Learning more about polymer clay

Lessons learned thus far:

1.  NOT ALL POLYMER CLAYS ARE CREATED EQUAL.  I like Sculpey but have come to discover that yes, it doesn’t always come out as firm or solid when cured (baked).  I am testing out the truth behind whether or not FIMO is indeed firmer and sturdier.  I will stay away from Craftsmart polymer clay unless I need ultra soft and brittle clay for some reason or when it’s just so irresistibly so low priced that it would do for the foundation for beads or other bigger structures.  (Don’t take my word for it as being workable for this purpose, too, though.. The clay is too soft and extremely sticky that it’s hard to use even on the usually non-stick silicone molds.)

2. I LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY.  I have read up on a lot of tutorials and FAQs but continue to research online.  No matter if I seem to have read something in someone else’s blog or notes already, I keep going back because there are always those bits and pieces that people seem to add on and which continue to add to my knowledge about polymer clay.

3. EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT.  I think this is one of the best parts of wanting to learn and do more about a medium for crafting — you try things and continue to try things.

So I baked some polymer clay onto the metal charm or finding itself and while it stuck initially, as part of my quality control, I try to see if it will  hold by trying to apply pressure to it and I discovered it didn’t.  So the solution was back to superglue!

However, baking the clay on top of the item it is supposed to “cling” to helps it to take the shape or form of the material’s surface, which was helpful as far as embellishing a round slightly curved locket with a rose was.

Since the clay is no longer pliable after baking, it helps to shape the base before it cooks.

4.  I REALLY, REALLY LIKE THE “METALLIC” CLAYS LIKE ANTIQUE GOLD, SILVER AND COPPER.

Really.

In fact I am seriously considering confining my next purchases to it, until I remembered that this whole polylclay journey was really spurred on with my intention to help my sister get on with a business back in Manila which would need the regular colors and tones.

The colors look great and the finished piece makes you wonder what the material is because it doesn’t look as “plasticized” as the normal colors.  I was just so taken by them after I created these last few pieces recently posted in the shop.

The cameo pendant was one of the pieces I baked together but this one has held fast, probably because of the surface texture of the cameo base, and the actual size of the polymer clay mass that makes up the cameo itself.  (Seriously thinking about doing a tutorial on this because I NEED TO CREATE ONE FOR MYSELF before I pull this listing off the shop so I can keep it.)

5.  I LIKE THAT I CAN CREATE MY PIECES AND SAVE THEM TO BAKE FOR ANOTHER DAY.  Here I go again complaining about how there are just not enough hours in a day.  Lately I have taken to creating tiny pieces to put together and storing them in a container lined with parchment o r wax paper, making sure that the cover rests lightly on the top to keep the dust (and other accidents) away.

This works very well for the items I create, from the hand swirled roses to flowers/cabochons cut from molds.  I’ve also started using left over clay to make beaded headpins.  They make for great space fillers when I am trying to pull together individual polymer clay elements and beads to create a new product line of mini-garden necklaces like the one shown here.

As you can see, I’ve been pretty busy.  At the moment, I’m trying to source Cernit.  I have found some online stores selling it (because it isn’t available in my local Michael’s, A.C. Moore or Utrecht) and although one is always wary of the shipping and handling fees, I have found that the discount provided by some stores online make up for whatever shipping and handling is charged.  (More on this later.)

I am also looking at working with Kato Polyclay sometime in the future but again, the only source I’ve found for this is Fire Mountain Gems (one of my favorite online sources for beading supplies at wholesale prices) , and I am not ordering from them anytime soon.  So that remains to be seen.

Back to my mini-garden necklace and my floral cameo bouquets.  Maybe a tutorial will follow next.

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