Sunday, 15 March 2009

Making Art Clay Silver & PMC Rings

I make a lot of rings but always explain that they are not as strong as sterling silver rings. As a pure metal Fine silver doesn't have the strength of an alloy like sterling silver.
So when designing a ring in PMC or Art clay silver you need to follow a few guidelines....
1) Make the ring thicker to add strength (most times at least 6 cards thick). 2) If you can, re-inforce the join by adding any decorative elements on top of it. 3) Fire it long & hot ideally in a kiln for at least an hour. I fire at 850-900 Centigrade for 2 hours to make extra sure...

I generally test their strength after firing, on a ring mandrel. Whacking them into shape is a great test, lol. Personally I wouldn't recommend hob firing for rings as it just doesn't get hot enough to fully sinter.

Torch firing can work but as the temperature is controlled by eye results can vary.

For those that dont have a Kiln
Maybe you could try these? They're fine silver ring liners that you build your ring on top of - then you could torch fire it...they're an American company but are also available in the UK from their distrubutor Argentice.
Nic x


  1. Such really useful information and I love that flower ring! Beautiful! Thank you for the link for the metalclayfindings also - I have seen these but did not know of a UK distrubutor - so thanks!

  2. You're welcome :)
    Glad you like the flower ring, it was such fun to make! Let me know how you get on with the Metal Clay findings
    Nic xx

  3. I want to take a class and I wanted to know which do you think is better PMC or Art Clay Silver? I would like to make earrings, rings, pendants and everything anything else I can make.

  4. Both Materials are similar to work with and both end up as pure fine silver. PMC is marginally stronger when fired (but it is marginal) Art Clay silver is cheaper to buy....
    Hope that helps :)
    Nicola x

  5. Fantastic work! For those that are new to ring making you can also use seamless ring maker molds.

  6. Hi-I have been making PMC rings for a while now; rolling out, adding an adornment at the seam, etc... Now, I am wondering about using the syringe to "pipe" clay around the patty, styling it, and then firing it... Will that work? Has anyone tried to do it like that? :-/

  7. Yes you can go all the way around with syringe,
    You can even make the whole ring from syringe
    As long as you use enough ;)
    Nic x

  8. Hello...

    I am new to Artclay and firing. I did not have enough money to buy a kiln with features of holding temp. and I use a thermocouple to guage where the temp is at. I did not realize how hard it is to keep a holding temp! Reading several times, that the best firing was done at the 2 hour mark makes me really bummed, as I made some earrings that I fired around 1472 with a holding of 5 minutes, (which is what the package said to do) and it was so hard to keep the temp around that temp, in fact it was very hard to keep it from continuously jumping by 100 degrees each way, and this is with me never leaving the knob! Tell me there is an easier way other than buying a new kiln, (which is not an option, I just bought this paragon firefly for 300 dollars 2 months ago!)

    I thank you in advance for the help!

    (btw...the earrings did turn out wonderful!)

    1. speedfire mini kiln at metal clay supply....300.00 works great !! I have one...

  9. Hi,
    Sorry I don't know of a way to get around that. However though the hotter, longer rule still holds true a shorter firing for things like earrings etc is fine :)
    For rings you could get away with a ring liner to add extra strength
    Happy making
    Nic x

  10. Hi Nicola! My biggest frustration is with the shrinkage. I made the ring 10% larger to allow for shrinkage and it shrunk 20%! It was made with clay that was reconditioned quite a few times (dried and then reconstituted with water). So perhaps that was the culprit??? How do you control the shrinkage? THANKS!!!

  11. Hi Nicola!

    Great article! My frustration with making rings is the shrinkage. I formed a ring that was 10% larger than the original and it ended up shrinking 20%! I wonder if it's because I didn't use fresh clay; the clay had been reconstituted several times. Can you shed some light on this and how I can better control shrinkage? Thx!!!

  12. You can either make a fine silver ring liner or as you make more rings you'll get used to what kind of shrinkage you typically encounter.


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