Sunday, 22 February 2009

Carving Text onto PMC & Silver Clay

Adding Handwritten Text into Silver Clay pieces
The easiest way is using a sharp solid point (like the end of a burnishing tool).
You need to wait until the clay is dry (or it kicks up messy edges). Sand & prep the area where the name will go then write your lettering using a soft pencil.
Lightly scrape the name onto the clay, support the work well as you do this (so you don't break it). Repeatedly scrape over the same lines building up depth. You'll find a kiddies paintbrush helps remove the dust, which you can keep for making slip. Fire the piece and polish it as normal.

Tip: To make the text stand out even more, apply a liver of sulphur patina and then re-polish the piece.


  1. I am trying to make fingerprint jewellery for my friends for Christmas. My first attempt wasn't very successful, the finger print was not very clear. Not sure if this was because the piece of clay I rolled was too thin. Any tips for getting clear fingerprints would be gratefully received.

  2. Hi Rosie
    How old is the child? Very young children don't tend to have very defined finger prints.
    When I make fingerprint pendants I use my thickest slats, they're 2.1mm thick (approx 8 cards) this gives a nice deep impression.
    I also make sure the clay is perfectly conditoned soft buy not sticky.
    Hope that helps
    nicola x

  3. Hi Rosie,

    I would like to make a couple of fingerprint charms for my husband's christmas. Can you advise me how much clay i would need for each charm. My first attempt was with 7g, but i tried to divide it in two and it was a bit of disaster, cracking very quickly, clay all over my fingers when i tried to re-hydrate etc. Would it be easier using a bigger piece of clay? Thank you for the help you post here. Niki

  4. I use 20g packs, but if it was cracking it means that the clay wasn't hydrated properly in the first place. If you had clay all over your fingers then you're adding too much water.
    1) Open packet, put clay in cling film, smoosh to distribute moisture evenly.
    2) If not smooth and pliable then flatten clay and add a drop or two of water smeared accross the surface. Fold the clay over the water (so it's in the centre) work it in.

    A class taught by a level one or two instructor would be well worth the investment as they will demonstrate hydration and working texture. (The only thing difficult to explain in book or internet)
    Hope that helps
    Nicola x

  5. hi
    would also love to try and make a fingerprint
    charm, which type of clay do you use
    Barbara xx
    love the pics pf you cat!

  6. Hi Nic, Is there any chance you can publish a short video tutorial or images back on the 'Carving Text onto PMC & Silver Clay' blog, as i have followed your instructions but i'm still not 100% happy with the finished thing and i'm not sure where i'm going wrong.


  7. Unfortunately my workshop is all packed away for house hunting but I'll see if I can find soe images for you
    Nicola x

  8. Thanks for the reply. The problem i seem to have is my lines always seem scratchy rather than clean lines if that makes sense.Could you please advise the best kind of burnishing tool/link for a good one to use for this technique as mine is one from a ready made kit supplied by cooksongold, or is it a case of practice makes perfect??

  9. Sounds like you're getting lots of little lines rather than going into the some line multiple times.
    This is a good tool but it might not solve that problem.
    You could also try going over the letters with a fine ball burnisher the tiny ones available from somewhere like Cooksons Gold (an old fine tipped ballpoint pen will work too but the wording will be quite wide)
    Hope that helps
    Nic x


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