Polymer Clay Advancements

Remember way back when I tried to work with polymer clay?  I made several rookie mistakes, did a lot of research and promised I’d try again.  Well in the 17 months since that post I have had a couple more attempts, and I have finally been able to come up with pieces that I’m quite happy with.

My sculpting still needs work though.


First of all I invested in a few tools that I was lacking the first time around.

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There’s a ceramic tile for working on and baking on, some foil trays to place over the piece in the oven to help regulate the heat, an oven thermometer, an acrylic rolling pin, some cutting blades and some sculpting tools.

Instead of buying 100 blocks of Sculpey or Fimo though, I went with an “off brand”.  I found an eBay seller in the Far East selling *Mixed Colour Set Oven Bake Polymer Clay Modelling Moulding Blocky”.

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It may not be the proper stuff, but it gives me a chance to play with a range of colours.

For some reason I decided the best thing to start off with would be a Pokeball.   Here are my badly sculpted Pokeballs pre-baking.

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For my second piece I wanted to do a little bit of experimenting with colour,   So I pulled off little bits of a nice colour range and rolled them into fat little sausages…

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Then I went through a whole process of twisting together, cutting, put back together and twisting some more until I was reasonably happy with what I had.

Then I flattened the final marbled ball and pressed an icing stencil into it to make a pretty spotted pattern, before using a cookie cutter to cut out the size I wanted.

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Remove the excess clay, stamp in a C for Colette, add a hole for turning it into a pendant and I was ready to bake.

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The baking was where it all went disastrously wrong last time, so I tired to be extra careful this time.

The problem I had was that my knock-off clay didn’t come with any instructions, so I went with the general information on the internet and baked at around 200 degrees F.  I set up my oven thermometer and when the oven was the right temperature I added my ceramic tile with its foil hat.

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The next problem I had was the timing.  Everywhere you look on the internet says X amount of time for Y thickness of clay, except that everywhere has different amounts for X.  It’s very confusing.  I sat in front of my oven for about half an hour, checking every ten minutes to make sure they weren’t burning.  Then it became hard to figure out how to tell when they were done.  I would give the pieces gentle squishes, and they definitely firmed up.  The internet told me that it’s hard to bake the pieces for too long, so when I turned off the oven I left the pieces in there until the oven had completely cooled.

I’m fairly sure my entire baking process was wrong, but my pieces are firm and not charcoal, so I’m happy.

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Do you work with polymer clay?  Do you have any tips for me?  Let me know!

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Author: Colette Horsburgh

A 30-something creator/baker/writer/doodler/crafter living with several (but not enough) scatty animals.

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