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COPPRclay Basics

  • Copper clay is made from pure copper. Copper is a very strong metal and makes a wonderful medium for jewelry. Some people have a sensitivity to copper, and it may react with your skin oils to create a green patina on your skin, but most people have no trouble wearing copper jewelry.

    We offer 2 brands of copper clay, COPPRclay by Metal Adventures, Inc and Art Clay Copper by Aida Chemical Company. Both brands can be fired with a torch, but require a special process to clean them since copper oxidizes during firing. Copper is a metal that is highly reactive to heat and oxygen. In a normal atmosphere, copper creates a thin oxide layer that protects it from corrosion, which is why it was once considered a noble metal. But as copper is heated in an oxygen atmosphere (such as in a kiln or by a torch), it oxidizes rapidly and a thick surface of cupric oxide is formed. For those firing by torch, the red hot metal is quenched (dunked) in water which causes the oxide layer to separate from the surface of the copper. It must then be pickled, which is an acid bath to clean it up. If this method does not appeal to you, you can also kiln fire both brands of copper clay buried in carbon firing media in a stainless steel container.

    Copper clays are easy to work with and respond much like bronze clay in workability, but some will find that the copper stains their hands. Using a hand conditioner will aleviate this problem for most people. You can use the information provided with bronze clays to work with copper clays. Both clays use the same tools and techniques.

    The firing schedule used for kiln firing for either brand of copper clay depends on the kiln being used. Both types require a digitally controlled kiln to properly sinter the clay into a solid, dense metal form.