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Setting Fused Dichroic Glass into Metal Clay, Pmc, Art Clay Silver

Updated on January 8, 2011

Silver Clay and Dichroic Fused Glass, A Match Made in Heaven

I love the shimmer & sparkle of fused dichroic glass. I also love the cool sheen of pure silver. When the two are combined, it's truly a match made in heaven. The color and sparkle of the glass adds dramatic impact to the silver. The silver provides a beautiful background for the vibrant glass. With metal clay, it is super easy to create fabulous, one of a kind pieces that are eye-catching and beautiful. My intention in writing this guide is to provide guidance for those of you who might want to delve into the world of metal clay and glass.

Make something beautiful, it will bring you Joy!

I have lots of items for sale for both fusing glass and working with metal clay. Check my shop out at feedthefires.etsy.com You can also check out my main website at artandsoulct.com

fused glass and metal clay pendant
fused glass and metal clay pendant

Getting Started

Metal Clay

There are two types of Silver Clay, Art Clay Silver, which is the brand I use, and Precious Metal Clay, or PMC.

Basically, microscopic particles of silver are embedded in an organic binder which forms a putty like clay that can be rolled, stamped, molded, sculpted, carved, brushed, etc. After drying, the clay is fired with a torch, in a kiln, or on a gas stove. The organic binders burn away, and you are left with pure silver. After firing the piece needs to be wire brushed, burnished or polished in a tumbler to bring out the true beauty of the silver.

I work exclusively with Art Clay Silver 650/1200 lowfire slowdry clay. I like it the best because, in my opinion, the slower drying time allows for more creative freedom, and the low firing temperature is best for combining the clay with glass or stones. It also has the lowest shrinkage rate which is helpful when setting glass or stones. I sell art clay silver products and more here Check my shop out at feedthefires.etsy.com

fused glass and metal clay cab surround pendant
fused glass and metal clay cab surround pendant

What You Need

A list of Materials

Silver Clay of Choice (I personally recommend Art Clay Silver slow dry lowfire)Fused Glass Cabochon of Choice - If you do not fuse glass yourself, you can purchase cabochons from me. Just email me at lisel33@sbc.global.com and I can let you know what I have available and how much they would be. I also sell a fused glass kit for making your own here feedthefires.etsy.com If you live in the CT area, I teach classes in fused glass. You can view my class schedule at artandsoulct.com

Lubrication I like a product called Slik, but you can use olive oil, badger balm, etc. Slik is manufactured by cooltools.I sell slik and other metal clay tools here feedthefires.etsy.com

Rolling pin Clear Acrylic or PVC pipe

Work Surface I love flexible cutting boards for this purpose. They can be cut into different sizes and are great to work on.

Rubber Stamp texture plate or other means of applying texture to the clay

Spray Lubricant for spraying molds or stamps prior to impressing the clay. I like and sell Cool Slip.

Cutting tool exacto, needle tool, or other tool to cut the clay

Slip or Syringe of Silver Clay, Slip is a paste of silver clay and water. Syringes filled with slip are very handy to have and are also available for sale at my store, feedthefires.etsy.com, but you can easily mix slip by putting clay scraps in a film canister or small jar with a little bit of water (distilled is best, but you can use tap) and mixing them together.

Brushes Carving tools, & whatever else you would like to use to impress, shape or carve the clay

cab surround
cab surround

Create your Design

Begin by having a design in mind. You can do pendants, rings, pins, bracelets, anything you want.

Once you have an idea, oil your hands and the roller and pre lubricate any textures you will be using. Begin by cutting off a suitable size piece of clay. You want to have a strong enough base for the glass to be supported, without wasting clay. Using cards as guides, roll out your clay to an even thickness. If you will be texturing your clay, roll it first with one or two thicknesses higher than your finished thickness will be. To texture, place the rolled out piece of clay on the lubricated texture with guides on either side on top of the texture and then roll firmly and smoothly in one direction. This will give you an even depth and great overall impression. If the texture is too small for the clay and guides, build the guides up on either side of the texture to get the required depth. For small rubber stamps, you can press it into the clay.

Decide where you want to place your glass piece on the object before you cut out your design to make sure there is enough room to support it and for the piece to have good proportions. Then use your exacto, blade or other cutting tool to cut out the shape of the piece. Roll up your scraps, wrap in plastic wrap, and put them back in the original packaging with a wet piece of paper towel to keep the clay moist.

Next, press lightly on your glass piece to make an impression of its shape. Remove it and use a cutting tool to cut out some clay from behind where the glass will be going. I usually cut a decorative pattern with stars or circles. This saves on clay, provides visual interest on the back of the piece, and gives the clay room to shrink and move as it is firing. Put the clay you cut out in with your scraps, or use it to make a bail or decorative elements for your piece.

overlapping bezel
overlapping bezel

Make Your Bezel

A Bezel is visually striking and holds the glass in place

Place the glass back on the piece. Now you want to create a bezel. I have tried making a bezel with syringe, but find the thickness of the coil too small for glass. You can roll a coil of clay and use that to make our bezel. You can also flatten the coil or roll out the clay and cut a long strip for the bezel. I also enjoy creating textured cab sourrounds or creating free from textured pieces which I lay on the piece so part of it is overlapping the glass. It is important to adhere the bezel to the clay around the glass, not the glass itself. Also, don't make it tight as the clay will shrink during firing and the glass won't. I paint some paste on the clay surrounding the glass, and then adhere my clay bezel. You can keep the bezel simple, or make it very decorative.

teardrop pendant
teardrop pendant

Complete your project

Once your glass is adhered, you can decorate your piece by adding balls, coils, or pieces of clay, carving into the clay, squeezing syringe clay, whatever your heart desires.

If you are making a pendant, you need to consider how you will hang it. The creation of a unique and decorative bail can add a lot to your piece. Alternatively, you can just poke and drill holes.

Once your design is complete, let it dry thoroughly, do any sanding or smoothing you feel necessary, clean off the glass cab with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, and then fire it.

I fire to 1250 degrees fahrenheit, hold for 30-45 minutes, then turn off the kiln and let it cool slowly to allow the glass to anneal. I usually let the kiln cool overnight and open it in the morning.

To finish the piece, I wire brush it, being careful around the glass, and then tumble or burnish the silver. The tumbler does not harm the glass. It is also save to dip the glass in liver of sulfur if you prefer to patina your pieces.

I hope this guide helps you to explore the creative and wonderful worlds of both metal clay and dichroic glass. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process.

If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me at lisel33@sbcglobal.net. I sell all the tools and materials you need to get started. There is also a lot of information on the artclayworld.com website.

Firefly kiln with digital pyrometer
Firefly kiln with digital pyrometer

Kiln Guide

An overview of the best kilns for fused glass and metal clay

I am a distributor for Paragon Kilns in Texas. They have been manufacturing small kilns for many years and have what I consider to be the best options for both fused glass and metal clay. You can work with metal clay without investing in a kiln, but a kiln is an absolute necessity for fusing glass or for setting fused glass into metal clay.

I have heard it said that you should look at your long term needs and get the kiln that will meet all of those needs when you first start out. I agree with that to some degree. However, sometimes you don't really know what you will be doing down the road. Some aspects of your creative endeavors may evolve and your needs will change accordingly. Also, budget is a strong consideration, especially if you are just starting out.

By far the best starter kiln is the Paragon Firefly with digital pyrometer . It retails for $465 plus shipping. I sell it for $350 plus shipping. This is a small kiln and is not programmable, but is the most affordable. There are other kilns like the hotpot, speedfire and microwave kilns that are less expensive, but I don't feel they are worth using for many reasons.

The portable and convenient Paragon FireFly will give you unbridled freedom. It plugs in almost anywhere on a household 120 volt outlet.

You will never outgrow a small kiln. If you later buy a larger kiln, continue to use the small one for testing or small projects. It also has a high resale value, so you could sell it and use that money to upgrade.

The Paragon FireFly is an excellent choice for beginners. It fires rapidly. Yet you can slow it down with the infinite control switch. The pilot light glows brightly during firing. The pyrometer tells you exactly what temperature the interior of the kiln is at. You do have to manually turn the controller up and down and watch the kiln during the hold firing times, but that is a minor inconvenience.

The Firefly is also available in a fully programmable version for a bit more money. It retails for $690 plus shipping and I sell it for $530 plus shipping. The advantage to a programmable kiln is that you can "set it and forget it".

I have sold literally hundreds of Fireflies and everyone loves them. I have also have people I have sold the fireflies to sell their firefly and upgrade to the Caldera after a year or so and been very happy about that as well.

I have all these kilns and more listed in my etsy shop feedthefires.etsy.com and my main website artandsoulct.com

Caldera programmable kiln
Caldera programmable kiln

The Caldera

This is the kiln I have owned and loved for 5 years

I love the Caldera. I own the programmable version which I purchased 5 years ago. It has served me beautifully for my own work and student work. Some times I fire it twice a day. I have never had to do a thing to it in all these years.

The benefit of the Caldera above the firefly is that it is taller inside, so if you want to do fused glass bowls or drop ring vases, you can. Otherwise it is very similar to the Firefly. It also has the options of adding a bead collar so you can anneal beads in it. These are not pertinent to the subject of this lens, but if you are an artist that likes to do a lot of different things, this is a very versatile kiln. It can also fire to cone 10 for small ceramic items. I sell it here feedthefires.etsy.com. It retails for $760 plus shipping and I sell it for $560 plus shipping.

Dichroic Cabs and Glass Fusing Kits

I sell pre-fused glass cabs, metal clay, and kits for fusing, as well as kilns & tools to help you get started.

I have a wonderful glass fusing kit that is perfect for creating glass cabs. It contains 1/2 pound of precut glass in a variety of colors and shapes, including a great selection of dichroic. I also include easy instructions. All you need is a kiln. The fusing kit is only $38 plus shipping. I have lots of items for sale for both fusing glass and working with metal clay. Check my shop out at feedthefires.etsy.com

I also teach a variety of classes and workshops in metalsmithing, fused glass, metal clay, mosaics and more. I teach in CT and other locations. To view my current schedule, just check out my main website at artandsoulct.com

I also sell Art Clay Silver, syringes, tools, kilns and more at excellent prices. If you are interested in more information, feel free to contact me directly. My email address is lisel33@sbcglobal.net.

Wonderful books on the subjects of metal clay and fused glass - You can learn so much from books. They are a worthwhile investment and great reference to keep a

These are some of my favorite books on the subjects.

Feedback, Guidance and Ratings

Please take a moment to give me feedback

I'm new to creating lenses. I love the opportunity to share with others and would treasure your feedback and suggestions. If you find this lens valuable, please consider adding your rating by clicking on the appropriate star at the top of the page (you must be registered on Squidoo to rate a lens).

If there is anything you think would make this lens more valuable, a topic you would like to see added, or any feedback of any kind (what you like, what you don't, what you'd like to see more of), please let me know! You can contact me at lisel33@sbcglobal.net.

My website is artandsoulct.com

You can see some of my work at heartofthefire.etsy.com

Check out a new way to sell using social networking on toldya

I just opened a store for free. If you follow this link, you can see what it's all about.

I'm not that savvy with social networking, but this seems really easy to do. Follw this link to find out more about my store and how to start your own.

toldya.com/stores/lisel33

Please take a moment to sign my guest book. - I would love to hear your comments and suggestions on what I can do to make this lens better.

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    • profile image

      Karen Bristol 5 months ago

      Thank you so much for providing me such an informative resource with a wealth of information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      hello

      I understand your love for your kiln. I'!

      m a frenc artist (painter) but some 4 years ago I did enamelin when living in west berlin/!Germany . Then I bought a nice little 3 liters kiln. I used it a lot durin 20 years then stopped during 10 years then used it from time to time, then left it5 years in the attics. Lately, I got it from there to use it with bronze clay and....IT WORKS PERFECTLY WELL.

      I love it.

      And after reading htid page I think I will use it with dichroid glass in bronze because what you show us there is really beautiful !!!

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      I've been using 1350 for my kiln temperature and I must say it does make the glass a little soft and I have to be careful. I will try the lower temperature and see how it works. Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Dear Lisel,

      I have been making pieces with silver metal clay for a few months now and I want to branch out with fused dichroic glass. I found our article interesting and easy for follow and understand.

      Many Thanks

      Jude - Western Australia

    • profile image

      the_subtle_eye 7 years ago

      Hi, Lisel,

      How do I get to your Etsy store?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi Lis-el! I am bookmarking this article for future reference - there is a lot of good information here. Your all day metal clay class was amazing... I learned A lot and came home with 3 fabulous projects. I might consider getting a smaller kiln for metal clay. Firing in my bigger kiln seems to take a lot longer... good to know about the annealing when firing glass with the clay.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for the info on firing glass and silver. I have had mixed results with firing zircons and semi-precious stones. I know that many stones are no recommended for firing but I try some of them anyway with interesting results. (peridot changed to cloudy and darker on the first firing. Had to refire due to breakage and the peridot changed to dark, olive green with a metallic finish. Very cool!!) I have never done any pieces with glass, but you've inspired me to give it a try. Thanks for taking the time to share info. Does anyone know of a PMC magazine? Wanted to get it for a fellow beader for a holiday gift???

    • profile image

      palaceofglass 7 years ago

      Great lens! Very inspiring. Keep up the great job you are doing!

      Glass Decoration

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Lisel~

      I loved your camelot collection piece with the dragon's eye. I saw it on etsy awhile ago and was looking for it today and I couldn't find it. I did find this lens. It is very well put together and interesting. Good job, just don't let all this marketing technology take too much time away from creating. Your pieces are truly breathtaking and show great spirit. Yours is one of the few descriptions which includes the vital phrase "My intention in creating this piece is..." Thank you for being so generous with your talent.

      All the best

      lisapope@cogeco.ca

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 8 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I really enjoyed reading your lens today. I am hoping to try silver clay soon and will probably want to make some rings with dichroic glass. I will be back to read this lens again. You have some great information here, and a friendly way of telling us about how to start making this kind of jewelry. I will favorite your lens. I gave it five stars.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 8 years ago from Kansas

      Thanks for sharing you information and knowledge. I'm just starting in PMC and have just bought a kiln. Can't wait to get started.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I'm hoping to meet you at your shop and take a class sometime soon.

      I appreciate your positive attitude and your generosity of spirit!

      alienbeader@gmail.com

      alienbeadings.com

    • profile image

      Derrayjac 8 years ago

      Great Lens, I love dichroic Glass jewelry, when created with silver, I thinks it is a stunning combination, You really have to see dichroic glass in person so to speak, because the beauty and life in each unique piece is amazing. a photo does not capture it's brilliance. They say diamond have fire, dichroic glass is alive! It is art!

      I am a bit biased as I love all jewelry, usually natural stones and diamonds of course, for man made stuff, dichroic glass is one of the best. It is Stunning

      Picture a rainbow, dragon fly wings, or fire opals, dichroic glass is a fusion of all these only better. I swear, there is lampwork glass, and murano glass and the there is Dichroic in a league of it's own. Honestly every one should see dichroic glass, it will cheer ya up on a rainy day,

      The Mesmerizing Beauty of Dichroic Glass Jewellery

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I ordered your Glass Fusing Kit and I'm having a great time. Thanks for this tutorial, it's a big help.

    • profile image

      GeminiSky 9 years ago

      Thanks for this informative lens! Beautiful jewelry too!

      This is the next type of jewelry making I've been wanting to try.

      I love the creative possibilities

      Jennifer Camara

    • profile image

      DazzlingDesigns 9 years ago

      A really wonderful lens on Dichroic glass and PMC. I gave you 5-Stars! Please feel free to stop by my Unique Handmade Jewelry lens.

      Thanks,

      Donia

      Handmade Beaded Jewelry Gallery

    • profile image

      GulinoArtware 9 years ago

      What a great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I just found your writing on MC and fused galss. Thanks for the info

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I am sooooo new at this craft, and your site is not only educational but inspiring. Thank you

    • ArtisticHorse profile image

      ArtisticHorse 9 years ago

      I really enjoyed this, thanks for sharing. Its on my list of things to learn!!!

    • profile image

      thomasz 9 years ago

      Wow really great lens. Come visit my lenses.

    • profile image

      Aika 9 years ago

      enchanting lens!

    • profile image

      magscrafts 9 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for sharing this information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      This lens is as wonderful as the artist who created it! Very thorough and interesting!

    • Pierce This 2 profile image

      Pierce This 2 10 years ago

      Interesting look. It looks futuristic and antique at the same time. How to measure a belly button ring

    • profile image

      allysa 10 years ago

      enchanting metal, very unique also. 5* for you! :)

    • LisaJesse profile image

      LisaJesse 10 years ago

      Hi L! This is a great lens. I appreciate all the useful info.

      Please visit my

      2008 Jewelry Trends lens. Look forward to seeing more

      from you! Thanks...... ~ LISA ~

    • mn3guy profile image

      mn3guy 10 years ago

      I've never heard of this-it's quite interesting. Would be interesting to see some info on costs, and maybe you could add a YouTube video of yourself making something. Just a thought.

      Meat and Three Restaurants

      Phil (mn3guy)

    • profile image

      DeanBakerWholesale 10 years ago

      Great 5 star lens!.....Love the jewelry.

    • Karendelac profile image

      Karendelac 10 years ago

      Your talents are so unique. I rated your lens 5 stars. Best to wishes on the success of your work. All the Best, Karen at Karen's Kinkade Art Store

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Just what I was looking for - I'm new at PMC and have been doing cloisonne - I'm now incorporating enamel into PMC and want to try dichroic as well! Thanks

    • profile image

      Aika 10 years ago

      brilliant lens! like the designs and styles. 5 star!

    • profile image

      Lady-Ellen 10 years ago

      What lovely work! These would look great on my characters...

      Come on over and see what I mean!

      5 stars

      Cheers,

      Lady Ellen

    • fotos4web lm profile image

      fotos4web lm 10 years ago

      Brilliant Lens - Best I've seen on Jewelry Making !

      Wel-deserved 5 *****

      Keith

    • profile image

      allysa 10 years ago

      artistic and creative. 5* from me. Pls do visit my lens too, thanks

    • NanStuff4sale profile image

      NanStuff4sale 10 years ago

      Excellent!

    • profile image

      catch-cheating 10 years ago

      creative and interesting , 5 star

    • profile image

      International-Investor 10 years ago

      Welcome to the top 100. Cool stuff. A 5 star-er. Emerging Market Investments - ETF's and stocks.a>

    • Signhappy profile image

      Signhappy 10 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Completely new to me-I've never seen anything about this topic before. I'd love to try it. Saw you in the Raising stars group.

    • NicholeB LM profile image

      NicholeB LM 10 years ago

      What a neat lens! Silver Clay is such a fun art to create.

      ~Nichole

      https://hubpages.com/art/makebeads

    • Barkely profile image

      Barkely 10 years ago

      Wow, beautiful. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 10 years ago

      What an interesting lens. Thank you for taking the time to really explain how you create your beautiful work.

    • profile image

      hamutie28 10 years ago

      Neat item, great lens!

    • profile image

      Ashlynn 10 years ago

      Amazing art! And thanks for sharing the how-to steps. 5 stars!

      :)Ash

    • profile image

      Shellrose 10 years ago

      I'm fascinted by your art! Thank you for sharing it and for explaining how to do it!!! 5 stars!

      Shelly

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Excellent piece - I will certainly use it, as working with clay has been a mystery to me. Thanks

    • profile image

      flaminglacer 10 years ago

      You recently applied to join my Crafts and Hobbies Group on Squidoo, however your lens does not quite fulfil the Group Rules which you can see here â http://www.squidoo.com/groups/crafts/#module231461...

      It is an excellent lens and I have left you an Angel Blessing

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great job, Lisel! 5 stars from me. :)

      Margaret

    • teg lm profile image

      teg lm 10 years ago

      This is a well done, very creative site. I give it 5 stars.

    • profile image

      emanderso 10 years ago

      Wow, this is great. I can't wait to try some of this, I have been wanting to try the silver clay for awhile have ideas and kiln but no time!! Great inspiration!

    • profile image

      giddygabby 10 years ago

      Superb instruction. Easy to follow. Made me think I could do that! But no, I'm addicted to Squidoo. Still ...

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 10 years ago

      Great Lens, well done!

    • Christene-S profile image

      Christene-S 10 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • profile image

      chloecavanaugh 10 years ago

      Your lens is very informative. It must be rewarding creating such beautiful things, Chloe

      PS Left ya some*****

    • Lady Gotrocks profile image

      Lady Gotrocks 10 years ago

      Great lens!

      You are invited to join the Raising Stars group

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 10 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Did you know you can add larger size images. Here is how.

      https://hubpages.com/technology/add_photo

      Good luck.

    • profile image

      WolfMoonHP 10 years ago

      This is really good information. Can't wait to try it!