How To Create Designs in Precious Metal Clay

Precious Metal Clay (PMC) is one of the most customizable metal clays used today. It is so easy to add designs and other motifs onto the PMC. If you’re a designer, you can add designs to every state of the PMC.  You may get so excited about the possibilities that you decide to follow up your new skills with some online art or design classes - great idea! 

This article will guide you in designing your Precious Metal Clay items.

At the material’s raw and wet stage, the PMC is at its easiest stage to be designed. Here are some easy to do tips to design your wet PMC material:

  • Press it or stamp it. Or do both. The PMC base is soft enough at this stage to add pressed or stamped designs in it. Many people have personal customized molds to add more designs to their clay.
  • Feeling the need to use a stylus? No problem! Raw PMC is great for engraving designs using pointed tools. Your PMC clay will have a deep impression if you yourself carved those designs in. Raw PMC clay can also be cut easily.
  • Add materials up. Appliqué techniques can also be used to design your raw PMC base. Make designs to your PMC by adding pieces of PMC sheets or lumps of clay.
  • Imprints are fun. Some organic materials can be embedded onto your PMC base. When they get burned on the firing process, imprints from the organic materials will be left on the clay.

Now, if you are already done in firing your Precious Metal Clay, then here are some tricks on designing green, dry PMC. Remember that even at this stage, many designs can still be done to your PMC material.

  • Fine-tune your clay. Your fired PMC piece can be filed, sanded and smoothed to perfection at this state.
  • Paste and slip, it’s all up to you. It is possible to add wet slip or paste at this point. After applying the paste or slip, let it dry to get it blended to your PMC piece. You can also combine two pieces of PMC using slip or paste.
  • Widen your hole. Holes can be widened for that eccentric design feel. Try using a round file to widen the hole’s gap. But do not bore a hole after firing; this can be done on the wet stage of your PMC. You can only widen holes when the PMC is dry.
  • Etch your way through. Some light etchings can also be done to your green PMC piece. This can be a done to add your sign—the designer.
  • Appliqués are still ok. If you want to add metal wires or leaf designs to your piece, this is the best time to do it. The thing to point out is that the connection between the new addition and the PMC piece is wet enough so it can hold the two pieces together.

Some other designs can be made on either polished or unpolished fired PMC. For example, unpolished clay can be hammered or soldered. Do not over hammer, or this might ruin the entire piece. For polished Precious Metal Clay, you can add some patinas to your piece. A patina is made of a liver of sulfur to oxidize your PMC. This gives it that gold or blackish design favored by many. 

Other excellent tips for PMC and other commonly used artistic media can be learned in online art classes


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