Silver Clay Sheet – Do you use it?
So have you ever used silver clay sheet (or paper as it’s sometimes known)? A lot of people never venture down that road because they have no idea what to do with it. But I am here to tell you it’s actually a really lovely product to work with. You can get some amazing effects with it – without going with the old cut out and stick option (my first and very disappointing encounter with this product).
When I first started out with silver clay – ooh and I don’t want to disclose how long ago THAT was 🙂 – I really didn’t know what to think or to do with the strange product that was Silver Clay Sheet. What could you do with it? I got some small craft punches – you know the ones, meant for paper – cut out a few shapes and stuck them on to some beads with a little bit of slip. But the effect was surprisingly disappointing and very one dimensional. So, the remainder of the sheet was put away and forgotten about. It was at least a couple of years before I ventured to try again, this time with wonderfully different results 😀 .
Silver clay sheet was developed for the origami market in Japan – with both the main manufacturers of silver clay; Mitsubishi (PMC) and Aida (Art Clay) being Japanese it makes sense. The product has been manufactured in a different way to the other forms of silver clay; instead of being combined with water and remaining moist, it has had its moisture content stabilised. It actually has the consistency of very soft fine leather and it’s really lovely to work with, since it never dries out! This instantly removes some of the pressure of working with silver clay – you have time to think and do your thing without worrying that the piece of silver clay is going to dry out!
I use silver clay sheet mainly for earrings (although there are other uses, see below), since the silver when fired is a very fine gauge. It makes them wonderfully light to wear and if you’re comfortable with basic origami or paper folding techniques, then they can be some of the easiest and quickest earrings to make.
Advantages – why I like working with Silver Clay Sheet
- It’s dry! Seems like a simple one, but it’s nice to know that when you are creating with this product, time is not a factor.
- You need very few tools.
o A smooth hard surface to work on
o A ruler
o A pencil
o A very sharp craft knife
o A paintbrush
o Some type of firing method – silver clay sheet can be fired with a torch or a kiln
- It can be folded and refolded until you are happy with your design
- It needs very little, if no finishing; which means that it needs no sanding.
Disadvantages when working with Silver Clay Sheet – things to be aware of
- Silver clay sheet does not like water very much, so when you are joining two bits together, use the water sparingly otherwise it could disintegrate.
- It’s not very strong on its own, so you need to design your pieces with that in mind. Earrings are great because they generally don’t take a lot of punishment, but it’s a no no for ring bands. You can counteract this ‘weakness’ by doubling it over and using two ply.
- It’s not easy to drill or make a hole before firing because the sheet is likely to tear. I drill holes afterwards or you could use a hole punch to make a hole before firing.
- The sheet is delicate and can be damaged or marked unintentionally, so always work on a clean flat surface.
- It doesn’t take texture very easily.
Uses for Silver Clay Sheet
- It can be cut out and stuck on to other pieces of silver clay to add texture and pattern.
- Weaving designs.
- It can be used to form teeny tiny hinges – a method developed by the wonderfully talented Terry Kovalcik.
- It can be used to create your own bezel strips.
- It makes fantastically light earrings.
- All types of origami projects.
A great resource for projects on silver clay origami is
Metal Clay Origami Jewelry by Sara Jayne Cole.
You can buy your silver clay sheet here.
Have fun trying Silver Clay Sheet out, you may be surprised how much you enjoy creating with it!