As with all things in life, we pick some things up and get good at them…and yet with other things we need help. I am a 100% self-taught polymer clay artist. I have purchased several polymer clay books and use several very religiously. Here are 10 hints, tips, & tricks for working with polymer clay that you may not already know or thought of that will help you in your own polymer clay jouney.
- Before you do anything else, put on hand lotion. I have found that when working with polymer clay may hands dry out. When my hands dry out, the clay colors get absorbed into my skin and transfer from one clay to another. Stop the problem in its tracks and use any hand cream with silicone to help prevent this!
- Do you know that clay that’s just hard like a brick? Soften it a little before you tear open the package. Do this by sitting on your clay. I know this sounds like an easy tip, but it’s often overlooked. And the best part is that it’s free. When you sit on your clay, it will automatically warm up and it will take far less time to condition.
- Is your clay still too hard? Never underestimate the power of your acrylic roller. Bang on your clay. This will align the polymers quickly and allow you to condition your clay more easily.
- Spend money on quality tools and a good variety of them. You might be able to get by using toothpicks and straws. However, you may also find that there are some really good tools for sculpting, caning, jewelry making, and more that will help you save time along your journey.
- Don’t spend money on a particular clay mat to put in your oven if you don’t have to…Reuse your shipping labels. You can use the glossy side to make your clay on, roll it, stamp it, etc. And wah-la…it comes right off, each and every time! It was something you were going to throw away anyhow, but now it’s reused … and you can reuse these several times too!
- It might be intimidating, but don’t be afraid to mix clays. I’m not just talking about colors either. I mean brands too. Yes, some brands work better than others, but some are absolutely brilliant together. Experiment and have a little fun! If you don’t know where to start, try my Fluffy Clay recipe for some ideas.
- What happens when your clay is still too hard and you’ve tried #2 & #3…try one of many solid polymer clay conditioning bars on the market now. Very quickly your clay will begin to condition and it doesn’t get slimy like when you add clay softener or TLS.
- If you don’t know what to create or how to create it, sketch it first. This easy step will save you time & a headache later! BONUS POINTS if you keep a running list of ideas on your phone so that it’s always with you. This way when you have an idea you can type it into a note and you won’t ever forget it and you can come back to it later.
- Are you tired of things NOT sticking and staying where you put them? Use PolyBonder. Lisa Pavelka makes it and you can get it at Hobby Lobby or Michaels. It’s the best thing I’ve found so far.
- RESIST THE TEMPTATION – Don’t just buy cheap clay! Many of you buy cheap clay because you can “afford it” better. This is nonsense! Why would you buy cheap clay that you know won’t work or will give you issues, just to spend hours on a piece and have it break within hours of being out of the oven? Don’t do this, please! Try each and every brand of clay and decide for yourself which clay you like the best.
- Try anything and everything! Many polymer clay artists have made a name for themselves, just by trying something new and having great success with it (Skinner blend, Pavelka Peel, Sutton Slice, etc). Don’t be scared – polymer clay is the most forgiving art medium in the world, allow it to speak to you in a new and exciting way!
Parker – Polymer Clay Figurine$25.00
Vacation Parker, Handmade Polymer Clay Figurine$27.50
Lolly – Polymer Clay Figurine$25.00
Steampunk Parker, Limited Edition Polymer Clay Figurine$27.50
Tea Time Parker, Special Edition$25.00
UnderWater Parkers, Special Edition$30.00
Masked Parkers, Special Edition$27.50
Planner Stickers – Parker, Lolly, & Spex$1.95 – $5.45