If you enjoy crafts and want to create silver jewelry pieces, then you might consider trying silver clay. Silver clay is similar to other types of clay and pottery but contains small particles of silver, so it creates beautiful silver jewelry without all the equipment and know-how required for working with pure silver or sterling silver. In fact, once silver clay is fired, much of the water and other ingredients are burned off, and the item becomes .999 silver. Silver clay is a great way to take your jewelry and craft making to a whole new level.
Select a work surface. Laminate countertops and glass are the best surfaces to use when you're working with silver clay; but if you do not have laminate or glass work surfaces in your home, you can purchase a plastic mat or a Teflon sheet to use as your work surface. Avoid working with silver clay on metal surfaces, as this can cause discoloration in the clay. In addition to using the proper work surface, it is a good idea to apply a film of olive oil to your hands before you touch the clay. The oil will prevent the clay from sticking to your hands and also keep it from drying out. You can apply olive oil to your tools and work surface as well.
Cut and shape the clay. Use a craft knife to cut your clay to the desired size. Silver clay can be shaped into a variety of items. Popular choices include beads, necklace pendants, rings, bracelets and household decor items such as votives. Consider purchasing craft tools to create intricate clay jewelry.
Dry and clean the clay. Silver clay needs to be dried and cleaned before it can be fired. You can let the clay dry naturally; simply leave it out for a full 24 hours. You can also use a hair dryer to speed up the process. When using a hair dryer, it is important to test for dryness by pressing the clay to a piece of glass and checking for condensation. You may need to check the clay several times. Once dry, smooth your clay with a file or a piece of sandpaper. Finally, be sure to trace an outline of your clay on a piece of paper. This will help determine whether it has been fired properly later on.