Polymer clay occupies a special place among the materials of decorative and applied art. Various decorative elements, ornaments, jewelry and toys are made of it. This article contains the main points of working with polymer clay, which will be useful for beginners. Let’s move on to getting to know them.
How to choose polymer clay for work
There are two types of clay: baked and self-sealing. We’ll talk about baked clay.
How many colors should be in the beginner’s arsenal
To begin with, you can limit yourself to a couple of colors. These can be universal colors that can later be used in the manufacture of other crafts.
What brands of polymer clays exist and how they differ
Here we will talk about foreign manufacturers. They are more expensive than domestic ones, but, nevertheless, many craftsmen find their favorites among foreign manufacturers, which they invariably use in their work.
In the first place in popularity in our country is polymer clay Fimo. It is universal, suitable for both beginners and professionals. Fimo offers a large color range for every taste, clay is presented in Effect, Professional and Soft variants. The latter is characterized by a high degree of softness and plasticity.
If you are interested in clay, which is characterized by high density, then you should pay attention to polymer clay Cernit. After baking, it becomes transparent. It is also often used to simulate natural materials.
Similar to Fimo clay of the Premo brand. It holds its shape well after baking, does not crumble and retains flexibility.
Another clay is Kato. It belongs to the types of clay with a high density. It is kneaded by means of a special hammer. Often such clay is used for the manufacture of small and thin parts, because, due to its hardness, it holds its shape well.
What tools to choose for work
The basic tool for work is a knife. You can buy a special one for working with clay, or you can use a paper knife. The main thing is not to use knives from everyday use, as this can harm your health.
In addition to a knife, you will need a rolling pin and toothpicks. Under the rolling pin, you can adapt improvised tools. For example, a glass beaker, a metal bottle, etc. It is important to observe the main criterion — the rolling pin should not be plastic.
For figure modeling, you will also need special tools called stacks. They are designed to form the contours of the figure and are sold in specialized stores.
In addition, there are a lot of additions in the form of molds, textures, paints, sprinkles, which can be purchased in the process of mastering clay art. At first, it is not necessary to do this. Surely you will have pendants, carvings or buttons, which can also be used to squeeze out drawings on clay.
How to change the density of clay
In order for the hard clay to become softer and more pliable, it is best to resort to the help of special softeners. Do not use water or petroleum jelly, as this can harm the condition of the clay and spoil the work.
If the clay, on the contrary, is too soft and viscous, add a little more dry clay to it, or leave it to lie on a piece of paper for several hours. During this time, the leaf will absorb the bulk of the fat from the clay.
Rules for baking polymer clay
The most crucial moment in the creation of the product. This final touch will determine what kind of work you will get in the end.
Let’s start with the baking temperature, it is indicated on the clay packaging. You can bake clay on a glass surface, baking paper or ceramic coating. During the baking process, the clay should not smell.
If you smell it, you need to open the windows and stop baking. In the event that you bake clay in the same place where you will cook ordinary food, you need to thoroughly wash the surface after the work done.
Before you put all the clay to bake, do this procedure with a probe to first see how the product will react. After the work is ready, check it for strength, it should not easily break and crumble, the color should also be uniform.
How to store blanks?
Storage is carried out in the refrigerator. The clay is pre-wrapped in a film or placed in a sealed bag to avoid evaporation of the plasticizer.
Is polymer clay harmful?
Since it is not a natural material, it carries some harm if it is improperly exploited. It is impossible to use dishes with which polymer clay has already come into contact, and also after each baking it is necessary to ventilate the premises. Small children should not be allowed to use clay, and older children should work with clay under the supervision of their parents.
Which glue should I choose to work with clay?
If you want to glue the clay parts together, then the only option that is suitable for this purpose is a baking gel. If you want to stick various parts on a polymer clay product, then you can use epoxy glue.
When and how to polish clay beads?
The grinding stage takes place after baking the product. Grinding is carried out with sandpaper, and then the beads are rubbed with wax. Grinding is not a mandatory procedure, but it allows you to align the product and make it more pleasant to the touch.
Which varnish should I choose to cover the product?
For the final coating of the product, it is best to choose special varnishes designed for clay crafts. If it is not possible to purchase such a varnish, then you can use the varnishes of the company Tekkurila. The varnish is applied to the product with a special brush, the beads can simply be dipped in varnish.
Do not use as a coating other types of varnishes that are used in everyday life, as they can spoil the product.