Polymer Clay Tip: Keep Your Nails Short

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Polymer Clay Creative Tip 3 - Keep Your Nails Short by KatersAcres

Polymer Clay Tip Tuesday

Most Frequently Asked Question

How do I keep dust, dirt, fingerprints, & dents off my pieces?

I have written about this before and The Blue Bottle Tree also has an excellent post regarding this. But there’s another polymer clay tip that will help your work greatly …

Keep Your Fingernails Short

Polymer Clay Creative Tip 3 - Keep Your Nails Short by KatersAcresPerhaps I have stolen this tip from past music teachers (I did, by the way) … but one of the things both my piano teacher & saxophone teacher insisted on was short nails. Why? Because short nails make for better dexterity and less interference. I took piano or saxophone lessons for 20 years and I was required to have short nails.

I see lots of polymer clay artists who clay with long nails & I am envious. I don’t know how they do it. Alas, it doesn’t work for me.

For all of the students that come into my studio for polymer clay lessons my #1 rule is: have short nails. Even in this picture, my nails are longer than normal, normally there is NO WHITE showing on my nails. Why? There are many reasons why I think this is one of the most important things you can do for claying, but here’s just a few:

  • Having short nails means that you won’t get any accidental gouges or marks on your pieces, unless you put them there yourself.
  • Long nails tend to hold product and trap it (clay, mica powders, fibers from your jeans, etc). This means that every time your nail gets near your clay, you could be adding those elements into your projects. Yuck!
  • Having short nails allows you to use the tipity top portion of your fingers for shaping & sculpting and will leave less fingerprints than using the pads of your fingers.

 Here’s the Bottom Line:

If you are getting random fibers, marks, stray bits of clay in your work it is most likely from your work surface. The secondary reason is from your hands. The best ways to prevent it: use lotion & have short nails (for all the reasons above).

How Do You Clay?

Do you have short nails or long nails? Which do you prefer when working with clay? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for joining me today,

Happy Claying,

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2 thoughts on “Polymer Clay Tip: Keep Your Nails Short

  1. Thanks for the information about the fell nails going dull after working with polymer clay. I was just going to do my gel nails and guess I will not do that anymore. Ann

  2. I keep my nails very very short. I am curious if anyone who gets “gel” manicures have had any reactions to it. It is a long lasting uv cured nail polish.
    I know it dulls the shine when I polish or sand my pieces.

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