If you need to save money
(or just hate to spend anything you don't need to spend!), there are definitely ways to do that with polymer clay.
For example, you don't need
to buy some of those things at Michaels, etc/
A plain old oven thermometer is cheaper at the grocery store or Target, etc., and a toaster oven will be too (or at thrift stores, etc.) if you even decide to get one... all toaster ovens can have problems with temperature regulation though, even expensive ones, so the main thing is to just get one that's reasonable... sometimes clayers take one or more back after they check them at home (without clay)... for more info on ovens, testing, etc.:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm
(... click on Ovens
The pasta machine is
a good idea though (using a bi-weekly 40% off coupon at Michaels), and that less-sturdy pasta machine will be just fine as long as you do a few things to keep from messing it up (see this page for details:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/pastamachines.htm
... look at the subcategory General Care
You'll probably want to get at least one long blade
, and the ones you'll find at Michaels are fine, though they can be a little different according to brand.
In the interim, most things can be done with a single-edge razor blade, and a pack of those at a hardware store or Target are cheap.
More on blades and their differences (as well as "cutters" of various types) on this page:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/cutters-blades.htm
A clay gun
is fun, and not too expensive, but it could wait if you didn't want to do the few things it's good at, right away.
Re doing polymer clay as inexpensively as possible
, here's some other stuff I've written before too:
For many of the clay techniques (including but not limited to "sculpting"), you can make do with inexpensive tools and materials
, or things that can be found around the house and garage, pre-empted from other crafts, or used for purposes not intended.
The only things you really need are a work surface
, a roller
of some kind, tools
like a toothpick, an oven to bake in, and usually a blade of some kind.
Check out this page for some suggestions on basic beginner tools:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/tools_Dremels_worksurfaces.htm
Oh, I guess I'd suggest getting a bottle of liquid clay
too at some point just because it can do so many things, and is a great glue (though not a tacky glue) ...the only liquid clay currently available at the retail level is Sculpey's version which is called Translucent Liquid Sculpey, "Bakable Transfer and Color Medium". It should be hanging on a blister pack card with the clay stuff or on an end cap with more clay stuff. FimoGel (and Kato's liquid clay) are clearer than Sculpey's, but you'd have to get those by mail order (though I saw the FimoGel at Joann's the other day).
The most expensive thing is just the clay
, of course, over time anyway.
There are ways to buy clay cheaper, but the best thing for you to keep the cost down might be just to concentrate on making smaller items
take very little clay, yet you can explore almost every technique within polymer clay for them ... and besides they're just fun, and can even be profitable.
...You could even make little things for a diorama, etc (even for Xmas or Halloween), or you could make quite elegant things, just in a small form.
Here's my page specifically on Miniatures:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/miniatures.htm
Another possibility might be jewelry
of various kinds, for yourself or as gifts... some jewelry pieces like earrings and pendants don't usually take much clay, and there are ways to do jewelry that even appeals to most men:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/beads.htmhttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/jewelry.htm http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/pendants_cording.htmhttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/wire.htmhttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/gifts_men_teachers.htm
Also, many things can be just "covered
" with polymer clay so the actual amount of clay used is a lot less. Cheaper clay or scrap clay can also be used as a permanent base underneath a decorative clay layer, and larger beads and other items, etc. can be made over all kinds of things including tightly-scrunched aluminum foil.
Or things can be made over a form then removed, so that again there isn't as much clay used (like bowls, or hollow-backed jewelry --or there are ways of making things completely hollow too).http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/covering.htm
(dissolvable, removable support)
....(see also Beads > Hollow)Sculpts
can also be made with "cores" of cheaper materials, especially for thicker items like heads and torsos.
As for buying clay
cheap, the best thing is to catch one of the (now fairly frequent) sales at Michaels. They've been selling all the brands
of clay at 99 cents per small bar for awhile now, which is as cheap as you can buy it online (...larger bricks of clay are available online and are cheaper than buying the equivalent numbers of smaller bars at regular prices
.... Kato clay is a really good deal these days, whether it's bought locally or online).
Here's my page on clay suppliers, if you want to check out the online sources:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/supplysources.htm
It's possible also to mix the colors
of clay together to get virtually any color, so you don't need to buy loads of different colors either. For the largest possible palette, you want to buy the "clearest" colors to begin with because while you can always "tone" them down, you can't make them clearer if you start with toned down colors.
The basic idea is to have a red, a yellow, and a blue, plus black and white ... from those you should be able to mix a complete palette of hundreds of colors.
Actually it turns out that the most primary
version of those colors is actually (believe it or not) magenta, turquoise, and lemon yellow, but any red, blue and yellow will work to just make "a" palette (though the colors in that palette may be toned down).
P.S.... you'll need more white than any other color so you can lighten any mix, and not have to stick with medium to dark colors only).
If you then add the special polymer "colors" of translucent
, and one or two of the mica-metallics like gold
(which is a whitish color) in some of the clay lines to those basic 5 colors, you can get loads more colors and special effects as well.
You can find much more info on mixing colors and palettes on this page:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/color.htm
You can also color clay with other materials... for example, oil paints or oil pastel shavings (or small amounts of acrylic paint), alcohol inks, spices, etc., and also more particulate things (often called "inclusions") like play sands, metallic powders, crayon shavings, etc., etc.http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/letters_inks.htmhttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/paints.htm http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/inclusions.htm
P.S. For saving money, the two boxed
Sculpeys are a good value as long as you don't stress any thin or projecting areas of them too much after baking (and/or use armatures underneath) . SuperSculpey is great for making heads and hands, or fine for just painting over ...and the "original" white or terra cotta Sculpey is even cheaper, and can also be colored with various paints and other things, or painted over... it's weaker than SS or SIII though, but still can be fun.