Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Polymer Clay Overview

After shouting out for polymer clay guidance yesterday, I was thrilled to get so much info in return, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I wanted to put together a quick overview of what I have learned as a result:

  • Learn the basics first such as conditioning your clay and baking, etc. before you get started
  • YouTube videos offer many tutorials
  • http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/ for tutorials and message board format
  • Books, books, books!
  • Take a "basics" class
  • Trial and error is great way to discover your own style
  • Cindy Lietz Blog with a new video every Friday
  • Join a local clay guild
  • Purchase step by step tutorials on Etsy
  • claylessons.com
  • Buy a polymer clay oven (use your 40% off Joann's coupon)
  • Try different clays before buying a bunch to determine which you like best
  • Sand baked pieces with wet sand paper from the hardware store and rub w/denim
  • Sanding/buffing and use of transluscent clay
There was so much more offered in yesterday's comments, so if you are interested in getting started like I am, make sure to read through all the additional tips and websites provided.

The most surprising was the POLYMER CLAY OVEN!! Seriously, where have I been? This was news to me or if I knew about this before, I blotted it out of my memory. Very interesting! Who doesn't love a new appliance?



2 Good Claymates said...

You're welcome -- I hope you don't mind if I add one note on the oven. I know myself and many others would not recommend the oven from Michaels. A good quality convection oven doesn't cost much more but is well worth it in the long run. A convection oven has much better heating and won't "spike" like regular toaster type ovens will. You still need a good thermometer with no matter what oven you use as well as you cannot trust the settings.

Davinia said...

Hi Lisa, I've just started my polymer clay journey about 3 months ago. so much fun although I have wasted quite a bit just learning the ropes but I guess that's to be expected. Lessons here are thin on the ground but I've managed to find someone who I can learn from and have my first class in 2 weeks. Re: the ovens I've heard some talk on the net about using a portable halogen oven so I'm trying to find out as much info as I can. I like the idea of not having to wait for it to heat up and using less energy than a normal oven. Someone reading this may have some info about them. Have fun and be warned....it's addictive.

Kokopelli said...

There is such a thing like a pc oven??? I only know people who have an extra oven, so they don't have to bake the pc in the same oven with their food.

Lori said...

I agree with 2goodclaymates. Best to invest in the convection oven. You can always do that later down the road as well. The ovens for polymerclay will work fine for beginning work. Just be very careful as they don't always have the settings correct. ( And yes Lisa you are more then welcome to share my blog)

Lacey said...

I personally wouldn't splurge on a Polymer Clay oven until I knew for sure that I was going to stick with Polymer Clay as something I was going to use quite frequently. I would find a simple and cheap little toaster oven ($10 or less at a yard sale) and get an oven thermometer to regulate temp. Of course I have extremely limited space, so I don't buy appliances that are uni-taskers unless I have to. Just my two cents though!!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Thanks for bringing up an extremely interesting topic to me. I was all set to make polymer clay items a few years ago (I had the pasta machine, the clay, the colors, the books, etc., and then I got frightened concerning the fumes in the house. I didn't understand that a separate oven is really a necessity. Ultimately, I simply withdrew from that arena and never made anything after making one polymer clay piece in my REAL oven! I could never try again after that. Your friend, who is a big sissy! jean :) xox!

artybecca said...

I am a relatively new (<3 years) clay addict so here's what I've learned (note: all my comments apply to Kato clay because it's the only kind I have ever used.)

I have a dedicated toaster oven on my counter. (I don't want clay in my "real" oven at all!) The Black and Decker Toast-R-Oven cost about $35 at Target. It has a timer so the oven goes off when the time is up (max 15 min on the timer). I bake EVERYTHING for 15 min at a hair below the 275 degree mark and it works like a charm every time. Because the oven shuts off with the timer, I don't even have to watch the clock or be nearby to hear the "ding". I use the regular stove exhaust fan to take the fumes outside.
The only lesson I learned is to wait until the bright orange glow has gone dark before putting the clay in...the high heat during warm up will create burn spots. (You don't want clay to burn...bad fumes, besides the fact that it ruins your item!)

The pasta machine should also be dedicated only to clay but you can buy a Makin's machine at Michael's for about $25. I've had mine about 2 years and it's still going strong.

Also, I use one pass with 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper on my beads. Home Depot and Lowe's don't carry higher than 600 grit (at least mine don't) and that's not enough - I found that lower grits just ended up adding scratches into the surface! Look at Pep Boys or any other automotive specialty store for the higher grits. After sanding and buffing with a cloth, it's not a glass-like shine but the items have a very pretty sheen (and a rebuff with the cloth will shine them right up again if they get a bit dull over time).

I started with clay because I couldn't find beads in the colors I wanted. And then I discovered how fun the clay is and I barely ever make a finished piece of jewelry anymore...it takes away from my clay "playtime"!

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Hey Lisa, just saw this post... not sure how I missed it. Thanks so much for the mention of my blog and tutorials! Polymer clay is such a fun and forgiving art medium that knows no limits. I have been an instructor for many years and have known no other art material that is so creative and unlimited as far as what you can do with it. I hope you (and the rest of the world, quite frankly) really sink your hands into the Journey that is Polymer Clay. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I am here to help! Have fun with it!

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