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You saw polymer clay the last time you were in the craft store….
- Perhaps you have always wanted to make an art doll or try to build a sculpture.
- But you may wonder whether you could actually learn how to sculpt a little figure.
- And you worry that you might not have the right kind of talent for the task.
Maybe you are ready to explore a new creative path.
- you wish for
- “something more”,
- “something mine”,
- a little creativity to take you away from the digital pull and constant stream;
- a way to lose yourself.
What if you could quiet that Negative voice and see
- What might happen when you have a clear set of instructions?
- If you have access to materials that you fit to your personal budget?
- And while you learn, you create something delightful and playful.
If you love working with this medium and want to go beyond this introductory series, (maybe explore becoming a doll maker) plan to
- spend time practicing
- and eventually learn to recognize your own voice.
WHAT IS POLYMER CLAY?
Perhaps you have dismissed this material because
- it is a plastic looking substance
- it seems to be something just for kids…
- you feel that there’s not much you can do with it
Polymer clay is composed of polymers, resins, coloring agents and fillers. It is not like a natural clay. Polymer clay is man-made from a plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) base.
Accessible for all ages and skill levels, the clay is easy to work with and can hold a fine level of detail.
This material remains soft and workable through your entire creating time. Therefore, you can return, change and correct your work as you need to. Once you feel your work is “done”, you cure it in an oven to its permanent hardened form. Cured, it will retain its color and size.
Polymer clay is available in many colors, including metallic, glow-in-the-dark and imitation stone. It is an easy entry art material that is recognized for its versatility to resemble things (like sticks and stones). With a little practice, it is quite simple to work with.
your investment is primarily time …
Polymer clay does not require big kilns or expensive tools. While there is a huge range of artist-created products you can purchase to detail, embellish or create your work, you can just as easily become a creative gatherer. Part of the fun of working with this medium is inventing tools and discovering amazing found objects. We will play with some of these in the future.
Polymer clay can be safely baked in a home ovens. This is especially nice while you decide whether you like working with it. When you bake in your home oven, you need to cover your work with a lid or tent it with tin foil. The cover will contain any of the polymer that might vaporize in the curing time. Once you decide you love working with polymer clay, invest in a countertop convection oven.
I provide more in depth information on my blog post : Conditioning Polymer Clay
HOW SHOULD POLYMER CLAY BE STORED?
Polymer Clay can be kept in its packaging away from heat and sunlight.
- It is best to store open clay wrapped in plastic or wax paper in an airtight container.
- My suppliers recommend storing the clay in the fridge to prolong its shelf life.
- Otherwise, over time polymer clay will dry out and then it is quite hard to reconstitute. This will save time and materials.
Let’s talk ideas …
Polymer clay is used for artisan’s work including
- home decor,
- imitation pottery,
- scrapbooking labels
- image transfer,
- bead making,
Polymer clay can be used to cover anything that manages the heat of the curing process including
- natural fabrics,
- and even mirrors.
- In fact, there are endless possibilities for using Polymer Clay.
Changing Ready-Made Polymer Clay
You can custom make your own polymer clay colors. Polymer clay can be
- mixed, or colored with pastels,
- colored pencils,
- powdered makeup
- and paint.
- After baking, polymer clay can be layered and recurred, altered, sanded, buffed, glazed, drilled, stained and painted. Exploration and experience are always your best teachers.
In addition, after baking, polymer clay can be
- layered and re-cured,
- and painted.
Caution and Clean up …
After working with the clay, wash your hands.
- Do not eat the clay.
- This brings a smile because once in a while I do a repair on one of my pieces because a dog ate a part of it.
- Always supervise children (and dogs) when working with clay.
- Never use baking or working tools with food, keep them separate.
Ready to Begin?
- a bit of clay,
- your sense of humor
- your imagination
- and a clean, smooth work surface.
- Marble, glass, plastic placemat or ceramic tile work great.
Again, once you decide you love polymer clay, you may add
- an acrylic roller,
- cutting blade,
- sculpting tools,
- wooden sticks
- and a dressmaker’s pin
- a countertop convection oven
- a pasta machine
a few more tips :
- Clay can be conditioned (made soft and pliable for easier use) by hand or using an acrylic roller.
- Eventually you may want to use a pasta machine to condition your polymer clay. Do not use a pasta machine used for food.
- A blade tool can be used to cut the polymer clay.
The next blog post : How to condition Polymer Clay details a set of instructions and tutorial demo on how to prepare your clay.