The Process  
A. Measure an amount to use.
B. Place in a small plastic or glass dish
C. Start by adding 1 'fat' drip of water for every gram of dry powder.
D. Pinch and mix until lump together.  Wet when needed and knead in hand until claylike
E. Form your piece, and allow to completely dry,  ~usually 24 hours.
F. Start your carving, engraving.
G. Fire in the kiln at least 1250F for 30 minutes or not over 1680F for 20 minutes.
H. Allow cool, now its done! Just burnish or polish and finish your creation.
MIXING - The contents SILVER AND BINDER are combined together inside the one packet.  The mixed powder should be placed in a non-porous container, i.e. glass, plastic, or glazed ceramic BUT NOT METALLIC.  A way to remember how much water to add is simply start by adding ONE DRIP TO EVERY GRAM of dry powder (NOTE: drips from an eye dropper are a third to half the volume of a fat-drip from a faucet). Allow powder to soak up water then begin mixing around with finger or mini spatula. Next pinch up the mix when it is quite dry but can lump all together, move to the palm of hand and lightly moisten when needed and continue kneading until the desired clay-like consistency is achieved. Generally 10 grams will need 4-5 minutes of kneading.  Afterwards the mixed clay should be allowed to MATURE before use by allowing to set for 15 minutes wrapped in plastic cling film. After which the clay should be rolled flat and kneaded a few times before working with.  If the clay become very sticky when kneading in your hand, you can add a bit more dry clay to it or just continue to knead allowing the binder to soak up the moisture and it will become more and more less sticky to the hands. We recommend that you do not use oils or glycerin when mixing the clay, as those will inhibit the properties of the binder (see A More Workable Clay? section below). The moisten silver clay never 'sets' like cement, therefore hardened work-in-progress can simply be wetted (albeit will take a longer from a fully dried clay), but it will dissolve in water. Unused moist clay may be stored if closed tightly in plastic cling wrap. Use only room temperature water, tap is ok, best if distilled water is used.
SHAPING - Kneading is important but under some circumstance tiny air bubbles could become trapped in the folds, make sure kneading is done with lots of squeezing.  Also it is better you flattened the clay down on a surface then cut out with a blade. While working the clay will dry out if the humidity in the work area is less then 100%, therefore keep a wet cotton tip swab handy for moisturizing. As SUGGESTION:  You may want to add in a few drips ~1:5 liquid soap to water to the moistened MCP  (see A More Workable Clay? section below), this can reduce drying while working the clay and allow for ease in carving after.  If you're making an impression of another object onto the clay a  release agent or heavy oil may be used to coat the surface of that object then the clay pressed onto that surface then released shortly thereafter.  After a shape is made coat with a slip paste to smoothen its surface. This may be done by rubbing the surface with water on your finger to smoothen out finger print impressions and fill cracks made by folds in the clay. If you are using Burn Aways single use clay mold, the clay will need be mixed softly as to be pressed into the mold completely filling its voids.
DRYING - Air drying the clay is best if rested on a brick or coated metal or nylon mesh surface, especially if it has a decent surface area. Paper or cardboard should not be used as they will bend and warp under the moist clay. A smooth plastic or glass surface should not be used as uneven drying will make the clay warp and crack.  Using a hair blow drier or mug warmer are methods of rapid dry but still be aware of the surface the clay is upon.  Do not use a hot blow gun and never place moist or partially moist clay in kiln or use the torch. Once dried the the clay's shape can be refined with the use of a cutting tool, knife, or rotary tool.
FIRING - Your MCP can be fired atop a stove or flame torch, but a kiln is highly recommended. Your pre-fired clay or green-body must be completely dry of moisture before being fired or blistering and excessive warping can occur. We recommend a kiln or high temp furnace over a torch flame because there is better control of temperature versus the unevenness of an open flame. Range top or stove top (natural gas open air) firing will not attain temperature high enough to fuse the silver, it will only burn away the binder.  Firing time varies with the thickness of the item and efficiency of the kiln or even-ness of the flame spread. Small rapid heat furnaces will generally require 50% more hold time.  A higher firing temp will require only a slightly less firing time. Pre-fired items should be placed in the kiln held at 600F for up to10 minutes to burn away binder, then increase temperature to begin sintering. The minimum hold temp is 1250F, with a max fire temp of 1680F. For a hard fire (necessary for rings and bracelets) hold at the upper temperature range for an excess of 15 minutes + 10 minutes for each millimeter of thickness.  Rapid heating will quickly vaporize the binder, and the clay may flake, blister, pop pieces off or crack. Small pieces of silver findings and wire as well as other silver clay objects can be fused together when kiln fired at max temp. Firing clay must be done in a ventilated area as the firing of metal clays produce smoke.

 

Metal Clay Powder?

Imagine owning the philosophers stone? Rather yet a philosophers powder in which you add water then burn in fire, and finally emerge an object of solid silver.  You now have the power to transform mud into an object of fine silver beauty.  The main ingredient is pure silver metal, along with organic binder and water.  When the product is fully air-dried, and fired at the appropriate temperature and time, the finished product will have great strength, and will take a polish just as any other silver metal object.


The purpose of the MCP?

MCP allows for artists to use silver clay in a variety of different ways.  A versatile clay with almost indefinite shelf life, MCP is a value alternative enabling you to make limited production runs or create larger artistic sculpture while maximizing profit margin.


The advantage of metal clay powder?

MCP only needs water to bring it to life. Even hardened unused clay can be brought back to life with just a few drops of water.  If you have made a mistake such as your work-in-progress got cracked or broke, you can make a thin clay paste, and actually cement-together the pieces.  Or if you misspelled a chiseled out letter, just fill in with clay and make it right this time! Or say you destroyed your work-in-progress, simply dissolve it in a few drops of water then you have clay once again.  MCP has almost unlimited shelf life. To prolong the effectiveness of the binder it should always be kept in its bag and away from dampness.  50 grams of MCP is equal to approximately 60 grams of a workable fine silver clay!


What warnings?

Metal Clay Powder is non-poisonous, but then again a lot of silver powder in your system isn't good; not for anyone. Heating the clay will release volatile vapors that will sustain a flame in open air.  Artisans should wear dusts mask and glasses if carving with a sharp object,  high speed rotary tool or powered sander/grinder.  Improperly fired clay can pop and send chips flying.  MCP (moist) should not 'stay' in contact with other metal surfaces except silver or gold.  The clay powder does not contain mercury, lead ...only metal is Silver.  Don't burn plastics or melt away wax in a kiln. 

 

Recommended tools and equipment:

Kiln capable of holding temperatures of 1250F - 1680F
digital gram scale for weighing
8oz dish for mixing
mixing rod
a brick
eye protection

Optional equipment

latex gloves
particulate mask
carving tools
sandpaper
timer 


Project Ideas?

Make unique jewelry
Board game pieces
Key ring fobs
Trophies

Chess pieces
Flash memory cases
Fingerprint Charms
Sculptures
Models
Amulets
Utensils
Candle holders
Furniture accents
Clothing accents
Buttons
Handles
RPG figurines
Dollhouse accessories
Awards
Silver pottery
Ornaments
Belt buckles
Commemorative decorations

 

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  ~ More Facts and Tips ~

Silver powder: is the most valued ingredient, generally valued four times higher than market price for silver. We developed a method to make and dry the silver powders quickly and efficiently. The silver used in MCP is at least 99.9% fine silver. The binder is made of a cellulose fiber derivative and modified corn starch. MCP can be used in conjunction with or as a slip with other available silver clays.  MCP will shrink during the drying phase as water can contribute up to  ten percent of the clay mass.  As it dries it will become smaller and denser up to 3%.

Silver melting point:  is above 1700F (1761F to be exact) however silver may appear to melt at a temp just above 1500F. Small rapid heat burnout furnaces or mini kilns are electric and have fully exposed heating coils and insulated with a fiber board. These type of kilns during ramp to 1680F may be hotter and cooler in areas of the inside since 1680F is the temp of the thermocouple.  Silver has the property of being the most thermally conductive of all metals thus it heats or gets hotter faster than anything else around it. MCP being fired will produce smoke, soot, and sustain a flame just as any metal clays on market. MCP is 96% silver weight. Each pack of Metal Clay Powder contains 50 grams or 1.61 troy oz fine silver,

Fire Shrinkage: The minimum fire temp is 1250F; Pieces fired at this temp will experience about 12% linear shrinkage however the fired object will have less strength thus will be easily burnished but will much easily scratch and break when bended.  Higher temperature firings i.e. 1680F and longer hold temps e.g. 20 minutes or longer will yield the densest end product with shrinkage ranging 20% to 25% linear. The higher firing temp objects will be much harder than lower fire temp objects. Large items such as sculptures and pieced thicker than a small coin should be fired longer than the specified time.  Generally add 10 to 15 minutes of fire time for every millimeter in thickness the item is.    

Patinas: If you want to add a patina either with sulfur or iodine, it is best if you hard fire your clay.  Clay objects fired at low or mid range temperatures are more porous and will soak up external liquids.  Liver of sulfur and iodine toned clays that were not hard fired will continue to coat over even long after it has been dried and finished.  A hard fire is necessary to avoid the leaching of surface patina chemicals. Silver sulfide is the most water insoluble substance known that can dissolve in water!

 
Comparison of MCP to other silver clays of 50 grams sizes.
Model Make % Silver as supplied Firing temp / time
PMC+ Precious Metal Clay 90% Ag -5g silver 20min @ 1550F / 30 min @1450F
PMC3 Precious Metal Clay 90% Ag 30min @ 1200F / 10 min @1400F
Art Clay Silver Art Clay 92% Ag 30min @ 1200F / 10 min or 1400F
MCP Metal Clay Powder 100% Ag + 5% organic 30min @ 1250F / 20 min or 1680F
 

A More Workable Clay?

Once you have mixed your MCP silver999, you can knead in a drip or two of hand soap or Dawn liquid detergent (a soap free of phosphates and bleach) per gram of clay.  This will increase drying time a bit but more importantly the clay will be softer more like hard cheese when fully dry allowing carving to be performed with a less risk of breaking or chipping.  Methyl cellulose: is a dry paint thickener found at artists supply and craft stores. The addition of a small pinch to your clay will make it soak more water and make it softer. Adding methyl cellulose will make the clay shrink more on drying and may make the clay shrink a couple percentage points more than normal.  Distilled water: Not all bottled water is the same.  Look for distilled water at your grocery store.  Truly distilled or de-ionized water hydrates the binder best.  Rain water actually beats most store bought distilled waters!  Bottled drinking water for the most part is the same as tap water as it contain halides for preservation. Working in high humidity can cause the clay not to bind well when drying.  Under some circumstance Glycerin: may be added to relax the clay make become softer but glycerin should only be added after the liquid soap have been mixed in.  A PVA glue: (school white glue like Elmers' brand) may be added for more flexibility and is a useful clay additive especially if working in humid environment.

In either case as with glycerin or the glue our trials used approximately 20:1 water to glycerin and 10:1 water to glue.  During batch trials a 5:1 rain water to Dawn premixed is used as a wetting agent. Methyl cellulose is rarely used in testing but 1 gram was once added to 10 grams of dry MCP, the resulting fired item shrinked 33% after a stepped ramp to max temperature for 45 minutes.

Roll it out: When removing MCP silver999 from its package it may feel solid and grainy. This is fine because when it is hydrated and properly kneaded it will turn out smooth and pliable. Your clay should be worked in hand while adding additives if necessary to it.  When it has been worked well in hand place it between two sheets of plastic (adhesive backing works well too) and roll with a rolling pin making it flat. Pick the flattened clay up and knead further and roll it flat again. You may have to do this four or five times or more.

Syringe applicator: You can use a syringe as a clay/paste applicator.  Use a syringe of 5cc or better without a needle.  Pieces of left over clay are placed into the syringe and plunger re applied. Add in water to the level of clay, cap the syringe and set aside for a at least 2 days. This syringe applicator is useful for joining two or more pieces of clay before or after being fired. Filling a syringe for use as an applicator is best done with two syringes. First syringe is used to evenly hydrate the clay. With the nozzle removed (broken away), squeeze out the clay directly into the bottom of the next syringe, filling it slowly as to minimize trapping air. You then re-insert the plunger then push up slowly until the clay flows out the nozzle..

960 Alloy Clays. Starting about 2013, artisans discovered the benefits of sterling alloy clays' harder fire but with the ease of firing 999f.s. clay. As you may wondered clay artists have experimented with MCP silver999 mixing it with other silver clay and base metal clay products that are available.  Although we do not encourage MCP silver999 to be mixed with other clay products, we however won't condone your own endeavors nor will we promote a specific brand over another.  It should however be noted that base metal powered clays are a poor choice to make an alloy with MCP silver999.  Better success although have been achieved with a 50/50 mixture of a ready-use sterling clay than a 96/4 mixture of a ready-use copper or base metal clay. 

Burn Aways:

For a limited time orders of MCP silver999 placed beginning in September 2014 will include a complimentary sample single use metal clay mold.  The mold which is made of thick paper board with an image engraved in to is meant for a prepared clay to simply be pressed onto the design and left to dry. The dried clay with mold attached is then placed into the kiln (burnout oven).  Clays drying in the burn away mold will take longer to dry fully.  If suspect that the clay is still moist set the temperature to 250F for 10 minutes, then ramp and hold at 600 for 10 minutes, then to 1400F for 5 minutes then on to your maximum temperature e.g. 1680F for 20 minutes. The mold will have reduced to a white ash.  Although sub-millimeter thickness MCP clay items have been successfully fired the thinner the clay the more likely it can develop crack when drying. The larger the mold the more it will warp or bowl upon drying, thus a weight may be needed to rest upon it so as to not warp drastically while drying. The dark areas of the mold will be the raised relief on your clay and that raised relief will have a rough texture.  Under some circumstance you may use MCP as a paste to fill in the voids before pressing on with clay; however, try to avoid letting the mold soak up excess moisture.

Make a Base Mold:

A base mold is a form at which you will use as a basis to make your clay object on... similar to how a dressmaker use a form to measure patterns on.  The lowest cost base mold is made from ordinary beach sand.  First you should choose the sand, and sieve through a strainer to get the smallest possible grain size.  Further grinding in a (non-purpose) coffee mill or with a mortar and pestle to make a finer sand. Wash this sand well in a pot, if possible boil the sand to wash and rinse away all salts, and debris. Now dry the sand by heating on stove or oven in a glass pot. Allow to cool then sieve this sand and place in a jar for storage.  To make the base mold, obtain methyl cellulose, tapioca, or modified grain starch and one heaping tablespoon should be enough for a coffee cup of sand. Add in small amounts of water until you can shape the sand easily into the shape you desire. Allow this to dry then form your metal clay around or on this sand mold and allow to dry on the mold.  If your metal clay object can easily be removed from the mold then take it off prior to placing in kiln; if not then place the clay object including base mold and fire at the required temperature for the metal clay.  Once cooled, the sand mold will fall to free flowing sand again at which can be discarded.  This is especially useful method when making hollow forms and larger 3D objects. There are fancy other products available including hollow glass spheres and carbon-based solids like wood dust which shrinks too, all work well, but nothing beats sand price-wise.

 Wood Workers and Carpenters: Imagine Metallic Silver Inlay!

MCP can  be used as inlay.  Since the binders are made of plant based products, the clay will easily fuse hard to routed; either hand routed or laser routed wood. Sand it down once dried and buff the silver along with the wood surface then protect with linseed or a varnish.  This of course requires no burning, kiln, or firing and shrinkage around 7% a reapplication may be necessary..

Pottery & Plaster & Clay Artist:

MCP can be fired along with some pottery works, or unfired as a coating for plaster. It may also work as an inlay for low temperature cured polymer clay art.  Imagine the luster of silver to give a bas-relief a cameo appearance. Or s'grafitto with silver layers.

Silver Smiths' Metal Clay Powder (v1)was first introduced mid 2006 as the first silver clay to be sold in powder form. It sold for only half the price other commercially available ready made silver clays.  Version 2.1 ran the span of 2007 to 2009 then v2.2 and v2.3 carried on until 2013.
The New MCP! Now called  Metal Clay Powder SILVER 999, MCP v3 & v3.1.  This update comes with all new packaging that is lightweight and takes up less space.  A hybrid silver component and an all new binder mixture.  You also get the full 50 grams of silver powder... a full 2.5 grams more silver than before! ( v3.2) update uses less dense particles for a stronger, higher shrinkage and smoother outcome. Label changed to indicate the maximum firing temperature of 1680F instead of the minimum fire of 1250F.

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