For the success of your projects it is essential to learn when and how to dry your pieces.
Firstly, form you piece with your wet clay.
If you want your piece to dry completely flat, put it on a hot plate and place a small tile or a small piece of glass over it.
If you want a shape other than flat, you can dry it on a bulb, on a glass, or on a polymer clay core. In this case, you can use your hair dryer or your dehydrator to dry it.
Always dry your piece at every stage of your work since it gets wet again when you add something more on it such as other small pieces of clay.
Before firing your piece, make sure it is completly dry otherwise it will crack or explode in the kiln. A good way to check it, it is to take the piece from the drying surface and put it immedietly on a piece of glass; leave it for about 2-3 seconds and then lift it up. If you see any moisture on the glass, it means that there is still moisture in the clay and you have to put it back on the drying surface.
You need to be particularly careful with big pieces as moisture can be locked inside the piece especially if we use drying methods like a heat gun. You have to make sure the piece has dried very well.
I am always using my old coffee machine for drying my pieces. I made a few 'adjustments' to it and it works perfectly for me. Also, I am using a hair dryer to dry small spots on my work faster. (Photo 1)
Other ways to dry metal clay are:
Leave your piece in open air for 24 hours
Use a hot plate, or the hot surface of a coffee machine ( photo 1)
Use a hair dryer
or a dehydrator
The kitchen oven is also suitable; set the temperature around 150 degrees Celsius
Use a heat gun.
Wet pieces left on hot surface turn very hot very quickly!! Use a pair of tweezers when removing your pieces from the hot plate.
For the different forms/types of clay, there are different minimum drying requirements before the firing phase. Check the chart below:
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