Sunday, October 4, 2015

Polymer Clay Journey: Lesson Learned about Mixing Clay Brands

Still loving working with polymer clay. In the beginning, I was following what the poly clay artists taught in their videos and tutorials. Lots to learn and now put into practice. 
One of the lessons I faithfully followed initially was...

#1 Polyform's PREMO and Souffle (all made by polyform) clay is the strongest and best for artistic purposes, like jewelry making.
Assuming that was true, I didn't try anything else. After all, what did I know as a newbie. Since my hands are weak though, I did notice that some of the colours (turns out some may have been on the shelf too long and firmed up) were pretty tough to condition, squeezing and manipulating the clay until it is pliable and all the polymer and such is well mixed, ready to use. Not wanting to depend on the pasta machine or clay conditioning machine, I want to use my hands as much as possible.

Curious, eventually, I purchased some Sculpey 3 and Fimo Effect and Fimo Soft. After all, Sculptey 3 is used by our  dear young friend Luke, who first introduced me to polymer clay. He is a faithful Sculpey 3 user and has made hundreds of adorable characters that are pretty durable. Check his pieces out below.

Well, I learned that SCULPEY 3 is so soft, it requires no effort, a dream, but, it is too weak for thinner pieces. Not to mention, I love that Sculpey 3 and all of the FIMO lines offer a lot more colours that I love. But strength is important in my pieces. First meet Luke and see the sampling of his hundreds of characters, all made by him. He has been making these guys for about five years or more now!
LUKE'S polymer clay creations. The fellow I first learned about  Poly Clay from.

LUKE'S polymer clay creations. The fellow I first learned about  Poly Clay from.

LUKE'S polymer clay creations. The fellow I first learned about  Poly Clay from.

LUKE'S polymer clay creations. The fellow I first learned about  Poly Clay from.
Combining Clays Works for Me
Wanting to work with a soft clay and more colour options, I began mixing my main clay brands, PREMO with Sculpey 3 and Fimo. Does it work? Well, here I am to share my experiment, so, yes! Of course clay strength depends on what your purpose or use is. In Luke's case, Sculpey 3 is soft, easy to use and because his pieces aren't thin and delicate, they stay strong. Because most of my pieces are to be worn as jewelry, I make sure if I am to combine clay brands, I make sure Premo or Souffle is at least fifty percent of the content.  And then based on advice I obtained from my research, bake the clay at the highest temperature. For example Premo is baked at 275 degrees fahrenheit and FIMO 265 degrees, if I combine the two, I bake or cure it at the 275 temperature. Nothing burns and so far all cures well. It is up to you, but I like to just turn off the oven and let it cool down on it's own.

I must say,  FIMO seems to be pretty solid as well when baked. It is all an ongoing trial and error, learning experience. I like learning by watching tutorials and by testing it out myself.

Lesson Learned
Mixing brands of clays can work. My biggest lesson lately has been, take the advice from the expert poly clay artists, but as you develop your skill, try new things. You aren't limited by anyone. If you are curious what would happen if you mix this or do that, then try it. If you are really young, make sure you always have an adult to supervise the oven use, as well as making sure you do not work with sharp blades. There are alternative ways to cut your clay if you have wee fingers.

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