Today we’re going to talk about how to apply 22k gold to our precious metal clay pieces. This gold is sometimes called Aura 22k Gold, Accent Gold for Silver, or Art Clay ACS gold Paste. No matter what the product is called each one is intrinsically the same, this recycled gold medium is made when manufacturers take industrially used gold and break it down to a super fine powder, then it’s mixed with organic binders and water to a paste like consistency, much like with silver clay paste.
When you receive your gold it comes with a tube of liquid media, this is because the gold paste will often dry out within a few days of the packaged being opened. Not to worry, the day before you’re going to use your gold paste simply add between three and ten drops of media depending on how dry the gold is. Mix the paste for five minutes with a straightened paper clip that is designated for this use. It’s important to keep this paperclip clean and separate from your other work space, since you’ll always be mixing the gold right before it’s application. Here you can see what the gold looks like when it’s ready for use, it has a smooth texture and thick consistency.
Your piece of silver jewelry must be specially prepared to take the gold paste. Start out by first firing it with normal kiln or torch times, making sure it is completely sintered, but do to not handle the piece with your bare hands after it’s fired. You want to avoid getting any oils on the silver. If you do think the piece has gotten anything on it, clean it well with denatured alcohol.
Then, carefully brush two to three layers of silver clay paste onto the area of jewelry you will be coating with gold, letting it dry well between coats. These layers of silver will form a strong bond to the gold preventing chipping, cracking, or flaking. Two layers will give you a medium gold sheen, three a deep gold. Remember to mix the gold for five minutes before each application.
When firing a piece that has gold on it, you need to watch it carefully because if it gets to hot the gold molecules will sink into the silver and have a muted appearance. Try to keep the piece cherry red for two to seven minutes depending on the size of the piece. Once cooled, tumble to work harden the metal, then patina or polish as you choose.