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? 😀 Anyhoo, here’s the second half of the tips.
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.
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.
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.
Beads for eyes
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.
How I make grass
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. 🙂
Write it down!
My Dad likes to say, “Three-fifths of think is ink, if you want to remember it, write it down!” 🙂 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
Clean up time
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.
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.
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. 🙂
Ideas can be found everywhere
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.
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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!! 🙂