How to Rehydrate Precious Metal Clay / Silver Clay

How to Rehydrate Precious Metal Clay / Silver Clay

Author : Michelle Williams

I get lots of questions about how to reconstitute and rehydrate broken pieces and scraps of silver clay. This is a really important question, particularly when you are first starting out making Silver Clay Jewellery, as the chances are you are going to have a few breakages or make a few pieces, which perhaps you aren’t entirely happy with and therefore won’t wish to fire.

So I’ve put together this article to help you reconstitute and rehydrate your metal clay scraps.

1. Collect all of your dried pieces of silver clay that you wish to reconstitute into a pot.

2. You can also add to this, any silver clay dust, collected when sanding your pieces.

3. Only reconstitute your silver clay scraps when you are almost ready to use it (a day beforehand is ideal)

4. Put your dried pieces of Silver Clay into a Coffee Bean Grinder. (Be sure that this is ONLY used for grinding Silver clay. Do not mix with other types of metal clay OR use it for grinding Coffee Beans!)

5. Grind thoroughly to make sure there are no lumps or bumps and that the silver clay gets thoroughly ground to a fine powder.

6. Give the Coffee Bean Grinder a tap and a shake, and then continue grinding.

7. It should only take a few minutes to grind the silver clay to a fine powder.

8. Check the contents of the Coffee Grinder to make sure there are no lumps or bumps. If there are, continue grinding.

9. Once you are sure that the silver clay has been ground to a fine powder, use a fine tea strainer to sift the silver clay powder and catch any lumps that may be remaining and to remove any hair or fluff that may have contaminated your silver clay during the originally rolling process.

10. Work over a piece of laminated paper or Teflon sheet to help catch any stray dust, which you can then place back into your scrap or grinding pot, along with any hardened lumps, which you catch during the sifting process.

11. Next, place your silver clay powder into a small mixing dish and spray in a tiny amount of distilled water. (Be sure to add only a small amount of water at the time, so that you don’t make it too sticky or watery.

12. Mix the Silver Clay powder and water together until you have the consistency of malleable Silver Clay. (You can use whatever you like to mix, such as a small pallet knife, the handle of a teaspoon or dentistry tools). Whilst mixing, ensure there are not lumps in the powder. If there are, either remove them or use the dentistry tools to break them down. (If you have used a Coffee Bean Grinder and sieved before you begin this process, there should be NO lumps).

13. If it is necessary to add more water, spray in a tiny amount more. The key is not to spray in too much, at this stage. You can always add more if necessary.

14. Continue mixing for some time, to allow the silver clay to absorb the water and until you are happy with the consistency.

15. Remember, less is more when it comes to adding the water.

16. When you have a nice clump, which is nicely mixed, without any dry particles of powder, transfer it to a piece of cling-film (which I recommend that you double over, to prevent it from splitting)

17. Set aside your bowl and mixing materials to dry out, and then scrape out the remnants back into your scrap pot or grinder.

18. Roll out the silver clay, beneath the cling-film, to avoid picking up any dust or hairs.

19. Rolling will help to force and disperse the water into all of the particles of the silver clay powder.

20. Knead it into ball and continue rolling several times (beneath the cling film) to disperse the water and air-bubbles.

21. Check the consistency of the Silver clay, that it is not too wet (in which case it will be sticky and stick to the cling film). You can tell that it is a good consistency if it sticks to itself, but it should not stick to your fingers.

22. If it appears too dry, roll it out flat and thin and spray a tiny amount of water onto the Silver clay, from good height (so that a thin spray of water coats the rolled out silver clay.

23. Repeat the process of kneading and rolling to ensure that all of the water is fully dispersed until you are happy with the consistency.

24. Keep the silver clay wrapped in the cling-film overnight, to allow the water to penetrate fully into the clay and soak into the binder.

25. If you find, when you start to use it, the next day that it is still a bit crumbly or has cracks in, repeat the whole process of rolling inside the cling-film and spraying with water, whilst flat/rolled until you have it at the perfect consistency.

26. It does take a bit of practice and trial and error, to know how much water to add and how to get it to the right consistency, but once you are familiar with the correct process and consistency, you should find it a fairly quick and efficient process.

27. The great thing is that you can reconstitute all of your accidents, mistakes and broken pieces, so that you never have any waste.

Good luck and happy Jewellery making!

Why not check out these related products:

Cofee Grinder for Coffee Beans and Grains, with 304 Stainless Steel Blades