

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 10, 2019:

Great tip for other readers. Thanks!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 10, 2019:

No, I would advise against it. Silica would accelerate drying the exterior, causing warping.

Himali Dias on December 09, 2019:

I have used Silica Gel to dry flowers before it works well because silica absorbs the moisture faster than the air. If you place the piece on a foam and place Silica Gel beads around do you think it will work on drying silver clay pieces as well?

Ebzoo on November 17, 2019:

I recently bought an electric griddle (Presto brand "Liddle Griddle") and dedicated it for drying metal clay. The small size ( 8.5"x10.5") is perfect for drying several items at a time. Since it has no sides it is easy to scoop up any dried fragile items with a thin, flexible spatula.

Jan Osher on February 14, 2019:

Thank you!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 07, 2019:

Hi Jan, if your copper clay pendants have been breaking, they're definitely not fully sintered, I always kiln fire base metal clay (and silver clay 99% of the time), so I can't advise you on torch firing copper clay. I suggest you ask the clay manufacturer or supplier to help you achieve full sintering with a torch. Best of luck!

Jan Osher on February 07, 2019:

I've had great (fun) success with silver clay but my copper pendants have been breaking after firing. I follow the instructions for torch firing and bring it up to glowing, etc. Are they not completely sintering (under-fired)? or do they break because they are over-fired? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jan Osher on January 15, 2019:

Thanks, again, for sharing your advice and knowledge! In joy - Jan

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 15, 2019:

Rio Grande no longer sells ring cores, although they do sell sterling silver rings with a channel that could be filled with metal clay. However, rings should be fired at the longest/hottest firing schedule and fabricated sterling silver would degrade at that temperature for a prolonged time. Fine silver ring cores, such as those sold on the Metal Clay & Crafted Findings site, are designed specifically for this purpose and are used by covering the ring core with a layer of paste (no need to let it dry) and then adding a layer of low-shrinkage silver clay (such as Art Clay Silver or PMC 3). Cool Tools also sells sterling silver ring cores designed to be fired with metal clay. You would need to contact them for more information.

Jan Osher on January 15, 2019:

I know this is off subject (perhaps you've discussed this before) but, as a beginner, I have lots of questions. Is it possible to fire metal clay onto the "ring cores" sold by some of the supply sites (such as Rio Grande). If I, lightly, covered a ring core in metal clay paste and left to dry, can metal clay embellishment be fired onto it? If not, how are the ring cores used? Thank you!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 11, 2019:

My pleasure, Jan!

Jan Osher on January 11, 2019:

Thank you SO much for your swift response and for your generosity in sharing your knowledge! In Joy - Jan

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 11, 2019:

Hi Jan, great question! Dried metal clay (not just PMC but any brand, formula and metal) can sit around indefinitely before firing. For example, many metal clay artists use bits of clay left over at the end of a work session to make little balls or other small components, then let them dry and store them in a small, covered jar or other container to use as decorative design elements in future projects. In certain situations it can be advantageous to make different parts/components of a design separately (over a period of time, if you wish) and then join the dried parts and fire. (This method is known as “dry construction”.) If you are firing in a kiln, you can complete several pieces over a period of days, weeks or months and then kiln-fire them all together to optimize your electricity usage.

Jan Osher on January 11, 2019:

Wonderful tips! I'm new to PMC (perfect Christmas gift) and am reading everything I can find on the subject. One question about drying... how long can a textured, dried piece sit before it has to be fired? I know most are in a hurry for things to dry which brought to mind the opposite scenario. Can a piece be left for day? weeks? Just curious. Thanks!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 05, 2019:

Angie, I’m so glad this article is helpful to you. It’s very common to experience warping if you dry metal clay with heat, because the outside surface dries and shrinks before the center. Knowing this can help you avoid or manage the warping.

Angie B on January 05, 2019:

I have been struggling with my clay pieces warping, especially larger pieces. Your article and advice are greatly appreciated. I can’t wait to try them!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 11, 2015:

Lorelei, thank you so much for your wonderful feedback. Clay is a wonderfully tactile material and being able to manipulate metal in a malleable, clay-like form really does allow us to tap back into the creativity we all are born with but can sometimes lose touch with in adulthood. :)

Lorelei Cohen on February 11, 2015:

You truly are a wealth of helpful information. I lived in a community as a child where the soil had huge section of clay within it. I remember my dad showing us how to mold and set our creations in the sun to dry. How times have changed. So much easier now.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 07, 2014:

@sierradawn lm: My pleasure, Sierradawn!

sierradawn lm on January 06, 2014:

I am appreciating your helpful tips and tutorials on working with metal clay! Thank you so very much for sharing them!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 15, 2013:

@oddobjective: Thanks very much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

oddobjective on April 14, 2013:

Really informative and well written lens. Metal clay is very intriguing and makes beautiful jewelry. Great job!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 26, 2012:

@designsbyharriet: Hi Harriet - Lucky you! :) There's no "official" correct temperature setting for metal clay. However, if you have the patience, I would set it at its lowest setting to allow the clay to dry as close to the same rate throughout as possible. This will minimize warping and hairline cracks that can occur if you dry the pieces too quickly. The main advantage of the Excalibur dehydrators are that they are able to maintain very even and efficient air circulation and very even temperature, and the mesh is small enough so that most metal clay pieces shouldn't drop through the holes. By drying on the mesh rather than on nonstick sheet (unless you are trying to keep a piece very flat and have not lifted it off the nonstick sheet after you rolled out the clay), the air can circulate on all sides, which enables very even drying. I hope this helps!

Harriet from Indiana on December 26, 2012:

At what temperature do you set the dehydrator for drying pmc3? I just received an Excalibur for the holidays and would love to use it correctly.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on November 11, 2012:

@TransplantedSoul: I'm so glad to hear it! Be forwarned, it can be very addictive! ;)

TransplantedSoul on November 11, 2012:

I'm just back for more reading about the metal clay. I still have not taken the plunge yet, but am fascinated.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 07, 2012:

@anonymous: Hi Benjamin,

Actually, I have recommended air-drying the clay, preferably on a piece of fine-celled foam, although a piece of nonstick sheet (e.g., Teflon) or a sheet of plastic, such as a page protector/page sleeve from a stationery store, will work if you carefully turn over the clay when the exposed portion is dry and allow the bottom to finish drying. I assume you are planning to torch-fire the clay with a large-capacity butane torch on a soldering board or fire brick, if no electricity will be available.

anonymous on August 07, 2012:

Hi ya, many thanks for posting this as I am fully researching techniques to use on PMC3. I have seen all the ways to dry clay however, I am a live action roleplayer and most of the methods here require electricity something not in character or available in a field. I was wondering, do you think that by using an oil burner, a ceramic dish (like terracotta pots etc) and some non stick paper would work to dry the clay? I guess it would take more time than a hotplate/mug warmer but it would be more in keeping. Thanks in advance!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on July 01, 2012:

@anonymous: You're very welcome, Caron! I'm delighted that you found this information so helpful. :)

anonymous on July 01, 2012:

Thank you so much Margaret! This is an awesome amount of information, based on this I have just bought my first dehydrator, can't afford the EXcalibur just yet but will aim for this in the future.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on May 03, 2012:

@Redneck Lady Luck: Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! ! I hope you do get a chance to look at the rest of my lenses in this series on metal clay - I think you'll enjoy them. :)

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 03, 2012:

You must know your craft very well to understand what items can be substituted in your work area. I am going to have to check out your other articles because I have never heard of metal clay before visiting here. It's amazing what I learn as I visit on Squidoo.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 30, 2012:

@julieannbrady: Hi Julie, thanks so much for stopping by, and for SquidLiking this lens! :) Working with metal clay is just amazing. As far as I know, no one has manufactured a dehydrator specifically for drying metal clay. There's no real unmet need to be filled because the ones designed for drying food - especially the Excalibur brand - do a great job already. On the other hand, if a food dehydrator is being used to dry metal clay pieces, I recommend getting a second one (or at least a separate set of trays/racks) to use with food. Thanks again! It's great to see you.

julieannbrady on March 30, 2012:

Drying in a food dehydrator? That's a cool use ... is there actually a metal clay dehydrator? Quite an interesting craft, this is.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 05, 2012:

@Countryluthier: So glad you're finding my metal clay lenses helpful! :)

E L Seaton from Virginia on February 04, 2012:

I am starting to soak up some interesting aspects of the metal clay thing. Thanks!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 20, 2011:

@zein12: Thank you for the lovely compliment! :)

zein12 on December 20, 2011:

i'm a new squidoo and i see this give me inspiration..

refael24 on December 04, 2011:

nice lens , check out mine lens too and like it