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Topic: Attaching pieces together with liquid polymer- Now with pics.  (Read 856 times)
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ShammyCrafty
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« on: October 31, 2008 05:51:22 PM »

    So I tried making a polymer candy necklace for halloween (using Premo brand). I sculpted each piece individually, coated each piece with liquid sculpey then "squished" (for lack of a better term) them together in hopes that they would cure to form one giant candy pendant (will post pics later).  Baked for approx. 2 hrs.
Once I removed the baking sheet, to my horror I discovered that only certain parts had bonded together.
     So I let it cool while I was at work (about 8hrs). Once I came home I again coated the cured pieces in liquid sculpey, and then "smooshed" (I rmean really smooshed this time) the cured pieces into uncured translucent clay, hoping to form a big solid back for the pieces. Baked (approx. 30 mins). Cooled. Pulled the piece out to discover that the pieces that were now smooshed to the translucent clay, had bonded to form one giant piece, but the pieces that had bonded together the first time around had come apart! No cracks or anything. They just separated!! That is so weird! That's never happened to me before.
So since Halloween was the next morning, I finished the rest of my costume, and just hot-glued the broken pieces to a pin back, and pinned it to my costume. The giant cured piece I'm wearing as a necklace. But throughout the day little clay candies have dropped off the giant pendant. Again, this has never happened to me before.
I have put cured pieces back into the oven to bond with uncured pieces before, & have never had any problems with the entire piece curing. Any thoughts on what might have gone wrong?

« Last Edit: November 06, 2008 06:38:03 PM by something_wierd - Reason: Please use a descriptive title in posts. Thanks! :) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2008 06:42:11 PM »

I dont know the answer but I do love Diane B..she rocks with advice..
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Diane B.
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2008 09:32:01 AM »

Hi, Diane B. here  Grin

First let me say that I really don't know what happened in this situation!  There are a few things that struck me while I was reading your message though which may or may not have had an effect for one reason or another:

...Premo had some problems with the clay they manufactured right after their latest formula change and you could have been using some of that clay which is stickier and may have had more plasticizer or at least more of certain kinds of plasticizers/fillers/etc.  Or maybe that brief version of Premo reacted differently with liquid clay than the other clays do.

...You "coated" each sculpted each piece with liquid clay (TLS in your case)... did you actually mean that you coated only the parts that would contact other clay?  Not sure why even coating the whole piece would have made a difference though.

...You "squished" them together while raw before baking.  Perhaps you squished them hard enough to push some of the liquid clay to the side, or maybe it became too diffused to hold right.  Just pressing raw clay to raw clay should be enough to bond them well as long as there is enough contact, and using liquid clay alone (without pressing firmly together) should work too... btw, it's always a good idea to let clay parts sit together awhile (raw to raw, or raw to baked or baked to baked with liquid clay) before baking since then their plasticizers can reach across the joins more.

...You baked these for 2 hrs?!?  That makes me wonder if your clay "mound" of bits was so thick that you thought it needed that much baking time.  Clay items that are thicker at any point than 1 1/4" really need an armature underneath to bake all the way through to the center too ...solid clay that's thicker than that may take a really long time to cure (and the temp really needs to be high enough --were you using an oven thermometer??), and also if there were any clay areas that didn't get thoroghly cured, the join wouldn't be as strong or plasticizer could begin to leach out of the unbaked areas over time and cause problems.

...Squishing the baked clay into the translucent raw clay may have worked better because translucent has a lot of plasticizer, or perhaps it was an earlier or later version of Premo than the colored clays you'd used, or perhaps you let the pieces sit together longer than you had the first time?

Those are all the things I can think of... perhaps if I could see exactly what you ended up with, I might notice more possibilities?


HTH,

Diane B.


« Last Edit: November 01, 2008 09:41:09 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)
ShammyCrafty
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2008 12:22:48 PM »

Hi Diane! thanks for replying.
Yes when I said "coated each piece" i meant only the parts that were touching.
Maybe some of TLS was pushed out of the piece; I baked it on a piece of paper, and a few parts of the cured piece was stuck to the paper a little. Kinda like what happens to really candy sometimes when you unwrap a piece. But I was able to just pull the paper off. *GASP* Could the paper have had something to do with the problem. I baked it on a piece of clean white computer paper. I know that when you need to "leech" clay, it is suggested to sandwich between to pieces of paper. Could the paper that I baked the piece on top of, have accidently leeched out some plasticizer?!
Oh, and I did use an oven thermometer. It said 275 the entire time. (as suggested for curing Premo). And yeah, I did think that I needed to bake them for 2 hrs. But during my sculpting process, it didn't even occur to me to use an armature.

Well here are some pics of my piece- well what's left of it anyway. By the time I got home, several pieces had dropped off.




Here you can kinda see where it actually cured the first time around, and where it didn't and I tried to fix it.


these are a few of the pieces that broke off. Others were lost out on the street.


 a close up of one of the joins. I kinda got desperate here.
I wish I had pics of what it looked like after first cure, before I tried to fix it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2008 12:28:43 PM by ShammyCrafty » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Diane B.
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008 10:52:20 AM »

Oh, now I see much better!  I had thought that you'd put the candies in a "mound," but now I see that they were simply joined more or less side by side  (in one plane).  That explains a lot about why the liquid clay didn't work. 

So liquid clay is strong, but you have only a tiny area of contact between each of the pieces and the ones they're joined to.  That's just not enough for something where the joins will get a lot of stress (and your pieces are quite large and "heavy" compared to the size of the joins, so they will get stressed just from normal handling, much less wearing them, etc.).

In this case, you'd have had several choices about how to connect the pieces for a strong unit to result:

...join pieces together where they are larger and have flatter sides (iow so the 2 pieces will have more contact)

...use a raw backing clay to lay all the raw pieces on and join them like you did in the second situation... the contact created with the backing alone would be enough to hold the unit pieces together well (if nothing were really sticking out that could get caught on something and pull for example)
...... the backing clay could either have been trimmed so none of it showed from the front (using a color mostly compatible with your pieces because it could show a tiny bit from the side of the unit, or using a compatible patterned sheet of clay that would also look cool if it showed --on the back of an earring that might swivel, e.g.)
.......or you could have made a "frame" as your backing, allowing it to show all the way around and shaping it intentionally into a rectangle, circle or any shape of your choosing
...(or you could have used something else besides a sheet of clay to glue everything to as a backing, like a bit of leather or cardstock perhaps)

...use tiny armatures between each of the joins (e.g., short length of toothpick, or wire... plastic-coated wire would be good too since as I said the plastic will readily fuse to the clay when heated)... lot of work though!


Btw, I notice that your "transclucent" clay darkened quite a bit, or actually it looks more like cured SuperSculpey-flesh than regular translucent (SS is just a tinted translucent).  If you used a regular translucent, you might want to check out your baking surface, etc., to make sure they're not getting too hot resulting in that color change.

Quote
Maybe some of TLS was pushed out of the piece; I baked it on a piece of paper, and a few parts of the cured piece was stuck to the paper a little. Kinda like what happens to really candy sometimes when you unwrap a piece. But I was able to just pull the paper off. *GASP* Could the paper have had something to do with the problem. I baked it on a piece of clean white computer paper. I know that when you need to "leech" clay, it is suggested to sandwich between to pieces of paper. Could the paper that I baked the piece on top of, have accidently leeched out some plasticizer?!

"Leaching" will happen if raw polymer clay (or insufficiently-baked clay) is in contact with a porous surface like paper (or fabric or bare wood) over time.  Just laying raw clay on paper then putting it in the oven within an hour or so won't be long enough for leaching to occur much or at all (and paper is an excellent surface to bake polymer clay on) --to intentionally leach clay, it's first made thin in a sheet/etc, then it's put between layers of paper and it's weighted or pressed in some kind of way, then left overnight or at least a few hours... the pressure makes the leaching go much faster.)


Cute idea btw!


Diane B.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008 10:58:13 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)
ShammyCrafty
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008 08:24:25 PM »

Thanks Diane! You are SUPER DUPER helpful. You know, I think that is actually Premo flesh clay. I keep all of my clay organized in drawers so I know which color is where, when I need it. The translucent is in with the flesh colors. (stored in separate containers though). I guess in my panic I grabbed the wrong color! I didn't even notice until you brought it up! The container was still out on the counter, and sure enough- it was the beige flesh color.
But anyway, thanks for the advice. I think next time i will probably use armatures or make a pretty base like you suggested. Thanks Diane!

*I just took another look at the pics- it looks like maybe I used translucent over the biggest part & flesh over that one edge. But you're right the middle translucent does look dark. I think I may do some experimenting to make sure that my thermometer is accurate- good eye Diane.*
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008 08:26:55 PM by ShammyCrafty - Reason: Double-take at photo. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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