Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 1

I'm often asked what I use to make my miniatures, jewelry, and other craft work. The short answer is, "Mixed Media", but here, in what I plan on being an ongoing series with my blog, I can further explain specific products, and give recommendations based on what I use to do my own work.

This Week - Polymer Clay, Part 1

Polymer clay is some fun stuff. I used it once to make tiles for a mosaic project back in high school, but  didn't realize just how wonderful of a medium it was until I started using it for jewelry and miniatures.

  • Easy to work with. The heat from your hands makes it softer. 
  • It won't dry out over time, so you can take as long as you want on a project.
  • Oven bake. Low temp, all you need is a toaster oven to cure your work.
  • Comes in a ton of colors, and they're mixable.
  • Unlike ceramic, or most air dry clays, the end results are sturdy-don't break if you drop them.
There are some people that insist that you shouldn't paint this clay, but you actually can, no problem. Just make sure that you're done with baking before you do.

What I recommend;

If you know that you're going to want to use different colors, start off with a Color Sampler;

Or just white (and paint it later);

I bought a 30 color pack when I first started out. Most of the colors were just basic solids, but there were also a few metallic and translucent color types mixed in too. It's cheaper than going out and buying every single color, and you can always buy the individual bricks (which are larger than the sampler bricks), when you start running out of your favorites.

I would also recommend getting a "clay conditioning machine";

With every craft, there are things you'll need and things that are just extras, but I was really being stupid for waiting so long to get one of these. A, "Clay Conditioning Machine," aka pasta machine (which is really what these things are-except you use them for clay), do all sorts of handy things.  Makes mixing clay colors super-easy. You can roll out the clay into flat pieces in just a few seconds. And because you can control the thickness of the clay that rolls out, you can easily measure out the same amount of clay for each piece that you're working on. It didn't take me long to see how much time I saved when doing the annoying parts of clay work, and the quality of my pieces noticeably improved.

At some point I will be doing some clay tutorials, but if you're in the market for more how-to books, there are plenty on Polymer Clay. Haven't bought any of these, but after some browsing here are some neat ones that I found (and now want);

Next Week - Polymer Clay, Part 2 (How I use it)


Looking for more Tutorials and other useful info?

Mini Wire Shelving Tutorial


Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 1 

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 2


  1. Totally agree that the mixed packs are great and you then have the time to figure out which ones you will use most.
    Another author is Angie Scarr, who has a whole series of books on miniature food in polymer clay! Have a look on her site, the Gallery is quite impressive!

    1. I checked out the site. You're right, tons of books/info. I'll have to look through her site more when I have some free time. Thank you.