wedding expenses are looming. i’m gonna
try to ramp up my snail-making to offset some costs, so i’d really
appreciate any feedback on what sorts of things people might be
interested in. i can make snails in quite literally any color and put
them on anything, i take custom orders and i love weird requests.
sea snails? snails on rings? snail earrings? snails on hairclips?
these are some of my plans, but if anyone has an opinion or would like
me to definitely pursue something over another, tell me! i appreciate
i know snails are not everybody’s thing, but if you
wouldn’t mind boosting this post a bit, i would be grateful! as i bulk
up my new stock, everything in thecritterhole is 20% off! just use this coupon: MAKEWAYFORHALLOWEEN
that should tell you what i’m currently up to as far as ideas :D
So, you want to get started working with Polymer Clay, but you don’t know where to begin. This is a quick write up of the very basic tools and materials you will need in order to get started working with Polymer Clay!
Materials Nothing fancy here; if you want the basic basics, this is all you’ll need!
1. Clay (of course!) You’ll need your basic colors: white, black, red, blue, yellow, and tan. The three primary colors, plus white and black, will let you achieve many different shades and colors without having to buy a lot of clay! This is great for when you’re just starting out and getting your toes wet. Once you decide that you like working with clay, you can pick out pretty much any color you need. If you want to start working with making miniature foods, I strongly advise you to pick up some translucent clay, since it’ll give your foods a more realistic look (especially fruits and cakes!). I buy mine at Michael’s and Jo Anne’s. I recommend checking in there on the weekends; Michael’s offers pretty good coupons and Jo Anne’s often has their clay on sale on the weekends, usually half off!
2. Polymer Clay Tools A good sharp knife/razor blade (I prefer a razor blade myself), a needle tool or needle, and a toothbrush/rough sandpaper are the very basic tools you will need. Getting a sharp knife or razor blade is extremely important. Dull cutting instruments will distort your clay and make it hard to cut through. The last thing you want as you’re making a rainbow cake is for your colors to smear together! Needles and needle tools are essential for making crumb textures on cakes and breads. The toothbrush or rough sandpaper are used to texture your clay and are absolutely needed if you plan to make miniature foods. Again, Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have a good selection of basic clay tools. Side Note: They do have a clay cutting tool at most craft stores. It’s a long, thin blade with a handle along the top. I’ve never used one myself, but I see a lot of other miniature artists using them.
3. Roller or Pasta Machine If you want consistently rolled out clay, a pasta machine is your best bet. A plastic roller will work just as well, but there is a chance your clay will be uneven. Can’t find either of those? A marker will work in a pinch! Both Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have both of these items for under $20.00.
4. Tile I cannot stress enough how great a tile is for working on with clay. It’s super easy to clean up and it keeps your clay a lot cleaner. Plus the clay won’t stick to it! Home Depot or any home improvement store are your best bet; you can usually get a 1'x1’ tile for well under $2.00.
5. A Baking Dish This one is easy to overlook since you won’t think about it until you’ve already made your piece. Uncooked Polymer Clay is slightly toxic and you want to keep it off any dishes/cookie sheets you’ll be using for real food. Pick up a cheap baking dish or cookie sheet from the dollar store and use that JUST for clay. It’s safe to bake your clay in the oven, though.
6. Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS) This is found in a bottle. It’s just liquid sculpey and there are a million things you can do with it. A lot of tutorials will have you use this and it’s good to have a bottle around. I myself use it when I make whipped cream, cake frosting, and pie fillings. Michael’s and Jo Anne’s both carry TLS.
7. Clay Glaze This is found where all the clays are at the craft store. You apply a thin coat to your baked charms/miniatures once they’re cooled. This will make them shiny and give them a bit more protection against general day to day wear. Michael’s and Jo Anne’s both carry clay glaze.
8. Eye Pins (Optional) If you want to make charms, you’ll need these in order to be able to turn your clay items into wearable items. Head pins are even better; you place them through the bottom of your clay charms and you make your own loop at the top. It’s very hard for your charms to fall off with these, since they have a flat bottom that won’t pull through. You’ll want to place the eye pins and head pins into your clay before you bake them, since it’s impossible to do so after. Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have both eye pins and head pins, and you can also order them off eBay in bulk.
Extra Materials These are materials that you can wait to purchase; you don’t have to have them if you’re just starting out and want the basics.
1. Chalk Pastels This is how you’ll do your shading if you’re making foods or if you just want to color in your unbaked clay. It’s a small touch that makes your food items look realistic! It might take some digging around, but Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have the pastels.
2. Clay Softener This is exactly what it says it is; it’ll soften hardened clay. I use it for my glazes to make them easier to apply to my pieces. Both Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have this item.
3. Cookie Cutters In the clay isle, there will be small cookie cutters made just for clay. You can get them in a variety of shapes and they can be used in making cookies and crackers. Both Michael’s and Jo Anne’s have these items, and you can always check eBay for more.
4. Clay Oven This is a very optional purchase, but if you have the extra money and the space, you can buy a small oven that’s specifically made for clay crafts. It’s a bit expensive (I just bought mine for $60 at Jo Anne’s) but if you plan to be traveling, this is a great investment. I take mine with me so I can work on the go.
5. Jewelry Bits Clasps, pins, chains, earring backs, rings, etc. I’d refrain from buying these right away until you’re sure that you enjoy making clay items. Once you do decide that you want to make jewelry out of your creations, ordering off eBay is your best bet to get the best prices. Michael’s and Jo Anne’s do have some fantastic sales from time to time, and in a pinch you can buy all those items there easily. I find that Jo Anne’s has a better selection of jewelry blanks than Michael’s, but that might just be due to where I live.
6. Micro Beads These are teeny, tiny little beads that are fantastic for using on miniature cookies and cake slices. They come in several colors and can be bought in variety packs. They even have transparent ones that are great for making sno cones! They’re found in the scrapbooking section at Michael’s and Jo Anne’s.
I hope this helped and answered any questions you might have. I’ll be editing this as I go along, or if more experienced polymer clay artists have something they want to contribute.
Remember, they key to making Polymer Clay miniatures is practice and patience. There are a plethora of very good tutorials on DeviantArt, through Google, and on YouTube.
or if you could at least reblog it, so others can see it, i’d massively appreciate it. tell me what you think in my ask box (*whispers sexually* i’ll love you forever) because i’d love to hear feedback on what i can improve! Thanksss
I’ve been making an elephant a day over this past week to celebrate World Elephant Day, and tonight marks the last one of this mini project. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Remember to check out the World Elephant Day website to find out how you can help conserve and protect our elefriends.