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Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and Art Clay Silver and Gold

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

An introduction to precious metal clay (PMC, Art Clay Silver and Gold, etc.) for jewelry making by Margaret Schindel

An introduction to precious metal clay (PMC, Art Clay Silver and Gold, etc.) for jewelry making by Margaret Schindel

Gold and Silver Jewelry You Can Design and Create Yourself!

Are you interested in working with precious metal clay (PMC, Art Clay Silver, PMC Gold, Art Clay Gold, Aura 22, etc.) or in buying jewelry or other items created with metal clay? This page will introduce you to this remarkable jewelry-making material and my recommendations for some of the best metal clay artists, teachers, projects, resources and information available online.

What Is Gold or Silver Precious Metal Clay?

Gold or silver metal clay is made up of particles of precious metal — pure silver or gold or a precious metal alloy such as sterling silver or 22k gold — held together with water and an organic binder to give it a malleable, clay-like consistency that can be impressed with texture, carved, sculpted, drilled, sawn and manipulated with various other methods and techniques to arrive at the desired form and texture.

The precious metal clay object is allowed to air dry naturally or is dried with a dehydrator or applied heat, such as a cup warmer, to allow the water to evaporate. Once dried, the metal clay jewelry or other decorative or functional object is fired at a high temperature with a torch or in a kiln, during which time any remaining traces of water evaporate and the binder combusts and burns off. What is left is just the precious metal, either fine silver (.999 silver, which is 99.9% silver), sterling silver (which is 92.5% silver) or 22K gold. PMC Pro, which is 90% silver and 10% copper (.900 silver), is considered coin silver and is not strictly a precious metal, although it is branded by Mistubishi as PMC (Precious Metal Clay). Both PMC Pro and sterling silver clay need to be fired in activated carbon to prevent oxidation from forming during the firing process that would prevent sintering or fusing of the metal particles. You can also mix equal parts of fine silver and sterling silver clay to get enriched sterling clay, AKA 960 sterling (which is .960 silver).

Metal clay—both precious metal clay and base metal clay types and formulas—allows the artist extraordinary creativity because it can be formed into nearly any shape you desire. It can be molded, shaped by hand, cut, extruded via syringe, painted onto a form, and more. It can be embedded with certain natural and synthetic gemstones (either faceted or cabochon stones) and settings can be created for gems and other stones that cannot withstand the heat needed to fire the metal clay and need to be set after firing. This particular lens will focus on precious metal clay. To learn more about bronze metal clay, please visit my comprehensive articles on BRONZclay, BRONZclay Tools and Supplies and Bronze Metal Clay.

As a certified PMC artist, handcrafted jewelry designer and Senior Editor and Technical Editor of Metal Clay Artist Magazine (now Cre8tiveFire online), I have done a great deal of personal experimentation and research on metal clay. I have gathered and exchanged ideas and information with some of the world's top metal clay artists, teachers, authors and suppliers. I'm sharing the majority of this information in my series of metal clay articles (which originally were published on Squidoo) here on Feltmagnet as a way of giving back to the metal clay community, which includes some of the most knowledgeable, supportive and generous people it has been my privilege to know.

~ Margaret Schindel

Silver and Gold Metal Clay Brands, Formulas, and Forms

In addition to the two original brands of gold and silver precious metal clay, Art Clay and PMC, several newer brands of silver have been introduced, including MetalMagic and Aussie Metal Clays, among others. Metal Clay Brands and Formulas describes the precious metal products from Art Clay and PMC, including the key similarities and differences between formulas, comparable vs. unique products and formulas, and the key characteristics and most suitable uses of each.

Forms of Metal Clay: Lump, Slip, Syringe and Paper

Silver and gold metal clay comes in four basic forms: lump clay, syringe clay, slip AKA paste, and paper AKA sheet. Forms of Metal Clay describes the key characteristics of these four different forms and the typical/most suitable uses for each of them.

In general, it's best to use the densest form of clay you can (i.e., the one with the highest metal content/lowest shrinkage) for the application you're using it for. Lump clay is densest, very thick slip (AKA paste) is the next most dense, followed by syringe and then thin slip. So for attachments or repairs, in particular, while many artists use syringe, using thin snakes of lump clay will provide stronger joins.

Some of the basic metal clay tools and supplies.

Some of the basic metal clay tools and supplies.

Metal Clay Materials, Tools, Supplies and Equipment

Very little in the way of tools, supplies and equipment are needed to begin working with precious metal clay. Basically you need the following:

  • A smooth, flat, non-porous work surface, such as a sheet of window glass (not automotive glass) or a smooth, glazed porcelain tile
  • A piece of smooth nonstick sheet
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cup of water
  • Synthetic bristle paint brush
  • Clay roller (you can use anything from a commercial clay roller to a 6" to 9" length of brass tubing or PVC pipe)
  • Appropriate lubricant (I prefer olive oil)
  • Rolling spacers (playing cards, strips of card stock, etc.)
  • Something to cut with (a craft knife, pin tool, or even a sewing needle glued firmly into a handle, such as baked and drilled polymer clay or even a wine cork)
  • Something to fire your pieces with (for small-to-medium sized pieces of fine silver metal clay that aren't too thick, a simple butane kitchen torch will do just fine; for larger, thicker and/or very dimensional pieces or pieces made from sterling silver or coin silver clay formulas you'll need an electric kiln with a programmable controller)
  • Something to fire on (a firebrick or a piece of Solderite board set on a heatproof and flameproof surface if you are torch firing, or a kiln shelf if you are kiln firing).

While you can do quite a bit with just these basic tools, supplies and equipment, if you decide you love working with metal clay you'll no doubt want to add to these to give you more options. For a comprehensive look at what else you might want, my guide to Metal Clay Materials, Tools, Supplies and Equipment provides my personal recommendations for the elements of a well-stocked, basic metal clay tool kit as well as supplemental items that you may want to add over time to allow you to use specific techniques or work faster, easier, more efficiently and more effectively.

Fine silver kimono charm by Margaret Schindel. Made from PMC metal clay with 24k gold keum-boo on the obi and an iridescent LOS patina, suspended from a sterling silver jump ring.

Fine silver kimono charm by Margaret Schindel. Made from PMC metal clay with 24k gold keum-boo on the obi and an iridescent LOS patina, suspended from a sterling silver jump ring.

PMC and Art Clay Silver (and Other Metal Clay) Workshops, Specialty Classes and Certification Classes

Finding an Instructor, Class, Workshop or Certification Course

As metal clay grows in popularity, there are more and more opportunities to take classes of all kinds. You may want to start by checking your local adult education programs and bead shops - many now offer affordably-priced classes and workshops in metal clay.

Many metal clay artists are also instructors, and most provide class schedules on their sites See my lists of recommended Metal Clay Artists and Metal Clay Instructors, below, for some of my favorites.

Online Classes

There are several excellent sources of online metal clay classes, including CraftArtEdu, CRAFTCAST and Craftsy. One of the benefits of taking an online class is that you can go at your own pace. Even live online classes, such as those on CRAFTCAST, come with video recordings of the class that you can download and refer to again and again. So any time you need a refresher, you can take one - in your pajamas, if you want. ;) Nearly all online classes also come with downloadable handouts..

Certification Classes

You don't need to be officially certified to teach metal clay classes, and you can benefit enormously from going through the certification training even if you never intend to teach.

Art Clay World sponsors metal clay certifications and offer highly structured training programs in which students must complete successfully a series of projects designed to develop and demonstrate proficiency in specific skills and techniques. Rio Grande has discontinued its Rio Rewards certification program and, sadly, PMC Connection has closed its doors.

Art Clay World divides its certification into Level One and Senior Level curricula. Classes are limited in size to ensure that each student receives individual attention, and are taught by some of the world's foremost metal clay artists and instructors.

Most of the techniques you learn in an Art Clay Silver certification class will also be applicable to PMC and other brands of silver and gold clay, as some will be transferable to base metal clay formulas.

The Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery in the UK also has an acclaimed, brand-neutral Diploma in Silver Metal Clay Proficiency program that is far more comprehensive than any of the metal clay certification programs and incorporates traditional jewelry making skills to provide a thorough, professional grounding and credential.

Here are some good places to find metal clay classes near you, from beginner workshops to certification class schedules, from Art Clay certification classes to the MCSJ Diploma courses.

  • Art Clay Instructors in North America
    This page provides a list of Art Clay Instructors located in North America who are actively teaching.
  • Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery (CSACJ)
    UK-based Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery was co-founded by talented metal clay artist and teacher Julia Rai and Marion Wilson. CSACJ offers a very wide range of excellent metal clay classes as well as private instruction.
    Alison Lee hosts a large number of top artists who present 90-minute live, online classes in their specialty techniques. Metal clay instructors have included luminaries such as Wanaree Tanner, Holly Gage, Celie Fago and Patrik Kusek, among others.
  • Craftsy
    Craftsy offers online classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cooking, cake decorating, painting, photography, jewelry making and other crafts. Includes HD video lessons, handouts, a mobile app, and a class forum with the teacher and other students.
  • Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery (MCSJ)
    MCSJ is an outstanding school offering high quality classes in jewelry techniques and materials, including an extensive metal clay curriculum. Founded and directed by respected artist, instructor, and Saul Bell Award Finalist Lisa Cain.

Professional Metal Clay Guilds and Organizations

Prior to discontinuing its operations after the June 2012 PMC Conference, the PMC Guild was the official professional and educational organization for Mitsubishi's PMC (Precious Metal Clay) products. Art Clay World is the equivalent organization for Aida's Art Clay products. Now that the PMC Guild has ceased operations and Art Clay World announced that it no longer will be sponsoring a biennial Metal Clay World Conference, the metal clay education and conference landscape is changing.

Two artist-run biennial conferences focus on techniques and sharing of best practices and take place on alternating years. Metal Clay Mojo takes place in odd years (e.g., 2015) and Metal Clay by the Bay takes place in even years (e.g., 2016).

  • AMCAW - Alliance for Metal Clay Arts Worldwide
    AMCAW’s mission is to encourage a flourishing international metal clay community by nurturing artistic and instructional excellence and providing resources to inspire, engage and support artists of all levels. Brand-agnostic!
  • Art Clay Silver Official Site (in Japanese)
    A content-rich site that obviously has a ton of great information. Unfortunately for non Japanese language readers, the machine translations I got by using the Google Translate tool were poor and it was frustrating to try to decipher, but worth it.
  • Art Clay World, Tokyo, Japan (in English)
    Far less content than the full, "official" Japanese language site, there still is a lot of good, basic information, and the English translations are excellent.
  • Metal Clay by the Bay Conference
    This biennial conference in San Diego is run by jewelry artist Sheila Schwede, who describes it as "a convergence of Metal Clay Artists sharing and learning about all types of Metal Clay." It attracts presenters and attendees from around the world.
  • Archived PMC Guild Content on Rio Grande Site
    The PMC Guild promoted instruction, research, teaching and exhibition of Precious Metal Clay between 1997 and 2012. Rio Grande hosts most of the archived content. Enter "PMC" in the search bar and select Articles and Videos from the pulldown menu.

Great Metal Clay Information and Education Resources

These are sites I personally recommend to learn more about working with metal clay.

  • Care and Feeding of Your Paragon SC Kiln (Pam East)
    Pam East's excellent article covers several key maintenance issues with troubleshooting tips that will help you keep your Paragon SC-series kiln in good working order for many years.
  • Cool Tools Learning Center
    The Learning Center on Cool Tools has fabulous information including PMC: The Magic Clay, The Metal Clay Toolbox, detailed firing guides for silver and bronze clay, a kiln buyer's guide and excellent video demos and tutorials by Mardel Rein.
  • Enameling on Fine Silver Metal Clay
    This article from the Ganoskin jewelry site includes Excerpts from the book "Enameling with Professionals" by Jean Vormelker. It gives detailed instructions for embellishing your newly-created fine silver pieces with enamels.
  • Getting Started With PMC (Tim McCreight)
    A great overview of PMC and a good place to start if you're new to working with PMC. Tim McCreight explains the basics briefly but very clearly.
  • Metal Clay Academy
    The Metal Clay Academy is an online resource that aims "to provide comprehensive and independent information and resources for anyone interested in finding out about metal clay." Lots of wonderful information on a huge range of topics.
  • Tim McCreight Answers Common Kiln Questions
    This article on the Ganoksin site by internationally renowned metalsmithing and metal clay guru Tim McCreight will be extremely helpful to anyone who is trying to decide whether to buy a kiln for metal clay work, how to choose one, and much more.

The vast majority of these sites are ones I've personally done business with and can recommend without reservation.

There also are a few international suppliers with whom I have not done business personally, but whose sites are easy to use, helpful, and offer good product selections, and that are run by people whose knowledge and experience I respect.

  • Art Clay World USA
    Jackie Truty, author of the excellent book "Art Clay Silver and Gold," is president of Art Clay World USA. She offers a wonderful selection of Art Clay Silver and Gold products and related precious metal clay tools, supplies, books and videos.
  • Contenti
    Contenti carries Art Clay Silver products, a very nice selection of hand tools and finishing supplies including 24k gold foil for keum-boo and Accent Gold for Silver (AGS), firing equipment, UV resin and jewelry making tools.
  • Cool Tools
    In addition to selling PMC, Art Clay and Metal Adventures bronze clay and copper clay as well as Goldie Bronze and Hadar's Clay metal clay powder, Cool Tools also sells many products developed by founder Mardel Rein. The textures here are fabulous!
  • Fire Mountain Gems
    Fire Mountain Gems carries an enormous selection of jewelry supplies. They carry PMC (including 22k Gold PMC), Art Clay, FASTfire BRONZclay, BRONZclay and COPPRclay, as well as cubic zirconia, metal clay tools, supplies, kits, books, videos and more.
  • Gem Resources International
    Shirley offers a great selection of faceted and cabochon natural and lab-created gemstones and cubic zirconia (CZ) stones, many of which can be fired in the kiln. Her prices are unbeatable and she's a pleasure to work with. Shirley asked Judi Weers t
  • Metal Clay Alchemist (formerly Art Clay Canada)
    Talented metal clay artist and instructor Carrie Steele and her partners carry the largest selection of tools, materials and clays in the Canadian market, including Art Clay, PMC, Metal Adventures and Hadar's Clay products.
  • Metal Clay Findings
    MCF offers a large selection of fine silver (.999 silver) and sterling silver findings that can be embedded in and fired with silver metal clay and/or used in conjunction with fired metal clay. The Crafted Findings line includes a riveting tool.
  • Metal Clays
    Israeli-born jewelry designer Liad Wischnia-Nemeth and her husband David Nemeth sell metal clay, tools and supplies at discounted prices, plus their own proprietary tools such as bead builders and bezel builders and their own MetalMagic brand clay.
  • Rings & Things
    Rings & Things carries Art Clay and PMC, products, BRONZclay, FASTfire BRONZclay, COPPRclay, embeddable findings and a growing selection of metal clay tools, supplies and equipment (including kilns and torches), plus gemstone beads and findings.
  • Rio Grande
    Rio Grande sells the full range of PMC silver and gold clays as well as BRONZclay and COPPRclay, and a wide variety of metal clay tools and supplies. They carry a huge selection of gemstones, beads, metal, findings, and jewelry tools and equipment.

Metal Clay Artists

Be Inspired by the Work of Some of the World's Top Metal Clay Artists

There are many, many incredibly talented and creative metal clay artists around the globe whose work I admire, far too many for me to be able to list on this page, unfortunately. (I wish I could include them all!) Following are links to the work of a representative selection of some of my favorite metal clay jewelry artists that will provide you with eye candy and inspiration.

  • Lorena Angulo
    Lorena Angulo is an extremely talented and prolific metal clay artist and instructor whose designs are heavily influenced by the folk art of her native Mexico. Her beautiful and distinctive art has been exhibited in museums and galleries.
  • Lisa Barth
    Lisa has a marvelous sense of line and proportion and her designs are wonderfully harmonious and flowing. Most include bezel set gemstones and natural themes.She is the author of excellent books "Designing From the Stone" and "Timeless Wire Weaving".
  • Lisa Cain
    Lisa runs the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery and is a Metal Clay Master II and an extraordinary, award-winning jewelry artist. You can view samples of her work on the MCSJ site.
  • Ann Davis
    Ann is a multi-talented, multimedia jewelry artist, teacher, author and owner of the wonderful La Ruche Davis teaching studio. She works not only in metal clay but also in traditional metalsmithing techniques, electroforming, glass, enamel and wax.
  • Celie Fago
    Celie is one of the metal clay community's original pioneers and she continues to innovate. Her elegant designs are extremely detailed, finely crafted and often include color from polymer clay, 24k gold keum-boo accents, acrylic paint and patinas.
  • Joy Funnell
    Joy is an award-winning artist who creates wonderful jewelry that combines silver metal clay with transparent enamels and dichroic glass. Many of her pieces also include her unusual, handcrafted silver chains. Her silver masks are stunning.
  • Holly Gage
    Holly is an extraordinarily talented and innovative metal clay artist. Her work is extremely detailed and beautifully designed and crafted. Many pieces include gemstones, crystalline titanium and graceful sculptural elements.
  • Beverly Gallerani
    Bev is best known for her wonderfully detailed and textured sea-themed metal clay jewelry with molded shells and colorful iridescent patinas. She often incorporates gemstones or her own dichroic glass cabochons into her metal clay designs.
  • Liz Potter Hall
    Award winning jewelry artist Liz Hall has a distinctive, whimsical style featuring organic and geometric silver clay frames and bezels filled with colorful, intricately patterned polymer clay inlays including faux wood and iridescent faux opal.
  • Vickie Hallmark
    Vickie is an award winning jewelry artist who works in a variety of media including metal clay, glass, fiber. Her enamel on metal clay pieces are lovely, and she is best known for her bird-themed designs and metal clay-Argentium wire combinations.
  • Lora Hart
    Lora is a tremendously inventive and talented jewelry artist who combines metal clay with found objects to create pieces rich in personal, world and natural history. She often breathes new life into ordinary items by embellishing them creatively.
  • Trish Jeffers-Zeh
    Trish is a prolific creator for whom creating art is a process to support physical, mental and spiritual growth. Her work marries metal clay with glass, ceramics and precious stones in graceful, evocative, organic designs.
  • Jennifer Kahn
    Jen is an innovative artist who combines metal clay with gemstones, wire, feathers, textiles, and whatever other media catch her fancy. Her large turquoise cabochon necklaces bezel set in textured silver clay are extraordinary statement pieces.
  • Linda Kaye-Moses
    Linda is an extraordinary jeweler and metalsmith whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. She creates unique jewelry communicating narrative and focusing on the power of myth and adornment, often paired with "nesting cases" to display them.
  • Terry Kovalcik
    Terry Kovalcik is one of the most talented metal clay artists and instructors around, and a master at carving. His carved, vertical vessel lockets and acorn “ditties,” as he calls them, are some of my favorite metal clay jewelry designs.
  • Patrik Kusek
    Award-winning artist Patrik Kusek is the author of "Woodland Chic: Metal Clay Jewelry as Nature Intended". His work is inspired by nature, antiques and diverse sources. He describes his approach as "curating objects, concepts, attitudes and memories.
  • Helga van Leipsig
    Helga is a renowned, Netherlands-based award-winning artist whose inspiration comes from nature. A lot of her work involves adhering or embedding squares or dots of silver clay sheet into lump metal clay structures with evocative patterns.
  • Anna Mazoń
    Polish artist Anna Mazoń must have "fairy fingers" to create her delicate, intricate metal clay flowers, vines, leaves, ferns, berries, twigs, acorns, and other tiny gemstone adorned forms inspired by nature, ancient cultures and literature.
  • Tim McCreight
    Tim is a designer, teacher, prolific author, publisher, silversmith and metal clay pioneer. His PMC jewelry and functional objects features clean, thoughtful, elegant and often deceptively simple designs and flawless craftsmanship.
  • Christine Kramer Norton
    Christine's metal clay jewelry is truly exceptional. Her designs are bold, striking and sensuous, combining metal clay with gemstones and her handcrafted chain maille. She complements and contrasts shapes, textures, colors and finishes artfully.
  • Julia Rai
    Julia's work is exquisite and often incorporates traditional metalworking techniques, gold, gemstones, glass, resin and enamel. This link shows the 40 projects she submitted that earned her the prestigious Metal Clay Masters Registry IV credential.
  • Barbara Becker Simon
    Barbara is a wildly talented jewelry artist. She makes hollow lampworked glass beads over textured silver metal clay cores, hollow silver beads and links with detailed original textures and invisible seams and glass and silver Maltese cross pendants.
  • Sabine Alienor Singery
    Sabine is an extremely talented metal clay artist whose beautiful jewelry usually centers around musical and retro/ancient themes. Her designs are graceful and elegant and often feature filigree or openwork elements and regal stone settings.
  • Jennifer Smith-Righter
    Jennifer is a multi award-winning jewelry artist whose precise, detailed, one-of-a-kind designs often are inspired by nature and/or mechanical objects. Her formal education in both art and architecture are evident in her sstunning work.
  • Ivy Solomon (AKA Ivy Woodrose)
    Saul Bell award-winning designer Ivy Solomon designs intricate, sometimes whimsical jewelry made with sterling silver frames embellished with fired PMC, colored with tinted epoxy resin and filled with clear resin. Her work is truly stunning!
  • Wanaree Tanner
    Wanaree is an incredibly talented, prolific and innovative artist and a wonderful, highly sought after teacher. Her metal clay jewelry is characterized by intricate, layered textures, complex construction, harmonious design and sustainable stones.
  • Jackie Truty
    Jackie is an Art Clay Master Instructor and the President of Art Clay World, USA. Her books "Art Clay Silver and Gold" (and its companion video) and "Metal Clay: The Complete Guide" are terrific. She has been featured on numerous television programs. (Please use the "Art Clay World - class descriptions, instructors and calendar" link above to find Jackie's classes.)
  • Gordon K. Uyehara
    Gordon is a multi-award-winning, world renowned jewelry artist and author of the excellent book "Metal Clay Fusion." He is currently taking a break from live teaching for personal reasons but has recorded several online classes on CraftArtEdu.

Metal Clay Instructors

There are so many wonderfully gifted metal clay instructors around the world that I wish I had space to list them all! Since I can't, following are links to just some of the best and most respected metal clay teachers, in alphabetical order.

  • Alice Alper-Rein
    Alice has been teaching jewelry making for more than 25 years. She taught metal clay certification courses for many years and continues to teach metal clay classes in various techniques in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area.
  • Lisa Cain
    Lisa is an award winning artist and the founder and director of the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery and has earned the Masters Registry II credential. MCSJ has an outstanding reputation for superior educational experiences and top instructors.
  • Pam East
    Pam East is a fabulous enamelist and a certified Master Instructor in Art Clay Silver. She has written articles in numerous publications and is the author of "Enameling on Metal Clay." In 2014 she published two comprehensive DVDs on the subject.
  • Celie Fago
    Celie is a world renowned polymer clay and metal clay instructor and pioneer, an amazing artist, a trained metalsmith, and an an extraordinarily talented jewelry designer. She is one of the top metal clay artists and teachers in the world.
  • Holly Gage
    Holly offers wonderful workshops as well as business, creative and technical mentoring for jewelry artists. She's a superb teacher who really engages her students.
  • Lora Hart
    Lora is a PMCC- and Rio Rewards-certified metal clay instructor who designs fabulous, historically inspired precious metal clay jewelry and art objects. She teaches a variety of metal clay workshops and creative and business mentoring (mentorials).
  • Judy Haupin
    Judy teaches PMC classes in Brookline and Haverhill, Massachusetts. She offers introductory, project-based and technique-based metal clay classes as well as open workshops that include the cost of firing.
  • Hadar Jacobson
    Innovative, award-winning metal clay artist and author Hadar Jacobson has published wonderful instructional articles on metal clay numerous publications, is author of metal clay books, developed Hadar's Clay and is a sought-after metal clay teacher.
  • Patrik Kusek
    Patrik is a highly respected, innovative jewelry artist and instructor who teaches in his studio in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationwide. He is the author of the book "Woodland Chic" and also offers metal clay classes online on CRAFTCAST.
  • Donna Lewis
    Donna is an award-winning metal clay artist and teacher based in Arizona. She teaches metal clay classes in her studio and at major conferences including Bead Fest and Bead&Button. She's also the inventor of the excellent LiL BeLLA clay humidifie
  • Marissa O'Brien
    Marissa is a delightful, energetic and multi-talented jewelry artist and instructor. She teaches a wide variety of metal clay techniques and projects in her classes and workshops in the greater Boston area
  • Kate Qualley Peterson
    Kate is a well-known metal clay artist and instructor who teaches a variety of metal clay classes in her home studio only. She also offers private one-on-one instruction. Her work is absolutely gorgeous!
  • Julia Rai
    Julia is an award winning jewelry artist, co-Director of the Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery, instructor at the London Jewellery School, Director of the Metal Clay Academy, Masters Registry Level IV, and on the staff of Metal Clay Artist.
  • Barbara Becker Simon
    Barbara Simon is a world-renowned, award-winning, innovative jewelry artist known equally well for her work in lampworked glass and metal clay and author of "Metal Clay Beads". She teaches in South Florida, at conferences nationwide and on CRAFTCAST.
  • Wanaree Tanner - MetalClay Arts Conservatory
    Wanaree Tanner is an award-winning and highly sought-after metal clay jewelry artist and instructor. Her work is incredibly detailed, intricate and stunning. She now offers online classes and live intensives through her MetalClay Arts Conservatory.

Metal Clay Projects

There are an increasing number of metal clay projects online. Many of them are free! However, some are better than others.

Here are some of my favorite metal clay projects for you to try. Whether you're a beginner looking for a quick and easy first project or an intermediate or advanced metal clay artist, you will find a project appropriate to your skill level. Enjoy!

  • Multi-Strand Necklace with Seed Pod Pendant
    The Fire Mountain Gems site offers this intermediate-to-advanced tutorial by Tammy Honaman for a graceful seed pod pendant hung on a multi-strand necklace. I suggest substituting vermiculite for the fiber blanket, which can a pose health hazard.
  • Dimensional Textured Earrings
    Patrik Kusek's excellent free project sheets for Aftosa provide clear, step-by-step instructions and excellent photos. This one shows you how to make simple but elegant earrings that are textured and curved over a drinking glass for more interest.
  • Water Etched Pendant
    Another project sheet by Patrik Kusek for Aftosa. This one shows you how to use the water etching technique to create a subtle "etched" texture on metal clay by applying a resist and then sponging away a layer of the surrounding clay.

Questions & Answers

Question: I live in Canton, MA, are there any beginners’ classes nearby besides Metalwerx?

Answer: Melanie Guerra is a photographer and jewelry artist who teaches in Needham and Dedham, MA, among other locations. You can contact her through her website, Dream Big Arts. I hope that helps!

Question: Do you know of any precious metal clay workshops located near La Crosse, Wisconsin?

Answer: Eclectica Beads in Brookfield, Wisconsin offers a variety of metal clay classes. Also, you might want to contact Cool Tools, which is also located in Wisconsin, for recommendations for local instructors.

© 2006 Margaret Schindel

Do You Have Experience Using Metal Clay or Are You a Silver Clay Newbie?

dijetu on July 31, 2017:

Thank you for this wonderful resource.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 02, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks so much for your lovely compliment! I'm delighted to have introduced you to this wonderful material.

anonymous on April 02, 2013:

I had not heard of this before, it's very interesting and such a complete lens on the subject, brilliant.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 07, 2013:

@grannysage: Thanks so much, Diane! That's really lovely and much appreciated! I'm off to take a loop at your copper enameling lens. That's something I've long wanted to try myself! :)

grannysage on March 07, 2013:

I decided to add this very informative lens about your special artform to my own copper enameling lens related lens section. I like that you referred to it as alchemy in a comment below. I feel that way about enameling too.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 27, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback! I'm delighted that you you're finding the information in this lens valuable. :)

anonymous on February 27, 2013:

Wonderful site, with unbelievable useful information all in one location - the best I've come across so far. Thank you for all your hard work - it is much appreciated and you are now added to my favourites.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 14, 2013:

@miaponzo: Yes, it's so magical it's almost like alchemy! :)

miaponzo on February 14, 2013:

Wow! I never realized that you could make real silver or gold jewelry this way! I thought it just looked that way!!!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 30, 2013:

@SusanDeppner: Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback, Susan! Much appreciated. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 30, 2013:

I'm with AstroGremlin - learned something very new here today. What an amazing resource!

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

@AstroGremlin: Thanks so much! I'm delighted that you found it so interesting. :)

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

@BlogsWriter: Thank you!

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

@BlogsWriter: Thanks! I'm glad you found it interesting. :)

AstroGremlin on December 24, 2012:

Had no idea what precious metal clay was until now. What a fantastic compendium of information.

BlogsWriter on December 24, 2012:

This is full of information and very interesting.

BlogsWriter on December 24, 2012:

This is full of information and very interesting.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 13, 2012:

@tonybonura: Thanks, Tony! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. :)

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on December 13, 2012:

I found this to be very interesting and very informative. When I was a mud engineer I worked with bentonite, but it is nothing like what you have described here.


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

@miaponzo: I'm so glad you found it interesting! Many thanks for the SquidAngel blessing. :)

miaponzo on September 30, 2012:

Thank you for this informative lens! Blessed!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 27, 2012:

@WriterJanis2: Thank you so much for your kind words and your blessings!

WriterJanis2 on August 23, 2012:

Wonderful lens that deserves a blessing.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on July 22, 2012:

@anonymous: My pleasure! I'm delighted that you found this lens interesting. :)

anonymous on July 22, 2012:

Okay, so now I know exactly where I will turn if I ever try my hands at this technique. Thank you!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on July 16, 2012:

@wecomparebooks: Thanks very much for the lovely compliment! :)

wecomparebooks on July 15, 2012:

Awesome lens!

Thank you for sharing!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on May 25, 2012:

@karMALZEKE: You're very welcome! I'm glad you found it useful. :)

karMALZEKE on May 25, 2012:

I have just recently learned about metal clay. Thank you for this lens; it is most helpful and informative!

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

@GOT LM: Thanks! I'm so glad to have been able to introduce you to metal clay. :)

GOT LM on May 11, 2012:

So unique and interesting!

sabrinadeceault on April 21, 2012:

@Margaret Schindel: No problem. I'm glad to share. :)


Sabrina de Ceault

handmade jewelry

sabrinadeceault on April 21, 2012:

@sabrinadeceault: My comment was broken so here is the fixed version. Sorry.

Metal Clay Supply is awesome I have purchased many things from there and will continue to do so.


Sabrina de Ceault

handmade jewelry

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 21, 2012:

@sabrinadeceault: Thanks for sharing your experience with them, Sabrina. They are among my favorite suppliers, too. :)

sabrinadeceault on April 20, 2012:

Metal Clay Supply is awesome I have purchased many things from there and will continue to do so.

Sabrina de Ceault

href="">handmade jewelry

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 06, 2012:

@anonymous: Wow, Dana, what a fabulous compliment! Thank you SO much! I really appreciate it.

anonymous on April 06, 2012:

Margaret, you have brought all of your ferocious attention to detail, passion for beauty, and love of teaching to this new world! Great stuff.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 19, 2012:

@Demaw: Thank you so much for your very kind compliments! They're much appreciated.

Demaw on March 19, 2012:

Lovely pieces, lovely pictures.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 16, 2012:

@tvyps: Thank you SO much for your lovely compliment and for blessing this lens! I have done a little lampworked glass and would love to try some glass fusing, especially with dichroic glass (my favorite!).

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on March 15, 2012:

Nice stuff! Very pretty. Do you do art glass also? Squid Angel blessed!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 09, 2012:

@getmoreinfo: Thanks for the lovely feedback! I invite you to visit my entire series of metal clay and jewelry making lenses at for more useful metal clay tips and techniques. :)

getmoreinfo on March 09, 2012:

This is a very useful resource, I have been wanting to add some precious metal pieces in my cardmaking designs. I will add this page to my collection.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 09, 2012:

@earthybirthymum: Thanks very much! It's true that this is not an inexpensive material, but it does allow you to make precious metal jewelry without a lot of traditional metal smithing skills, and more importantly it allows you to do things that would be difficult or even impossible with milled metals (wire and sheet metal). The good news is that there are base metal clays now that are far less expensive than silver clay! Most of them need to be fired in activated carbon and they are more finicky about their firing schedules than silver clay, but you can create some fabulous metal jewelry with them at a very reasonable cost. Check out my lens on Original BRONZclay ( for more information, and consider trying FASTfire BRONZclay for easier handling and a faster firing cycle. :)

earthybirthymum from Ontario, Canada on March 09, 2012:

Nice Lense, congratulations on your purple star! I've used PMC before, I'm not as enthusiastic about it, mostly because of the expense, but it is a medium I do enjoy working with.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 22, 2012:

@WindyWintersHubs: Wendy, I truly appreciate your congratulations, your kind compliments on my jewelry designs, your good wishes and your SquidAngel blessing. Many thanks!

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on February 22, 2012:

Congratulations on your Purple Star! Your jewelry designs are quite fashionable and elegantly designed. Best Wishes with your designs! Blessed!

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

@mochimo: It has been available in the USA since 1996 (and a few years earlier in Japan, where it was invented), but it didn't become well known or accepted as a legitimate, professional jewelry making material until the past five years or so. Now more and more jewelry artists are adding it to their repertoire of fine jewelry materials and techniques! :)

mochimo on February 06, 2012:

WoW.. I don't know there is a precious metal clay before

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 27, 2011:

@TheBaseballCoach: Thanks very much - glad you found it interesting!

TheBaseballCoach on December 27, 2011:

Very informative lens.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on November 18, 2011:

@BebesBaubles: Thanks so much for your wonderful compliment! Glad you're enjoying the lens. :)

BebesBaubles on November 18, 2011:

Love the texture and pattern in your work! And this lens is impressive!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 25, 2011:

@melodypierson: Great quote, Melody! :)

melodypierson on August 25, 2011:

I heard a great line from Bruce Springsteen from a documentary. It pertained to writing songs but I think it works for any creative endeavour. "There's artistic instinct and artistic intelligence and hopefully over the years the two grow together..."

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 25, 2011:

@Gayleybob: Hi Gayle! Thanks so much for visiting my lens and for letting me know how much you enjoyed it! I really appreciate it. See you on the WLW SSC! :)


Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 25, 2011:

@Gayleybob: Hi Gayle! Thanks so much for visiting my lens and for letting me know how much you enjoyed it! I really appreciate it. See you on the WLW SSC! :)


Gayleybob on August 23, 2011:

Hi Margaret, from WLW Sunday Social Circle. I'm Gayle. I love your lens! Great info. Thank you for doing this!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 23, 2011:

@MamaBelle: Thanks! It's pretty addictive. :)

Francis Luxford from United Kingdom on August 23, 2011:

Cool stuff, I'd like some of this myself.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 07, 2011:

@Close2Art LM: Thank you! :)

Close2Art LM on August 06, 2011:

thumbs up

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 06, 2011:

@samsarah: It's a fabulous skill to have! You can start with the books and DVDs I've recommended in this lens, but if at all possible, it's best to take a class to get you started. You'll save in wasted clay what you spend on the class fee. Have fun!

samsarah on August 05, 2011:

I'd really like to learn how to make jewelry!!!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on May 03, 2011:

@akumar46 lm: Thanks very much! :)

akumar46 lm on May 02, 2011:

Very nice lens on Metal Clay.Thanks.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 17, 2011:

@anonymous: Thanks, Melody! I'll definitely check it out. :)

anonymous on April 16, 2011:

@Margaret Schindel: If you're interested you can see the blog I write for MetalClayToday. I'm a guest blogger... check for click on BLOG...and you shall find me with all my questions and mistakes and near misses..: ) So glad to have found you.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on April 16, 2011:

@anonymous: Hi Melody, I'm delighted that you're finding my lenses on metal clay to be helpful to you! I wished there had been something like this available to help me when I first started working with metal clay, which is exactly why I decided to create these lenses as resources as I started to accumulate more knowledge about various MC topics. And I'm always happy to help if there's a question I can answer. Thank you very much for your very kind and supportive feedback! :)

anonymous on April 16, 2011:

As a newbie with Metal Clay (about a year and a half) someone recommended your pages here and I must say, I wish I knew about it when I was starting it out. The metal clay online community is so helpful and now I can add another great person to go to when I have a question.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on March 14, 2011:

@fpJewl: Thanks so much! I'm really excited about it and truly appreciate your kind comment. :)

fpJewl on March 13, 2011:

Congratulations Margaret! Great to see your hard work rewarded with a purple star!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 16, 2011:

@dahlia369: Thank you so much for your blessing and for featuring this lens on your "My Life with Angel Wings" lens!!! I'm so glad you found this information interesting and useful. It's part of a series of more than a dozen lenses (so far) about metal clay, with more in the works. I'm very grateful for your kind words!

dahlia369 on February 16, 2011:

I have never heard of a precious metal clay before but I sure am a big fan of unique jewelry. Tons of useful information and resources on your lens, well deserved purple star and now also ***blessed*** and featured on "My Life with Angel Wings" lens. Congratulations!! :)

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on February 15, 2011:

@anonymous: Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment! :)

anonymous on February 15, 2011:

Special craft of using metals and art design, well deserved purple star.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on January 01, 2011:

@wildlens: Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback! I'm so glad I was able to provide the information you were looking for. I've published more than a dozen metal clay-related lenses on Squidoo, with more coming soon. I invite you to take a look, as I think you might find them helpful as well. Happy new year and thanks again for the kind feedback!

wildlens on January 01, 2011:

Wonderful and very informative lens. I will surely reread it many many times - I was looking for something just like this. Thank you!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on December 13, 2010:

@jnstewart: Thank you very much for the lovely compliment. I hope you enjoy this wonderful medium as much as I do!

John Norman Stewart from Cottonwood, CA on December 13, 2010:

Amazing and informative lens. I plan to try this medium soon. Thanks for your efforts.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on November 20, 2010:

@SofiaMann: Thanks so much, Sofia! I appreciate your lovely compliment and your kind feedback.

SofiaMann on November 20, 2010:

You have beautiful designs. Congratulations. Nice lens.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on October 11, 2010:

@RebeccaE: Thank you so much, Rebecca! I really appreciate your kind compliment! :)

RebeccaE on October 11, 2010:

a great reasource and a wonderful lens

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on October 02, 2010:

@Aquavel: Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback! I'm truly delighted that my lens has inspired you to take another look at getting started with metal clay. Please take a look at my other lenses, too - I've written a dozen of them about various aspects of working with metal clay, and I think you'll find them helpful! And thanks for the lovely compliment on my metal clay jewelry. Much appreciated!

Aquavel on October 02, 2010:

This is such a wonderful resource. I've wanted to work with metal clay for some time now. About 12 years ago I was playing with fimo and making earrings and miniature figures. Someone I knew was working in precious metal clay and I wanted to try it and take a class in it. I even looked into the prospect of getting a small kiln. I remember having my husband check the power in the garage to see if it would work there. But then I got sidetracked and started doing digital art. You're lens has me thinking about trying PMC. If I do, I'll be referring to your lens time and again! And your jewelry is stunning!

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on September 28, 2010:

@myraggededge: Thank you so much! You've definitely made my day! :)

Metal clay is an amazing material. I was reading your fantastic Zentangle lens earlier today and thinking that when I get some "tangles" I really like, I might turn them into texture sheets (tear-away textures, photopolymer plates, etc.) to use for texturing metal clay.

Thanks again for your wonderful compliments and for your gracious blessing. All are greatly appreciated!

myraggededge on September 28, 2010:

Fantastic resource. Coincidentally I read about metal clay yesterday and I hadn't even heard of it before. Love your jewelry.

Blessed by a Squid angel :-)

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on September 12, 2010:

@SofiaMann: Thanks so much, Sofia! I really appreciate your kind words. :)

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on September 12, 2010:

@chevy-camaro-tv: Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! You're right, it's pretty time- and effort-consuming to put together my metal clay lenses (there are now more than a dozen!), but it's a real labor of love, and getting supportive feedback from people like you makes it all worthwhile. :)

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on September 12, 2010:

@anonymous: Hi Candice! I apologize for being so late in responding. Thanks very much for the 5-star rating! :) I hope you're able to find the time and money to start working with metal clay again soon.

SofiaMann on September 12, 2010:

Really amazing. Great lens. Congratulations.

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on August 08, 2010:

@DavidNemeth: Hi David, thanks for the lovely compliment. I've just added your site to the list of suppliers in this site. :)

DavidNemeth on August 08, 2010:

@Margaret Schindel: Fantastic resource. Going to feature it in my lens. You might want to add to your resource. They are one of the only local suppliers for Israel but sell in US as well.

chevy-camaro-tv on June 07, 2010:

Wow, this lens is truly awesome. I can't imagine the amount of effort it took to create it. Keep up the good work.

anonymous on December 22, 2008:

5 Stars! :) I took a PMC jewelry making class and loved it. Now if I could only find the time and money to get started with it on my own.

- Candice of Artsy * Tartsy * Jewels

Margaret Schindel (author) from Massachusetts on October 25, 2008:

[in reply to zenna] Hi! You'll find a long list of UK suppliers as well as suppliers in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands in my Metal Clay Tools and Supplies lens at Hope that helps!


anonymous on October 25, 2008:

Very useful, but I have difficulty finding a supplier shipping to Europe. Help!

anonymous on August 12, 2008:

I'm bouncing! I'm so excited to have found your site. I love all the information in ONE PLACE!


Griggs on July 18, 2008:

What a terrific resource about metal clay! Incredibly comprehensive. Love the rest of your metal clay lenses, too!