Prometheus® Copper Clay Instructions

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What is Prometheus Copper Clay?

Prometheus copper clay is a claylike material which turns into pure, solid copper when fired in the kiln. It is a mixture of micron sized copper powder, water, and organic binder. It can be formed by hand, rolled into a sheet or a rope. It can be molded, textured, even turned on a potter's wheel. Prometheus copper clay can be fired with most lab-created gemstones (cubic zirconias), pre-tested natural stones, glass beads, ceramic porcelain and Prometheus bronze clay. It is also suitable for enameling.

When Prometheus copper clay is fired in a kiln, the organic binder evaporates, burns away and you're left with pure, solid copper. Brush it, if needed pickle it, to remove any firescale, and finally polish.

You can create unique jewelry, ornaments, hollow ware, statues and many other decorative objects with Prometheus copper clay. Anything you create with Prometheus copper clay is a piece of art. Combine it with your imagination, and let your fingers do the rest!

Working with Prometheus Copper Clay

Working with Prometheus copper clay is similar to working with Prometheus bronze clay, silver clays, polymer clays, modelling dough, flower dough and ceramic clays. It is very easy to use.

Wet Stage Drying Dry Stage

Whilst the dried Prometheus copper clay is stronger than the other metal clays, you still need to take some care when working with it. You can carve designs on the surface(*), file it, grind it, drill holes with hand tools or rotary tools and engravers. To join dried pieces, wet the joining points with a brush and apply some paste.

Tip: (*)Draw your design with a pencil, wet the lines with a brush and make your carving with any instrument even a tooth-pick.

After completing your design, it is easy to sand uneven surfaces, using sand papers, and sanding sponges. It is a lot easier to do this step now - before you have fired the clay.

Firing Prometheus Copper Clay

Before firing your works, test your kiln's accuracy by firing a small piece of clay. Electric kilns may show slight deviations, due to their temperature control systems and isolations. According to your test results, you may raise the firing temperature up to 5%.

Firing of Prometheus copper clay; you have 3 choices:

Conventional Method

Place the dried piece (or pieces) on a stainless steel mesh and put it in to the preheated kiln to 920°C/1690°F.(*) Wait for the kiln to raise up to its target temperature again, then start timing your firing for 30 minutes.

When the firing is completed, take out the piece, put it on a heat proof surface and wait for it to cool down or much better, quench it in water while it is hot.(***) Most of the fire scale leaves the piece. To get rid of the rest, leave it in hot pickling solution for some time.


Carbon Method

This is a 2-step-method.

Place the dried piece (or pieces) on a stainless steel mesh and put it in to the pre-kiln at 500°C/ 932°F, or on a kitchen stove. Fire it for 10 minutes, take it on to a fire proof surface and let it cool down.
Put approximately 3cm of activated carbon to the bottom of a steel container. Place the pieces with at least 1.5 cm space between each other and fill the container with activated carbon, close it and put it into the preheated kiln to 850°C / 1562°F. Let the kiln rise to the target temperature again and fire it for 90 minutes. When the firing is completed, either leave it to cool down in the kiln or carefully take it out and leave it on a heat isolated surface until it is cold enough to take your pieces out. One other firing schedule is 800°C / 1472°F for 2 hours which is preferable when Prometheus copper clay is combined with PBC®.

Torch Firing

Place the dried piece on a stainless steel mesh. Put the mesh on a fiber brick or a thick construction brick. Fire the piece homogenously at an orange-red color for 5-10 minutes according to the size of the piece. Avoid melting. After firing is completed, either leave it to cool down or quench in water. Leave the fired piece in hot Picklean® solution to get rid of any fire scale if any left.

Finishing Prometheus Copper Clay

Brush your piece with a metal brush and, if necessary, put it in hot pickling solution.(*) After pickling, rinse the piece thoroughly with water and dry. This will give you a nice warm reddish copper color. You can also use many different patina solutions to give you other colors.

Tip: (*)We recommend Picklean® granules. Mix one table spoon of Picklean® to a glass of hot water and leave your piece in it for some time.

Polish the piece with a burnisher, polishing papers, a tumbler or polishing motor. Using polishing compounds can give extra shine to your works.

Safety Precautions

  1. Prometheus copper clay contains organic binder, water and copper powder. It is non-toxic, and does not contain any harmful chemicals. There have been no reports of allergic reactions; however, people with allergies should of course be sensible and use the product with care.
  2. Fire in a well ventilated place or under a kitchen extractor fan. Firing large pieces, like sculptures, is best done in a furnace with a smoke extractor.
  3. Wear gloves and safety glasses, use tongs, paddle when loading and unloading a kiln.
  4. Put your hot pieces and tool on heat proof surfaces.

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