Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Polymer Clay

I'm having so much fun finding new mediums to craft with.

Today I'm going to discuss polymer clay.

I have used polymer clay in the past and had a lot of fun with it. In kindergarten, my best friend and I used to make all sorts of odds, ends, widgets, and other treasures with it when I'd go visit her house. I think I even still have a little pink pebble shaped lump that she gave me floating around my house somewhere.

The thing is, as a young child, polymer clay is cumbersome. You can't do it right unless there's an adult present and willing to run the baking portion of polymer clay treasure making. You could leave it and wait until and adult is ready, but kids want instant gratification! I was more of a do it on my own kind of kid. Plus my parents were always really busy. So I found other crafts to play around with and forgot about polymer clay.

That is, until a few days ago.

I picked up some polymer clay (Sculpey was the brand that I used) and my husband and I made some mushrooms for my terrarium.

I didn't have any varnish to seal them with so they haven't been put in the terrarium yet, but they look very nice on my windowsill next to my plants.

Some polymer clay making tips:
  • Like many humans, I use my hands when grasping and shaping things. So because of this, most of my projects were "textured" with fingerprints. The fingerprints didn't bother me, but if they bother you then you can wear some gloves. Polymer clay tools may also be helpful.
  • Some of the color on the clay will come off on your hands. This is significant if you roll up, say, some red clay and then go grabbing for the white. Soon your white will become pink! To avoid this, you should wash your hands between colors. At the very least work the lighter colors before moving to the darker colors if you don't feel like washing in the middle of your project.
  • Large products may crack during the baking process. I didn't have this problem with the stuff that I made, but I've heard others talk about it being a problem. Apparently Sculpey makes a polymer clay that is supposed to be resistant to cracking like that, but I live in Interior Alaska and our craft stores don't seem to carry that version. At least I can't find it. Though I didn't really look that hard either--just a quick look over the polymer clay section at each of the 3 small stores in town.
  • You can paint polymer clay. Not happy with the colors of your project? Only have white clay when you want to make a blue bird? No problem! Paint works great on these. I didn't paint mine, but it can be done.
In about 45 minutes, I made these mushrooms. Most of that time was spent sculpting.

These were made in my free time: imagine what you could do in yours!

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