In this post, I am going to introduce you to a few of the many tools that you can use to further sculpt, enhance, and embellish your clay pieces before you cure or fire them, depending on the clay type.
As before, I will do my best to describe the use of these tools as they pertain to the specific type of jewelry clay so that you can understand how these supplies are used most effectively.
We have already discussed in detail, what it takes to roll out clay and discussed the different ways Polymer Clay and Metal Clay are handled at this stage. Due to the vast differences in the make-up of the clays, we learned that we need a release agent for Metal Clay as well as a ready supply of distilled water.
The same holds true for sculpting and design tools, you will need to use release agent on most of these tools to prevent the Metal Clay from sticking.
With Polymer Clay, however, you will need to keep these tools clean of residue so that you do not cross contaminate the clays or embed bits of dirt and debris into your poly clay designs.
So let’s take a look at some of the many design tools you can choose from when you work with jewelry clays.
The shapers have a variety of shapes which can be used in wide or tight areas of your designs.
The set came with the carving tools on the left and the dimpling tools on the right. The carving tools can be used to carve designs into either clay in the wet stage. However, you can also carve Metal Clay in the greenware/ leather hard stage and even to bone dry stage as well, if you know what you are doing.
Polymer Clayis usually carved in the first stage of work. I can be molded and sculpted without the aid of release agents or water. But you will need to use a bit of release agent on these tools with Metal Clay. These carving tools have various shapes of tools on both ends, including a few drill bits for making holes in the clays.
Dimpling tools are used to add design elements and texture to clay work. They are also used as dotting tools for applying wet paint to craft projects. They come in a variety of sizes as shown in the photo above.
You can also use these brushes to help you shape snakes into coils and loops. The larger and angled brushes are useful when you need to remove sanding dust from your jewelry clay pieces. They are also helpful to clean dried debris from your polymer clay tools, molds and pasta machine.
Next up, I want to talk about ways to add more decorative elements to your clay designs, texture plates, templates, and molds. There is no shortage of options available on the market but there are also a multitude of ways you can make your own from everyday items around your house and with found items as well.
Some Texture plates have a deeper depth than others. This is important to note, because the thinner your project is the less strength your final fired piece may have. To resolve this issue, most projects start by rolling out the clay to a thicker card number and then rolling it down by one card over the texture sheet.
You can also texture clay with fabric, lace, and natural objects such as leaves. You can even add texture using stencils.
Check out the previous post on Forming tools to learn about card thickness guides and release agents
Jewelry templates come in all shapes and sizes, and many are designed specifically for jewelry. From basic shapes to stone setting bezels, the options are amazing. Get yourself a basic starter set and build up your arsenal based on your preferences.
You can make your own templates using a superior quality card stock for project specific items. Since paper does not hold up as well, these templates can only be used a few times before you will need to make more.
An extruder is a tool that passes clay through a tube to form coils, which can be applied decorating. There are different types that can be hand-held or attached to a wall or table. They use dies which are metal disks with spaces cut out to extrude different shaped coils or snakes.
I hope you have found the information in this post useful and that you stick around for more. I have two more topics to cover before we break out our clays and get started on some projects.
- Finishing Tool
- Firing Methods
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