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11  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Countertop oven w convection for clay baking? on: April 27, 2015 11:00:35 AM
You probably already have your own oven by now but there are some things to know about buying ovens for curing polymer clay, and then about curing polymer clay in them (and some things about how SuperSculpey cures in particular).

You can read more details about all those things on the Baking page of my polymer clay "encyclopedia" site, but here are some bulletin points:

...the bottoms, tops and sides of all ovens with exposed coils will be hotter than the air in the center of the oven cavity
...almost no ovens heat to the exact temp set on their dials and don't have hot spots (some are better than others though)
...price often doesn't matter and brand doesn't matter (some cheap toaster ovens work as well or better than more expensive ones, and unfortunately even brands can vary by particular models or units
...size of an oven can sometimes matter, and will matter for larger items (just because there's more room for the heat to equalize--but hot spots can still occur even in big ovens)
...the very best oven for curing polymer clay is either a microwave-convection oven combination (so no exposed coils) which is used on the Convection setting only ...the next-best is just any home oven or toaster oven that turns out to work
...often clayers will need to take more than one oven home to try it out for temp control, hot spots, etc, then return it to try another

...different brands and lines of polymer clay will behave differently while curing and also darken more during curing (some will be more brittle after baking in any areas where they're thin or projecting like original Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III, and probably Craftsmart/Bakeshop--those are also the ones most likely to darken too much, along with any purely translucent clay)

...any polymer clay items can be "protected" while baking to keep them from darkening too much/quickly, and some of those methods involve "completely enclosing" the clay inside a container/etc which also keeps any smells and/or vapors from getting out of that containment...this is a good option for anyone worried about baking polymer clay in an oven to be later used for food, though current knowledge indicates there's no risk in those situations unless clayers begin to do a *lot* of polymer clay (e.g., production work for a business)

Here's a link to the Baking page at my site so you can check out more details about all those things and more:

You mentioned her doing small sculpts with SuperSculpey.  Sounds like she's just using her polymer clay like other kinds of clay only to create shapes that she'll later paint.  More bullet points:
...you might want to consider a higher-quality (and not-brittle-after-baking) brand/line of polymer clay (...e.g., ProSculpt, PuppenFimo, CreallTherm, etc, if she wants a flesh-colored sculpting polymer clay, or she can mix her SS with one of those)
...she might consider using colored polymer clays for most of the parts of a sculpt that she'd paint over later (and perhaps paint only the facial features, etc, with paints and washes)
For sculpting with polymer clay, check out these pages for clays (and "clothing" etc), tools, types of sculpts, heads, miniatures, and permanent armatures (which she'll need inside some sizes and shapes of polymer clay sculpts):
...she might also want to check out the Baking page above for supporting her figures while baking (so they don't droop/distort in the heat); see the category called Support During Baking)
For painting on polymer clay, check out this page:

HTH, and hope she has lots of fun with her polymer clay...and maybe moves into doing some of the other things only polymer clay can do because of its special characteristics too:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/info_letter.htm (click on the category "What All Can Be Done With Polymer Clay Anyway"?)
some examples:
12  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Re: Cooking on a wood burner ? on: April 27, 2015 09:44:51 AM
For polymer clay, you need heat all the way around the item for even heating.  That's why an "oven" is best--basically a closed box (or you could put the item on a spit/etc that would continuously turn it into and out of the heat, I guess). 

You can create an "oven" in some ways though from heat coming into a container/box only from one side.  So for example, some people have used a closed pot on top of a stovetop but with the item inside elevated off the too-hot floor of the pot, so you could perhaps use a pot directly on your wood stove or raise it off that surface a bit depending on the temperature you're getting**.  Garie Sim shows how to do a version of that in which he uses plaster covering the bottom of the inside of the pot  and that material will act as a riser, an insulator, and a heat sink:
http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/cooking_technique.htm (then click on the 4 links below the pics for more info and details)

A solar oven (one you make or buy) could work too if the weather is reasonable, though would take a lot longer since the oven would take awhile to come up to the proper heat (and you'd have to keep checking to make sure the heat didn't get too high--can't remember the "top" heat generated in solar ovens).

You could also just put the clay items to the side of your wood stove, and rotate them while curing, after measuring the temp you're getting there. 

Or you could just heat the clay enough on the outside to make it easier to transport home to a real oven.

Or you could use a lower temp and leave the clay in that lower heat for a longer time since polymer clay is a thermosetting plastic.  For those kinds of plastics, time and temperature are interdependent so you could cure at say 200 F for a long time to get the same degree of polymerization you'd get at 275 F for a much shorter time.  Hard to tell then though how polymerized the item is all the way in the center of the piece.   More info on that in my answer to this previous question at YahooAnswers:
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120323094413AANpOpT (2nd half of my answer)

You can read about more ways to cure polymer clay, if you're interested, on the Baking page of my polymer site:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm (click on the category called Other Ways to Cure)

**For all of those you'd need a thermometer so you can see the exact temp you're getting on all parts of the clay item during all moments of baking.
13  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: January 18, 2015 03:08:49 PM
One thing I read about the Ice Resin brand is a recommendation to let it rest for 5 min after stirring for a total of 3 min (in two cups--not waxed cups of course).

Dipping the beads in resin and getting them "wet" all around before adding to your bezels should help prevent all the tiny bubbles that would otherwise get caught between them.

And btw, it's the CO2 from match flames and hair dryers, etc, that pops the bubbles, not the heat.  So one good method is to breathe out through a straw directly over any bubbles which will direct CO2 where you want it.

You could try another resin but Ice Resin is one of the ones that domes.  That comes with some problems though compared to "regular" resins (including that it must be sealed with polyurethane/etc) so you might want to switch to one of those if the warming, low humidity, thorough mixing (not nec. slowly), no wax on cups, dipping, resting, and CO2 don't work.  For small items a longer-setting epoxy resin can even work (like Devcon 2 Ton, 30 min Set).

For more on the different brands and problems of epoxy resins, and also polyester resins, check out my answers in these previous questions over at YahooAnswers:
... and Easy Cast info/instructions, many of which apply to other epoxy resins:
using resins in permanent cells and also in temporary molds, cabochons, etc:
releases, molds, places to buy:

14  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: January 08, 2014 01:10:37 PM
First, it's best to refer to part B of a two part resin as the "hardener" (or the "catalyst" especially if referring to polyester resins).  Just "harder" is easy to misinterpret.

As for the bottle sizes, I'm not aware that Envirotex Lite epoxy resin comes in more than the smallest size/quantity at regular stores..at least they didn't used to be:
Here are the quart and gallon sizes though from online:
Polyester resins may come in more than one size even at craft and hardware stores, but usually in only the smallest size.

Do note that part B may normally look a little yellowish in the bottle because it's thick, and especially if it's a bit older. 
You probably wouldn't see that once you've use in more thinly though.
BUT keep in mind that most of the yellowing in resins comes AFTER they're hardened, and have been exposed to UV light a few months or to too much heat.

As I said though it's quite possible that the resin may have been too old for good performance too.  Shelf life is only 6-12 months, but according to others it's a lot longer if kept in good conditions. 

15  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: January 07, 2014 09:22:50 AM
Yellowness in epoxy resin can be caused by too much UV light (sunglight, fluorescent light) or heat (room temperature or other heat) over time, or by creating epoxy resin items deeper/thicker than 1/2" or even less (unless that depth/thickness is created 1/8" at a time).
So either keep your items away from those situations or don't make thick items with one pour.
Or you can coat them once hardened with one of the  (clear, gloss) polyurethanes that have UV protection.  Varathane is one brand of polyurethane that has UV protection (the water-based one at least), but that should be written on the front of the can at the hardware store.
Using a coat of polyurethane will give an even tougher surface on resin items as well.

Actually, re-reading your post I see you said you purchased a medium-sized *bottle* of Envirotex Light.  Assuming that was just a typo since epoxy resins (and polyester resins too) come only in two parts--two bottles, part A and part B.  They won't harden till mixed together.

It also sounds like perhaps the yellowing was in *one of the bottles* however (the one with the "hardener" I guess you meant, or part B).  If that's the case, it could also be excess UV light or heat (or age).  If you haven't kept your bottles away from heat and light during the month you've owned them, you could probably just take them back to the store for a refund and assume that the resin was already "too old" on the shelves (resins do have a shelf life--about one year).

You might also want to check the resin page at my site for more info and tips:

16  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: July 28, 2013 09:28:38 AM
A hemisphere mold could be made from various materials (some of which might require a release), but a fully spherical "mold" could only be made from something like latex rubber, or several-step rubber processes.

Check out some of these links for hemisphere molds (sometimes called "ball" molds because they can be used to make 2 halves for balls), or they may be called 2-part molds or split molds:  


17  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: July 28, 2013 08:33:26 AM
Do you want a sphere mold or a hemisphere mold?  And what size?

18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: July 27, 2013 08:38:57 AM
There are different kinds of resin, and the 2 main kinds are intended either for deep molds or for shallow molds and coatings.  And one "tweaked" epoxy resin (Easy Cast) can be used for both but has some disadvantages after curing.

You can read a lot about the kinds and how they can/should be used, as well as molds you can use or molds you can make to use with resin, plus much more, in my previous YahooAnswers here (which also include a link to the page at my site on resins):


19  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: June 01, 2013 12:54:50 PM
I don't know why you're getting "bits" on your resin, but here are some other things to consider:

...basements are often damp, and humidity level does matter when curing resins

...your plastic cup may not be large enough to allow enough air to assist with the curing process, or it may keep the temp in a not-good range, etc

..."checking on it" even once or twice could allow bits to be swirled in under the covering

...your paper on the bottom of the resin may contain moisture which could cause bubbling in the resin, especially if it's not sealed... even if it's totally dry or sealed, why wouldn't you "embed" the paper in the resin rather than just pouring the resin on top of it...that would encase the paper fully, and it's even possible I guess that the exposed paper is losing bits that end up in the air??

...not sure why/how you're "soaking the resin off the pendant"...or what the "pendant" part is

...the type and brand of resin you're using could be making a difference

As I said, cured resin is difficult to sand down (you'd often need more than sandpaper for some sanding chores), and it's also difficult to do that in just one area so you can polish or coat it back to fully glossiness.  You can get info on doing it though here:

20  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: The random RESIN question thread! on: June 01, 2013 12:22:44 PM
What are you covering your resin WITH, and HOW? 

Some things will be made from materials that can shed little bits which can get onto the resin.

Are you covering the entire mold and resin, or just covering the resin areas?

When are you covering?...right away, or later?

What kind of area are you using for curing?...and area with lots of dust or lots of air circulation?

Try covering the mold with something larger than it is (width, length, height), like a Tupperware bottom or large cardboard box, or even a dome of aluminum foil.
Do that right away, and preferably in a room that isn't in a drafty or dusty place (and where the temp is in the right range for curing resin).

(To remove any dust or other particles, you'd need to sand down far enough to remove them, then polish the resin and/or coat it with clear polyurethane or a coat of epoxy resin. Sanding cured resin isn't easy though.  If you just added a coat of polyurethane or epoxy resin over your original resin-with-particles, they'd still show up.)
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