I went to Michael’s today with a friend since there was a 40% off a regularly priced item ^__^. (I paid for one item and she helped me pay for one so I could use the 40% off twice =]).
The 8 lb box of white Sculpey was originally $50, but after the 40% off, it was about $30, it is a better deal than the 8 oz. for $9 (about $5 after 40% off).
I also bought some sand, black Premo, and Floral Stem Wrap since I wanted to try making more flowers with more realistic stems =].
Hey guys! I will be writing a sort of beginner’s guide for people who are interested in using polymer clay for their art. Btw, I’m not a professional or anything, so this guide will be based on what worked for me personally, and may act as a suggestion of sort to those that are about to start a hobby in polymer clay! =] I also apologize ahead of time for the wall of words you’re about to read (if you do decide to read this hohoho :P).
Choosing the clay
There are a few types of clay, Sculpey, Premo, Premo Accents, and Fimo. When I first started, I used Sculpey because it was harder in texture, as compared to the other ones. This way your finger prints won’t stick as easily to the clay (IMO). Premo is very soft so you’d have to work harder to keep fingerprints off. Premo is my favorite though because it seems easier to condition. (Conditioning means to knead the clay between your fingers till its warmed by your skin, that way it is more malleable.)
In my opinion, I feel that Sculpey is the hardest, then Fimo and then Premo. Premo Accents is also very soft, also it is more “special” since some have glitter, or is made to look like granite, and one even glows in the dark haha. It is fun to experiment with Premo Accents if you want to try something different =].
When I first bought clay, I chose black, white, red, yellow, blue. Since red, yellow and blue are primary colors, you can pretty much mix the clay and get any color (ie: red + yellow = orange, blue + yellow=green, etc) and adding white or black will darken or lighten it to your liking. (Of course I saw the other pretty colors and wanted to buy them as well but I resisted!! >.< I wasn’t sure whether I would really get into doing clay art or be bored after one try so I didn’t want to risk the $$). Of course I became addicted afterwards and eventually I bought more colors because I was too lazy to mix them all :3 hehe).
Choosing the tools
The nice thing about PC (polymer clay) is that you don’t really need any special tools, your hands and fingers are all the tools you’ll honestly need. However, I did use a X-acto knife a lot =]. The X-acto knife was my best friend since it was super helpful with little things, from cutting straight edges to texturing, helping stick TINY pieces of clay to your piece, and sometimes to blending the edges so there aren’t harsh lines.
Keeping colors and your piece clean
When I first started using PC, my pieces were (a lot of times) very messy. The whites were not pure whites, the blacks were not pure black, and there were random specks or swirls of colors in places where they didn’t belong. It drove me crazy!! I finally realized wiping my fingers and tools before using a different color REALLY helped. Basically after conditioning clay, I wipe my fingers before handling the piece I’m working on. Also, each time I’m about to condition another color, I also wipe my fingertips so no random swirls of colors will be mixed into your clean clay. Oh yes, before you start working, you should also wash your hands so you that you can start with clean hands and go from there.
I wipe my fingers with either a paper towel or small wet towel. I recommend the wet towel because sometimes even paper towels have lose fibers that can stick to your fingers and then stick to your pieces). You don’t want hairy clay!! Also, don’t use tissue or toilet paper!!!! They have a lot of fibers which can stick all over your clay!! I made the mistake of using tissue once and my piece had sooo many pieces of fiber on it that the piece looked super dirty! >.< (course I had to trash the piece after this =\).
Keeping fingerprints off your piece
Honestly, there isn’t a magic trick to keeping fingerprints off your piece (I so wish there was!!!) Basically as you go along making your piece, rub the clay gently to get the fingerprints off or you can do this at the end, when you’re pretty much done with the piece. I usually do the latter choice because many a times I put a fingerprint back on the spot where I JUST cleaned @_@. So instead of cleaning prints as I go, I clean it all at the end.
Baking the clay
The baking instructions are on the packages of clay. Even though the clay says it’s non-toxic, I still use a separate toaster oven to bake my clay just to be safe. Plus it seems kind of dirty to bake your food on something you bake clay on :O. Just remember that when the clay is still hot right after baking, it is still kind of soft so don’t be too rough with your piece, or you might alter or break it. Once the clay has cooled, it will be done curing so it will be hard.
Well I think that’s about all the things I could think of for the beginner’s guide. From here, you just simply experiment and learn from your trials and errors =]. And of course, use your creativity!!
Thank you to all that read through this very very long beginner’s guide and I hope it was useful!! ^o^ Feel free to send me questions if you have any! <3