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Using art clay silver paste

Can anybody tell me how to use the Art Clay Silver Paste Type? I
just bought some from Fire Mountain, but it didn’t come w/
instructions. I’d like to paint some leaves with it. I have no pmc
experience at all, however, I do have a kiln. I inquired w/ Fire
Mountain but they didn’t have any idea how to use it either! Thanks
in advance for any help! – Trish

Can anybody tell me how to use the Art Clay Silver Paste Type? I
just bought some from Fire Mountain, but it didn't come w/
instructions. I'd like to paint some leaves with it. 

Sure. Most people refer to that as slip. You use it as a sort of a
glue to connect two pieces of metal clay which are completely dry.
(or to connect one dry, one wet piece.)

You can find how to videos online, as well as free tutorials. I have
a whole category of them on my blog, it’s called, “Free Tutorials
and Videos.” I’m part of the Orchid Blog Network as well.

Try the free videos here:

and since you’re working with Art Clay, visit their site: for downloadable info.


Can anybody tell me how to use the Art Clay Silver Paste Type? I
just bought some from Fire Mountain, but it didn't come w/
instructions. I'd like to paint some leaves with it. 

You paint the paste onto the backside of the leaf. You will need to
apply 6-8 thick coats of paste (allow to dry between coats) so the
silver is about 1mm thick After it is dry, fire (leaf and all). For
more info on what kind of leaf works best, check out:

Mary Ellin D’Agostino, PhD
Sr. Teacher, PMC Connection
Certified Artisan, PMC Guild

Trish it depends on what type of PMC you got as to what you can do
with it. If you go slip you can paint in on a leaf (many coats) and
make your leaf that way if you got sheet you can use a stamp (same
with the clay type) if you have any questions call Fire mountain
they will help you a lot or look at their on line classes.



You asked about ‘painting’ leaves with silver clay in paste form:

  • It’s the underside of the leaf you’ll probably want to ‘paint’ -
    the leaf is functioning as a kind of mould. For first try, you’ll
    probably have better results with a leaf that’s not fuzzy and not
    waxy. Choose a leaf that will hold it’s shape even if it gets dry
    while you’re working - or start with a dry leaf. Something where the
    veins on the underside of the leaf have a little thickness to them.
    Look at leaf vein patterns - some are more appealing than others.
    Choose a leaf with a stem to give you something you can hold on to.

  • Prep: Rub a little olive oil or bag balm on your hands. For ease
    of clean-up, it’s good to rub a thin film on any tools you plan to
    use too.

  • Open the container of paste and stir it - a toothpick or a skewer
    or a palette knife works fine. For ‘painting’ it on leaves, it’s
    nice if it’s more or less the consistency of custard. If it is much
    thicker than this, add a tiny bit of water and stir well. While
    you’re stir stick is still wet, you might clean the paste off your
    stir stick with your paintbrush so as not to waste silver.

  • A flat (or ‘bright’) paintbrush that’s about 1/4" across, works
    well for leaves that are up to an inch across. (Bigger brush, fewer
    strokes, less finesse). Use the brush to deliver the paste onto the
    underside of the leaf. Use just enough pressure to work the
    particles of silver in every crevice. Let this first layer dry.

  • I get my best results when I let things dry slowly. You can speed
    up the drying with heat, but too much heat can cause uneven drying.
    While this is no big deal, you may get pits or an uneven surface, or
    the leaf itself may begin to shrivel or burn. This can be a problem
    if your second layer makes your first layer go soft.

  • Be sure to tightly close your jar of paste when it’s not in use -
    otherwise it will dry out.

  • Paint on another layer, let it dry, and repeat. Four layers should
    do it, unless your paste is thin (watery). The resulting dry clay
    should be around 1.5 mm thick or so.

  • Take some time to gently clean up the edges of the dry clay. Your
    thumbnail may be the best tool for this. If the leaf has sharp
    teeth, you might very gently file the tips off them with an emery
    board, filing leaf and clay simultaneously.

  • My books say Art Clay silver can be fired at 1600 degree F. for 10
    minutes. It will shrink about 10%. Your metal leaf will be strongest
    if you ramp the kiln to temperature at full speed. Longer firing
    (say, for an hour or two) yields stronger metal too.

  • When your silver leaf comes out of the kiln it may have some ash
    on it. Blow it off or wash it off. The surface of the fired silver
    will still look dusty because the tiny particles of silver make for
    an uneven surface - which looks nice to me, but it collects dirt
    easily, so you need to polish. If you’re not set up for metal
    polishing, you can hand-brush with brass brush and soapy water to
    bring up the shine quite a bit. Try a little burnishing with
    something made of smooth steel, or even hard plastic.

Let us know how it goes!

Susan Ellenton

It should be the consistency of cream. Taking a paint brush, you
want to paint 10-20 coats of this (thinly) onto your leaf (both
sides), making sure that each coat dries completely before putting
the next coat on. Then fire the item and your leaf will be pure
silver when you pull it out of the kiln. I am sure that there are
instructional or at least l aids at Art Clay World’s
website and I suggest that you visit it to get help from any of the
on-line aids or any listed teachers in your area.

Sandra Graves
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)

Remember, Art Clay Silver is not PMC. It is another brand and you
should refer to it as such. There are many books, videos and project
sheets on how to use Paste type. Paste can be put over any organic
form. In addition to leaves, you can use pods, dried potpourri. You
can also use products like cork clay or wood clay as cores and by
layering paste on that, you can kiln fire it and create a hollow
form. Paste type is also used as a connector of pieces of clay type
to clay type. You can go to the Art Clay World website at, and our tips and techniques page should guide you,
as well as offering you videos and books to help you. My book, “Metal
Clay: The Complete Guide” is a great way to get into metal clay.

Jackie Truty, President
Art Clay World, USA, Inc.

Hi Sandra

When painting both sides of a leaf with the past, it creates a hollow
form which doesn’t give the desired form of the leaf. I did that on
some neat dried ends of a carnation, which would have made a great
bead string end, but they all collapsed from being hollow - the best
bet is just to paint the underside of a leaf with the paste. Numerous
coats as suggested.

Thanks for letting me chime in.
Rose Marie Christison

Taking a paint brush, you want to paint 10-20 coats of this
(thinly) onto your leaf (both sides)

Both sides? If you do this, you end up with a nice leaf-shaped blob
of silver with a thin empty space somewhere inside it that, if you
could see it, would show all the detail of the original leaf.

Choose a leaf with a pronounced vein structure, and apply paste to
the back.