Polymer clay is a versatile material used for everything from jewelry, home decor items, to fun crafts, sculptures and figurines. Whether you’re a professional artist or a polymer clay newbie, knowing a few extra tips will make the creative process easier and more enjoyable.
Working with Polymer Clay, Nine Best Tips
Once you understand some important tips for working with clay, the sky’s the limit on what you can create. Check out these nine often overlooked tips:
- Invest in a thermometer: Temperatures in ovens are not consistent. You’ll get excellent results if you make sure to check the temperature with a thermometer and follow the baking instructions specified on your clay packet.
- If your polymer clay is hard or dried out, don’t assume it’s unusable right away: Polymer clay can sometimes crumble with age. Fortunately, there are several ways to soften it. Trying to open it with a pasta machine or acrylic rod increases the flexibility of your clay. A few drops of liquid polymer clay or baby oil will revitalize the crumbly clay and make it of a usable consistency.
- Clean your hands and all surface areas before working with clay: Light-coloured clay is particularly susceptible to dirt and can cause discoloration. After washing, dry your hands with a lint-free cloth.
- Never use nail polish, solvents, spray paint, alcohol or marker pens on polymer clay: Solvents and most types of varnish can dissolve your polymer clay, making it sticky. Since marker pens contain solvent-based dye, it disperses into the polymer over time.
- Do some experimenting: Practice letters and small designs on a piece of scrap clay before going for the real thing. Sometimes you may need a test run to gauge how much pressure is enough. Nothing will harden until cooked, so any mistakes you make can be easily corrected.
- To anchor the baking paper, place weights around the edges or glue it to the table: This way, the paper will remain stable when you set it to start working with polymer clay.
- Invest in some cornstarch: Using some cornstarch is a simple trick to remove fingerprints from your designs. You can also bury your beads in cornstarch to prevent the clay from scorching or browning during baking.
- Avoid touching the polymer clay directly with your hands: your fingerprints will appear on your designs. Instead of using a traditional rolling pin or glass jar, try using an acrylic roller. The acrylic roller rod is the ideal tool for smoothly smoothing clay and is easy to clean.
- Get rid of air bubbles quickly: If air bubbles form in your polymer clay while working, cut them open with a knife. It is better to knead, roll or roll out the clay again rather than risk a bubble in the final product.