Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Process of Copper Metal Clay

Here is today's copper firing, basically from start to finish. There can be variations in the firing schedule of pmc, this is the one I've been using on my Copper work and it's worked well for me.

Here are the pieces all molded and shaped and filed and ready for the kiln.

First phase of firing is open shelf, 15 minutes at about 650 degrees.

This is what they look like after open shelf firing. All the black stuff comes off during the second Phase.

Then they get packed in Carbon for the second phase, 1700 degrees for about 3 hours.
Here they are all layered in the carbon and loaded in to the kiln.

3 hours later...

I let the container cool off to under 500 degrees before I attempt to remove it. Then I let it sit until it's much cooler. Below it's still hot enough I need to use my heavy duty welding gloves to handle it.

There they are peeking out of the carbon when I pour it out of the container.

Used my gloves and a metal spoon to start to unearth the pieces. Everything cools off rather quickly from here and by the time I've found the large pieces I can usually start using my bare hand to find the smaller ones. There are usually one or 2 that don't want to be found, so when it's completely cool I sift them through the slotted spoon back in to the container and find the stragglers.


And then...

Some of them are just about perfect out of the kiln, just a little brushing and they are good to go. Some need to be tumbled for awhile and then I usually take a torch to them to give them lovely variations in color.

So there ya go, approximately 7 hours later I have some pretty Copper goodies, not counting the time it took to get them ready for the kiln. Copper and Bronze are not quick processes.

Then some of them get listed on Etsy!

Like this Large Paisley Flower Pendant

To see all the components I have listed click the link below

I'll be listing these over the next few days, or using them to create my own jewelry designs.



  1. Man! But I love your components Kristi! I love seeing the process. It sounds pretty complex to me. And I don't have a kiln so I will never be doing this on my own. It is good to know that someone with talent has a kiln, though. And I love the texture that you have in these designs! Well done!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. I was going to say the same thing as Erin! I also love seeing your process and this finish is just outstanding! I will be putting some of these on a wish list for sure!

  3. Thank you for sharing the step by step process. I love seeing how things get created! The birds are gorgeous!!! ~Val

  4. This is so important for customers to see -- they really don't understand the long process it takes to make something so beautiful!

  5. Thanks for sharing Kristi, this is how I learn. I've done some ACS with a torch and want to continue to get further into that and then maybe bronze and copper someday. Anyway, my husband got me the Firefly for Christmas and it is a bit intimidating. I haven't used it yet and haven't figured out how to get things out since it is a top loader. Called Paragon and they said wait till it cools. No forks made for these that I know of. Did see someone on you tube reach in with gloves, course don't know if it cooled down. Anyway, so fascinating and I'm thankful when you and others like you share your process.

  6. Your pieces are just amazing! I really enjoyed seeing the process.

  7. You rock my friend! Thanks for sharing ;-)



  8. Wow, thanks for showing this process, your pieces are brilliant - I love copper and all the colours you can get with it are amazing!

  9. wow...what a process!! your pieces are gorgeous. i've been thinking of taking my work in a new direction, but the thought of buying a kiln is so overwhelming. after seeing your pieces and creativity, i just may have to take the plunge!

  10. Thank you for that information....: ) Do you think it would be the same for a top loading kiln (Paragon Firefly digital)..? What type of copper clay do you use..there are a lot to pick from lately...
    Again, thanks for sharing.
    Melody Pierson