Using metal clay instead of casting

Was: Firing bronze metal clay for patina look

There are some benefits to using metal clay instead of casting, in
addition to the easy learning curve.

A few as follows:

  1. You NEVER have to carve waxes, unless you choose to make a model
    out of wax first, a major plus as far as I’m concerned.

  2. The material itself can be carved directly.

  3. You NEVER have to burn out toxic materials (like wax) or if
    necessary, the volume of same is much reduced.

  4. You can still make multiples, and more easily.

  5. The detail of the product can be as fine, if not finer, than if

  6. The results are almost immediate.

  7. The material is definitely user-friendly.


Granted that the base metal clays still need some tweaking before
they become as consistently easy to use as the fine silver and
golds, but all of the above still applies.

Not that casting ain’t a great thing! It’s just that metal clay is a
new TOOL, along with all the other tools, including casting, that we
use to make our wonderful ‘stuff’. I am, of course, using “tool” to
imply a range of skills and techniques we need/choose to fabricate
our work.

Linda Kaye-Moses

But thanks to having Play-doh during my childhood, I'm already
decently equipped to handle metal clay. Almost anything in my
house can become a tool and the most limiting factor is my
imagination. For those of us that lack the knowledge, equipment,
budget and space to embark on casting our own pieces, metal clay is
a fantastic way to help us get detailed and/or complex designs out
of our head and into reality. 

You could substitute “metal clay” with “carving wax” and the
statement would still be true. If you are truly budgeted it would be
cheaper to carve waxes and send them to be cast than to purchase a
kiln, bronze clay, and all the accouterments.



I guess I didn’t express myself clearly. Another Orchidian commented
that he didn’t understand why anyone would choose to work in metal
clay rather than cast or form pieces. I was countering that and my
point was that metal clay is a great alternative for those of us that
don’t or can’t cast pieces. I feel that artists should use whatever
medium gets them excited and allows them to express themselves. And I
agree with you that it’s what you do with the material that counts!


Take a look at the most recent entry on Hadar Jacobson's blog: Whatever your opinion, I think
anyone would have to acknowledge that metal clay is a new and
different way of working, and not a substitute for casting or
anything else. 

Finally a valid use. This may be the first example I’ve seen
(although I don’t really look for them) of an excellent use of bronze
clay versus other methods of construction. However, I still feel that
using something solely because it’s “new” or “different” makes as
much sense as using something because it’s “not new” or “not

Kudos to Hadar and Toni.

Carving Wax is in no way like carving metal clay. Plus with metal
clay you can drill and sand; you treat the clay in its dry leather
hard state more like metal, only easier to work with. You don’t have
to have a kiln to fire it, many ceramic places will fire it for you.
But, the point is there is no difference in the materail you use, but
the result you get. Have you seen what some people do with recycled

Linda Reboh