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1  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Mystery item - how would you use it? on: July 19, 2015 10:24:16 AM
.
Looks like it might be several shapes of ravioli cutters/crimpers, also called ravioli stamps, or if large enough could even be for making pierogi and turnovers, etc:
https://www.google.com/images?q=ravioli+stamps
https://www.google.com/images?q=ravioli+cutters
https://www.google.com/images?q=pierogi+cutter+turnover+cutter
https://www.google.com/images?q=pierogi

Their edges don't look very sharp though, especially since they aren't metal (but fine for pasta dough), so if you used these to cut polymer clay the outer edges wouldn't look really neat and sharply-defined.  You could perhaps cool the clay sheet first though then press the cutter down and kind of wiggle it around before lifting off which could pull in and incorporate some of the ragged edges.

...You could also use them like regular ravioli cutters--through two layers of clay after folding over or layering.

...Or you could the cutters only as stamps for all kinds of polymer techniques.
2  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Really Sticky Polymer Clay on: June 03, 2015 09:13:32 AM
I'd suggest for where you are and what you find too soft/sticky, try Kato Polyclay. 
It's probably the highest quality polymer clay out there and will not be too soft/sticky.  You'll have to condition it though (easy to do if you know how to do it easily**) and perhaps more than you're used to, but the results then will be excellent. 

Fimo Classic is currently the other "best" and firmest polymer clay, but its formulation will be changing the U.S. and it will probably be "dumbed down" (so, softer at least) even though I think it will be renamed Fimo "Professional."

As for Kato Polyclay, it's currently available in local stores only in Hobby Lobby, but you can easily order it online.
It also comes only in pure spectral colors so you'd have to mix any colors you didn't get from those 8.  (It also comes in white, ivory, black, brown, translucent, and mica-containing metallic colors, as well as 4 concentrated "colors".)
http://www.katopolyclay.com
one place to buy:
http://prairiecraft.com

You can also read more about the different brands, etc, how to stiffen too-soft polymer clays in some ways, etc, in my previous answer about 6 answers below, from August 2010.

**slice off slabs from a block, then run through a pasta machine repeatedly, or without a pasta machine beat with a hammer (in a plastic bag, etc) or roll over firmly with a roller of some kind, then stretch, roll into a ball, roll into a log....repeat

.
3  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Morticia and Gomez clay dolls on: May 10, 2015 11:08:13 AM
Really nice custom figures! Love those kinds of personalized things, and sounds like your friend did too.

If you're worried their about weight (on a cake, etc) if she uses them later as cake toppers, you could always attach them to some kind of wide base at the feet.  The base could be visible like a painted wood plaque, or hidden under the frosting like some of the plastic disk bases used for adding items to cake tops), or it could be made from polymer clay too if you want to take the super precaution of protecting the frosting from the clay at least where it would touch, or put everything up on some kind of riser.
(some examples: https://www.google.com/images?q=polymer+clay+cake+toppers )

You could do that even with your hardened topper figures by drilling holes up into the bottom of the clay feet using a drill bit by hand, so you could add rods of some kind to glue or otherwise attach into the base.  This one does that from the beginning, but you could do that now too:
http://www.thumbprintkids.com/pages/detailpages/processdetails/page4.htm

Those things would also help keep the figures upright in use.


4  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Gingerbread Castle Mario-Themed (link to video tutorial) on: April 27, 2015 12:47:21 PM
Great use of polymer clay's ability to create structures, and also a great potential gift!
5  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Koi Pond Hair Clip (tutorial link) on: April 27, 2015 12:39:06 PM
Great way to use mokume gane!  

Haven't been back to Craftster in a while and just noticed another post with your clay and freestanding resin aquarium link. Really nice job, and thanks too for the exact time and temp you've found to work for baking (thin) polymer clay on cured epoxy resin.  I subscribed btw. Smiley
6  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Miniature Seahorse tank (link to tutorial) on: April 27, 2015 12:30:46 PM
(written before I noticed that the poster is the original tutorial maker...lol)

Nice job! Everything looks great and quite a good conversation piece too.

Thanks for the link to the tutorial too.  That's the first time I've seen an actual specific time and temperature given for curing raw polymer clay on the outside of resin (220 F for 10 min, she says) though I suspect clay any thicker than that would require longer heating and therefore wouldn't work (unless cured separately and later glued on).  Helpful.

I was also surprised to see the hot glue used for the sand since I'd have assumed PVA/permanent-white glue would be used which does work fine inside resin.  Since resins heat up while curing, didn't know if the hot glue would be adversely affected, and at what temperature.  Hot glue is certainly quicker than waiting for PVA glue to dry though. She doesn't heat the hot glue/sand base when curing the polymer clay reef in another video though (bakes separately then glues onto the sand base).

If anyone else is interested in seeing all 9 of her videos combining resin and polymer clay, start with this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cclLqO8Ypug&list=PL0u_IUM0hsTygj1I2rQSWROoyHnuwbIpX
The other 8 videos will be in the right hand bar.

7  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: my first poly clay creation on: April 27, 2015 11:56:20 AM
Nice! And isn't it fun to make bowls (and boxes, trays, etc) with polymer clay!?  Plus you combined this one with stamping into the clay, a double whammy. Really great to see at least a few of the many other uses besides plain sculpting for polymer clay being done here at Craftster.

8  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Baking glass ornaments? on: April 27, 2015 11:45:15 AM
As mentioned, polymer clay is used on glass ball ornaments (even the still colored ones) all the time and no special baking considerations are needed (and especially if the clay will be completely covering the glass since it would be a buffer between the clay and glass).

If you're interested in more on covering or embellishing glass ball ornaments, or other glass and ceramic items, check out all the info and links (though some are now broken**) on these pages of my polymer clay site (some overlap):
http://glassattic.com/polymer/Christmas.htm (under Ornaments, click on Glass Ball Ornaments)
http://glassattic.com/polymer/covering.htm (under Glass, click on Ball Ornaments)

**here are lots of examples though, showing different ways of using glass ball ornaments with polymer clay:
https://www.google.com/images?q=polymer+clay+glass+ball+ornaments

9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: gloss on: April 27, 2015 11:25:52 AM
You might need to use epoxy resin as a coating on your clay items (I assume you meant polymer clay items) if the others are absorbing too much moisture (and turning cloudy or milky over time).  

Various kinds of clear-drying finishes work well as sealants as long as they aren't exposed to too much moisture and/or over too much time (and all will be more moisture resistant if allowed to "cure" over a week rather than only "drying").  
So various thinned-down PVA glues (including Mod Podge) can work fine if conditions don't become too moist or for too long.
  
But tougher clear finishes are usually necessary (or can be added on top of other finishes) if there will be more moisture.  In general, of that type I'd say that acrylic fingernail polish should normally work okay, and certainly cyanoacrylate floor polishes like Mop 'N Glo, Future (or Pledge with Future Shine, Klear, etc).  
Clear polyurethanes are thicker than floor polishes and perhaps even tougher.  You'd generally buy those in the wood finishes aisle of hardware stores, and the brand Varathane has been a favorite of polymer clayers a long time because of some extra characteristics it has (the water-based gloss version).  The same thing may now being bottled as one of the "Sculpey finishes" nowadays, though even if it's exactly the same it'll be lots more expensive by volume than buying at hardware stores.  Polyurethanes also come in "marine" versions which are even more resistant to constant moisture but since they can't be applied directly to polymer clay, you'd need to put a water-based sealer on the clay first then put the marine version over that.

Epoxy resin as a coating may or may not be better than the polyurethanes, and they're a little more fiddly to use.  But you could certainly try them.  There are various brands but the most common brand of regular epoxy resin at craft stores, art supply stores and hardware stores, would often be Envirotex Lite though there are other brands** (at at hardware stores, they may also be called "bartop resins").
You can read a summary of the kinds of "resin" there are, basically how to use them, and get a link to my page covering resins (same as below) in some of my previous answers about resins at YahooAnswers:
http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091115185640AAXBfZF
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AqRoGzjtN95Is41Kmm_SHHfsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20091011042033AAytK0x
places to buy resins (also using resins in molds and cells, which you wouldn't be doing--you'd only be using them for "coating"):
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100206091500AA7eXFv

You can also just put cured polymer clay items directly in your terrarium since polymer clay is waterproof for all intents and purposes.  If you were to put them underwater for long periods of time, you might eventually see what looked like a whitish coating on the darker colors since polymer clay can absorb a tiny bit of moisture under those conditions (especially the less-dense brands like the main Sculpeys, where the densest brand is Kato Polyclay).  You could just remove them awhile to let the surface dry out though if you wanted.  (It's not recommended to put polymer clay inside aquariums though just because it's possible that small fish could be affected but that's not understood well.) You can read more about using polymer clay around water on this page at my site, if you're interested:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/outdoor_snowglobes_fountains.htm

**http://glassattic.com/polymer/other_materials.htm (under the category Epoxy Resins, click on Brands)
10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Countertop oven w convection for clay baking? on: April 27, 2015 11:00:35 AM
You probably already have your own oven by now but there are some things to know about buying ovens for curing polymer clay, and then about curing polymer clay in them (and some things about how SuperSculpey cures in particular).

You can read more details about all those things on the Baking page of my polymer clay "encyclopedia" site, but here are some bulletin points:

...the bottoms, tops and sides of all ovens with exposed coils will be hotter than the air in the center of the oven cavity
...almost no ovens heat to the exact temp set on their dials and don't have hot spots (some are better than others though)
...price often doesn't matter and brand doesn't matter (some cheap toaster ovens work as well or better than more expensive ones, and unfortunately even brands can vary by particular models or units
...size of an oven can sometimes matter, and will matter for larger items (just because there's more room for the heat to equalize--but hot spots can still occur even in big ovens)
...the very best oven for curing polymer clay is either a microwave-convection oven combination (so no exposed coils) which is used on the Convection setting only ...the next-best is just any home oven or toaster oven that turns out to work
...often clayers will need to take more than one oven home to try it out for temp control, hot spots, etc, then return it to try another

...different brands and lines of polymer clay will behave differently while curing and also darken more during curing (some will be more brittle after baking in any areas where they're thin or projecting like original Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III, and probably Craftsmart/Bakeshop--those are also the ones most likely to darken too much, along with any purely translucent clay)

...any polymer clay items can be "protected" while baking to keep them from darkening too much/quickly, and some of those methods involve "completely enclosing" the clay inside a container/etc which also keeps any smells and/or vapors from getting out of that containment...this is a good option for anyone worried about baking polymer clay in an oven to be later used for food, though current knowledge indicates there's no risk in those situations unless clayers begin to do a *lot* of polymer clay (e.g., production work for a business)

Here's a link to the Baking page at my site so you can check out more details about all those things and more:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm

You mentioned her doing small sculpts with SuperSculpey.  Sounds like she's just using her polymer clay like other kinds of clay only to create shapes that she'll later paint.  More bullet points:
...you might want to consider a higher-quality (and not-brittle-after-baking) brand/line of polymer clay (...e.g., ProSculpt, PuppenFimo, CreallTherm, etc, if she wants a flesh-colored sculpting polymer clay, or she can mix her SS with one of those)
...she might consider using colored polymer clays for most of the parts of a sculpt that she'd paint over later (and perhaps paint only the facial features, etc, with paints and washes)
For sculpting with polymer clay, check out these pages for clays (and "clothing" etc), tools, types of sculpts, heads, miniatures, and permanent armatures (which she'll need inside some sizes and shapes of polymer clay sculpts):
http://glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm
http://glassattic.com/polymer/sculpting_body_and_tools.htm
http://glassattic.com/polymer/heads_masks.htm
http://glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-perm.htm
http://glassattic.com/polymer/miniatures.htm
...she might also want to check out the Baking page above for supporting her figures while baking (so they don't droop/distort in the heat); see the category called Support During Baking)
For painting on polymer clay, check out this page:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/paints.htm

HTH, and hope she has lots of fun with her polymer clay...and maybe moves into doing some of the other things only polymer clay can do because of its special characteristics too:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/info_letter.htm (click on the category "What All Can Be Done With Polymer Clay Anyway"?)
some examples:
https://www.google.com/search?q=polymer+clay+techniques
https://www.google.com/images?q=polymer+clay+jewelry
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=?qid=20130508121344AAlnbZc
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