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1  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: is it possible to make liquid clay from regular clay and baby oil? on: July 07, 2019 01:03:43 PM
Liquid polymer clay is a main ingredient in solid polymer clay.  Although baby oil (and other oily substances) are oils and can be used as additives to mix into raw solid clay to help condition it, they're not the same thing as liquid clay. Mineral oil (or baby oil which also has scents), and other oils, may work a little if they're left to sink in, but probably not a lot.

You could also check out the price of Sculpey's or Fimo's clay "softeners" though (a liquid that will be called "Softener-Diluent" or "Diluent F" although Fimo's may no longer be made). They're sort of thinner versions of liquid clay, and can be used in certain ways as clay-to-clay adhesives.

Also, since you may not be using much of it, check out the prices of different *brands* of liquid clay, and the larger sizes will always give much more liquid clay for the money than the small ones, and even certain places or sales may have it cheaper than you may be seeing. 
Here's one example: 
https://prairiecraft.com/polyclay/KCLM.html (look at the difference between prices for the 2 oz container and the 8 oz container--of regular colorless liquid clay)

However, there are various other ways to keep small pieces from breaking off and to strengthen the clay in general, as well as to act as adhesives between joins and in other situations.

The first thing is just to avoid using certain brands/lines of polymer clay since they'll always be brittle after baking in any thin or projecting areas with later stress (Sculpey III, Bakeshop, regular Craftsmart, no-name brands, original Super Sculpey, and especially original plain Sculpey).   
Even if those get *thoroughly* cured/polymerized while heating (which will make any brand/line of polymer clay stronger), those particular brands/lines will still be limited in later strength unless they're in thick-and-rounded shapes.   
Have you tried a polymer clay like Premo, for example?

Then also try and make sure there's as much contact as possible between the joined parts, and roll down the seams well.

Here's something I wrote in a polymer clay Facebook group about ways of connecting parts securely if you're interested (it was in response to adhering raw clay to baked clay but the same principles apply in general to adhering raw clay to raw clay):

Raw polymer clay won't stick easily to cured/baked clay, so you'll need to do certain things to make the parts adhere:

... press the two clay parts together well and allow to sit together overnight so the oily stuff can transfer between them (if there's enough area of contact where they join); then bake

... use liquid clay or Softener-Diluent, or use the thicker versions of liquid clay like Bake and Bond or Kato Polypaste which will be tacky (or mix a bit of solid clay into liquid clay to thicken it), and let sink in a bit or perhaps bake right away

... use an instant glue (alone, or beside but not on top of other "glues") to act as temporary nails to hold the parts together tightly for baking, then add the new raw clay and bake
...or for some things use an adhesive like permanent white glue (then let it at least tack up before adding more clay)

... use an armature material (wire, toothpick bits, card stock, etc, etc) to span the two parts inside the clay (use along with an adhesive if desired); then bake

... add something else on or in the surface of the clay that the clay can get down into or around so it can form a mechanical hold on whatever that is (anything that can stick up, or create depressions, or just be dimensional); or use something like air-dry clay then let dry completely; add clay and bake

...use "connectors" of various kinds to join two parts (even if both are baked), then just join the connectors

There's more info on those things on these pages at my site, if interested:

especially this one:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/glues-Diluent.htm > Some Bonding Techniques (and also the info about "Diluent")

http://glassattic.com/polymer/LiquidSculpey.htm > Glue

http://glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-perm.htm > Wire (and Other Materials) especially

and perhaps:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/sculpting_body_and_tools.htm > Types of Figures >> Jointed (would be similar for non-figures)

(Water and water-based substances aren't appropriate for polymer clay since it's oil based, except to use only on top of cured polymer clay like perhaps acrylic paints.)

2  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: How did she make the leaves look like this? on: October 26, 2017 04:10:12 PM
Probably using one of the mica powders (like Pearl Ex, etc) on raw clay, applying here and there.  Could perhaps be metallic acrylic paints or "inks" usually on cured clay, but mica powders are commonly used.  (Or could use metallic eye shadows since they're also mica powders.)

Mica powders don't need to be sealed against oxidation like real-metal powders do, and won't rub off, etc, as long as they're well rubbed into the clay surface. 

There's loads more info about using mica powders on the Powders page of my polymer clay site if you're still interested (and after all this time):
http://glassattic.com/polymer/powders_metallicwaxes.htm (click on the category "Mica Powders")
3  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Premo clay sealants on: October 26, 2017 02:42:24 PM
First, acrylic paints don't need to be *sealed* if they're used alone since they're permanent paints.  
If they're exposed to a load of moisture over a longish time, especially from soaking, they can begin to loosen, but then so can most clear finishes/sealers since they're also those kinds of plastics.  

If acrylic paint will be exposed to a lot of abrasion however, it could be good to coat with a clear finish that's especially tough like polyurethane, especially the Varathane brand, or with cyanoacrylate floor finishes like Mop 'N Glo, Future, Pledge with Future Shine, etc, or perhaps even with epoxy resin.

No matter which brand/line of polymer clay is used, certain types of paints and clear finishes shouldn't be used directly on top of cured (bare) clay though since they contain petroleum-based solvents rather than water-based or alcohol-based ones and can immediately or later begin eating into polymer clay making it sticky or worse.  Those are ones that *must* be thinned and/or cleaned up while wet with paint thinner, etc, rather than water or alcohol.  That "bad stuff" can also be present only in the propellant of paint or clear finish sprays, though some brands will work okay.  

If stickiness/etc has already happened, some clear finishes can be fixed by "reheating" them (usually at around 225-250 F for 10 min or so), which can also be done for Varathane and/or cyanoacrylate finishes anytime just to make those even harder/tougher than they'd usually be.

Resins will take at least 24-48 hrs to fully cure, and even longer if there's too much ambient humidity or the temp isn't within the best range.  
Some will also yellow from exposure to too much UV light over time or very warm/hot conditions unless coated with a polyurethane containing "UV protection."

Btw though, most all regular (water-based) clear sealers will take a short time to become dry to the touch but longer if they're in humid, cool, or non-well-ventilated areas.  And they won't also "cure" for at least a week under optimal drying conditions.  Even then, it's possible for them to stick to each other or other things if kept in an area where there isn't much ventilation and probably too much humidity (including in drawers, bags, etc).  

You can read more about all those things on various pages at my polymer clay site which will also be linked to from these answers of mine at YahooAnswers with some summaries:

And you might also be interested in this page, perhaps the sections dealing with "outdoor clay uses," or other uses in humid conditions or submersion:
...and maybe:

4  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: What got you started??? on: October 18, 2017 01:33:39 PM
I got interested in it back in the early 90's when I first saw a magazine cover in my library showing the "caning" technique in polymer clay. 
I'd seen and bought millefiori-type "trade beads" years before while in Morocco and never could forget wondering just *how in the heck do they DO that* Huh

So my first project was simple solid-color beads with raw slices from two canes (spiral and star) rolled down into the raw beads.  In fact I have a picture somewhere. Okay, it's at Photobucket but they're weird these days so you may not be able to see...if not and you're seeing this comment, let me know and I can copy them to another site.
The pic shows the trade beads on the left, and a metal-box lid embellishment underneath that uses the same basic technique, along with my first project on the right:
And these are more examples of some of the old millefiori beads: 
And how clayers have waaay broadened the caning concept (in polymer clay rather than in glass)...these are mostly jewelry examples: 

I've never really been into sculpting with my polymer clay, or making polymer clay "charms" as they're referred to these days, though I did play around with sculpting a bit before teaching a range of polymer clay classes to kids--one of which was about sculpting with it:

(And since 1999 I've had a polymer clay "encyclopedia" site with info about all aspects of using polymer clay: 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm )
5  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Help! Just Joined Today. Need Help With SO MUCH!!!!! on: October 18, 2017 01:13:31 PM
Don't know if you'll still see this, haven't been around this board for awhile or would have replied earlier.
But if you do see it, there's loads of info on most all aspects of polymer clay (including "the "basics of using it, as well as "sculpting" with it but many more techniques/uses too, and things like Tools and Work Surfaces to use and avoid, etc) at my polymer clay "encyclopedia" site GlassAttic.   
Browse all the way down its Table of Contents page to find whatever you're interested in: 

And my previous answer(s) here has more on doing polymer clay as cheaply as possible: 

Manufacturers/etc seldom give out free polymer clay except to those who may be giving classes, etc, as a way to advertise their products (but only to reasonably well-known clayers).  You might be able to put out a request on your local Freecycle or to friends, etc, for their old polymer clay or scraps (then may need to condition it a bit more than newer stuff if it's old or hasn't been stored correctly).

If you'll only be using polymer clay for sculpting (and definitely if you just plan to paint it all over afterward), you might want to use one of the higher-quality air-dry clays (purchased or homemade) rather than polymer clay, or even a bulk epoxy clay.

And these previous answers of mine at YahooAnswers (as Diane B.) could be helpful too for more info on the different kinds of clay there are (e.g., you might be happy with "bread clay" instead of polymer clay for some things), and also the differences between brands and lines of polymer clay, etc:

6  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Using Fimo Mix Quick to make molds? on: August 02, 2015 02:03:41 PM
Mix Quick is just a solid polymer clay with a lot more of the oily and plasticizer stuff in it than regular solid polymer clays.  It would be similar to SuperSculpey (which is tinted a pinkish-flesh color) but even softer.  After baking, it wouldn't cure up flexible though, and would probably capture a bit less detail than some of the other brands/lines of solid polymer clay.

If you want flexible molds, generally you'd just need to use a two part silicone putty (best), or you could something like Bake and Bend which will be somewhat flexible even if thicker. Silicone putty will make very detailed molds, where Bake and Bend will do less fine detail.
You could also try making a brush-on latex mold (and then perhaps use it with a stiff "mother mold" behind it).
And you could also try things like PVA glue molds, and silicone caulk molds, etc.

(Sculpey's Mold Maker isn't all that great, especially for durability and some roughness of surface, and is more expensive.)

I guess you could also try to make very thin flexible molds by coating an item with liquid polymer clay, then baking and separating.  You'd have to use a good release between the liquid clay and some materials though. 

You could also just use a pretty thin sheet of solid polymer clay to make a mold since most polymer clays will be flexible after baking if they're thin.  Don't use a brand/line of polymer clay that's brittle after baking when it's thin though (Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III, Craftsmart/Bakeshop). Both of the Fimo lines, Cernit, and most other polymer clays will be very strong after baking when they're thin. 
You might need a "mother mold" behind them if they're too flexible though which could even be a hunk of raw clay the liquid clay mold is pushed into.

Why do you need even semi-flexible molds though? 
Are you just having trouble removing solid clay from other molds?  If so, there are ways to deal with that.
Or are you trying to create molds with actual undercuts?  For those you'd need a flexible clay mold or a very flexible clay mold, or perhaps a two-part mold.

There's more info about all those mold making materials, and more, on the Molds page of my polymer website if you're interested: 
And you might be interested in seeing some of the article I wrote at wikiHow about making Molds too, with some pics:

7  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Mystery item - how would you use it? on: July 19, 2015 10:24:16 AM
Looks like it might be several shapes of ravioli cutters/crimpers, also called ravioli stamps, or if large enough could even be for making pierogi and turnovers, etc:

Their edges don't look very sharp though, especially since they aren't metal (but fine for pasta dough), so if you used these to cut polymer clay the outer edges wouldn't look really neat and sharply-defined.  You could perhaps cool the clay sheet first though then press the cutter down and kind of wiggle it around before lifting off which could pull in and incorporate some of the ragged edges.

...You could also use them like regular ravioli cutters--through two layers of clay after folding over or layering.

...Or you could the cutters only as stamps for all kinds of polymer techniques.
8  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Really Sticky Polymer Clay on: June 03, 2015 09:13:32 AM
I'd suggest for where you are and what you find too soft/sticky, try Kato Polyclay. 
It's probably the highest quality polymer clay out there and will not be too soft/sticky.  You'll have to condition it though (easy to do if you know how to do it easily**) and perhaps more than you're used to, but the results then will be excellent. 

Fimo Classic is currently the other "best" and firmest polymer clay, but its formulation will be changing the U.S. and it will probably be "dumbed down" (so, softer at least) even though I think it will be renamed Fimo "Professional."

As for Kato Polyclay, it's currently available in local stores only in Hobby Lobby, but you can easily order it online.
It also comes only in pure spectral colors so you'd have to mix any colors you didn't get from those 8.  (It also comes in white, ivory, black, brown, translucent, and mica-containing metallic colors, as well as 4 concentrated "colors".)
one place to buy:

You can also read more about the different brands, etc, how to stiffen too-soft polymer clays in some ways, etc, in my previous answer about 6 answers below, from August 2010.

**slice off slabs from a block, then run through a pasta machine repeatedly, or without a pasta machine beat with a hammer (in a plastic bag, etc) or roll over firmly with a roller of some kind, then stretch, roll into a ball, roll into a log....repeat

9  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Morticia and Gomez clay dolls on: May 10, 2015 11:08:13 AM
Really nice custom figures! Love those kinds of personalized things, and sounds like your friend did too.

If you're worried their about weight (on a cake, etc) if she uses them later as cake toppers, you could always attach them to some kind of wide base at the feet.  The base could be visible like a painted wood plaque, or hidden under the frosting like some of the plastic disk bases used for adding items to cake tops), or it could be made from polymer clay too if you want to take the super precaution of protecting the frosting from the clay at least where it would touch, or put everything up on some kind of riser.
(some examples: https://www.google.com/images?q=polymer+clay+cake+toppers )

You could do that even with your hardened topper figures by drilling holes up into the bottom of the clay feet using a drill bit by hand, so you could add rods of some kind to glue or otherwise attach into the base.  This one does that from the beginning, but you could do that now too:

Those things would also help keep the figures upright in use.

10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Re: Gingerbread Castle Mario-Themed (link to video tutorial) on: April 27, 2015 12:47:21 PM
Great use of polymer clay's ability to create structures, and also a great potential gift!
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