Precious Metal Clay
Make your own silver jewellery!

(I apologize in advance. All the photos  for this post were taken with my iPhone because using my regular camera would have been too inconvenient for all involved in this adventure.)

 

Package Of PMC

 
Precious Metal Clay! I know. I had no idea what the hell it was either. I’m sure there are many of you out there who are familiar with it but chances are you’re reading this post while looking over your worktable filled with Precious Metal Clay pieces, ready to be sold on Etsy.

So for the rest of you, a definition:

Precious Metal Clay or PMC is tiny particles of fine silver that have been salvaged from other things. They’re suspended in an organic binder that looks like clay.  It’s used to make silver jewellery.  It isn’t really clay but if you didn’t know that you’d think it was. You can roll it, mould it, even fire it. But it’s not really clay.  You realize this when, once you fire it, all of the organic binder burns away and you’re left with a hunk of silver.  It’s really, REALLY weird.

The silver, in fact, is purer than regular sterling silver which is 92.5% pure silver, with 7.5% filler.  PMC is 99.9% pure silver.  Which makes it slightly softer than regular sterling silver.

O.K. I’m boring myself with all of these explanations.

Now that you know what Precious Metal clay is, I can tell you that my mother and both of my sisters took a course in it at our local Art School last weekend.

That’s Betty there.  She’s always the one wearing the loudest article of clothing in the room.
 

PMC- Class

 

It was fun!  Mainly because you show up for the class at 9:30 in the morning and you leave at 3:00 in the afternoon with a finished piece of jewellery.

This is a table filled with moulds, and textures and files and other things to make your jewellery with.

 

PMC- Stamps

 

You can make earrings,  pendants, charms … that sort of thing.  Rings are reserved for more advanced classes.  As are BBQs

 

PMC- Tools

 

In fact this is the look on my mother’s face when she found out she couldn’t make a BBQ.  It’s her “pretend smile”.  The one she uses when she’s pretending not to be upset or angry.

She decided to go with necklace pendants instead.  But she wasn’t happy about it, let me tell you.

 

Betty !

 

Some of the tools we used.

 

PMC- Tools 2

 

This was our instructor Deborah.  As you would imagine, she had a lot of silver jewellery on, which all looked great.  As far as I could tell she was not wearing a BBQ.

 

Teacher

 

At 9:30 a.m. all 12 students sat down and looked expectantly at our instructor.  We were clueless.  At least most of us were.  A couple of people were taking the course for the second time so they had a pretty good idea of what was to come.

Deborah ran us through making a piece of jewellery from beginning to end.

The clay is rolled out, and then cut into whatever shape you want, either by hand or with something like a cookie cutter.  From there you can press different textures into it, or attach other pieces of shaped clay.  The piece (which just looks like a hunk of clay) is then dried on a little candle warmer for a few minutes.

The piece is then sanded and perfected.

Into the kiln it goes.  After an hour or so it’s removed and it no longer looks like clay.  It looks like silver.

When our instructor took the pieces out of the kiln there was a collective gasp and I’m pretty sure one of the students fainted.  It was a quick one … like just her eyes rolling back in her head with a little cough, but it was pretty much a fainting episode I think.

 

B&amp ;A- Firing

 

The organic binder that holds all the tiny silver particles together just burns away, leaving the silver.  When the binder is removed there’s some shrinkage.  That’s what she said.

So your finished piece is slightly smaller than the one you formed.
Then it’s just a matter of cleaning and polishing your jewellery and running home with it held high above your head while you scream I AM AWESOME at the top of your lungs.  Then you casually walk back to the art school because that is where your car is.

 
Cleaver Charms

 
Those are my cleavers, ready to be hung on a necklace.  I … am awesome.  Just ask anyone on the streets from the art school to my house.  They’ll confirm it.

 

Steps To Making Pmc

 

Obviously this isn’t meant to be a replacement for taking an actual course in PMC, just an introduction to it.

So to recap … it’s a clay-type material that you can make silver jewellery out of. Not BBQs.


90 Comments

  1. That looks so awesome. I love seeing all the various pieces people created. Your cleavers are fabulous. And Betty…well she is so chic in her orange sweater and her hip glasses. I love her pretend smile. Mine looks strikingly similar.

  2. Jasmine says:

    Thank-you very much Karen. I needed a new craft like a hole in the head. But this looks too cool to pass up. Cleavers are fab (want one) and so is the long rectangle thing (what’s on it?).
    Next time you could park your car far away from the school so that you won’t have to walk casually back.

  3. Barbie says:

    LOVE it! I really want to take one of these classes! Also, I think Betty “deserves” a BBQ! Go ahead and make her one Karen!

  4. Lin says:

    Thanks for reminding me…I took a class using silver clay awhile back. It was fun and a good creative thing.

  5. rktrixy says:

    This. Is. EPIC! So very, very cool. Who was the mad genius that came up with this clay that isn’t a clay that turns into silver? This is alchemy! Pure and simple!

    By the way, the cleaver pendant is darling. A chicken would be darling, too!

    I’m lookin’ for a local class right now.

  6. Joy says:

    You’re so funny. Enjoy reading your comments, love the one about your Mom’s fake smile…my husband has one, too. He squints with his…. so now I have to be awesome and want to make some clay metal jewelry. Will have to talk a lady down the road to throw it in her kiln next time she fires it up. Unless Santa brings me a tiny one for Christmas 🙂

  7. kelli says:

    THIS. CHANGES. EVERYTHING. o.O

    I’ve been making/cannibalizing jewelry for years, and I’m definitely a silver-wearin gal, but never knew about this stuff! The quest *definitely* begins today!

    Oh and I want a cleaver, too. Heck, I’ll take June, Beav, or even Wally (however Ward was a bit too stuffy, IMO).

    See Karen? Now you really DO have something you can sell on etsy! 🙂

  8. peggy says:

    Was this at the Dundas Valley School of Art? Looks like a lot of fun!

  9. Nicole says:

    You ARE awesome – love, love, love the cleaver, cleaver, cleaver!

  10. Andrea Meyers says:

    When do we get to win a cleaver pendant!? And now, I have to go find one of those classes, and try to avoid spending $299 on that totally cute little Kiln. Which, please do a post on how many different things I can cook in that Kiln. ok?

  11. Vicki says:

    Some Shrinkage…that’s what she said! LOL

  12. Dee says:

    What a great class and your cleaver charms are so cute – are they smiling at us?

  13. AndiB says:

    This stuff is soooooooo addictive and amazing! It’s creative crack! You should try the liquid version of silver clay too Karen, combined with regular silver clay it is even more versatile… and gems! OMG try gems with it! Yes, it can be torch fired, even on a gas range, but it requires patience.

  14. Leona says:

    A cleaver? OMG, that is hysterical!

    That is some fascinating stuff. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. You are awesome Karen. And so darned creative. Maybe your mom can take the advanced class and make that barbeque now!

  16. Leslie says:

    I so spotted that cleaver in the before photo! Perfect!

  17. Patti says:

    That cleaver is so badass I have to have it! Please and thank you.

  18. Diane says:

    Haha love it!!

  19. Angie Turner says:

    How to I find a manufacturer to create my own pendant design to sell?

  20. Lee Christian says:

    I just discovered you through Pinterest because someone said you were hilarious and she was right! And you have the best commenters. I hope you have a lot more posted. Off in search of it…and to find a 12 step program for the day I get my hands on some of that PMC and get hooked!! Thanks. 🙂

  21. Betina says:

    I would like to make my own earrings and bracelets i love silver…

  22. Roe says:

    What on earth is a BBQ? Other than a barbecue?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Art of Doing Stuff