The idea of getting into polymer clay has been in my head for a while now but it wasn’t until my sister, Ofie, who is based in Manila broached the subject matter of her getting started with it that put polyclay front and center in my “crafty” thoughts.
With my personal mantra “Anything can be learned” echoing in my ear, I set out to study about Polymer clay basics, and of course, I turned to old reliable Google. My eye always scans the results page for Wikipedia when I am seeking basic information, more so since I am not looking to buy anything yet — I just need to learn about it.
And so I found out that Polymer Clay (or polyclay for short) “is a sculptable material based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It usually contains no clay minerals, and is only called “clay” because its texture and working properties resemble those of mineral clay. It is sold in craft, hobby, and art stores, and is used by artists, hobbyists, and children.”
The next thing I did was to browse Polymer Clay Images (still on Google) to actually visualize the material. What I saw totally swept me away and made me want to learn more about polymer clay.
Of course I could not NOT search for polymer clay on Etsy, where I was further blown away by all the creative applications of polyclay. From miniature food items to gorgeous jewelry, I couldn’t wait to get my hands kneading!
My next search string on Google was “polymer clay tutorial” which brought me to Jewelry and Polymer Clay Heaven where there was a ton of information for newbies like me. (Pinay New Yorker HIGHLY RECOMMENDS this site!) Start off with the basics and you will find yourself navigating through other crucial information like the different brands of polyclay, conditioning polyclay, and polyclay safety among other information.
Another website you should visit is Polymer Clay Central where you will see challenges, helpful tips, and a community of polymer clay artisans. Their Polymer Clay FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) (Pinay New Yorker HIGHLY RECOMMENDS you read this section.) organizes the information with all the links on the front page. Most important is the list of tools and things you will need to start working with polyclay.
But what and where to get polyclay? I know that my favorite craft supplier, Fire Mountain Gems offered tools and a specific brand of polyclay, but I had a ton of jewelry findings and supplies in my shopping cart that I was torn about buying. Also, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to plop that much into something I was just learning.
I could’ve waited for the weekend trip to Michael’s, but we were going to be busy that weekend so I knew it would have to be a longer wait.
And while I cannot now remember how I got there, I bought my first polyclay from Polymer Clay Superstore which not only sells quite a selection of polymer clays in two brands, but they have a free clay coupon for new sign ups. (Is it any wonder then that they are now one of my favorite online stores?) They also have a well-organized and very helpful section on Polymer Clay for Beginners which, I think now, is the reason why I found the store in the first place. Although the questions asked in the various FAQs are the same, I recommend you read through the information as there are bits and pieces which are added with every FAQ you come across.
Armed with my elementary knowledge about polymer clay, I then ventured out to YouTube where you can get a wealth of information on how to work with polymer clay. Canes? Designs? Pasta Machine conditioning? I even watched some which were in Italian (sans translations or subtitles!) which, surprisingly, were very informative despite the language gap. (So check them out even if you have to turn the audio off.)
I’ll share my first attempts at creating something with polymer clay in my next post.