A Guide to Torch Firing Silver Metal Clay Safely
Metal clay is an amazing material that creates beautiful pieces of jewellery with ease. Anyone can use it and it is a non-toxic material making it safe to work with and fire at home. However it is always good to be aware of how to keep yourself and those around you safe, especially when working with an open flame so we have put together some basic safety precautions to help you when torch firing at home.
1. Ensure that your area is well ventilated
When working with a torch it is good to have a form of ventilation. Silver metal clay has a small amount of binder that burns off. As the binder is organic and non-toxic it is not dangerous in small amounts but to avoid inhaling fumes you could open a window or use a small fan. You don’t want excessive amounts that will cause the flame to blow out but a gentle breeze allowing fresh air in and out will help keep your firing safe.
2. Make sure that long hair is tied back and any loose garments are removed
If you have long hair tie it back when torch firing or using any moving machinery. You will also need to remove any scarves, long necklaces that hang low or anything that could potentially get in the line of fire without your intention.
3. Remove any flammables from your work area
Very important, if you have just topped up your gas in the torch, be sure to store it well away from your work area. Also, remove any loose bit of paper, wood or other flammables so that you have a nice clean safe workspace to fire on.
4. Wear safety goggles when working with a flame
It is advisable to wear safety glasses or goggles when working with a flame especially if you don’t already wear glasses. This gives your eyes an extra layer of protection.
5. Be aware of hot metal after firing
Some elements of your hand torch, usually the very end, are made of metal, so remember that these will be very hot after firing. Take care not to touch them until you have allowed time for them to cool down. Your silver piece will also be extremely hot. Either quench the piece with tweezers in a bowl of cold water or leave it to cool before touching to be safe.
6. Keep a bowl of water near you at all times when working with a flame
7. Investing in safety equipment
If you have a home workshop and are going to be using torch firing on a regular basis you may want to invest in a mini fire extinguisher and /or a fire blanket.
Most of safety is using your common sense and being attentive when making your pieces. Don’t be afraid of it and enjoy the making process, once you have your safety covered you can focus on being creative and having fun with your making.
Ready to get started with your making? We have two brilliant metal clay courses where you can learn to make professional silver metal clay jewellery from the comfort of your own home;
1. Make Silver Metal Clay Charms with Julia Rai - Beginners level
2. Stone Setting in Metal Clay (Torch Fired Techniques) with Anna Campbell - Intermediate Level