Monday, March 16, 2009

Tips Again

Allright so starting back up, I have more polymer clay tips from our lovely monsterkookies. Here is her next article:

"Don't use those crappy Sculpey or Fimo glosses for your creations. Their expensive as hell, you only get a tiny bit in a jar, and their usually very gloopy and annoying to apply. Do yourself a favour - go to the hardware store and ask for "Varathane". This is found in the paint department with all the wood stainers and such. Make sure you buy the WATERBASED formula, in GLOSS not semi-gloss. This stuff sells for about $7.00 for a 946mL tin and you will not need to buy anymore gloss for a very long time. This stuff works wonders - it may be for wood, but this stuff has IPN technology which means Interpenetrating Polymer Network which means it's going to soak into your clay, adhere well, and make your clay creations damn spiffy looking.

:orange: To get that lovely glass-look, give your pieces the triple coat treat. Dip it once and let it hang to dry. As it dries, say after about 10 minutes, give the bottom of your piece a little wipe with a paint brush. That way, your pieces don't dry with a hardened gloss-drip on the bottom. Do this three times and you'll have some damn shiny goodies! Looks especially good on coloured pieces.

:orange: After your pieces are glazed, leave them to dry in a place that isn't going to collect dust. Cover the top of your drying rack with something that keeps the dust out.

:orange: Let the gloss on your pieces dry for a good 24 hours. At this point, your gloss will be at it's peak hardness and it will have a nice flawless coat on it. Peachy!

:orange: Depending on where you live, eyepins can be hard to find. Instead, get yourself some good strong wire, make long "U" shapes and stick them into your pieces before you bake. After your piece has baked and cooled, take out the wire loop and apply a bit of adhesive to the ends of the wire and stick them back into the clay. This guarantees it will never fall out. I use a tube of Household Adhesive - it works wonders. It's like cement.

:orange: Keep all of your clay in Ziploc baggies or an airtight container. I prefer the airtight container. This keeps the dust out and it keeps the clay "fresh" and soft. It's like a good cookie jar! A good idea is to keep a container for opened clay and another container for unopened clay, that way you don't start a new block of clay when there is already one opened. If there isn't any more Red in the opened-clay container, than you can go to the un-opened clay container to get a new package. If there is none in there, I guess you should re-stock!

:orange: Stock up on clay at sales from Michaels, get coupons, do whatever you can to save a few bucks. Saved dollars equals more money to spend on nifty tools. Or food. Or something. If you don't have a Michaels craft store, sells Sculpey III for only $1.50 per block. You can also get blocks of Fimo for $1.75 and Kato for only $2.00.

:orange: People tend to get discouraged when making polymer clay icing for some reason. The problem is often not enough mixing. You have to work those muscles! The best tool is the handle of a plain flat-back spoon. It works much better than stir sticks and a spoon doesn't break. Just mix some warm kneaded clay with TLS and mix like hell. If it's too thick, add more TLS. It can be baked with the rest of your unbaked clay at the same temperature, so don't get flustered when trying to figure out the baking times.

:orange: When baking my clay, I always bake at 275*F whether I am using Fimo or Sculpey or both at the same time or Fimo or Sculpey or both with TLS. It's all the same. Smaller pieces that are under an inch thick I will bake for about 20 minutes. Thicker items go for a bit longer. This temperature hasn't failed me yet.

:orange: The bristles of a toothbrush work wonders for making fine-textured baked goods like sugar cookies. Just dab it into the clay until you get the effect you want.

:orange: A great way to make some texture in your cookies and cupcakes is to take a small square of polymer clay, stab it and scrape it with a sharp object to make it all textured, and than bake it. Now you have a texture stamp! Just press and push and drag in the clay that you want to texture.

:orange: The best clay to make icecream scoops is Fimo Soft, hands down. Sculpey sucks for making realistic icecream - it just doesn't have the same texture. Fimo has a more crumby texture if you drag your finger down a piece of clay, whereas when you drag your finger down a piece of Sculpey it warms up and smooths down.

:orange: Don't mix acrylic paint with TLS for syrups and such. It cracks in the oven. Use oil paints, inks, pastel shavings (both oil and chalk) and eyeshadows. These all work very well.

:orange: A great way to add a little bit of colour to baked goods like waffles, cookies, and such is to grate a little bit of brown dry pastel or eyeshadow and brush it on select places for that golden brown baked look. Just don't overdo it or you'll lose the base colour.

:orange: If you are making thin pieces on your clay objects, a great way to make them more sturdy is to build the pieces around wire or stick a piece of wire through it when you are finished sculpting it.

:orange: If you have to make a really big object but don't want it to be super heavy or use a lot of clay, ball up a piece of aluminum foil and build the clay around it. Just make sure the ball of foil is pressed nice and tight.

That is all for now! More next time! Hehe."

Amazing, as usual. This happens to be my favorite article of hers, and I'm actually going to go out and buy new glaze because of her. I have noticed how terrible the Sculpey glaze I'm grateful for her advise!!!

Monsterkookie's website: LINK
Monsterkookies deviantart: LINK
Monsterkookies on etsy: LINK


PolymerClayTutor said...

All of this advice is excellent!

I prefer to bake polymer clay at 265F for 1 hour however. This ensures all the polymers have properly bonded and that the clay is nice and hard.

You will find that your pieces will not break and that they sand and buff up much nicer when baked this way.

It is a baking secret that many professional clay artists use and isn't widely known amongst beginners. ~ Cindy Lietz

penguinsplunder said...

Hey thanks for the tip. Now I want to try that. ^_^ usually my pieces are too small to bake that long (I remember those many items I burned) but it's worth another shot.