Everyone is always asking about icing or frosting for polymer clay sweets. I myself at one point in time wandered aimlessly looking for tutes originally and later looking for tricks to make the epic task somewhat easier and not as painstakingly annoying (and sometimes even painful after what seems like hours of mixing). So I found a way to make it a little easier on myself and hopefully on others. I would like to share these few little tips or tricks and hopefully you can use them too.
Firstly, if you don't already know how to make icing or frosting from polymer clay for your mini sweets, it's pretty simple. The original method involves mixing translucent liquid clay and traditional polymer clay to a thickened icing like consistency. The liquid clay bakes just like the solid stuff and therefore is an essential medium to any clay miniaturists materials. There are a few problems with this though.
Firstly, liquid clay can be expensive and most of us who were starting out went to the craft stores to buy it. Liquid sculpey sells for around a whopping $8 for just 2 fluid ounces. That is a lot to spend for those of us who are serious about this craft. Obviously, most of us work with miniatures so we aren't using a massive amount of our icing mixtures per item but if you are like me, you work in quantities which means you may make 6 cakes at a time or 6 dozen cupcakes or 12 dozen donuts... That ends up resulting in using a lot of icing and frosting which ends up costing more than I care to spend.
Secondly, and more aggravating to me, the mixing. If you have ever made polymer clay icing, you know what I mean. And if you haven't then trust me you don't want to. Some mix with a toothpick, some with a popsicle stick (that's me), some even with their own fingers and no matter how you do it, you always end up spending the better chunk of an hour mixing your clay for the perfect consistency and more times than naught, not getting it perfect and realizing you have to add more solid or liquid clay and remix. More than once, I developed a blister on my finger where I tensely held my popsicle stick in place, mixing and mixing and mixing and mixing.
So here are a few tricks I have developed. I may not be the first to discover them or use them or even to share them but here they are anyway.
1) Invest in larger quantities of liquid clay. I have been using Kato polyclays liquid clay (8 oz) but it is becoming harder to find so I have switched to Sculpey liquid clay. The 8 oz bottle costs just a dollar or two more than the 2 oz bottle but obviously is well worth it. I have yet to see any 8 oz bottles in stores so look online. Ebay and Amazon are great for this. Sometimes I can even find it cheaper by googling it in the "shopping" section. This will save your pocket book plenty of pain and suffering. And you can make larger amounts of icing if you like without worrying about running out of that tiny little bottle.
2) Invest in a decent compartment storage box. A plastic one that has fixed or non-moveable compartments is best. They can often be found in the beading isles of your local craft store. These are essential to making large quantities of icing. I am able to make up large batches in different colors in each compartment and store them there for later use as well. Just make sure to store the box upright and dont tilt it or knock it over because they often don't seal well at the top and then you would end up with a big goopy mess.
3) Throw out the mixing, or at least most of it. Invest in a thing called clay softener. Sculpey sells one at craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby and it may seem expensive but is well worth it. Instead of doing the traditional pain in the arse mixing, here is what I do. I take a ball of clay about the diameter of a dime. Condition it and flatten it. Add a drop of clay softener and mix in. Your clay should get to a tacky and sticky texture after a minute, if not then add another drop of softener. Re flatten your now sticky ball and place it in one of the compartments. Add some liquid clay (about 1/2 to 1 times the amount of solid clay you put in for thicker frosting or 1 to 2 times the amount fpr thinner icing). Using a popsicle stick or other such implement, squish your liquid and solid clay together a bit (about a minute or two). Add 3-5 drops of softener to the mix and give it a bit of a stir. Now here's the catch. You have to wait a while. Let your mixture set for at least 24 hours, 48 hours would be better but sometimes we get impatient. When you go back to your mixture, the clay softener and the liquid clay have done all the work for you and have now softened the solid clay so that a quick stir makes for perfect an even consistency.
Even though you have to wait, you can go on about your business and do other things. And it really makes it worth the time if you make even larger quantities and several colors at once. Obviously these mixture ratios are my own but you can adjust them as you see fit. Once you have these little tips underway, everything else falls into place.
I hope that this bit of information helps you as it did me. I would love to know what you think.
By the way, I am attaching pics of some of the iced and frosted items that I have made using these techniques so you can see that the end result is really good..