Tips to Get Organized with Metal Clay

When I, Glenda Skarie, first started working with Metal Clay in 2008, I did not know if it was going to be the hobby of the day, the hobby of the week, or the hobby of the month.  Little did I know that after 5 years my love for metal clay grew from having a small table in the corner of my family room to a designated studio area in my garage.

My first basic set up for metal clay included: a waterproof working surface (glass tile), olive oil, spray water bottle, PVC rolling pin, playing cards, craft knife, straws, emery boards, butane torch, brass and stainless steel brushes, and a small rock tumbler.  

A table is all you need to sit down and start creating beautiful art with Metal Clay.  But if you are like me, you want to get as many tools and supplies as you can.  So shortly after several classes and workshops, the small table was replaced by a great garage-sale finding that now is my youngest son’s craft studio. 

The more I worked with Metal Clay, the more space I needed. So I got more tools, I got more supplies, and I got more equipment.  How did I get so many things in so little time?  Where am I going to put all these things?

And I ended up moving to the corner of my guest room where I got some kitchen cabinets.  The cabinets provided a lot of storage and counter space and I was able to divide my working areas into designing, creating, and finishing.

Those kitchen cabinets eventually ended up in the garage where I think they look much better.  Besides having plenty work surface and storage, I have a sitting area where I like to sit and read my books, a teaching area for small workshops, a gallery area to display my creations, a computer area for all the other aspects of the art, and a photography station which is one of my challenging areas.

As soon as Metal Clay is exposed to air it begins to dry.  So one thing I learned over the years is to be organized and have my and supplies easily accessible.

Here are some Tips to Get Organized with Metal Clay form your Etsy Metal Clay team:

Joy Funnell
This is what I use when I am working. It is a revolving plastic pen holder and holds all my tools readily to hand. It has ball bearings in the base so it spins really easily and was under £5 from Tesco here in the UK. I have several, so I keep one for separate bronze clay tools and others ready with basic tools in for students when I am teaching.

Glenda Skarie
I love revolving organizers.  I can keep all my tools in one place. Easy to use and easy to store.  I use several kinds, I also keep all my finishing tools and my saw blades from getting damaged.

Christine Street

I bought these silverware caddies from Ikea for $1.99 each and painted them a bright orange, because bright orange makes me happy!  I then screwed those onto a heavier base of a piece of scrap wood that I had laying around.  This sits on my desk and is easily accessible whenever I need a hammer or a mandrel.

Sophia Georgiopoulou

The photos show two magnetic metallic bars I got from IKEA kitchen supplies where I attached all the carving and filing tools and other odds and ends to keep the surface of my benches uncluttered! To the right of the bar with the files there is a towel rod from the hardware store where I keep all my pliers within reach of the metals bench.

Evelyn Pelati
Instead of making my own, I purchased one at an art supply store. They are made to hold paintbrushes. As you can see I don't have many files yet, but as I add to my collection I can get another roll. I can also label the slots for better organization.

I recently took a workshop on the topic of filing. Our teacher told us that storing files on a magnetic knife-strip can magnetized the files. She suggested one nice way to store files is to make a fabric roll. It keeps the files organized and from striking against each other.

Lorena Angulo
I save all the medicine plastic bottles and use them to storage small beads and my metal clay scraps by type of clay when I carved my pieces. The bottles with the beads are very practical when I have to finish some of my work on the go, I just put them in my traveling bag and they are super easy to use when I need them.

Catherine Witherell
I use empty egg cartons to keep my beads and little metal clay pieces sorted by color, size and shape.  I can stack them and keep about three in a stack to fit inside storage drawers and even higher if I'm taking a bunch of supplies to a class in a box with my tools.

I have looked around but I've never found anything better than these that actually fit inside my storage drawers.  The price can't be beat and they can stack on top of each other.  I don't like all those little baggies messed up in the drawers.  They're really hard to look through when I'm looking for the right beads or bead caps or earring hook style.

Glenda Skarie
 I also like to keeping my beads sorted using ice cube trays, especially at the working table. 

I also use ice cube trays, but the water-bottle kind to organize my head pins and eye pins. This will be good too for your saw blades if you have many different sizes.

For storing my bead and findings I use tackle boxes and small plastic boxes. You can find my beading wire in a thread holder.

Lorena Angulo
I love these little plastic drawers because they allow me to keep all my work in progress organized by the type of clay they are. I know my working table can get very messy when I am working on more than one piece at a time and these drawers help me to keep my pieces in their own space and easy to find when I want to continue working with them.

Joy Funnell
I also have a large storage unit on wheels from The Really Useful Box Company which holds loads of things. I have drawers dedicated to different things, enamels, sanding, polishing, textures, stones etc. You can get them in all sorts of colours, so of course mine had to be rainbow! :)

Glenda Skarie
I got these plastic drawers at the local hardware store. They do not take too much space and store a lot of smaller supplies.

Bev Gallerani
Here's a photo of how I had California Closets set up my studio closet in our Florida condo, where space is at a premium.

So I hope these tips will help you by getting organized when working with Metal Clay. Whether you have a simple set up or a larger one, enjoy your extra time and have fun creating with Metal Clay. 

Glenda Skarie
Adori L’Argento

Remember that table in the corner of my family room? Well, this is now its proud replacement.

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