Metal Clay Firing Tips

Metal clay firing is a fun way to make jewelry and metal sculptures. Metal clay is sculpted and molded  just like ceramic clay, but turns into a solid metal after firing. In this guide from Soul Ceramics, we'll walk you through some tips on firing metal clay.

Before firing

After you've finished forming your piece, the clay will need to dry before firing. Place the piece on a warming surface such as the top of a kiln (but not on the kiln's vents). After it dries, the clay will be hard, making it easy to add final touches before firing. After firing it's much more difficult to finish, so try and complete all touches before.

Firing

To reduce oxidation, your pieces need to be surrounded by activated carbon during firing. Firing metal clay first uses low heat to vaporize the binder, then high heat to sinter the alloy.

  1. Spread 1 inch of activated carbon granules on the bottom of a stainless steel firing container.

  2. Place your pieces on top of the layer; if firing two or more pieces, leave at least 1/2 inch between pieces.

  3. Pour more activated carbon granules on top of the pieces until the container is filled 1 inch from the top, making sure there is a 1/2 inch layer of granules on top of the pieces. If you are firing many pieces in layers put at least 1/2 inch of space between the vertical layers. Note: Do not fire more than 100 grams of clay at once; overloading may cause poor sintering.

  4. Put the stainless steel lid on the firing container and place it in the kiln on stilts to allow good heat circulation. Note: Most kilns are cooler near the door, so the front will be cooler than the other sides. To fix this by place the pieces closer to the sides and back of the kiln. If you have a top-loading kiln you do not need to adjust.