Hello lovelies! I do hope that today finds you all well and good. As some of you may know, I like to experiment with different products and learn new ways to use said products. Today I would like to share some different ways to use polymer clay with your mixed media designs. There are so many ways to incorporate oven bake clay or air dry clay into your designs. I am sharing polymer clay techniques that I find the most fun!
TOP 5 TIPS ABOUT POLYMER CLAY
1. Cornstarch is a great way to get moulds to release and also can help get out fingerprints left in your clay.
2. When using colored clay it will leave a lovely colored residue on your hands, an easy way to get this off is to use a hand sanitizer.
3. DO NOT use Sharpie's on your clay, Sharpie's are solvent based and over time will bleed and the dye will blur leaving your design a hot mess.
4. Add acrylic paint to your clay to create any color you would like, although not as vibrant in color as clay that is already colored.
5. An acrylic rolling pin, sculpting tools and a slicing blade are some essential tools when working with clay.
I don't really have a specific clay I use, basically any oven bake clay that is on sale is good enough for me but not all clay is created equal. The only clay that I have found I don't particularly like is DAS air dry clay. When shaping clay I like clay that will stick together, even when you have to add some extra clay, the DAS clay did not do that. It crumpled and the pieces did not stick together.
I prefer to use oven bake clay for most of my designs. Oven bake clay tends to not shrink and stays true to form whereas air dry clay WILL shrink and then you may be stuck with a piece that isn't exactly what you were going for.
One of the more easy ways to create with polymer clay is to just roll it out and make a flat piece then use your handy dandy stamps and stamp into it. Easy peasy and this adds wonderful depth and texture to a design. This technique is shown in the altered paper mache book photo below. The entire background panel is made from polymer clay that I stamped into. When you add your colors (in this case I used LSG sprays) it pools into the recesses of the stamped clay and adds nice contrast. I used oven bake clay for this design.
The blue "tiles" under the torn paper above the butterfly are air dry clay that I stamped into. I used these leftovers on this design because the tiles cracked as they were air drying and I couldn't use it for my intended project. That is how I learned about the difference between air dry and oven bake clay.
Another way to use polymer clay is to sculpt little accessories for your design. For this idea I usually use white clay that I can paint any color I would like. I use acrylic paints on the clay. You can also paint parts of the sculpt you are doing, then bake it, and continue to add to your design after baking. The paint will stay where it should on your sculpt. The picture below shows some small little elements I added to my skeletons. The little top hat and the bow tie on the gentleman is made from clay. The necklace and bracelet on the lady skeleton is made from clay. There are also two pumpkins that are clay and the tombstones are made from clay.
Or you can go a bit bigger and create an entire model sculpt from clay. The wonderful thing about clay is you can keep changing your sculpt if you don't like the result that is happening. For my Jack Skellington (my first attempt at a full sculpt) I wasn't liking his head so I re-designed it about 3 times. Make a wire armature if you are going to do a full sculpt, it helps with the overall shape and provide nice support. I used oven bake clay for Jack and Zero. Another technique that you can achieve with clay is to use it in molds. I have 3 different molds on the Jack Skellington design. The clock is a mold, the frame around the tombstone and the pillars by the pumpkins are molds. For the molds I used air dry clay and would have to say that I was not happy with the results. In the future I will be using oven bake clay for my molds.
One of my absolute favorite designs included the paw print of my beloved German Shepherd, Raj. I created the design around her paw print that I had made when she was about 7 years old (I lost her to cancer in 2014). The vet clinic I worked at was wanting to give clients a memento of their furry loved one and I got to experiment with different companies paw print kits. I wasn't too keen on most and bought some polymer clay and had my girl step onto it thus creating her print and viola! I used that print from years ago and pushed polymer clay into it (very gently) and created a reverse paw print. The reverse print let me feel the texture from her paw pad and it was like I was holding her paw again. The picture below is right after baking the clay.
The close up paw print picture below shows the texture from Raj's paw and I can feel the texture! It is amazing and such a lovely way to incorporate your furry critters into your art.
I do hope you have enjoyed, and maybe learned something from this post. Feel free to ask any questions, I am still learning as I go so if I can't answer something I will find someone that can! :)
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Hugz and Carpe Diem!