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21  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / polymer handles for clay tools (to make fur,hair,smiles, etc.) on: September 03, 2006 02:55:07 PM
RecycleMicol, this is for you --to show some of the ways you could embed a needle or multiple needles into polymer clay if you wanted.  (Sounds like buying those cheapest felting needles would be easier, but just wanted you to see these if you wanted to try.)

The tools in this first photo (gifts to me from Cecelia Determan) are double-ended, as well as being multipurpose.

The bottom tool has 3 needle tips embedded in a triangle shape very close together which is used as a furring tool like the one Katherine Dewey uses on the mice in her Sculpting Lifelike Animals book. It's dragged along the surface in short strokes.

At the other end, 20 or so straight pins (cut really short) are embedded randomly (end is 3/4" x 1.5") ...some pins have sharp points, and some have rougher points since they were cut with wire cutters.  Can be dragged or pressed.

The top tool has a needle embedded in it which has had the top part of the eye cut off... it's used to embed bits of "hair" like mohair, etc., into a raw polymer clay head (for most realism).
Its other end is a circle made from wire, bent, then embedded, so that it can be used to impress multiple small circles on raw clay to simulate a curly beard or some kinds of fur or wool
... Cecelia wrote about these in her HOTP book Merry Christmas Faces; she wraps a 1 1/2" length of (20-gauge) wire around a bamboo skewer or pencil tip to form a 1/8" wide circle, bends both tails back to insert into a handle of clay, leaving a flat circle for stamping
...(or the circle end of a safety pin could be used)

The next ones are a few of the other things I've embedded in polymer handles for better grip and longer length.

These are single pins, ball-headed pins, and needles (including a tapestry needle):

And these last ones are a drill bit, a V-type linoleum cutter bit, and some "smile" tools for simple figures. 
The smile tools are made by bending down the U end of a paperclip, then cutting that off past the bend and embedding in clay.... when pressed onto a blank clay face, they make a cute smile indention (or a frown if upside down). (Yellow one shows tool from the side.) The last one on the left is one-legged and the same idea, but can also be used in other ways.

Some of these stay in best if they're pulled out after baking (sometimes pliers are necessary, but sometimes they can't be removed!), then glued back in with superglue.  A few like some of the paperclips, are actually still whole, just covered with clay in the middle.

(If you're want to check out more on making polymer handles, look on this page:
...click on Handles)

22  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / my samples of mixed-colors ....pt.2 on: July 19, 2006 12:45:26 PM
my polymer COLOR SAMPLES

The first set of color samples I posted a while back was made with only 3 colors (of Premo) by someone in my clay guild years ago:
Before that though, I had made some samples of my own color mixes from more colors, including fluorescents (primarily Premo, I think) to get familiar with what happens when polymer clays are mixed.  

I also wanted to mark the chip samples somehow with their exact formulas so I could use them later when previewing a few colors together, etc., and be able to duplicate them, so I tried variuos methods.
....markers (permanent-on-plastic type), stamping into raw clay leaving impresions, "writing" in raw clay with pin or stylus, stamping after baking on surface with various inks
...I also cut some of the shapes with a wavy square cutter, and used a heart-shaped cutter for the hole, etc.
I never really finished the whole project, but here's a close-up showing some of the marking systems I used:.

I recently decided to find them, then lay out in spectral "order" just to see what I had.  
(Note that these are all plain mixes though... with no white added to get "tints" (pink, peach, lavendar, etc.), and no black added for "shades," but a few "tones" did result just from mixing complementary colors (not by mixing in grey or brown though) ... also almost no mixes were made with mica-containing metallic clays, and none with translucents).  
The photos don't really show all the differences in color, of course, and some of the colors look kind of blotchy or something probably because of increasing the contrast.

closeup of chip colors ...yellow-orange-red end of the spectrum  

closeup of chip colors ...red-magenta-purple-blue-turquoise-aqua-green-yellowgreen end of spectrum
....the five single colors bottom right are a random brown(?), silver, glow-in-the-dark, Sculpey III translucent, SuperSculpey (last two showing up a bit too pink though)

(There's more info on mixing all kinds of polymer clay colors and whole palettes on this page, for anyone interested:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/color.htm )

Diane B.
23  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / magnets... various techniques on: July 03, 2006 03:08:38 PM
...various techniques...

(moved from we-want-a-polymer-clay-board thread)

These were made as magnets for my son's teacher's brand new white board (they'd used chalkboards previously).

Some of them had to do with the subjects they were studying that year or with things they had in the classroom (kids included... I modeled the brown haired one after my son). The background for the 3 faces was one of the old wonderful Fimo "faux stone" clay colors which are no longer sold. 

Most magnets were all-polymer as I remember, sometimes adding the cane slices over a core of scrap clay...  they had small magnets embedded their backs which were removed for baking, then glued back in with E6000 (now I'd probably use an epoxy glue though they're still working 9 years later according to the teacher --unless she doesn't want to tell me they aren't).

There are various polymer techniques represented in the items, especially:
... canes, "covering," simple sculpting, "aquarium bead" with fish & seaweed, transfers, discrete blends (from the days before "Skinner" blends), etc.

Diane B.
GlassAttic....polymer clay "encyclopedia" http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
little bit'o photosharing: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dianeatglassattic/my_photos
24  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / COLOR sampler (primaries) on: June 16, 2006 01:43:56 PM
COLOR sampler
for much more info on mixing polymer colors, look here:

(each horizontal row shows the range of mixtures created by
mixing the color in its left column with the color in its right column)

This sampler of polymer clay color chips was created by my guild to show just 4 simple combinations of colors that can be created by mixing only the 6 "primaries" of Premo with each other, two at a time (those are the colors the ends of each row).
Premo actually has a warm and cool version of each of their red, blue and yellow primaries (for a total of 6):
...Cobalt (warm blue)...Ultramarine (cool blue)
...Cadmium Red (warm red)... Alizarin Crimson (cool red)
...Cadmium Yellow (warm yellow)... Zinc Yellow (cool yellow)
(Most other brands have only one version of their purest version of red, blue, and yellow.)

A lot of the true color variations can't be seen from the photo (especially in the darker colors), but at least it gives a general idea of what can happen when just a few colors of clay are mixed!

Keep in mind though that only a few of the polymer colors that can be purchased were used for this sampler, so there could be many more simple combinations --including for example, each of these colors with a secondary color (turquoise, green, purple), etc., or even these colors with a metallic colored clay or with translucent clay.

Also, each of these colors (or any other clay color) could be further changed into many-many other colors by adding white (to create a series of "tints"), adding black (to create a series of "shades"), or adding gray, brown, or the complement of the color (to create a series of "tones").  
The combinations possible are limited only by what the eye can discern and which colors one uses.... kinda overwhelming actually.

OTHER WAYS to create various colors of raw polymer clay yourself have to do with mixing other things besides clay into the clay (...usually white or translucent clay is used as the base).

The two main colorants are oil paints and alcohol inks like Pinata and Ranger (for inks, apply to clay sheet, then let alcohol evaporate off before mixing color in).
You can use acrylic paints too, but since those contain water (which can expand during heating and cause bubbles, etc.), you wouldn't want to use much acrylic paint in a specific bit of raw clay (...or just leave the colored clay out overnight before baking to let most of the water evaporate out of the clay).

Many other colorants can be used to give a solid color or a speckled color, to the body of raw clay:
...ground spices, dry pigments, and dry tempera, fabric dyes, concentrated tea, crayon shavings, and metallic powders... as well as embossing powders, play sands, some glitters, herbs, even dirt, etc.
(those are generally mixed into translucent clay, or into translucents which have been tinted with color, so they'll show up some distance "into" the clay after baking as well as on the surface ...then they're often called "inclusions", and some inclusions in translucent clay can look especially amazing if they're sanded and buffed or given a glossy sealer too).

LESSONS & RECIPES for mixing whole palettes of color (from just a 3 primaries plus black and white) as well as mixing many interesting individual colors can be found on the page linked to at top.

Have fun!

Diane B.

GlassAttic....polymer clay "encyclopedia"
25  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / MOLDS (from clay & for clay) on: June 15, 2006 01:01:44 PM

for loads more info on making and using polymer clay molds
(as well as using other molds for shaping polymer clay), look on this page:

These are some of the molds I've made from polymer clay (I have hundreds more  Grin).

Actually, the green faces, the skull, and the pink geometric each show both the polymer mold and the polymer cast or "pull" later made from that mold... there are also two metallic plastic buttons there to show some geometric items that can be used as dimensional "stamps" for making molds.  

Some of the other casts shown were "highlighted" mostly on their upper portions with gold mica powder (Pearl Ex, etc.) before baking (to bring out details)... I intentionally allowed the powder to get on the background areas of these pieces a bit though since I wanted to cover most all of those pieces (but I kept the powder off of the background clay in the lower left, pinebranch cast, per normal).
Casts can also be "antiqued" so that only the bottom portions are colored (with paints, metallic powders, etc.), usually applied, then wiped off the top areas, or sanded off after baking... the skull was antiqued with burnt umber tube acrylic paint, but not that well done).
Casts can also be completely covered with metallic powders or other colorants too Ithe Celtic weave cast at top was completely covered, but it's hard to see).

Polymer clay molds can be made from virtually any item that's reasonably stiff (and doesn't run away too fast  Wink)
... these particular molds have been made by using plastic buttons, faces on toys & little plastic animals, nature items, carvings of my own, stamps, charms, decorative metal beads, etc. ...(actually the bottom right ones were made with a carved white eraser which you can also see in the photo, but they could also have been clay molds and turned out the same).
...Molds can also be made from 3D items, or just from textures --e.g., coarse sandpaper, plastic canvas (blue, above), wavy bottom of plastic box (dark burgundy, above)... those are often used as "backgrounds" or just visual interest too.

Btw, there are various possibile ways to combine polymer clay and molds:

--polymer clay molds can be made with non-clay items
--polymer clay molds can be made with baked polymer items

--polymer clay casts can created from polymer clay molds
--polymer clay casts can be created from molds not made from polymer clay
......these might be purchased molds (molds for candies or cookies or soap, silicone molds, wood molds, etc.)
......these might be molds made by the clayer (from various glues, 2-pt silicone molding materials, crumpled aluminum foil, plaster, etc.)
......these might be "molds" found around the house (the inside of a paint "well" in a paint mixing tray, a teaspoon, etc., anything with a depression and maybe texture in it)

(Most of those would not be baked with the clay, though those that are silicone-based could be. ... those also don't include ways that liquid clay can be "cast" in various molds.)

As for ways to use the casts from polymer molds, there are many!
They can be used just as embellishments and onlays (on clay items or non-clay ones ...too many to mention!), or for making beads (even double-sided beads), or as clay faces for dolls and other figures, etc., etc.  Molded items or molded bits are actually used a lot in polymer clay.

Normally I try to color-code my molds because there are just too many of them to paw through all the time.  So most of the faces are made from green clay, animals dark red, geometrics are often another color, nature items too, etc.   Some of those above are not color-coded though because they were either made before I started adding color to the SuperSculpey I use, or because they were what I had on hand when the molding opportunity struck!  (Some clayers are even known to carry a blob of clay in a plastic bag in their purses, etc., just so they can make a mold from any fascinating shape or texture they see while they're out, then bake it at home.)  
I have so many faces that I even numbered those molds on the back... then I also marked the same number on the corresponding cast for each mold after baking it, because sometimes faces can be really hard to recognize when they're molds (innies).

Generally, releases aren't needed for making polymer clay molds or casts, but it can be helpful in some circumstances, especially when one is new at making and using molds with clay.  
The Polyform and Kato clays work fine with a little spritz or coating of plain water, but the Fimo clays don't like water as much, and for those especially, a little cornstarch (brushed on with a fluffy brush) will work best (talc powder can be used, but sometimes it's harder to get off the clay after baking-- actually most talc and baby powders have only cornstarch in them these days).
If your clay is particularly soft or sticky, you can also put the clay and mold in the frig or freezer awhile to cool and firm it up which makes for easier removal.
Molds which aren't flexible at all can make clay harder to get out sometimes too, and for those try cooling, or try pressing the back with a soft wad of clay, or even sticking a pin into the clay kind of sideways to help pull on the cast.  
Using a little less clay than will totally fill up the mold makes it easier to get out too, and will leave a nicely rounded edge on the cast... can be interesting to make a cast of just a part of the mold too by pressing only a little ball or shape of clay into the mold somewhere.
Using more clay than will fit just inside the mold makes is easy to get out too.  Then you can either trim off the excess ....or you can leave the excess to create an interesting background "frame" around the molded object (can leave it as is, or trim it to any "frame shape" you want).... then when the cast pressed into new clay to make a final piece, the frame will stay as part of it.  

Diane B.
GlassAttic....polymer clay "encyclopedia"

26  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / BOWLS of polymer clay on: June 09, 2006 08:16:18 AM
BOWLS made from polymer clay

for lots more info on making polymer bowls + examples, lessons, look on this page:
(... click on the Bowls & Trays subcategory...)

These are some of the polymer clay bowls made by 6th graders in a series of kids classes I gave at my son's school.

(for the remaining two sets of bowls by other kids, look here:

They were created by applying cane slices to a form, or by draping a sheet of decorated flat clay (disk-shaped) over the form then arranging the excess clay at the edges ...baking the clay on the form ... then removing the form as the clay was cooling. (Each child made one of each type.)

Many types of forms can be used to make bowls this way, but for these classes we used mostly glass custard bowls and a few metal mini baking pans, etc. (generally upside-down). 

These are easy and fun to make if only a few guidelines are followed (see links above).

Other types of vessels besides bowls can also be made from clay... they may use similar methods, or different ones--for example:
boxes (with or without lids), vases, pots, trays, even pendants which are actually containers or large beads, miniatures, etc.   
Some may have their forms (armatures) removed like these bowls, and some may have them left in permanently.

Diane B.
GlassAttic ...polymer clay "encyclopedia"

27  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / "painting" flowers & more, with thin POLYMER clay slices... tomorrow on HGTV on: May 20, 2004 05:55:05 PM
Tomorrow morning (friday) on the Carol Duvall show (HGTV), Donna Kato will be doing a lesson on her beautimous flower "picture" pendants (which she creates petal by petal, leaf by leaf, with *very thin* slices from just 1-2  polymer clay canes... a petal cane and a leaf cane).

(The same technique could be used for all kinds of "painted" polymer items as well as flowers, of course..... for example, one of her pendants has many stars in a sky... but the technique could also be used in many, very different, ways.)

If you want to check out what she'll be showing, check out one of these links:

http://home.att.net/%7Ereserved/sernyk1.htm (upper left)

And here is the link to the HGTV lesson itself which is archived at their website:

Diane B.
GlassAttic... polymer clay "encyclopedia"
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