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Polymer Clay 101 **Update**

on September 15, 2013


Back in March 2013 I wrote a post about the Must-Have tools for Polymer clay. This is an Update to that post with some more tools that are MUST-HAVEs when working with Polymer clay. I’m currently working on a commissioned clay art project and this project is making me use all the tools I have and coming up with new ones along the way. So below is a updated list of Must-Have Polymer Clay tools …

#1 : Toothpicks – Toothpicks are great for making fine details like fur or smoothing out tight corners by rolling the toothpick like a miniature rolling pin. Toothpicks can be used for many different purposes from adding finer details, poking holes, to helping you shape small area like the fingers on a hand or the paw marks on a paw.

#2 : Clay Extruder Gun – I was lucky to get my Clay gun for $1 @ a Dollar King store. I’ve never owned nor used a clay extruder before but now that I have I must say it’s a MUST-HAVE item. I used to roll out my clay snakes by hand and often times the thickness isn’t even or it just isn’t right. But with an extruder gun and the single roll disc you’ll get a even perfect clay snake with the press of the plunger. Now fair warning these clay extruders are really hard to push and does hurt your hand. A tip I found is to warm your clay making it softer and easier to push through the extruder. Clean up can also be a pain in the butt but I found if you use the brush that is included in this clay tool kit … and some baby wipes it’s fairly easy to get it cleaned.

#3 : Aluminum Foil – Aluminum foil is great for making a Armature or Inner core when making things like sculpted animals or anytime you don’t want to waste too much clay. Foil can be formed into any shape or form then clay over it. I used to make my clay figurines outta pure clay and sometimes the figures would tip over bcuz they were just too top heavy or heavy on a certain area. But using a Aluminum foil core really lightens the clay and uses up less clay as well.

#4 : A Box cutter/Utility Knife – Many Polymer clay crafters use a Polyblade to slice and cut through clay but I found holding the clay polyblade difficult especially when cutting through a thick chunk of clay. Also these polyblade cutters are very sharp. I often find my finger tips have shallow cuts just into the top layer of skin but not deep enough to make you bleed. Some people place clay over the top to make a handle but I tried that and it didn’t make it any more comfortable. But what I did find is if you buy a Box cutter/Utility knife it’s alot more comfortable and cuts like a hot knife through butter. You can also use an Xacto knife but the replacement blades can get pretty expensive. The spot where the blade goes got gunked up with clay and I had to clean it out and replace the blade. Not only are they kinda hard to swap the blades it’s not so comfortable either. I’d great for making minor cuts or cutting in small details but a Box cutter/Utility knife works just as well and are very cheap.

#5 : Baby wipes – I used to just wipe my hands on a damp cloth but the previous clay color I was working with still transferred onto the new color and Polymer clay is like a dirt magnet. It will pick up the slightest hint of dirt off your hands. A perfectly white bar of clay you just opened can turn into a dirty gray-ish ball after you’ve rolled it in your what you thought was clean hands. Baby wipes can wipe your hands clean after each color swap and whenever you’re going to take a quick break. Always have a pack of them nearby when clay crafting.

#6: Hand Sanitizer – After you’re done being creative with clay and wash your hands … you’re hands still has this weird clay residue. Plain soap and water doesn’t get rid of that weird textured feeling on your hands. But Hand Sanitizer does ! I believe bcuz it contains alcohol and alcohol reacts to clay. I suggest you try the Purell with Lubriderm. The Purell is a well known Hand Sanitizer brand but the added Lubriderm lotion leaves your hands feeling baby soft after. Also has a very pleasant scent instead of the rubbing alcohol smell mot hand sanitizers have.

#7 : Recyclables – When i say recyclables I’m talking about things like lids, cans, containers, etc. I keep lids of many different sizes to use as a template for cutting out circles or to mark a circle. I keep any small jar like jam jars, spaghetti sauce jars, the cardboard container from your mixed nuts, pringles can, etc. I use them to store things inside. For example my jam jar can store used scraps of clay, the pringles container can hold your clay tools, etc. It’s actually two tools in one. The lid can be used to help you cut out circles but the container can help you store those circles.

(_ _) …zZzZz  Ok, I think I’m going to have to stop here for now. It’s passed 4am and I’m starting to doze off while writing at the same time. I’ll continue and add to this after I get some shut eye. But I think that’s all the current Must-Have tools to update about.


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