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Topic: Covering Knitting Needles w/ Poly Clay Questions  (Read 1190 times)
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Scatter Kincaid
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« on: March 10, 2007 09:30:42 AM »

I've seen some pretty cool knitting needles out there that resemble some of the poly clay covered pens I've noticed on Craftster.

I'm wondering if a regular plastic knitting needle would stand up to the low heat that is needed to bake the clay?  Has anyone tried this?

I've heard of people covering plastic light switch covers.  They said that they put those in the oven and it was okay. 

I'm just a little concerned.  I don't want to put tonnes of work into the needles and end up with a melted goopy mess.

Here's an example of the pens I was talking about:

XXX
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007 11:59:25 AM by Scatter Kincaid - Reason: to remove dead links » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Diane B.
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2007 02:30:21 PM »

I don't know that anyone's tried covering plastic knitting needles, but whether it would work would depend on the type of plastic that's being covered, and also how it's done to some extent.

Plastics come in all kinds of heat-tolerance ranges, and types too, so whether the one you have would be okay at 265-275 degrees for 10 minutes or so is hard to know.... some plastics would, some wouldn't.  The only way to find out would be to test one.

Some of the plastics that are okay to bake with clay are most switchplates (which have often been UL-rated for heat tolerance because of their proximity to hot wires, etc.)

For some plastics though, their highest heat tolerant temp. is close to polymer baking temps, so for those, just covering the entire thing with clay can act as enough of a buffer to make them okay, especially if not heated too long.  That probably wouldn't work with knitting needles though because you need to leave the plastic bare in areas.

However, even for plastics that wouldn't work in the regular way (and might warp or shrink... prob. wouldn't melt at that temp), you could always make the clay "covering" right on the needle**, refrigerate or leave overnight (to stiffen the clay), then remove the covering and bake separately perhaps with a rolled tube of paper inside ...after baking and preferably while it's still warm from the oven, put the cover back onto the needle --with a bit of glue if necessary.

**would probably need to wrap that area of the needle with a layer of foil or thin paper to make the clay release more easily... or could try using a thick covering of cornstarch or baking soda, or ArmorAll, or Repel Gel or a "CA debonder" from the hobby store on the needle --those last ones might make it harder to shape and get to cling though because they're slippery, etc.)


HTH,

Diane B.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007 02:38:29 PM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
MossyOwls
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2007 03:08:27 PM »

I know next to nothing about knitting and even less about the ins and outs of knitting needles... but if the plastic needles don't work for this project, you could try metal or wooden needles, as both of those materials should be able to handle the heat.  (Of course, with wood, there's the whole issue of the wood expanding in the oven and possibly crackink the clay, but I know some people cover wooden things with polymer clay, with great results.) 

I hope you're able to find a solution! Smiley
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SlickMariaVic
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2007 02:28:33 PM »

Why don't you use metal needles?
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Scatter Kincaid
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2007 03:37:00 PM »

Why don't you use metal needles?

I would have, but it was for a dollar store swap and I could only get plastic ones.

I did try this after all with the plastic needles.  When I took them out of the oven they were kind of floppy...but I just straightened them out and they hardened just fine.  However, my PolyClay skills are lacking and they don't look fabulous.

I'm glad I tried it though.  They make nice decorative knitting needles if there ever was such a thing.
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Diane B.
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2007 12:33:21 PM »

Quote
When I took them out of the oven they were kind of floppy...but I just straightened them out and they hardened just fine.


SK, thanks for reporting back... that's good to know.

In general btw, it can be a good idea to wait until polymer clay is cooled before removing it from the baking surface, especially in certain circumstances. 
The clay itself will soften a bit during heating, but it stiffens after cooling as you saw, so thin areas of clay particularly can droop during heating if not supported or while still hot if not left in position.  Also, other plastics may do the same thing, so it's good to support them while baking and leave them the position you want till cooled.

What was it about the way your clay looked you didn't like??


Diane B.

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POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Scatter Kincaid
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007 03:06:14 PM »

It was really hard to get a good point on the end of the needles.  They're not pointed enough to really catch on to anything.  Also, I didn't even out the surface enough, and there's some bumps from the polka dot deco. 

Here's a link to the completed project:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=157920.0
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Diane B.
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2007 01:01:35 PM »

Quote
It was really hard to get a good point on the end of the needles.


Oh, I see...you covered the whole needle!  I thought you'd covered only the back half of the needle or even the end only, as so many others have.

You should be able to get a better point than that though... the trick would be keeping it perfectly parallel and centered in the length till finished. 
You could trying tapering the ends by rolling over that end with your finger till it's as pointed as you want, then straightening the area out and supporting it in that position while it bakes and cools (perhaps on a piece of polyester batting, or a wadded tissue, etc.).
After cooling, you could sand it if necessary to make it really smooth --400, then 600 grit (then hand-buff).
Or... you could actually create the point entirely after baking by sanding with a rougher sandpaper (e.g., 320 grit, wet-dry) to shape the taper, then using 400 and 600 to smooth it out completely (then hand-buff).

Quote
Also, I didn't even out the surface enough,


One good way to do that is what I do with polymer pens.
Using a sheet of glass or acrylic (perhaps from a photo frame if you don't have one) roll over the entire finished (untapered) clay-covered needle with the acrylic sheet on your smooth and clean work surface.  If the clay needle is mostly the same thickness throughout, it's even better to hold the side of the acrylic sheet closest to you against the edge of your table as well , while rolling over the needle (that will keep the thickness exact and give a very smooth result, like a guide rail)... if you don't understand that, let me know and I'll explain better.

You might want to look at these pages for other tips for making these too since they would have a lot in common with various ways to cover pens, cover pencil leads, and use various things to make "hair sticks":

http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/pens.htm
(... click on Covering and on Pencils...)

http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/jewelry.htm
(... click on Hair Sticks...)


HTH,

Diane B.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007 01:06:20 PM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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