An overview of polymer clay
Similar to traditional clay but cures at lower temperatures and does not include clay particle. The polymer clay is soaked to become workable and then when the item is complete it is hardened in the oven.
A history of polymer clay
In the 1930s an early form of polymer clay was Bakelite, which was a type of plastic. This ended up being discontinued due to the phenol base of unbaked Bakelite which was flammable. By the late 1930s polymer clay had been created in Germany by Fifi Rehbinder a doll maker and was named Fifi Mosaik. In 1964 the formula for the clay was sold to Eberhard Faber who went on to adjust the formula and developed it into Fimo which is still used today.
Polymer clay has become popular over the years and other versions have been created along side the original for use in the making of ornaments, figures, jewellery and original artwork.
Tools of the polymer clay trade
Polymer clay is a type of modelling material that is used by artists and craftspeople to create a wide range of decorative objects and jewellery. It is made by mixing polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin with other ingredients, such as pigments, to create a pliable material that can be moulded, shaped, and baked to harden. There are a number of tools that are essential for working with polymer clay, including:
Rolling pins: Used to roll out the clay to a desired thickness, rolling pins are an essential tool for any polymer clay artist. They can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, or wood.
Cutters: Used to cut the clay into shapes, cutters are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit different projects. Some popular shapes include circles, squares, and triangles.
Texture sheets: These flexible sheets can be used to imprint a design onto the clay, adding texture and interest to a piece. They can be used in combination with a rolling pin to transfer the pattern onto the clay.
Sculpting tools: Sculpting tools are used to shape and refine the clay, and can include needles, loop tools, and ball styluses. These tools are often used to create fine details and to add depth to a piece.
Moulds: Moulds can be used to create repeating shapes, or to cast a piece that has been sculpted from the clay. They can be made from silicone, metal, or other materials, and can be used to create everything from simple shapes to complex designs.
Baking dishes: Used to bake the clay to harden it, baking dishes should be heat-resistant and non-stick, to ensure that the clay does not stick to the surface or burn during the baking process.
These tools can be used to create a wide range of objects and jewellery with polymer clay, including beads, pendants, earrings, and sculptures. The versatility of the material, combined with the range of tools available, makes polymer clay a popular choice for artists and craftspeople in the UK, and around the world.
Tips and tricks of polymer clay
As with any materials used in arts and crafts it is important to make yourself aware of any health and safety issues with chemicals produced during use and curing.