Flexible Clay

The photo above is a 4-stranded braid made out of flexible copper clay, by Hope Weiner.

Bronze and copper clay powder make wonderful flexible clay. In fact, they are even nicer to work with than flexible silver clay. They feel like soft leather, and stay this way for a long time. The directions for making flexible clay are the same as in ny book: The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms.

However, glycerin does not burn well in carbon. When you fire flexible clay, make sure to cover the pieces with a very thin layer of carbon for the first phase of firing. Don’t use a lid. To be on the safe side, you can either extend the length of the first phase, or repeat the second phase twice.

These photos show some more flexible clay pieces that I made out of bronze clay powder.

10 Responses to “Flexible Clay”

  • Maggie Says:

    Fabulous results Hadar! Can’t wait for my clay powders to get to me, will definitely try these type of flexible ones.

    Also thanks for converting firing temps to metric for us!

  • Mary Ellin D'Agostino Says:

    So, if firing twice “to be safe” works, wouldn’t merely extending the length of time at temperature work as well? Or are there other issues involved?

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Hi Mary Ellin,

    From my experience, extending the length of time does not improve the sintering results as firing twice. The cooling in between firings plays a role. In this case, though, I can’t be sure that the braid did not sinter the first time (meaning after the 2 phases of firing.

  • Sandy Says:

    I am having a difficult time finding glycerin. Where can I buy it? By the way, I love your first book. I’ve now ordered the second and I’m anxious to receive it. THANKS.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Glycerin is available from drug stores. I also found it at a local ceramic store.

  • Jennifer Says:

    I did a double firing on mine (1100 full ramp for 45 minutes, cooled kiln to about 200 – impatient me – then fired at 1470 full ramp for 2 hours. All pieces were VERY brittle, and I basically lost the entire set to breakage. I’m thinking they were too deep in the carbon. Anyone else have trouble? Also, I found the glycerin in the cake decorating section of Michael’s Crafts for anyone who’s having trouble finding it. I’m wondering too what the clay/glycerin ratio should be. The clay turned out flexible, but it cracked in places if I tried to curve it too much.

  • Hadar Jaobson Says:

    Jennifer, When you use glycerin you need to hold longer at the first phase to let the glycerin burn out. It’s ok to cool to 200-250F. The clay will be more flexible if you use traditional copper and bronze, not the Quick-fires.

  • Jennifer Says:

    Ah ha! 2 strikes against me then. I was using the quick-fire too. Thank you!

  • Maie Says:

    Just fell in love with metal clay last week! 🙂

    quick question: do you plan to sell The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms or any of your other books in digital format? If not would you pls consider it as I would love to be able to read & use your books as soon as the payment processes.

  • Hadar Jacobson Says:

    Maie, Not in the near future. My second book is about to be published in the second edition.

Leave a Reply