There has been an exciting innovation in metal clay – a silver clay that remains flexible when dry. Metal clay tutor Anna Campbell took a look.
Mitsubishi, the manufacturer of PMC (precious metal clay) has just released a new fine silver clay product called PMC flex. Like other types of silver clay:
PMC flex is 999 fine silver clay
It can be torch or kiln fired
Fired pieces can be hallmarked
Once fired it is the same as other fine silver clays – you can solder it, add gold etc.
So why is PMC flex different? As the name suggests, this metal clay is more flexible. It is slower to dry so you have a much longer working time with it. It also remains flexible when dried.
What are the benefits?
Great for any project where you need more working time before the clay starts to dry
Ideal for creating thin strips, coils and sculptural pieces
Air dried clay (i.e. not heated to dry it) remains flexible even after it’s dry
It’s great for making rings as you can shape the clay when it is dried without affecting the texture
You can roll PMC flex out at 1 card thick and use it like paper silver clay (e.g. cutting it with scissors, using paper punches etc). It is better than paper silver clay in that you can use water with it
You can roll it out very thinly and texture it
It’s great for designs where you plait or braid pieces together as the clay doesn’t crack so readily
It can be combined with other types of fine silver clay e.g. PMC3 and Art Clay new formula
PMC flex ring copyright Emma Gordon 2014. The whole piece, included the plaited ring shank, has been made from PMC flex
Anything to be wary of?
As with everything, it pays to be aware of any drawbacks.
The clay can be dried with a dehydrator, hot plate etc but some experiments with it have shown that this has to be done carefully if you want to maintain flexibility when dried. It can become brittle (like other silver clays when dried). However, if you air dry it (leave it out to dry) that problem hasn’t been found
It takes much longer to rehydrate the dried scraps of PMC flex than with other silver clays
PMC flex earrings copyright Celie Fago 2014
PMC flex is only just available in the UK and I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on it yet! I will share the results on the blog when I do. In the meantime, some lucky people were able to try it out before its release and they have shared their findings.
LJS metal clay masterclass tutor Julia Rai has recorded two video experiments with the clay that she has shared on youtube. Have a look at them here.
Video 1 showing a comparison with PMC3 in working time, rolling out at 1 card thick, cutting with scissors and a punch, using the silhouette digital cutting machine
Video 2 ring experiments and more experiments with the silhouette cutting machine
Janet Alexander from PMC Connection has written a really useful blog post about what she found in her experiments.
Are you going to try PMC flex? We’d love to see how you use it so please share your images with us on our facebook page.
Find out more about the variety of metal clay classes available here.
Anna Campbell is an experienced teacher and enjoys different types of jewellery making including beading and metal clay. She runs her own business, Light Boat Jewellery and has made jewellery for celebrities.