I am always amazed when I see the variety of items metal clay artists use to make their pieces. The metal clay community seems to have a remarkable ability to adapt items used in other crafts to their specific needs. I have a few items I use repeatedly and hope you’ll like them too.
First, plastic gridded templates. These are available anywhere quilting supplies can be found. They can be found in a shiny and matte finish. I like the matte. I use these in place of Teflon sheets. With a little oil nothing sticks to them and the grid makes accurate cutting a breeze. They don’t cut through as easily as Teflon and cost a lot less. They come in large sheets and can be cut to the size of the project you’re working on. They also are a nice weight plastic to cut and use as templates.
My second and third items are both used in finishing dry pieces. Due to recent respiratory issues, I have become a lot more careful about breathing in particulates and now use “wet” sanding to reduce the amount of clay dust in the air. These two items, Fantastix and sponge applicators, can both be found in the scrapbooking department of most hobby or craft shops. Fantastix has a rough surface and, once wet, is wonderful to clean up rough surfaces and round out edges. It acts like a low grit sandpaper. It comes in a couple of different ends, round and pointed, that expand the areas accessible. I use wet sponge applicators to put a final smooth finish on pieces where needed. Both leave a nice finish on metal clay prior to firing. The silver can be easily reclaimed from both by soaking in water and squeezing out the silver.
My last tool is a depression era noodle cutter. I use this to cut uniform strips. There are tools out there specifically made for this purpose, but as a collector of this green-handled, wooden kitchenware, I have a large selection and use this instead of buying a new one. When I make ring bands, small box sides or beads this gives me uniform strips of clay with little effort.
I hope you try a few of these and like them. I’d love to hear what you odd items you use to work on your metal clay pieces.