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Topic: Once baked - possible to make small changes (add grooves)?  (Read 639 times)
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Javalita
« on: September 27, 2008 05:02:04 PM »

I have never worked with polymer clay before and made something small out of Fimo.  I will eventually be using it to create a soap mold.  After I finished and baked it, I realized that I should have added deeper grooves between the ears and head so that the soap colors don't run.  If the groove is deeper, I think that it will contain the colors better in the mold. I've never made a mold either...but hey, that's for another thread!

Also, maybe I need to smooth the piece a bit because you can see some bumps and other marks.  I'm guessing that I can't smooth it or change it....

Am I stuck?  Do I need to make it again?  Is there a way to use a dremel or something to make the grooves more pronounced?  Sand out the bumps?  Honestly, having never worked with clay it is close to a miracle that it even turned out semi-decent!  Ignore the quality please - I wasn't too careful with it (obviously) because in addition to the above colors mixed a bit.

Thanks for your advise!  Pic below for reference:


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Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008 09:10:30 AM »

Quote
I have never worked with polymer clay before and made something small out of Fimo. ...  Honestly, having never worked with clay it is close to a miracle that it even turned out semi-decent!  Ignore the quality please -

Hey, very good job! . . . and especially for a first timer! 
(there are helpful tips for working with this medium that can help speed up a beginner's learning curve too  Grin)

Quote
After I finished and baked it, I realized that I should have added deeper grooves between the ears and head so that the soap colors don't run.  If the groove is deeper, I think that it will contain the colors better in the mold. ...Am I stuck?  ... Is there a way to use a dremel or something to make the grooves more pronounced? Also, maybe I need to smooth the piece a bit because you can see some bumps and other marks.  I'm guessing that I can't smooth it or change it....

The good news is that polymer clay can be changed in various ways after baking... some might be more trouble to do, but they're possible.  Polymer clay isn't actually all that hard after it's baked so it can be carved, drilled, sanded, buffed, etc, and new clay can be added to it in certain ways. (see links below for more specifics on each thing I'll mention)

First, the grooves. Btw, if you had used Sculpey III (or original Sculpey, or SuperSculpey-flesh), carving could sometimes be more difficult to do evenly because those lines of polymer clay are more "brittle" after baking (and if they're thin, that brittleness really shows up and makes them more breakable too).  Fimo and the other brands will be less brittle after baking and have a "softer" baked surface.

So to deepen the grooves, you can just use a Dremel bit to carve them out more... use whichever bit seems to work best and most smoothly (try out on practice baked clay).  Not sure how well you could control the bit though.
The other option though is to reheat the clay to soften it a bit (say, 5 minutes at 200-250? F, for just the surface areas).  Then you can use a U or V "gouge" or another tool to recarve them... if the clay gets cool, just pop it back in the oven again.

For the bumpiness (and for removing color from areas where the unwanted color is just on the surface), you can wet-sand the clay (using wet-dry sandpaper that's wet).  For actually "removing" clay, start with about a 320 grit.  When you've got the surface down pretty even, then sand with 400 and even 600 to make it even smoother. 
That will leave whitish areas on darker colors when the clay is dry... to get rid of those, either put the clay piece back in the oven a few minutes (perhaps coated with Softener-Diluent or even a bit of Vaseline or veg. oil) and the surface will soften back down to smooth.  Or you can buff instead (hand-buff with a towel or other fabric to get a sheen... or use an electric buffer, even a Dremel with its buffing wheel if you use a light-moving touch, to get a sheen or all the way up to a high gloss shine).

Getting sandpaper (or sanding sponges, etc.) down into dimensional areas could be fiddly though.  If that's too much trouble, you may just want to start again to save time. 
This time though, begin each section of clay with a smooth ball (or a log or a sheet) of clay which has been well conditioned so that you can just keep that smooth surface more easily. 
If you still end up with areas of roughness or bumpiness before baking, you can also "sand" or partly "dissolve" the clay on the surface to make it smoother, with things like wet Bon Ami or Diluent, etc. things.

When incising lines into raw polymer clay as for your forehead and mouth, it's better if you can instead impress something that's the right size-shape rather than drag a tool.  Bits of bent wire/paperclip or the edge of various items are a few possibilities for "stamping" into clay like that.
If you do need to "drag" thickish lines though, use a stiff and smooth rod of some kind that doesn't have a sharp point (e.g. a tapestry needle or knitting needle), and pull the tool toward you at an angle, trying to press down the new clay at the leading edge at the same time... you may want to wet the tool or put cornstarch on it (possibly depending on clay brand) with each new pass.  You can also drag your tools through the clay over  a piece of plastic wrap, etc, to create smooth lines. I wrote about this here in a message once... will see if I can find it.  You can also use sharper-pointed things like pins when trying to carve tiny lines (as with faux scrimshaw, e.g.).

Quote
  in addition to the above colors mixed a bit.

When you say they "mixed" a bit, do you mean while sculpting?   For example, that one color transferred onto another (probably-lighter) color, or that the edge of one color got somewhere you didn't want it?  For the former situation, you can sand off that color (and see the other tips in links below).  Making each piece separately and very smooth can help keep the second thing from happening.  Those things wouldn't matter for just making a mold from the item though.

Quote
I will eventually be using it to create a soap mold. . . .!

Were you thinking of making a mold from polymer clay for pouring soap into?  If so, that generally won't work.  What you'd want instead is a very smooth and flexible mold. 
A two-part silicone putty would work very well but if your clay item is large, it would be kinda expensive unless you wanted to make a lot of soap casts from that mold. 
There are also latex mold materials, etc., that are painted on a surface in multiple coats, but I don't know too much about those.  Others at Craftster will probably know about materials for making soap molds though, especially if you put "soap" in the subject line, or ask in another board.

 
Quote
I've never made a mold either...but hey, that's for another thread!

Sure!  You might want to check out the page linked to below about making polymer clay molds, and making molds from various materials to use with polymer clay too.


I have an online polymer clay "encyclopedia" so there are many more details about the things I've mentioned above there, if you want to check them out:

conditioning clay  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Conditioning.htm

carving & gouges, etc  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/carving.htm
> Baked Clay
> Tools for Carving

sanding  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sanding_tumbling.htm
> Smoothing Before Sanding --before baking
> Sandpapers
> Sanding

sculpting http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm
> Fingerprints & Smoothing
> Websites >> Whimsical

"stamping" into clay??  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/stamping.htm

molds  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/molds.htm


HTH,

Diane B.

« Last Edit: September 28, 2008 09:25:28 AM 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)
Javalita
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2008 10:00:30 AM »

Diane...first I want to just say...WOW.   Grin   Thanks for your incredible reply.  I see that I could have done so many things differently.  But hey, I just pulled the clay out and did it.  I should have read something first.  I may try again using some of your tips. 

I'll definitely skip the dremel and try to reheat it.  Sounds easier.  Also the wet sanding sounds easy enough.  I don't really care that much about the color since I am only using it for a mold.

Thanks for that tip about impressing the shape rather than dragging a tool.  That would make a much cleaner line and makes perfect sense!  The plastic wrap tip is good too.  I should have really read up on it before I started...

As far as making the mold, I was going to use silicone rubber putty and press it in.  Do you think that would work ok?  I know that silicone molds definitely work with soap.  My clay pug face is only about 2" (or less) in diameter.  I am thinking that I also might try to read some tips on clay and try to make my pug face again.  I could do a much better job with the clay in general and probably should avoid "undercuts" for making my mold.  But honestly, it will be a miracle if it comes out...maybe miracles can happen twice!   Smiley

Thanks again!  I'll post if I do end up making my pug again!

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Diane B.
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Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2008 02:43:45 PM »

Quote
As far as making the mold, I was going to use silicone rubber putty and press it in.  Do you think that would work ok?  I know that silicone molds definitely work with soap.  . . . and probably should avoid "undercuts" for making my mold.

If you're talking about 2-part silicone putty molding materials, they should work fine, but you may be thinking of some kind of cheaper "rubber" molding material.

Two-part silicone putties will be really flexible when cured (so don't need to worry too much about  undercuts) and will capture a lot of detail.  The ones I'm referring to usually cure in about 20 minutes or so (...there's more info re brands/etc on the Molds page I mentioned before if you want to see if they're the same thing as what you're thinking of).


Diane B.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008 02:44:17 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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