Today, we are going to take an in-depth look into polymer clay. We will explore the more popular types used to make beautiful jewelry.
Polymer clay is a type of hardenable modeling clay based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
It is an oven bake modeling material composed of polymers, resins, coloring agents and fillers. Not a natural clay, it is man-made from a plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) base.
It typically contains no clay minerals, but like mineral clay a liquid is added to dry particles until it achieves gel-like working properties, and similarly, polymer clay is put into an oven to harden, hence its designation as clay.
Polymer clay is generally used for making arts and craft items, and is also used in commercial applications to make decorative parts. Art made from polymer clay can now be found in major museums.
The setup for working with Polymer clay is very similar to that of metal clay with only a few notable differences.
Polymer clay is considered to be non-toxic, however it is not safe to ingest.
When curing this clay, make sure to work in a well ventilated environment. If polymer clay burns, it can create fumes that irritate the eyes and upper respiratory system.
Although you can safely line your regular cooking pans with foil or wax paper. I would recommend using old pans that you can dedicate to clay use only.
The same holds true for tools, utensils and work surfaces.
Better to be safe than sorry.
There are many tool options on the market for working with clays. Stay tuned to this series for in depth coverage of these tools.
Some artists choose to use a dedicated toaster oven but I simply use my everyday toaster oven. I simply let it cool with the door open and wipe the inside after each use with warm soapy water and a quick rinse.
But you can certainly use your regular oven to cure your Polymer Clay projects.
Polymer Clays come in a wide variety of brand and colors. The colors can me mixed and formed into canes and blends.
It can be molded, sculpted and textured. The possibilities are nearly limitless.
Popular Brands of Polymer Clay
There are several brands of Polymer Clay on the market today. And a single brand may have several types of clay to choose from.
Whether it’s mixed media, beadwork, sculpting, or home decor, clay allows us to express our imaginations through our hands — and the medium that allows the most possibilities is polymer oven bake clay. Here’s why:
- It’s Easy-Unlike other forms of clay that crack, dry out or need to be constantly reinforced with water and recycled with a machine, polymer clay is flexible, workable and soft until you decide to bake it in your home oven.
- It’s Versatile- Are you a jewelry-maker? A sculptor? Or a lover of crafts? Polymer clay is perfect for you — because it’s perfect for every project!
- It’s for Everyone-Whether you’re a seasoned clayer, an eager beginner or a lover of crafting with kids, polymer clay is a great choice for creativity
Sculpey comes in a variety of formulas, which we explore more deeply when we get into making a few projects. But here is a short list of the types I feel work best for jewelry:
- Sculpey III oven-bake clay is the perfect medium for those who work best with their hands. This popular polymer clay maintains detailing, tooling and texturing due to its pliable yet stable form. Sculpey® III comes in 44 vibrant colors — from Turquoise and Emerald to Princess Pearl and Gold — and maintains detailing and tooling beautifully.
Once baked, Sculpey® III oven-bake clay assumes a matte, bisque-type finish. You can completely personalize any oven-bake clay piece with glitter, paints and other embellishments.
- Sculpey Premo consists of enriched clays that allow for unique and exciting projects using an artist’s palette.
- – Seven pearlized colors perfect for creating faux semi-precious stones
- – Five metallic hues containing tiny mica particles
- – Two translucents to lighten clays and provide a transparent effect
- – One granite containing elements that lend the appearance of natural stones
- – Nine glitters for creating projects with a sparkly finish
- – Two bright fluorescents with a pop of color
- Sculpey Souffle is a lightweight polymer clay ideal for advanced techniques such as mokume gane, caning and bargello. This polymer clay is self-supporting and durable, making it excellent for large clay creations. Sculpey® Soufflé™ resists cracking and has a unique ability to hold fine details.
Choose from 22 fashion-forward Sculpey® Soufflé™ colors and enjoy a beautiful suede-like finish after this clay has baked. Souffle™ is so flexible it can be cut and sewn after baking – perfect for embellishing bags, making tags, enhancing paper crafting and more!
- Liquid Sculpey is just what its name implies — polymer clay in liquid form, often sold in squeeze bottles. This liquid makes an excellent bakeable polymer clay glue to enhance the bond between pieces of clay. While liquid polymer clay bakes in entirely the same way as regular polymer clay, it behaves differently from its solid counterpart.
When cured with heat, liquid polymer clay mimics its solid counterpart and forms a flexible yet solid mass.
- Sculpey Glazes Finish off your clay creation with a smooth matte or shiny gloss glaze. Sculpey glaze provides a smooth seal to set your clay, cover imperfections, and offer a compa…
FIMO is undoubtedly one of the best known and most popular modelling clays. As it’s easy to shape, you can use it in a variety of different ways. Plus, once it’s hardened you can sand it, drill it, polish it or use our varnishes to add a beautiful finish. The various types of FIMO are ideal for children, amateur artists and professional users who enjoy making figures, sculptures, dolls, jewellery and decorative items. In the STAEDTLER range, FIMO is available to purchase individually as well as in sets, in numerous bright and vibrant colours and with lots of great effects. In addition, we offer a wide choice of practical accessories and tools that enable you to easily work with the modelling clay and refine your results.
Types of Fimo Clay
- FIMO soft is soft and pliable. The clay is easy to shape without having to knead it first. This FIMO clay is particularly suitable for beginners, amateur artists and DIY crafters. It can be combined with FIMO professional and FIMO effect to create some wonderful results.
- FIMO kids is much softer than the other types of FIMO. This product has been specifically developed to meet the needs of children. Even little artists can effortlessly shape this clay.
- FIMO professional is the top choice for intricate and detailed artistic applications. Compared to other the types of FIMO, this clay has a firmer consistency, providing a high degree of dimensional stability, making it ideal for advanced users, professionals and artists – for example, it can be used to create sculptures or make delicate pieces of jewellery.
- FIMO effect is available in lots of great effect colours. These include glitter colours, pastel colours, gemstone colours and much more.
- FIMO air is an air-drying modelling clay that can simply be left to harden naturally in the air at room temperature. This clay is immediately ready for use, is dimensionally stable and pliable. FIMOair is available in three varieties: FIMOair basic, FIMOair natural and FIMOair light.
Kato Polyclay was formulated to embody the most desirable working properties possible. Strength, stability, firmness, and a wide spectrum of colors allow users to create pieces of artistic excellence. Kato Polyclay is a unique line of polymer clay created specifically for artists.
Strength and durability are very important properties in any polymer clay product. The amount of time and effort put into your project makes it very valuable; when a piece breaks it can be very disappointing. After curing, Kato Polyclay is extremely durable and will not break.
Because of its firmness, Kato Polyclay is an excellent choice for creating canes. When sliced, it will maintain its shape and minimize distortion, unlike softer clays. Its desired firmness eliminates the “squishy” factor.
Kato Polyclay does not change color after curing like some other brands.
With other polymer clays, there is often a significant difference between the color of the packaged clay and the clay after it has been cured. Kato Polyclay has a minimal color shift when cured. The color of the raw clay is the same as the color you get after curing.
There are 21 colors available in the Kato Polyclay line. This includes 8 spectral colors, 5 neutral colors, including translucent, 4 metallic colors, and 4 concentrated colors. All colors are intermixable, enabling the artist to create virtually any color imaginable.
Kato COLOR Liquid Polyclay is a heat-set medium with exceptional strength and flexibility. COLOR Liquid Polyclay is available in 6 vibrant transparent colors including Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet as well as opaque White and Black. These colors may be intermixed to create new colors and transparent colors can be mixed with opaque White to make opaque colors. To create a metallic or pearlescent effect, mica powders may be added to COLOR Liquid Polyclay. When mixing colors, use minimal agitation. Excessive stirring will create air bubbles.
COLOR Liquid Polyclay has excellent leveling properties and flows smoothly allowing it to be cured in sheets or poured into metal or glass molds. After curing, it may be cut with scissors into desired shapes. A few examples of its uses include: stain glass window clings, hinges, watercolor effects, faux stones, faux cloisonné, faux dichroic glass, coasters, mosaics, marbleizing, colorizing transfers and so much more.
Liquid Polyclay Clear Medium
Liquid Polyclay (Clear Medium) is a revolutionary product which allows users to create perfect photo transfers and finishes for Kato Polyclay pieces. It can also be used as an adhesive, grout, or glaze.
Cernit is a high quality premium clay made in Belgium by the Clay and Paint Factory.
Our range holds many different shades and effects :
- Cernit Number One: 42 opaque colours, glossy after polishing. Available in 56 g, 250 g or 500 g.
- Cernit Opaline : 14 colours with a porcelain-like finish. Available in 56 g, 250 g or 500 g.
- Cernit Glamour : 7 pearlescent colours in pieces of 56 g.
- Cernit Metallic : 14 metallic colours in pieces of 56 g.
- Cernit Translucent : 13 transparent colours and 1 night glowing colour. This range is very popular among the artists due to its amazing transparency. Available in 56 g, 250 g ou 500 g.
- Cernit Neon: The most neon of all polymer clays, 4 colours available in 56 g !
- Cernit Nature : 3 colours with a stone and dirt effect thanks to strands in the clay that allows an irregular aspect, similar to the one of a stone. Available in pieces of 56 g.
- Cernit Shiny : 7 colours in 56 g, highly concentrated in coloured mica that contrast with the colours of the clay. The shiny is different from the glamour due to the thinness of the glitter in it and the colours effects. These colours are perfect for jewellery as they have a pretty metallic effect together with coloured hints.
- Cernit Doll: 8 colours that have a skin-like effect (slightly transparent) and one translucent flesh colour. This clay has an aspect very close to flesh, a porcelain-like finish and is totally suitable for creating dolls. Each piece weighs 500g.
- Cernit Soft Mix : a clay softener that does no change the colour of the clay. You can mix up to a third of softener with 2/3rd of polymer clay Cernit. This way, the clay will be easier to work with and softer. The plasticity of the clay is increased.
I realize that this article contains a lot of information regarding Polymer Clay but there is much more to this story. There are a multitude of ways to work with this form of jewelry clay and we we get into that very soon.
But before we look at tools and extras, we are going to take a similar in-depth look at Metal Clays first, since many of the tools and extras are used for both clay types.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and will stick around for the remainder of the series.
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