A gorgeous warm-coloured and strong clay, with an extremely simple firing schedule.
Art Clay Copper only requires a 30 minute kiln firing time and you don't need to use any activated carbon or firing pans - you can even fire it with a torch! It is a incredibly reliable clay, and the clay we recommend whole heartedly to anyone new to base metal clay.
You shape and work with Art Clay Copper just like normal silver clay. You can mould it, press textures into it, stick dry pieces together, set stones in it; exactly as you would when working with silver clay. Art Clay Copper has a shrinkage rate of 8-10% which is similar to Art Clay Silvers 8-9%.
Make sure any tools you use are clean of silver clay as this would contaminate your copper, creating an alloy which doesn't take to firing very well at all. Use separate files and abrasive papers/sponges, as these are almost impossible to clean.
Put the dried clay on shelf paper on a kiln shelf, as the copper can stick to the shelf slightly. Place in a hot kiln and fire at 970C for at least 30 minutes. When finished , don't let the kiln cool down. Yu need to quench the piece immediately from hot. Keep a steel bowl just under the kiln door, and as soon as you open the door, tip the kiln shelf over so the piece/pieces drop into the water. Every second the piece is exposed to the cooler air, it will oxidise, which will damage the piece. The quenching will allow most of the oxidised layer which occurs during firing to peel off.
We also highly recommend firing under a thin layer of carbon - this makes the quenching a little less stressful, as the carbon layer will protect the copper and you can take a little longer moving it from the hot kiln to the quenching bowl. We literally poor a little carbon on top of the piece straight onto the shelf, so the piece is just covered with a couple of millimetres of carbon. This gets poured into the quenching bowl with the piece, but can then be sieved out, dried, and used again.
You can torch fire smaller Art Clay copper pieces, keep them under 35gm, and ideally not much bigger than a 50p coin as anything bigger is impossible to keep evenly heated for the whole firing.
Place piece on a firing brick and heat until cherry red (much hotter than silver needs) for at least 5-7 minutes, depending on size. Copper needs to be quenched immediately once you move the flame from it. This stops it from getting too much firescale/oxidisation. Keep a bowl of water close to your firing brick and keep it so it is level or under the edge of the fibre brick; using long tweezers or tongs, either push the piece towards the water following it with the flame until it hits the water, or move the flame away and quickly pick up/push the piece into the water.
Storing Art Clay Copper:
The surface of Art Clay Copper will naturally start oxidising and the colour will darken over time if left in the air. If you do get a darkened surface on your unfired clay - scrape most of the layer off smoosh in any small dark pieces into the remaining clay. To avoid oxidisation of unused clay, wrap it in layers of cling film tightly, then place in a grip seal bag or air tight container. Our Art Clay Storage Pot is great for keeping your clay fresh and workable. Keep the clay indoors at a moderate room temp and out of direct sunlight.
Did you know we stock embeddable copper findings? 'Embeddable' means you can add them to your clay in the wet stage and fire all at once.
Click here to see our full range of embeddable findings.
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This is my second review of this product, but I have something to add. My previous review stands as it is - this is an excellent product - please read my first review. However two things have come to light, neither of which is a problem for me, and shouldn't be for you. 1. Copper tarnishes but we all know that. I've found that the patina that develops is pleasing and can vary on a piece according to the depths and highlights of the thickness. 2. Copper turns your skin green! - Yes it certainly does! Not that I want people to hide my handmade jewellery away, but some folk prefer to keep my crosses close to their chest, so-to-speak. I've found the answer here at Metalclay.co.uk - I've started to enamel the face of the indents of my crosses and using the enamel kit available on this site have started to enable the reverse side. A good looking, smooth and consistent finish - and no more green staining.
As a newbie to making things in metal (I normally make wearable crosses in walnut, mahogany and other woods) I experimented in using air dried and domestic oven dried clays. That worked well and I started to think of metal products. I've found the Art Clay Copper similar to use as air dried clay intially. You can roll it, emboss it and use it it a mold. It air dries to a leather state an can be gently filed/sanded and cut with a sharp scalpel. The clay can be fired in a kiln, but I don't have one so fired by blow torch. At 1mm to 2mm thick and about one and a half times bigger than a £2.00 coin I gave it 3 minutes glowing at cherry red then turned it over and gave it 3 minutes glowing cherry red the other side. Then I quenched it in cold water. Some firescale an oxidation occurred. I brushed with a Dremel with wire brush attachment and polished with Brasso and a fine cloth. Result? Lovely. I'm wearing my finished cross myself and folk are interested in buying similar. I want to move into Silver but am going to buy a kiln first. Meantime my further order for Art Clay Copper is going in tomorrow. Great product. Great service from Metalclay.co.uk
I have tried most of the copper clays and this is the only clay that doesn't give my work major firescale it just drops off with this clay, brilliant.
I am first time user:) it is great ... I'm really really pleased many thanks to the superb customer services team for answering my questions and helping me along the way.
This is the best copper clay out there in my opinion and I have tried a good few. I like it for the smoothness, the flex when dried in sheets for the silhouette, the small shrinkage and it seems easier to clean up after firing that some other clays. Unless I need a high shrinkage for some particular project I don't use any other brand anymore.
As a first time user a little trial and error on the torch firing, but very impressed.
This is the greatest copper clay i have worked with so far! It really doesn't need more than 30 mins at 970 to be fully sintered and beautiful! I'm really really pleased with this clay and will only use this copper clay from now on!
This is my preferred brand of copper clay for a number of reasons. I like that this clay can be torch or kiln fired AND as an added bonus, you can fire it on an open shelf in the kiln instead of in carbon. The clay is also very smooth to use, unlike others that can feel a bit gritty. The amount you get for the money means that this clay allows you to practise using metal clay if you're not confident to use the more expensive silver version without worrying if you mess up.
Torch fired my first pieces made with this clay today, happy to say they turned out great. I don't have much experience with metal clay but this was so easy to work with from start to finish I will definitely be buying more in the future. Also, many thanks to the superb customer services team for answering my questions and helping me along the way.