Crafters who excel in polymer clay are naturals for metal clay.  They will be able to work with many of the same tools to work the clay. The difference is polymer clay is baked at low temperatures while metal clay has to be fired by torch or in a kiln.

Watch how Ludmila Bakulina of SweetBijou created her beautiful seashell pendant using bronze metal clay. 

Metal clay is a mix of metal and a binder. The latter has to be burned off, resulting in the pure metal.  Torch firing is the least expensive burning off method as it only requires a torch rather than a kiln.  Small pieces of jewelry can be torch fired but larger pieces will require a kiln. 

Timing and watching the glow of the piece being torched is key to success. Not only does the binder have to be burned off but the sintering process where individual metal particles bond together, must be complete.

Ludmila does a beautiful job of incorporating a lab created cubic zircon which she says is the cheapest stone which can tolerate high temperatures.

She has a number of other professional grade videos on her Youtube channel. Tools and materials are available on her website

Ludmila doesn't explain the torch firing process of bronze metal clay but she did link to this video by Carrie Story of Clay Revolution.  She also talks about copper metal clay torching.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM