Syringe 1 of 3

Syringe 1

Here are three “PMC Tidbits and Tricks” on using syringe. 

Syringe 1 of 3

  • Packaging
  • Hold
  • Preparation - paper towel for drippage and wipage
  • Anchors
  • Habits
  • Storage of syringe will be in Syringe 3 of 3


Syringe 2 of 3

  • Application - height and ending application
  • Application types
  • Practice on glass
  • Thickness and syringe tips
  • Strength of syringe
  • Storage of syringe will be in Syringe 3 of 3


 Syringe 3 of 3

  • Working on glass or other surface, flat or round
  • Moving with paint brush and water
  • Cake decorating
  • Uses—bails, bezels, eyelets, words, design, wire-warp appearance giving strength (behind earrings, bails, etc.) …
  • Repairing with syringe
  • Storage
  • Photos


I use a lot of syringe. I may use syringe on every piece I make, even it if it is just to fill a nick or hole. More often, I use it in construction or design. In my hand photos, sorry about the stained fingernails.


Syringe is PMC3 and comes nicely packaged in 9 gram allotments.

In the PMC3 Syringe package is the capped syringe of PMC3, the insert, and one pink syringe tip. You can purchase other syringe tips individually or in sets or modify this pink one. I’ve also seen needle tips for purchase, and one could make these as well.


The first thing I want to talk about is how to hold the syringe. In the photo below, all you can see with my hold is the tip of the syringe. Imagine that I was concealing a knife and that I planned on stabbing myself in the stomach. Sorry, but as unpleasant as that is, that is the best way to hold the syringe. The best way to hold the syringe boils down to the way that gives you the finest control and the best rate of application.

Perhaps the finest-control hold might be to hold the syringe like a pen or pencil, since our hands are used to micro movements in that posture. If you can then figure out a way to press the syringe to actually apply the clay, that would work great. In lieu of that though, you might experiment with the knife hold. 

The length of the syringe will change as you use the clay and compress the syringe over time. Your thumb had the best control of small movement if it can press against some resistance.

Try adjusting your hold so that your thumb presses against the syringe plunger and your top finger. You can move your hold and fingers up and down the syringe, adjusting for the syringe’s changing length. Again, a little resistance gives your thumb maximum control.

The top photo below shows the plunger almost all the way up, hardly any clay has been used. The photo below shows the plunger almost all the way down, with most the clay used. Notice the hand position hardly changed.

Here is how NOT to hold the syringe. Try it and see if you are wiggly. I had a student once who insisted on holding the syringe like this; so truthfully, whatever works for you is the best way to do it. Insisting you hold it like I do would be like insisting you use your right hand when you are left handed. You might start stuttering or something.



As you can see syringe is typically stored in water (see Syringe 3 of 3), which means when you are ready to use the syringe, it is wet. As much as I try, I cannot help but drip water on my work surface. So there are two things that I do in preparation.

  1. I place paper towel on my work surface.
  2. I keep all other pieces way off to the side. Imagine the round glass in the second photo below was a piece that I had been working on. Now it has water drops on it. And I may not have noticed that I dripped on it, so the water has sat there for a while. Argh.


Besides this paper towel, you’ll need another loose one with which to wipe the syringe as explained in Syringe 2 of 3.


An anchor is a method to secure a position. I anchor both my hands, as close as possible to the piece and tip of syringe. I anchor my syringe hand on a rubber block. I can hold my hand on the block and still move the syringe tip around in any direction. I anchor my second hand on the work table surface. More on this in Syringe 2 of 3.


I work best when doing somewhat intense work, like syringe, with repetitive steps. There are two habits I learned early on.

  1. Wipe the entire syringe with a paper towel just before application.
    • When I do not wipe the syringe, what happens is as I am applying the syringe, I see a drop of water making its way down the syringe. I hear the Jaws theme in my head. Sure enough, the drop steadily decends down the syringe tip and drops onto my application. 
    • Syringe sticks to dry clay but slips all over the place on wet clay. So, any design I was going for before the drop is likely impossible now that it’s wet.

  1. Throw, yes toss, the syringe back into the water as soon as you are finished with the application.
    • When I teach classes most participants focus totally on what they are working on. They apply syringe, set it down, and go on to add the water to the application. 
    • When they go to use the syringe again, it’s plugged. It’s been sitting on the table! So teach yourself from the get-go to toss the syringe into the glass of water where it lives. And likes to live.

For online courses in metal clay, go to I Love Silver, where you learn how to design and create your own silver creations.

© Kris A Kramer 2018