This article will include:
More answers to popular questions
Polymer clay Tips and Tricks and Product Reviews
Polymer clay Tutorials to help with those last minute gifts.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What do you mean by polymer clay "GLAZE"
-Thankfully the wonderful *AJGlass pointed out that ceramic glazes need to be fired in a kiln. Let me just say polymer clay glaze does NOT have to be fired. The glazes used in polymer clay are more like varnish for a wooden floor or a desk. You just coat it on and let it air dry. Ceramic glazes and polymer clay glazes are VERY DIFFERENT!
My clay is too hard, I am having trouble making _______
-To fix this you can try a few things:
You can add some clay softener that is made by almost all brands, or you can add a few drops of vegetable oil to your clay. Make sure to wear gloves because this can get messy. (especially for colors like red). Also only use a tiny bit. Start with ONE DROP and only add one or two more if you need it. A little goes a long way!
You can buy an extra little block of plasticizer (the stuff that makes the clay pliable) and hand blend it into the clay or blend in some translucent clay. This will also make it softer and add more plasticizer although the colors might get altered a bit after baking.
Or, rather than use your hands, you can try a pasta machine to help you condition hard clays. With cold weather clays are harder to condition and it can take it's toll on your hands which is why the pasta machine is so great. You can buy one with a hand crank or spend a little more for an automatic one. One must always remember NEVER to use polymer clay items (like the pasta machine) for food. It should be for clay only!
Can polymer clay be put in water? Like in a fish tank?
-Yes you can, You can visit this [link] and it says there has been no adverse reaction to the fish or the piece, although you shouldn't glaze pieces if they are going to go in water. The varnish/glaze might be water based and destroy your piece or possibly poison your fishes.
New Sculpey Ultralight can even float in water after being cured.
TIPS, TRICKS, AND PRODUCT REVIEWS
How to get rid of those pesky fingerprints.
-We have all had this problem. You make something awesome only to discover a big fingerprint messing it up. There are a few techniques to get rid of this little problem:
Firstly, gloves can be very helpful. They not only prevent fingerprints but they also keep the clay cleaner.
Keep a small bowl of water on hand. You can dip your finger tips into it and smooth them gently over the clay. This will get rid of some fingerprints.
You can take a cotton swab (or Q-tip) and dip it in rubbing alcohol. Then you take the damp cotton swab and rub it gently over the clay. This will also grab some dirt. You have to be careful. Too much rubbing alcohol and your clay can break down and lose it's shape. Or if your item has colors like white or red they can smear into eachother if you over do it. You have to be very careful.
How can I make my normal clay sparkle like pearl clays?
A super cheap way to achieve pearl looking clay is to mix a bit of sparkly eye shadow into your clay (or glaze). Most of you ladies have it around the house and you can create all sorts of dazzling colors of clay. You might want to wear gloves when mixing it, unless you want glittery hands for the rest of the day.
You can also mix in fine art glitters. You have to make sure it is not a plastic based glitter or else it will bubble and melt in the oven. Glitters with a metal base should be used. Also try not to use aluminum based glitters. They tend to curl during baking and can damage your clay pieces. Stamp quality glitter, artist glitter, and some body glitters are fine to use.
Mica powders can also be used to give clays a shimmer or sparkle. Although you don't want to breathe those in, you should wear a mask when using these powders and should work in a well ventilated area. To quote *AJGlass "The mica powders are considered hazardous and the dust if inhaled may cause lung damage. Care must be taken so that the particles do not become airborne."If you do use mica powders you should apply a protective glaze on top of your piece otherwise the powder might rub off onto other items.
In my last article I received a comment from ~CozmicDreamer who has used the Sculpey Ultralight. Here is what she had to say about the new product:
~CozmicDreamer "I want to add that Sculpey makes a new, lighter density product that floats in water! It also can be substituted for aluminum armature. And because of its formulation, it is very strong. It is simply called Sculpey Ultralight and it comes in size-able bricks for a reasonable price. Also, it is available at all the main stores and supplies shops pretty much world-wide. Since my sculptures are quite large, it is indispensable for my purposes of use.
I must note however, that is is very sticky, and I would not recommend it for beginners. I find that it sticks well to itself and other unbaked polymer clays. It will molecularly bond to all the other Sculpey clays when baked regardless of whether the former layer is already baked or not. I find that to make working with this particular product, it helps to keep water on hand or a lotion that you can put on your hands while working it. Stay away from petrolatum based lotions or creams since it will affect the clay itself, and may even break the polymers down over extended periods of time.
On more important note...This Ultralight form of Sculpey does not adhere well to any other dry surfaces like aluminum foil, masking tape, and even some wires. So I use the liquid Sculpey described above in the great article, and brush a light layer over any places that the Ultralight comes in contact with. The results are well worth this extra step!"
In my last article I also received a comment from ~Eklypz17: who spoke about KATO brand clay. Here is what he had to say about this brand of polymer clay:
"Really loving KATO lately and not that rare...Hobby Lobby carries it but I shop from the source: prairiecraft.com . They have some amazing new pigmented clay that is a dream to mix with also, makes some super rich colors!"
After looking into KATO website KATO brand clay boasts, "intuitive color mixing, minimized color shifts from raw to cured, uniformity of cured surface, greater detail in photocopy transfers, and increased strength and resilience of the final product."
Also KATO polymer clay seems to have a Clear Liquid Polyclay! I will be trying to get a hold of this and review it in a future article.
Visit this [link] to view the differences between Kato, Sculpey, and Fimo translucent liquid clays.
I also failed to mention Super Sculpey or Super Sculpey Firm in the first article
Super Sculpey is creamy pinkish colored clay this is firmer than normal clays (like Sculpey III and Fimo) but it is not as hard as Super Sculpey Firm. Super Sculpey is often used for making figures and dolls because it is easy to condition and can retain fine tool marks.
Super Sculpey Firm is a gray block of polymer clay that is much harder than other polymer clays and can actually be carved like most ceramic clays while still being cured in a normal convection oven. It is very popular for sculpting busts or figures that need to retain the shape. The gray color (according to Sculpey's website) "allowing sculptors to create fine details and photographers to catch these fine points on film".
Since my last article I have also tried a new form of glaze called, Triple Thick here are my thoughts:
It is a lot like the Sculpey glaze you can buy in a small jar but you get a lot more of it for your money. It has a similar consistency but it is milky before drying (unlike the Sculpey gloss glaze).
It seems very durable and creates a nice thick coating on your pieces.
Although, like Sculpey glaze, it has a longer drying time than acrylic based floor varnish. So you have to make sure your charms are safe and not touching when they dry.
- Snowman: [link]
- Bunny: [link]
- DA Fella: [link]
- Jelly Donut: [link]
- Sunflower Cross: [link]
- Bird: [link]
See the first polymer clay article for more tutorial links
My Previous Polymer Clay Article: [link] A great place for beginners to start!
A special thank you to all the deviants who let me feature their works today.
I hope you enjoyed my article *chat-noir
HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY!