Flex – the latest innovation in metal clay could change your jewellery making

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
  • Experiments using the silhouette digital cutting machine with it have been exciting

 

metal clay pmc flex jewellery making

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 metal clay jewellery making

PMC flex earrings copyright Celie Fago 2014

Experimenting

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.

Keep an eye on this page from Metal Clay Academy as more resources on using PMC flex will be added over time.

pmc flex metal clay jewellery making

PMC flex jewellery copyright Patrik Kusek

 Where can I buy it?

Here are some of the stockists that are selling PMC flex (I’m sure there will be others). Do your own search for the best price (remember some stockists don’t list VAT, check P&P costs etc)

Bluebell Design Studio

Cooksons Gold

PMC Studio

 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.

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