20 tips for beginning clayers – Part 2

I figured out why bloggers post things in parts…..because they get too tired to finish it in one part! LOL I started posting these tips last night, but halfway through, my pillow started calling my name. Well, I couldn’t be rude and ignore it, now could I? πŸ˜€ Anyhoo, here’s the second half of the tips.

Tip 11

Toothpicks

Tip 11

I keep a box of toothpicks on my clay table and use them in almost all my figurines. They help stabilize the piece, and also help keep the piece together. I usually use half a toothpick to secure the head to the body.

Tip 12

Pasta machine

Tip 12

It’s not necessary to have one of these (especially when starting out), but they are very nice to have. Pasta machines are great for blending colors and for getting a smooth, even depth on the piece of clay you’re working on. You can get one fairly inexpensively when you use a 40% off coupon at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.

Tip 13

Scented oil

Tip 13

This is a fun tip! I got these oils at Dollar Tree. The bottles are pretty small, but you only use a little at a time. Just add a couple drops to the clay, and you’ll have a yummy-smelling figurine/charm. Plus if you have a piece of clay that is old and dried out, the oil will help to soften it and make it pliable again.

Tip 14

Beads for eyes

Tip 14 (1)Tip 14 (2)

Some people like to paint on the faces for their figurines, but I prefer to use small beads for the eyes. I use the smallest size bead I could find at the craft store. The first picture shows what the bottle of beads looks like. The second picture shows how I place the “eyes” on.

Tip 15

How I make grass

Tip 15

So far this is the only way I’ve been able to get a grass effect on a piece, and believe me, on a large piece it takes FOREVER to do. If anyone has an easier way to make grass I would LOVE to hear your tips. πŸ™‚

Tip 16

Write it down!

Tip 16

My Dad likes to say, “Three-fifths of think is ink, if you want to remember it, write it down!” πŸ™‚ I keep this book on my table because sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a project and another idea will pop into my head, so I write it down to come back to later…..my “rememberer” doesn’t work as well as it used to! LOL

Tip 17

Clean up time

Tip 17

Something else I keep on my table is a bottle of hand sanitizer. It’s great for cleaning the clay off your hands, as the alcohol cuts right through the clay. Once you’ve rubbed the sanitizer on, just wipe it off with a paper towel. This is a great tip for when you’re working with several different colors on a piece and just don’t feel like running to the sink every 2 minutes.

Tip 18

Glue

Tip 18

These are the only two kinds of glue I use with my clay. I’ve tried several different kinds and these seem to work the best for me. The Super Glue I use for sticking clay to clay (like when a piece falls off….which does happen, lol). Just a tiny bit is all it takes, and it holds really well. The E-6000 I use for sticking clay onto other materials (like the birthday board I made, I used it for sticking the month emblems onto the wood). It dries clear and holds well.

Tip 19

Clay softener

Tip 19

There is a saying among clayers, “Life is too short to work with old clay!”. But sometimes when you’re in the middle of a project and it’s 11:00 at night and all you have left to finish is one little bit and the only piece of clay on your table is dried out and crumbly….well, hopefully you’ll have a bottle of clay softener.

Just put a few drops onto the clay and work it in. It may take a while depending on how dried out your clay is. I like to put my dried clay in a small zippy bag, add the softener drops, and then use my clay roller to squish it all together. Saves the fingers a little. πŸ™‚

Tip 20

Ideas can be found everywhere

Tip 20

If you ever get “clayer’s block” and just don’t know what to make, you can always get ideas by checking out books from your local library (yep, most libraries have books on polymer clay!), or by looking through magazines or catalogs. You never know what will inspire your next piece.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So there you go…..20 tips to help you get started. Although these 20 barely scratch the surface on information for starting out in becoming a polymer clay artist. I hope these help you a little. Let me know if there are any questions you have and I’ll try to answer them as best I can….or point you to a website that can. The best tip that I can end with is just to have fun and enjoy your new hobby. Happy claying!! πŸ™‚

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6 thoughts on “20 tips for beginning clayers – Part 2

    • Maybe I used the wrong kind, but when I tried baby wipes, I noticed they left tiny little “hairs” and fuzz on my hands that got on my clay. Will have to try a few different kinds. πŸ™‚

  1. Hello, thank you for the tips. I have made a list of what I need. I have some clay and wanted to start by doing something like a little garden but I can’t find tutorials as it seems to be nearly all jewellrey or dragons. I noticed what you said about the grass but here in England I can only find on Ebay the no. 17 icing tip to be shipped from USA with very high postage costs. Has anyone given you any other ideas for making grass?
    Regards
    Irene

    • Hello Irene! A little garden will look very sweet, and I’m sure you will have fun making it. You could try using a hard-bristle toothbrush for the grass. I’ve done that technique before and it seems to work well. Let me know how your garden turns out. If you have any more questions, please ask away. πŸ™‚

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