For anyone who’s a self taught polymer clay artist, you’ve already made some critical mistakes in claying. You tried a shortcut (that didn’t work) or tried a way to do something that ended up ruining your piece. It’s okay, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This month we are going “back to basics” in creating with polymer clay. So for today’s mini tutorial we’re going to go over the proper way to embed a bead into polymer clay.
There is a lot of information on the internet about how to condition polymer clay. There are even people saying that there’s no need to condition clay if it is soft (gasp)! 2013 is going to bring lots of talk of polymer clay and all things sculpting to Kater’s Acres blog, the biggest of which is The Friesen Project. Because of this, all during the month of January, I am going to talk about some of the basics of polymer clay. With so much incorrect information on the web, it’s really hard to know what it correct.
It’s no secret that I love a good DIY project. What’s also no secret is that if I can make it myself better, more simply, and more cost-effective, I’ll likely do it. So for my polymer clay tip today, I have decided to share my recipe for my super-easy hand scrub to keep your hands from becoming clay stained and a super quick washing solution between colors. This recipe using things you likely have already in your kitchen, as well as a recycled baby jar (thank heavens for my friends who keep me supplied with them).
WHY MAKE THIS SALT SCRUB:
Have you ever finished a project and washed your hands with soap and water and gone “ew!” because there was yucky clay scum left behind? Well, I have! And it is because of this that I decided to make my own salt scrub. Please note that this is a super simple version of a fancier version (that calls for scented oils, specialty moisturizing oils, etc). Some versions call for sugar instead of salt, but my studio is downstairs and sugar tends to attract ants, especially when I leave the lid off the jar, which is often … therefore I use salt, which doesn’t attract bugs and in emergencies can be used on slugs … although I’ve never had any of those in my basement … moving on!
For most of my readers, you have already mentally checked these things off in your head because you have them at your house. Please know that you can use any kind of oil [even vegetable oil or coconut oil]; I prefer EVOO because it leaves my hands nice and softie-soft! You can use any kind of dishwashing or hand soap. I prefer Dawn as my choice for dishwashing soap for its awesome cleaning power, but you can use any soap. The reason that there are no added “scents” to my recipe is that my dish soap is already scented … I mean why should I ruin that awesome Thai Dragon Fruit smell that Dawn has given me? PS: If you haven’t tried this scent yet, you should … it’s my favorite.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thai Dragon Fruit Scent has been discontinued as of 2018.
HOW TO DO IT:
Here’s the easy part. This recipe is for a SMALL jar (approximately 2.5 oz), you will need to tailor this recipe to fit your jar.
1 Tbs. EVOO
1 Tbs. Dish Liquid
1/4 cup salt
All you need to do is stir it all together inside your jar! And then wah-lah! You have an awesome homemade, ultra-cheap, DIY salt scrub that you can use to get all those clay bits off of your hands once and for all.
A FEW NOTES:
You want this mixture to be semi-dry. The salt should stick together, but it should be loose, but still able to be packed. If there is oil or soap “floating” in spots in your mixture, keep stirring. If there is still oil or soap in there, add more salt until it is all absorbed. Feel free to keep a spoon next to your mixture, just so that between washings of your hands, you can stir your mix so the oil & soap don’t settle to the bottom. I also tend to “shake” my bottle before I use it. This also helps to keep it nicely mixed.
There is truly nothing that makes me more sad and angry than spending hours making something gorgeous only for it to burn & or crack. This is horribly frustrating for every polymer clay artist. Today I’m going to give you my best hints, tips, & tricks to preventing this. We’re going to go back to basics and learn how to bake polymer clay.
In my opinion, cracking objects is often worse than burning objects. Objects that are burned can often be covered or disguised by antiquing, covering in a paint medium, using Perfect Pearls, or even Swellegant‘s line of products by Christi Friesen. However, when a project cracks, there is not a lot that you can do.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have recently been receiving several questions sent to me privately from some of my readers. I try to answer all questions as quickly as they come in. Feel free to ask me a question anytime and I will answer it directly or here on the blog.
Since this is the first time I have reposted an email that has come to me, I thought it best not to use the name of the person who sent the email. For this reason, I have “named” the letter and the person who wrote to me in the letter.
There are a LOT of things that I love about having my own studio in a separate area from the every day areas of my house. One of which is that I can shut the door (and even lock it if I want to)…and come back whenever I want. But here’s the neurotic part of me…I like my studio clean. In fact on any given day, my studio is cleaner than the rest of my house. Why? Because that’s the way I like it! How? In less than 15 minutes I can clean the whole thing. Read how to clean your studio in 15 minutes or less too…
On Tuesdays, I love to bring you a little polymer clay tidbit, tip, or trick. Today is no different. I’m going to be sharing with you how to use a Heat Embossing Tool with polymer clay. This versatile tool finds its home in scrapbookers & card makers closets. But as clayers, we share with a variety of arts, crafts, and mediums…and therefore…we stole this tool and claimed it as our own too.
Polymer Clay Tip & Tutorial How To Properly Use a Heat Embossing Tool ow.ly/ffEMf Great information for polymer clay artists!
Every Tuesday I bring you a tip, trick, hint, and occasionally a tutorial. Well…today I give you one of my secrets in my arsenal of claying, the trick uses the very reasonably priced and easy to find Super Sculpey.
One of the hardest things to do is to cut a cane in an even, thin slice, without any drag. When I first began working with polymer clay millefiori canes, both raw & baked, I had the hardest time cutting them in thin, even slices. One side would always be thicker than the other or I’d adjust my blade halfway through the slice and create very unpleasant “drag marks” on the sliced piece of cane. After several years, I got smart and solved my problem…
Has someone said this to you before? Or have you said it yourself? Maybe someone has said to you, “I only use Fimo Classic polymer clay.” In either case, I call this the “polymer clay snob syndrome.” I’ll be honest, I too prefer a certain brand of clay over others, however, I will use whatever I have and often times clay that I have found on sale or on clearance. So why am I against “polymer clay snob syndrome?”
Have you ever sat down to to clay and accidentally mixed your colors? I don’t mean mixing your colors on purpose either. Last week I had just finished an entire batch of Parker characters. My hands were stained yellow from the pigments in the clay. So I did my usual, washed my hands and used baby wipes. Well….that didn’t do the job apparently. So here’s my polymer clay tip for the week. Continue reading Rubbing Alcohol & Using It to Clean Your Hands
My Easy Blending Polymer Clay Tip No Special Tools Required
One of the things that every clayer struggles with at times is rock hard clay. Clay that does nothing but snap, break, and never get soft. The easiest answer to this problem is a food processor. But, you may not have a food processor and that’s okay.
Today’s polymer clay tip will show you how to become friends with your clay, warm it up, soften it, make it malleable again, and even blend it to perfect. In fact, with this easy polymer clay tip, you don’t need any special tools or machines. You only need your hands, clay blade, acrylic roller and pasta machine.
Have you ever taken the time to emboss something on your clay? I love to emboss patterns, stamps, and whatever kind of texture “catches” me at that moment. I love the crisp, clean, almost effortless and yet professional look it gives to my pieces. One of the hardest things for me however, is embossing with powders (i.e.: Pearl ex, Perfect Pearls, etc). A lot of clayers have problems with this as well.
I’ve read many articles that say you should slightly dampen your stamps first. *Sigh* This still didn’t help me. The result was half on and half off, dark in some places and not in others, you get the idea…I just wasn’t happy with the results. And I always emboss things…so I needed a solution that was quick, easy, and stress free.
You’ve heard it said many times in polymer clay books, in tutorials, and most likely many other places that there is “no such thing as scrap clay.” But there’s a trick to gaining usable scrap clay and not just a mess of murky, brown, dirty ugliness. Continue reading No Such Thing as Scrap Clay Tutorial