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Topic: Using plastic canvas as a form.  (Read 1060 times)
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« on: August 03, 2012 06:52:27 PM »

Would plastic canvas work as a form or "skeleton" under polymer clay? Would it be safe to bake with clay wrapped around it?

My husband plays War Machine and Warhammer. They are table top games using plastic and metal miniatures. I want to make some terrain pieces for him: low stone walls, some taller castle type walls, and eventually a full castle/fortress. The maximum height would be 6-8" for the castle wall and the maximum height for the low walls would be 2-4".

Any suggestions?
Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012 12:12:57 PM »

There are a few kinds of plastic that will shrink, soften a lot, melt, or distort, at the low temps used to cure polymer clay.  Not sure if plastic canvas is one of those--probably not though since it's rubbery translucent plastic.  Would it be rigid enough for his uses though?..and some brands/lines of polymer clay will be more brittle than others if thin.
However, keep in mind that anytime polymer clay completely covers another material, it may insulate that material enough to keep anything from happening, or any shrinking from happening before the exterior of the polymer clay hardens.

There are loads of materials that can be used as permanent or temporary armatures underneath/inside polymer clay though!!...basically almost anything that has no moisture at all (or has been sealed), won't be dissolved by raw clay in short period of time, etc.
Of course, the materials would need to be the size, shape, rigidity, etc, YOU want for your specific use.  And sometimes materials will need to be coated with thinned white glue or floral tape, etc, or abraded to give them enough tooth to hold onto the clay while it's raw.

You can check out the many options for permanent armatures (and even temporary ones) to use under polymer clay, as well as ways to create clay structures, walls, faux rock, other diorama items and scenery, etc, on these pages at my site and also some of my previous answers (at YahooAnswers):

http://glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-perm.htm (permanent support, etc.)
http://glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-temp.htm (temporary support)
http://glassattic.com/polymer/covering.htm (mostly permanent support, some temporary...including various plastics)
http://glassattic.com/polymer/houses_structures_gingerbread.htm (structures, walls, etc)
http://glassattic.com/polymer/Faux--many.htm (for wood, ivory, turq, see other pages)

http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/customer/gallery/gamingindex.htm (and rest of site for gaming terrain, etc)


« Last Edit: August 04, 2012 12:16:41 PM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012 04:24:23 PM »

Wow, thank you for all the resources!

I hadn't thought about using foam and then removing it. I think I can make hollow walls using that method.
Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012 07:35:52 AM »

Bare polystyrene foam will shrink inside the clay during baking**, but only after the exterior has begun to harden. 
If ps foam is first wrapped with aluminum foil, it won't shrink. 
Either bare or foiled ps foam can remain inside closed clay as a lightweight permanent armature, or can be removed if shrinks enough and a sufficiently large opening is left for removal.

**Sometimes bare polymer clay will stick to some areas of bare foam.  Can use oil on the foam to prevent that if needed.

You'll want to be sure the clay you use is strong enough when it's thin to actually create hollow walls--especially the taller ones. 
Original Sculpey, SuperSculpey, and Sculpey III (as well as probably Craftsmart/Bakeshop) will be brittle if thin compared to other brands of polymer clay, though a bit stiffer.  The strength you'll need would depend on how thick the sheets of the walls are, how the pieces/walls/etc will be used and stressed, whether they're reinforced in any way, brand of clay used, etc. 

Check out some of the ways that's dealt with especially on the "Houses/Structures" page at my site. You might also enjoy using some of the kinds of wire mesh (from almost supple at craft/hobby/art supply stores to quite rigid ones at hardware stores) or aluminum foil due to their versatility. 
Or even finding or making your own permanent or temporary forms as boxes or cardboard/etc like "boxes" are often made with polymer clay (using removable forms or left in as permanent armatures). For those, look on the Vessels page, under either category of "Boxes":


« Last Edit: August 05, 2012 07:41:29 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

few of my photos
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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