The Essential Toolkit for Precious Metal Clay

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The use of precious metal clay to produce handmade jewellery cuts down on the need for much of the expensive equipment required in the field of silversmithing. However it is important to recognise that a few essential tools are required in order to ensure you achieve a professional look to your pieces and make certain your work progresses smoothly. The following list gives an overview of some the basic equipment required.
1. A plastic roller: you can buy these from most metal clay suppliers and they are not expensive however any piece of smooth plastic piping that is easy to handle will suffice
2. Spacers: these are to ensure you can roll out the clay to a specified thickness. Again you can buy these, but a pack of playing cards does the trick equally as well.
3. Rolling surface: rolling out your clay on a proper surface gives a more professional finish to your pieces. Any non stick smooth surface will be adequate, or you could opt for a piece of leather to create a lightly textured finish to the back of your creations.

4. Badger Balm or Olive Oil: a small pot of either of these by your side will ensure that the clay does not adhere to your hands or working surfaces. Smooth a small amount on the latter before you begin work.
5. Texturing tools: you can get hold of purpose made texture sheets or look around your house for interesting textures from found objects. Texture works very well with PMC, and is far more forgiving than smooth surfaces, so collecting a wide variety of these can add depth and interest to any project.
6. Small plastic spray bottle: fill this with water to rehydrate your PMC as you work in the clay stage. Use it to help smooth over cracks as you roll the PMC, or to produce slip with any sanding residue collected in the dry stage.
7. Straws: these can be used to make holes in the PMC, again look around the house for implements that may be suitable for this job
8. Tissue blade: used for cutting, you might like to have both a flexible and rigid blade for different tasks.

9. Clay shaper: this helps bled the clay together when adhering joins.
10. Sandpaper: in the dry stage you will require various grits of sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish
11. Carving tools: clay can be carved in the dry stage so these type of tools would be required if you would like to create further texture or shapes before firing
12. Tweezers: helpful for setting stones into the clay as well as during the firing process. Fine tipped tweezers would be the most helpful.
13. Heat proof mat : for torch firing
14. Butane torch or kiln suitable for metal clay
15. Brass brush: required to brush newly fired items
While this list is certainly not exhaustive it outlines the basic requirements to get started, you will find your toolkit grows over time as you find new ways to work with your clay. It is always worth checking out some of the metal clay suppliers who often have starter kits available which include the basics.

Charlie Mclean owns and runs an online gothic boutique selling a range of gothic jewellery and accessories from leading brands such as Alchemy Gothic alongside Inflikted, Charlie's own brand of handmade jewellery, encompassing both gothic and steam punk style themes, as well as a range of gothic wedding accessories.

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